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FREQUENTLY-ASKED QUESTIONS

Brevetti Robbiato Atomic Coffeemaker

Are they still making Atomics?

The $60,000 question. Bon Trading is still selling some parts, like group handles, knobs and seals. Frédérick Nakos has made at least one batch of jugs, I'm not sure if he still has any of these. Jack Grieve is selling a modern reproduction machine the "La Sorrentina", which is made to the same specifications. But despite frequent rumours about new machines being brought in by Bon Trading, I have yet to hear from anyone who has actually seen one. At this stage, your best bet to find an Atomic is still eBay.
Atomic Coffeemaker Head Filter

What spare parts can I get?

Bon Trading sells jugs, filler and steamer knobs, group handles and filter baskets, and replacement seals. The head seals can be replaced with a small (64mm) Bialetti seal. Be aware, though, that some of these replacement parts differ from the vintage ones in subtle ways. For example, the filter baskets have a different hole pattern and the black filler knobs have a flat back plane.
Bon Trading Home Espresso Badge

Can I get a replacement badge?

Well, yes and no. If you have a Bon Trading Atomic and you take it in to their shop, they MIGHT sell you a replacement badge. It has been known to happen. But you need to prove your machine is genuine. As for any other badge, forget it!
Brevetti Robbiati Coffee Machine

Should I re-polish my vintage Atomic?

It depends. In theory, the original finish on your Atomic has value to a collector. But the chances of your 1957 Atomic still having its "original" finish are remote. On balance, if you do a proper job of it, the market will probably reward you for re-polishing your dull and scratched Atomic, especially if you take the opportunity to replace the seals and buff up the bakelite at the same time.

Atomic Coffeemaker Espresso Pressure

Is the Atomic an Espresso Machine or a Moka?

This is a fiercely-debated point on purist coffee forums. But the real answer is (a) Neither, and (b) Who cares? Here is one example of the discussion to help you make up your own mind. Of course, the term "espresso" has evolved over the years to complicate matters, so even though the first espresso in 1901 was only 1.5 bar, in today's world the Atomic's 4-6 bar doesn't cut it. On the other hand, where did you last see a moka machine with a steam wand? But in the end, the question is the wrong one. The Atomic is not great because it is (or is not) espresso; it is great because it is inspired design that works. It is in a class of its own.

Extraction of frozen Filler Knob, Atomic Coffeemaker

How do I remove a frozen filler knob?

Check here for Paul Howell's non-lethal "Gentle Extraction Method" for removing a stuck knob. If this doesn't work, you have two other more extreme methods. You could try heating the metal around the knob in the hope that differential expansion might free the thread, or as a last resort you will have to drill the old knob out and retap the thread. Fortunately, the thread is a standard size.

La Sorrentina Atomic Steamer Rod Coffee Clamp

What is that knob in the coffee clamp ?

One of the late "innovations" in Atomic design was the introduction of a brass rod that could be inserted in the base of the coffee clamp to choke off the flow of coffee and retain steam pressure for frothing. While possibly better than the system it replaced - a separate filter basket with no holes in it, requiring a separate brew cycle to produce frothed milk - the steamer rod was an engineering disaster; leaving the rod in while the machine cooled often resulted in the rod getting locked into the coffee clamp as the metal contracted around it.

La Sorrentina Atomic Steamer Rod Coffee Clamp

How can you tell a new Bon Trading Atomic ?

Vintage Atomics have a plain flat base. The new generation of Atomics imported by Bon Trading from late 2008 or early 2009 have am embossed stamp on the bottom saying "Made in Italy". If your machine has this stamp, then you know it cannot be earlier than 2008.