Like most of us at World of Coffee, Henk Langkemper had his first memorable experience with coffee at a relatively young age – he was only 14 when a friend’s mother served him coffee from an Italian percolator from her home in The Hague.
Slowly but surely, his interest in “Italian coffee” would grow as he spent more and more time with this friend and his family: a Brasilia espresso machine appeared in his friend’s kitchen a year later. This may sound a bit unusual, considering that it was 1978 in The Hague, but the friend’s father was a long-time Faema employee.
Langkemper says his fascination with Faema machines didn’t really, truly begin until he began working alongside his friend’s father in coffee machine sales and support at the age of 23. Four years later, he started his own company (Espresso Service West), selling espresso machines and coffees for both home and catering use. “My aim was to support great coffee everywhere in The Netherlands whilst making a living,” says Henk.
Whilst he was meeting with a customer one day, Henk met his first vintage machine: a 1950s Faemina for home-use, found in the cellar of an old closed bar. After exclaiming how much he loved the machine, the customer offered to sell it to him – “I loved it so much, I bought it from her. I was so happy!”
Henk was already a collector of Vespa and Lambretta scooters, but soon he found himself selling his collection to grow his small collection of vintage coffee machines. At first, he bought whatever he could find, but after three years, he realized he was most passionate about one group lever machines – especially Faemas made between 1948 and 1970 – and began to focus his collection accordingly. “To me, lever machines make a better and more interesting cup of espresso,” says Langkemper. “I was most interested in how the technique differs from machine to machine, and this fascination only grew when I met Enrico Maltoni, who sold me a refurbished one-group Faema Marte.”
Incidentally, the machine Maltoni sold Langkemper – a Faema Marte – was the machine that began Maltoni’s own vintage machine collection, now housed in the first- ever museum dedicated to vintage espresso machines in collaboration with Cimbali (MUMAC). As MUMAC’s cofounder and manager of Official Maltoni, a specialised workshop dedicated to restoring vintage espresso machines produced between 1900 and 1960, Enrico Maltoni is a key supporter of Henk’s collection.
Today, the Henk Langkemper Collection holds over 300 items – machines, grinders, and vintage coffee accessories – and although he still has a great love for Faema, the collection now also boasts a full range of models from both Faema and La Marzocco produced between 1948 and 1970 alongside other manufacturers. “Later, when I became a La Marzocco distributor, I worked hard to find old La Marzocco machines – they are much more difficult to find, as fewer were produced. In some cases, like the very rare Disco Volante Grinder, only 50 were ever made.” If that sounds difficult to source, consider the collection’s La Marzocco Rondine – only six are known to exist in the world.
Henk’s collection is iconic, not only in regards to the 1950s design ethos, but of the history of espresso made in Italy. Described as one of the top-five collections in the world for “historical completeness,” the Henk Langkemper Collection offers World of Coffee attendees a chance to step back in time and appreciate the beauty and ingenuity of these vintage machines. “This opportunity to exhibit my collection is a very big thing for me and all my collector-friends who helped me the last months to make this possible.
It wouldn’t have been possible without Paul Pratt, Enrico Maltoni, Andreas and Pascal Bourret, and Enrico Wurm – thank you!”
The one thing that the collection is missing, though, is Henk’s first vintage love, the Faemina he bought on sight in the 90s: it was stolen from Espresso Service West a few years later. Although it was insured and the money was used to purchase another machine for the collection – the ultra-rare Faema Gas model, one of only five known to exist – that original, collection-inspiring machine can never be replaced.
Learn More About Coffee Design History
Have you enjoyed the Henk Langkemper Collection at World of Coffee? You can read about the first iterations of coffee brewing and roasting equipment in “Vessels Through the Ages” by Jonathan Morris, featured in Issue 4 of SCA’s Quarterly Publication, 25 Magazine.