Museum’s brew of history and mystery

Ann Barsby with what could be Dunedin’s first espresso machine. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Ann Barsby with what could be Dunedin’s first espresso machine. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Could this be the great-grandfather of Dunedin's coffee culture?

Fished out of a landfill and rescued by Gasworks Museum volunteers, the La Pavoni Italian espresso machine may be the first imported into Dunedin.

It was understood the machine was used in George St's Little Hut coffee bar, one of Dunedin's first cafes, Gasworks Museum Trust board member Ann Barsby said yesterday.

It had been rescued and transferred to the museum ‘‘several years ago'' but was only recently put on display. She hoped the machine could be restored, though ‘‘several'' thousands of dollars could be needed.

‘‘I'm told by the Gasworks volunteers the boiler is what needs repairing, which is a complicated and expensive job.''The trust did not have the funds to carry out those repairs, though they did have the time and expertise, she said.

Mrs Barsby said she hoped the public - and perhaps Dunedin's coffee companies - could be coaxed into contributing.

‘‘It would be splendid because it would be great if we could produce coffee using the original authentic machine.''

Mrs Barsby was interested to hear from anyone who had information on the machine's provenance, or who was willing to contribute to fixing it.

- craig.borley@odt.co.nz

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