In a gracefully curved and strikingly red building in Binasco, about 12 miles southwest of Milan, sits a collection of contraptions that no coffee lover— especially those of the espresso variety—should miss. This is the MUMAC (short for Museo della Macchina per Caffe, or “Museum of the Coffee Machine”), home to one of the most comprehensive collections of coffee machines in the world.
The museum was created in 2012 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Gruppo Cimbali, an Italian company whose two main brands of professional espresso and cappuccino equipment, LaCimbali and Faema, are considered by some as the Ferraris of the café world.
Inside the museum are hundreds of vintage espresso machines, ranging from unique prototypes to industrial successes that were game-changers for baristas across the globe. And it’s not only Cimbali products; you’ll also see machines by companies such as La Marzocco, Kees van der Westen, Elektra, and Vibiemme.
Rather than being a space full of randomly-placed espresso machines, MUMAC divides its six exhibition spaces chronologically. Each gallery represents a different era, taking visitors on both a social and technological journey. It begins with a columnar device built in 1901, and progresses through to the invention of lever machines after World War II, then the designer models that became all the rage from the 1960s to 1980s, and on to the globally-recognized products of the last few decades.
The museum isn’t only focused on coffee machines: It can also help you get the best from your beans. MUMAC houses an academy in a cutting-edge facility. Here, coffee professionals and enthusiasts come together to experiment with all things related to coffee and coffee machines. So if you’re keen to know what’s actually going on in your cup of coffee, the academy’s tasting and roasting rooms will help you understand the process and develop your palate.
If you’re not already too buzzed after touring the museum, then you can stop at the MUMAC café, where the in-house baristas will brew you up something special.
Know Before You Go
The museum is open Tuesday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Entrance is free and audio-guides are available in 10 different languages. Guided tours for groups are available for a fee.