(if you missed the Day 0 and Day 1 round up, please read those first)
Sunday, or day two started early for me - I had a breakfast meeting with the Rancilio folks over a few business things not related to coffee and espresso. I really like the focus of Glenn Surlett and Brian Pearson of Rancilio in every aspect except for one - I'm not quite sure they have the respect they should for the home and prosumer market potential. You can't quite blame them though, after all, they have just come out with these amazing new "toys", if you can call them that - the new Class 10 and Class 12 machines. These are, without a doubt, the most advanced espresso machine that were at the show. The Program VIP from Nuova Simonelli is close, but get this - the Class 10, traditional machine? The barista can change the pressurestat on the fly while brewing shots. How cool is that.
The machine is a traditional automatic, but trust me - it has super auto-like features built into it. It's basically a traditional that you can have operate like a super auto in almost every control aspect. Cool.
Pre Opening of the Show
After my meeting, I headed to the Baratza booth to set a few things up and roast a fresh batch in the HotTop, because the batch they did on the first day was pretty crappy. Soon, I had a few people stop by the boot to check things out, including a few alties who were wandering the floor, looking at all the - pre opening wares in in relative peace.
Then Thomson Owen dropped by :) (click the pic to the right to enlarge).
All flustered, mainly because he had screwed up on his flight, and booked his return ticket a day early. But he dropped by primarily to see the HotTop roaster, but also hoping to meet Kyle and Kyra - rumour has it they have never met Tom.
Well, they wouldn't meet Tom this day either... Tom had a seminar or discussion or show or something to attend and then had to fly out later in the day.
It was great finally meeting him. I espoused on Barry Jarrett in the last update, talking about how Bar is my sensei, and he is - but Tom's my main guy when it comes to my home roasting lifestyle - a lot of what I learned, I learned from Tom.
We talked a bit about the HotTop - Kyle and Kyra from Baratza need to get one of the roasters in his hands - and we talked about the show, about Barry Jarrett, and about the possibility of Tom writing the occasional article for the CoffeeGeek site. He was, well, receptive. I guess that's good :)
Tom stayed chatting probably way longer than he should have, and was no doubt very late for his lecture or whatever he had to attend. By this time, it was running late, and I had a short meeting with the folks at Bodum, including Jeff Malkasian, over some of the new products that Bodum is bringing out.
I guess I can spill some of the beans here. Bodum is bringing out the new little brother for the eSantos, and here's the bare specs: 25 ounce brewer, mechanical only on-off operation, available in a wide range of freakyweird colours, and should retail for around $80. That's actually not too shabby for a electronic brewer, all self-contained, especially since it may come in even less.
And I saw another neat product - a new stainless steel version of the Bodum Antigua grinder, brushed stainless steel (the same brush look that the Silvia has) which will retail for around $80 when it comes out later this year. If you note, they sell the plastic Antigua for around that price too, and they aren't discontinuing, but recognize they can't sell the plastic one for the same price as the metal one... so you do the figurin' - I can't say anything more.
Last, but not least, I saw a new kettle that Bodum is bringing in - a very funky one, though I'm not crazy about the current crop of colours Bodum has. Still, this kettle is amazing - same base concept as the eSantos brewers, super fast heat up times.
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| A gaggle of Bodum eSantos models - the electric timer 12 cupper model, and the 25 ounce (5 cups?) model. Click to biggie size. |
| The gorgeous Bodum Antigua in brushed steel. Heavy, good looking, same brush as Silvia, $80 maybe. Click it! |
| This is the Bodum kettle. I don't like some of the colour choices, though the anthracite and white plastic ones are great. Click! |
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| Spotted an elusive Faema Family on the floor! Wowsa. Unfortunately, no one was manning the booth at the time :( Click to UltraSize it. |
| Dr. Joseph John prepping me a shot of his MBG. Carl Lau is on the right. Click it! |
| The Solis Booth before opening. Kyra gets her day's notes ready, Kyle worries something might be missing.... Click it! |
Show Opens, Day Two
After my Bodum meeting, the show gates opened, and the crowds poured in. I realized I was supposed to go see Dr. John of Josuma before 11am (the time the gates opened), but I screwed up... so I wandered by at around 10:30 am. I found Carl Lau (Fookoo Network on Alt.Coffee) there as well and we got some great shots of Malabar Gold blend - definitely better than what I get when I try it at home. Thanks Dr. J!
I wandered the floor, and I finally got to meet a guy I've been waiting a long time to meet - Joe Monaghan from Espresso Systems Incorporated, the home of La Marzocco. I somehow missed the ESI booth on Saturday, but I made sure that Sunday I would get around to hitting his booth. And I sure am glad I did. I've known Joe via email and the phone for quite some time, but never met him in person. Every time I was in Seattle, he was somewhere like Italy, or Switzerland, or New Zealand.
Joe looks like Eric Clapton.
I also got to meet Kent Bokke (sp?) and John Blackwell, inventor/collector extraordinaire. You may not have heard of John, but chances are, you've used products that John has invented. He has his hands in everything from super autos to automatic tamping grinders. John rules. He's quite the character too.
They let me fool around in the ESI booth, pulling shots on La Marzocco machines. Man, I got to pull shots on FB 70s and Lineas! I am officially super cool now. I'm a trained FB-70 usin', swift grinder twirlin', ristretto pullin cool dood. Yes I am.
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| One of John Blackwell's pride and joy machines - a La Marzocco centerfuge grinder - as it grinds, the grounds are sent flying out at high rpms in a 360 wrap pattern. Gorgeous antique. Click it! |
| John's centerfuge grinder (its name is, I kid you not, the Disco Volante), and a retro antique LM from the 1950s or 1960s. |
| Front view of these very cool, nearly working machines. John says they need gaskets and some serious boiler work to function again. Click it, you know you want to. |
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| This is one helluva exclusive Swift. This is their experimental model, never to be sold. Wouldn't you like to have it, huh? Click it! Click the Swift! |
| Another angle of the Custom Tower Swift and the Robby the Robot 1960s LM Grinder beside it. Way cool. to the right is a 4 group GS (1) machine. Click them! |
| I can't believe I don't have other fotos of Joe Monaghan! I had to steal this one from the Day 3 pics - when he was judging the Barista competition! Click to big size the blurry pic. |
After spending way too much time at ESI, the early afternoon was upon me, and I decided to hit the Jura booth. I'm not sure I like this guy... he came off as kinda arrogant, and talked about stuff that, to be frank, he was extremely ignorant about.
Rant Mode On
I don't mean to go off on a rant here, but I will. There are many egos at the SCAA show, I've seen them all over the place, and to be fair, many of them are highly justified. But there were also a lot of humble, easy going folks, and I found that probably the coolest thing about the show - all these people I had heard of, or maybe emailed and admired from afar for their contributions to the world of quality coffee and espresso... when I finally got the opportunity to meet them, they were genuine, down to earth, humble folks who were just as happy to meet me as I was to meet them.
The Jura folks didn't fit in this mould. The guys were kind of arrogant, totally dissing their competition when they (to be absolutely frank here) had no leg to stand on, and when I tried to mention how a friend of mine was considering carrying Jura machines, they seemed mildly interested... until I also mentioned that this friend currently sells a range of super autos, including Frankes.
"Oh, well, if he wants our stuff, he'll have to drop all that other crap".
"Huh?" I said.
"I won't sell him (insert colourful word here) unless he drops all those other lines, especially Franke. I won't sell to anyone who has Franke."
"Huh??!!!?" I said
"You don't understand? He'd have to drop those guys first before I'll even consider talking to him..."
Sigh. If you're not clued into why this is absolutely insane, it's pretty simple - a vendor who's moving a fair amount of commercial super autos is moving a LOT of machines. A LOT. And my friend is moving a lot of machines. A manufacturer or importer would have to be seriously retarded to turn down the opportunity to sell to this type of vendor. There's no such thing as exclusive, especially when it comes to the commercial arena. Commercial vendors carry multiple lines.
If this Jura guy thinks he can get a vendor to drop one of the top tier, ultra serious, ultra high tech super autos (Franke) in return for a rather mundane, middle of the road, "yeah, the just so happen to make a few commercial machines along with all our consumer products" series of machines, well, he's either an idiot or he's completely na´ve and ignorant about how the espresso machine business works.
Rant over... for now.
Into the Afternoon, SCAA Style
I ran into Aaron Delazzar (that's him to the right, talking with Phil Hand (light shirt) from Supreme Bean) several times during the day at the show (yes, he's the defrocked, ex CoffeeGeek columnist), schmoozin' and caboozin' with other roasters. Aaron's cool. He's also a lame ass for bailing on the column stuff, I had serious hopes for his articles.
Speaking of roasters, day two was taken up by more chat with the guys from Supreme Bean. I'm totally sold on these guys. As far as I'm concerned, they were the class of the show - the bomb of the bomb when it comes to on site, active provided roasters. They had the best consistent product I tasted at the show, and a lot of the vendors agree - I saw Supreme Bean bags all over the show. Those guys need a website though - bad. (hint, hint).
I think Jeff from Supreme Bean played a bit of a game on me too - he went walking with me to Primo Roasters' booth and to Too Much Coffee Man's booth, and we walked by the Deitrich booth. I said "oh, some people online have asked for roaster pictures, so I should comply", and Jeff was like, "oh yeah - take pics at the Diedrich booth, here".
So I did. And all hell broke loose.
My first foto is just of the machines - nothing much. My second foto features some dude trying to disguise an entire 20lb roaster with his tiny hand as he yelled to me "no pictures!".
I looked up and went "huh?" what's up with that... as I snapped another photo. And one of the Diedrich brothers came over and started flapping his gums at me. "Stop taking those pictures!!!".
I mumbled "yeah, whatever", and snapped another one, this time of the dude wagging his finger at me and his mouth wide open with some bad boy words coming out. And Jeff was beside me laughing... a lot.
I finally left the havoc that was the Diedrich booth (after all, I'd been snapping pictures for 2 days solid with nary a complaint or concern by any vendor), and Jeff calmed down enough for me to ask what was up with all of that.
Well, it turns out Jeff and the Supreme Bean guys are tight with Primo Roaster Manufacturers. Very tight. As in "they actually help in development of new roasters" tight. And when the Diedrich people saw Jeff beside me, they thought I was sumkinda spy for the Primo camp.
Seems Diedrich really don't like the Primo Boyz. Seems as if the Primo Boys were all disciples (read: employees) of Diedrich once upon a time, and set out on their own. Seems that Diedrich et all really dislike the Primo guys because of this.
Oh well. I got the pics. Out of the kindness of my heart, I'm only posting the first one mentioned above - the one with the dude trying to obscure a giant machine with his tiny hand. The others I'll withhold, keeping them for my own personal amusement :)
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| Okay so I lied. I first got this Dietrich pic before they started hasslin' me. Click it. |
| Here's where the fun started. Okay, so maybe this guy was doin' his job, but this is a trade show, for gosh sakes. Keep it at home if you don't want it seen. Click it! |
| One funky mojo Astoria automatic machine. Also in a semi-auto. I love the Italians and thier panache and style. Yes, thats Brigitte Nielson in the photo. Click it! |
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| Astoria's monster 4 grouper machine is said to be one of the best selling high volume machines on the planet. Click the Pic! |
| Hrmm. I smell rebranding! :) (those are almost the same machines as marketed by Wega. The "lyra" is the middle machine). Click it! |
| Ambex had an interesting booth. I grabbed some literature... and promptly lost it. Luser me. Click to SuperSize(tm) it. |
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| Equip For Coffee had a Probat on display. Smaller than I thought they would be. Hrmm. Click the red thing, will ya? |
| This is one of Primo's main roasters. I think the Supreme Bean guys use a modified version of this baby. Click it, you know you want to. |
| Here's a "tabletop" Primo roaster. I would be the ultimate CoffeeGeek if I had this one on my tabletop... you know what to do. |
I checked out a lot of different booths, some just because I got a request to:
- Many roaster machine booths were visited including the aforementioned Diedrich. I also checked out Probats, Primo, San Fransciscan, Cafe Rosto, and others. I got literature on most of them, including some pricing info, but I'll have to save that for another update down the road.
- Checked out many of the smaller (and some larger) machine companies. I briefly met with the Astoria folks, the Isomac guy (followed up with him the next day, more on that next update), Olympia, and others. Astoria has some amazing looking machines.
- Big trend I notice as of late is the "ergo" handle on many commercial machines. Gone are the days of the handle coming out straight perpendicular to the machine - they are now slanted downwards to help carpel tunnel syndrome.
- John Blackwell of ESI / La Marzocco told me the real reasons for the Swift grinder - first and foremost was inventing something that would prevent repetitive stress injury in employees. Really - that was their initial mission. Next was eliminating waste. Then the consistency, quality, equal shot ability, that's all down the list. Great stuff, John - I'm betting a lot of Baristas out there owe you a thanks!
- I spent quite a bit of time at some of the country pavilions, chatting, collecting info and samples for upcoming CoffeeGeek article fodder. I visited the Costa Rican pavilion, the Mexican display, the Fair Trade booths, and the Brazilians. All were receptive to me and the idea of a good indepth article for the website... except the Brazilians, who were, to be frank, complete snobs. Not just to me, but really to anyone who wasn't wearing a suit.
- Met up with Todd Saltzman from WholeLatteLove.com several times during the day - Todd is what everyone says he is - a great guy, very easy going, a perfect rep for WLL on the show floor. I had a great time talking with him, walking around the show with him.
- Briefly scoped out folks like European Gift and Imports (they do all consumer Pavoni stuff in the US), and other small manufacturers. Hope to follow up with them the next day.
- Technivorm won over some people, and some guys you know (hint hint from the pictures) may be selling them soon direct.
- Saw a cute little Brugnetti espresso machine, heat exchanger, nice skin, big boiler too, automatic and semi, which should retail for around $1200 or less... if you can find it. (Update: Roger Barrett sent me the link to a place in Novo Jersey - as he puts it - that sells the Brugnetti for $995. Check out http://www.cappuccinocompany.com/ )
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| The Ambex Booth was hoppin' busy all day. Click to see the big pic! |
| This is the little Brugnetti consumer machine I found hidden in a corner of the SCAA (the Olympia booth, I think). Nice little item. |
| Here's the automatic version of the machine. I'm gonna work on getting a demo unit for a Detailed Review. Click it! |
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| Costa Rica had a great booth this year at SCAA, and I found out a lot about the different bean types. You know this one, or course. Click! |
| These guys, along with the Mexicans and the whole Fair Trade booth did a great job of packaging up different coops and farms under one roof, as it were. Click to enlarge. |
| Kyle Anderson (Baratza), and Todd Saltzman (Whole Latte Love), discuss how each is making each other millionaires. heh heh heh. Click to enlarge it. |
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| Check out this Schaerer super auto - see the fan for the grinder assembly? I wonder if the "American Innovation" means they looked at Schomer's grinder mods... Click to enlarge. |
| Barry Jarrett is modelling the Technovorm machines - He liked them. I liked them. Everyone liked them. They may be seen more often soon. Click it! |
| Barry Jarrett shows a neat, innovative feature in the Technovorm machines - a siphon-like spout that delivers the good, fresh stuff to the bottom of the carafe, always. |
Well that's about it for this time around. I was going to write about my evening, but it's mainly ego stroking... I didn't go to the Cinco de Miyo party that the Mexicans threw at the Hilton, I had an interesting business dinner instead, but you probably don't want to hear about that crap :)
Coming on Wednesday, my SCAA Day 3 and a wrapup of the show.