| Vince's Latte Art |
Vince is one of the "old fathers" now of latte art pouring, and has never lost his touch. He could give anyone a run for their money.
So every year, I either declare in these posts what for me was the best espresso on the show floor or mention it briefly in the forums. This year, it's in the posts.
The best espresso of the entire show, and this includes all the excellent shots I was tasting in the barista training area for the USBC, came from the 49th Parallel booth. This includes all the espresso I was privileged to sample and all the great roasters' booths, the BGA booth, at the La Marzocco booth and all the supah-star baristas working the two group GS/3, all of it. Just a stellar shot produced with 49th's Epic espresso, on a very troublesome La Marzocco machine.
This may seem a bit self-serving, because 49th is right in my own backyard, but if you knew the up and down relationship I've had with the company (and its owner), chances are you'd take this as an objective, fair call. And I'm not alone. Current WBC Champion Klaus Thomson said the same thing - Vince Piccolo, 49th's owner, was pulling some of the best shots of the show for him too.
This is all full of irony, because Vince wasn't having a good show. He had problem after problem with his La Marzocco machine, a brand new one provided on loan by ESI. Problems with the pump. Problems with the gicleur. Even after explaining his own perception of the problems to LM, it took them a bit of time to acknowledge it and get it fixed. I have a photo (in the pool below) that tells the tale - Vince looking at the LM machine going "why me!!!" I tried to explain to him that everyone "has their trade show cherry broken, and this is yours, happening now". By trade show cherry, I mean what can go wrong, does. Every seasoned booth operator knows this. This was Vince's first ever trade show as a booth owner, and well, now he has the experience.
In the booth were a lot of the 49th crew, and some guests, including Barrett Jones, 2nd best Barista in Canada (behind his brother Colter), Philip Search, famous for his work on Anfim grinder mods (and soon, a new dream machine); Lindsey Parker, an excellent trainer for 49th and future "Director of Coffee", Vince's wife, and other people. While the booth didn't have the huge crowds of a Clover booth or the fans standing around the popular GS/3 double group over in LM's booth, there was a constant stream of the "who's who" of the espresso and coffee world stopping by 49th, and if you wanted to meet some of the Globe's luminaries in quality coffee, this was one place to find them.
The Clover in the booth was producing great coffees as well. I have a comment about this year's Clover coffee at the show, but I'll save that for the Clover comments. All in all, I think 49th had a great show, and really showed off some fine coffees. I certainly enjoyed the espresso I got at the booth!
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| Why Me! |
Vince, captured in one of the more trying times on the machine. He couldn't serve espresso at this point.
| Happier! |
On the last day, much happier, everything was flowing smoothly.
| Phil and Barrett |
Phil Search and Barrett Jones, working the FB80.
| Vince and Klaus |
Vince Piccolo with Klaus Thomsen, the 2006 WBC Champion.