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My Atomic..

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  • My Atomic..

    I was wandering who can help me.

    I have just recently brought back to life a old Atomic coffee machine that my aunty owned. Now I freely admit that I know bugger all about what makes a good coffee, whats a good machine, what beans are good beans to etc. But Im willing to learn with the help of experienced people. My main two questions are this.

    1. What is the best ground coffee for my Atomic and where do i get the stuff from.
    2. Ive had the Atomic cleaned and serviced from the old lady at Bon trading co. However she was not the easiest to understand when I asked her about the best way to look after the machine.

    Any help on these two topics would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Re: My Atomic..

    Originally posted by Kegg link=1196652278/0#0 date=1196652278

    1. What is the best ground coffee for my Atomic and where do i get the stuff from.
    2. Ive had the Atomic cleaned and serviced from the old lady at Bon trading co. However she was not the easiest to understand when I asked her about the best way to look after the machine.
    Hi Kegg and welcome to CS...

    To answer your questions:
    #1- Freshly roasted (like within the last 1-2 weeks) and freshly ground in your own quality grinder. Preground coffee will be satle within 30 min of grinding...
    #2- Pop it up on the mantlepiece and admire it as it ages gracefully- for you will never get a great coffee out of it. These are a piece of coffee history/design and to be admired as simply that



    • #3
      Re: My Atomic..

      From my observation the atomic seems to be a fancy stovetop (moka pot) with capacity to froth milk. THe trouble with stovetops seems to be that the water temperature is very high which tends to burn the coffee and make it bitter. Also, it is a bit tricky to have any control over extraction time which makes a big difference to the taste of coffee. Oh yeah, and it will probably blow up if you put fine espresso grind in it so you are not going to optimise extraction.

      A tip with the mokka pot i remember is to make sure the thing is heated just enough to get the coffee flowing out. Dont put the thing over a jet engine. Also with Mokka pots only every wash the thing in clear water as the aluminium takes on even the slightest taste from dishwater making your coffee taste like garlic, sausage etc.

      With fresh beans and fresh ground coffee your results will be far better though.


      • #4
        Re: My Atomic..

        Hey beanhead - I laughed out loud when I read your descriptors "making your coffee taste like garlic, sausage etc." particularly as it sounds like youre speaking from personal experience ;D

        Maybe theres a market for it on Brownbay..."Kransky Kofi"?


        • #5
          Re: My Atomic..

          Hi Kegg,

          I always enjoyed making coffee with the Atomic and particularly liked its steaming power.

          As for the best ground coffee, it would be ideal to have your own good quality grinder (blade grinders or spice grinders wont get the coffee fine enough) and beans from a good roaster, but failing that you could ask your roaster/supplier to grind the beans for an Atomic (or for "stovetop espresso"). The taste of the coffee will change according to the fineness of the grind (because the brew time will change) and this is something you can experiment with by asking your roaster/supplier to tweak the grind up or down whenever you go back for another batch.

          The tips for better stovetop coffee technique apply equally to the Atomic, and can be found at


          With the Atomic youd want to remove the coffee jug as soon as possible once brewing is done, because it gets pretty hot down there, and of course youd then want to turn up the heat to build pressure for steaming.

          For maintenance, always wipe down the steam wand (the holes may occasionally block up anyway - use a pin to unblock). If its been around the block a few times, it may have calcium and other residue built up inside. Filling up with dilute citric acid solution and rinsing out well will help. Or even just lots of rinsing (and careful shaking) will dislodge and flush some of it. Never leave it with the black knob screwed on - they very often become stuck and then break when you try to force it open. I would buy as many of the spare parts as you can from Bon Trading (knobs, gaskets, whatever they have) and keep them until you need them - Bon wont be there forever and these things are collectors items.

          Finally, theres an online version of the Atomic users manual here:

          The site also has other very useful Atomic info.

          Stovetop coffee is a different beast to espresso from a machine but, as with any coffee-making method, much of the final quality depends not on the device but on the quality of beans, roasting, grinding, freshness and operator technique.

          Good luck and have fun!



          • #6
            Re: My Atomic..

            Thanks all for all youre help.

            Now its sounds like I need to learn a little more about beans, grinders, roasters etc. If say, I didnt go out and get a grinder straight away, where in the eastern suburbs of Sydney would one be able to get good fresh beans ground beans from?

            I will persist through trial and error.



            • #7
              Re: My Atomic..

              DiBartoli are at Bondi Jn and have yummy coffee blends there and a big grinder if you want your beans ground. They are a site sponser and their details are on the LHS of the page. Im sure there may be other places, but DiBartoli are the only ppl ive had experience with who id recommend.