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Thread: Thundergods journey

  1. #1
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Thundergods journey

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    As mentioned elsewhere, my Macap M5 grinder arrived yesterday.
    Ive already made my first mod and left off the plastic tamper.
    My son and I like the look of the 3 screws on the front that are there only for decoration.

    I went looking for a Click n Clack lid yesterday but the hopper is between sizes.

    Ran some test coffee through to get the hang of running and cleaning the grinder.
    Ground some good stuff and dusted off a plunger. Drinkable but not what Im after.

    Chris from Talk Coffee told me my Expobar was on its way but we both werent expecting it to arrive until tomorrow.

    Well, surprise, surprise!
    I was about to check on the deliverys progress this morning online when I heard the delivery truck backing up my driveway.

    Unfornutately I had an appointment to attend so I only had enough time to unpack the beast and put on the kitchen bench to await my return.

    So Ive now made a few coffees. Theyre drinkable.

    I still havent finalsied the bech positioning yet and have to work a bit on my microfoaming and timing the extractions.

    The pucks are not wet so no problems there.

    I need to make sure the machine is level.
    On the last move the next shots seemed to run a bit lighter out of the right-hand spout.

    All in all - not a bad start!


  2. #2
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Re: Thundergods journey

    WooHoo!! New toys! Ya gotta love that! [smiley=2vrolijk_08.gif]

    Java "Wants a new toy!" phile

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    Re: Thundergods journey

    Have fun :)

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    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Thundergods journey

    UPDATE

    Shots have been getting better.

    Its either the beans improving or my technique or a bit of both. ;-)



    I tried a different roast today from a nearby importer.
    Not as fresh as my first batch but still getting compliments.

    I think my improvement to dosing consistency has contributed to the positive feedback from family and neighbour.

    Ive ordered another couple of batches of the fresh roasted stuff.
    The last lot tasted better towards the end so Im getting 2 smaller lots roasted a few days apart so I can start using it sooner and have it last longer.

    Oh and I also managed to get my hands on some Belaroma drinking chocolate.
    I might go try some now.




  5. #5
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Thundergods journey

    My experience with the Belaroma is documented in the Drinking Chocolate thread.
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1154853773/27#23

    I bought 2 x 250gm of beans from Hazel of coffee Alchemy again.
    1 almost a week old for immediate use and one freshly roasted to age while going through the first batch.
    That worked out well for me and saves one trip a fortnight.

    Tonight a few of the family came over for my wifes birthday.
    She was surprised as we kept it a secret.
    It was a bigger surprise I think than me cooking.

    Anyway, after dinner was the first real test for me.
    Not a huge effort.....only 6 drinks.
    2 Mugacinos, 1 latte, 2 hot chocolates and 1 mocha.
    The Expobar easily kept up with me and Im sure as I get faster it will still not have a problem.

    All in all I was very pleased and accepted the compliments regarding both the look of the machine and quality of the drinks.

  6. #6
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Thundergods journey

    Its been a while but this is the best place for this.
    -------------------

    I mentioned in another thread my experience at a job interview for a part time barista position, to keep me going until I find a full time position as a quality management system specialist.

    To recap, the first question was "Have you worked in a café before?", answer "No", response "See you then".
    I convinced him to let me make him a coffee and the end result was him asking me if he could call me when business picked up again.

    What bothered me was the dirty steam wand and the half full jugs of used milk in the fridge. Ugh!

    Well...the saga continues.
    I received a phone call yesterday telling me my most recent application for my ideal job was going no further.
    Despite an impressive resume and excellent first interview they have found someone a little better.

    I was about to head off for an interview for another P/T barista position so I actually went with more resolve to get the job.

    Saga details - the boss showed up a minute late but better her than me.
    Then she I could go make coffee for half an hour while she went to the bank.
    I was left to be monitored by another lady working there.

    So, large 3 group, no badging. Mazzer Super Jolly grinder.
    Steam wand - disgusting! I instictively reached for the clean cloth and was told "not to worry about that". :o

    I was given a quick run down on which buttons were singles and doubles and how many clicks on the Mazzer.

    1st customer - cap - no complaints from minder - no complaints from customer.
    2nd customer - ditzy blonde hippy type - soy cap not too hot - no complaints from minder - compliments from blonde. :)

    Next order - 2 caps - complaint from minder - steamed a bit more froth - customers didnt complain and ordered two more a while later. 8-)

    Boss did not return after an hour so minder let me go.
    I rang boss late that afternoon for feedback.
    OK rating from minder - she will speak to recruitment agent on Monday as I was th 3rd applicant shed(?) evaluated. She did tell me she liked my attitude.

    In have no idea yet what hours shes proposing and assume the pay is award.
    Its fairly close to home and would be better than Centrelinks crap until I can get my airconditioned office and soft chair back.

    Oh, its hot behind that counter. Id forgotten. Havent worked in food for over 15 years since last time.

    A funny thing is, she asked me the same first question.
    Both owners though are stunningly impressed with a picture of my Expobar and Macap.
    That seems to basically stop their argument dead in the water and make them willing to give me a go.

    I worked out the other day that I must have pulled almost 600 coffees since getting the Expobar last August.

    Considering I only made 6 caps in an hour yesterday, thats the equivalent of 3 to 4 weeks work at the last place.


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    Re: Thundergods journey

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1155193457/0#5 date=1171069002
    To recap, the first question was "Have you worked in a café before?", answer "No", response "See you then".
    Oh how I loathe that! Experience is important in every job but it isnt everything. And how on earth are you to get experience if no gives you a bloody chance! You could be much better than people with experience. Sorry end rant....


    Hope it all goes well TG. Sounds like a place you could not only work at but improve with your knowledge (which people like me envy :) ) TG Lesson 1: Clean the friggin steam wand after each use!

    Careful of those soy drinking hippies – theres a lot of them about. :p

    I have thought about getting a P/T barrista job once I learn a bit more and am a bit more confident. One thing I would be particularly worried about is whether I could be fast enough. TG how have you gone about resolving that? Have you been practising making a large number of different drinks at home as fast as you can?

    Cheers
    Mark

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    Re: Thundergods journey

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1155193457/0#5 date=1171069002


    Steam wand - disgusting! I instictively reached for the clean cloth and was told "not to worry about that". :o
    MMM.... I found out why a steam wand in one cafe over here looked PARTICULARLY disgusting.

    They use it to make scrambled eggs..... Chookpoochino I guess..

    Good luck with your on going search Thundergod... Just one question. How does being a quality management system specialist sit with working in most cafes..... maybe you could teach them a lot - but would they want to listen? ::)

  9. #9
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    Re: Thundergods journey

    I cant believe that in this day and age of so called "Best Hygiene Practices" and "Safe Food Handling Practices" that people are still willing to accept a dirty steam wand and not only a dirty one but one caked with fried milk!! What an absolute shocker, TG...:o

    My tip would be to either just clean the wand anyway, it takes all of a minute or two to get the really crusty stuff off and then let them just see your "best practices" at work. You probably already know how to get the worst of it off, but personally, I use a jug of hot water to soak the wand in. Yes, I do still have to do it too at my work because the younger girls who are there before I get there still let the milk fry onto the wand. However, I will give my boss kudos because she also does not like the wand being glugged up. Ive even seen her have a grumble at her husband because he does the same thing! Its old and bad habits but were slowly changing them. Perhaps youll get a chance to do the same!

    Good luck!

  10. #10
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    Re: Thundergods journey

    Quote Originally Posted by JavaB link=1155193457/0#7 date=1171072710
    MMM.... I found out why a steam wand in one cafe over here looked PARTICULARLY disgusting.

    They use it to make scrambled eggs..... Chookpoochino I guess..
    My God JB,

    That would be enough to turn me off cafes forever :(.... Ye gads, what a turn off :o,

    Mal.

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    Re: Thundergods journey

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1155193457/0#5 date=1171069002
    Both owners though are stunningly impressed with a picture of my Expobar and Macap.
    That seems to basically stop their argument dead in the water and make them willing to give me a go.
    Gday TG,

    Sounds like you might have your foot in the door there anyway. All the best with that mate and I hope they give you a chance.... Who knows, they might even realise that they too can learn something ;),

    Cheers mate,
    Mal.

  12. #12
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Thundergods journey

    marky - i have on the odd occasion at home made a few drinks at one sitting.
    Its actually becoming more regular as the relos are appreciating the coffee.

    And this last place was 6 coffees in that hour.
    The two at once went smoothly. ;D


    JavaB - as a QMS Specialist Im sure I could teach them a thing or two.
    I see making coffee as a minimum CMMi Level 2 activity.
    Any level higher than that should get you better and better coffee.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capability_Maturity_Model

    And eggs are going nowhere near my steamwand.


    scoota - I did clean the wand the minute the girls back was turned.
    I also emptied all three PFs and gave them a rinse.


    Mal - I hope so. At this stage I need more income than Centrelink is providing.
    I hope the days/times will suit (I havent had that discussion with the owner yet).

    I was having a chat with Hazel on Friday while stocking up on coffee and she said shed been put in the situation of "doing it their way".
    At the end of the day its their cafe.

    I know there are a few things that I probably cant change, like the coffee they use (expiry date 10/2008), but I can always keep the machine and grinder clean for a start.
    Oh, and keep the milk in the fridge.



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    Re: Thundergods journey

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1155193457/0#5 date=1171069002
    I received a phone call yesterday telling me my most recent application for my ideal job was going no further.
    Despite an impressive resume and excellent first interview they have found someone a little better.
    Thundergod,

    good luck on the second barista gig - but after reading that comment....theres a French movie just out on DVD (Not sure of the actual French title, but its called The Ax). If you havent already seen it, it might give you some inspiration.....

    cheers

    Jason

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    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Thundergods journey

    Le Couperet

    Thanks.
    Food for thought.

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    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Re: Thundergods journey

    Good luck mate...I reckon that the vast majority of the snobs here would be able to pull better coffees that a lot (not all because there are some tremendous ones) of those working in cafes in Brisbane. I guess the trick is speed - no cafe owner wants someone fussing about. I reckon one month or less of cranking them out and most people would be getting to the speed required in a busy cafe.

    Cheers.

    PS. I have mates who own busy cafs and the pace can be really shocking!

  16. #16
    TC
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    Re: Thundergods journey

    Quote Originally Posted by ozscott link=1155193457/0#14 date=1171236324
    Good luck mate...I reckon that the vast majority of the snobs here would be able to pull better coffees that a lot (not all because there are some tremendous ones) of those working in cafes in Brisbane. *I guess the trick is speed - no cafe owner wants someone fussing about. *I reckon one month or less of cranking them out and most people would be getting to the speed required in a busy cafe.

    Cheers.

    PS. *I have mates who own busy cafs and the pace can be really shocking!
    Agreed TG, speed is an issue and no amount of home experience will ever replicate the real world. In addition hygeine and consistency are paramount....

    I say that a good barista must embrace the feminine:

    Youre communicating both verbally and non-verbally with your team members. You are often taking orders, prioritising take-away coffee whilst juggling at least 3 different milks, jugs and flavours and pouring latte art. You are looking down the line of orders to see if you can gain efficiency by making multiples where there may only be one. Youre making on the fly grind adjustments when they are required....All of this occurs whilst having a conversation (or flirting ;)) with with the customer and maintaining that smile, no matter how much pressure youre feeling.

    Easy, isnt it? *;) ;D

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    Re: Thundergods journey

    Chris....

    I find it interesting that some cafes (a very small percentage admittedly) manage to take their time and prepare a quality shot using freshly roasted beans (read more expensive!) The management of the cafe and their customers are happy for this to be the case - they charge "the market price" for this quality coffee..... and must be returning a reasonable profit. They are only slightly faster at producing these coffees than we are at home!

    So those cafes who churn out second rate coffees at an almost astonishing rate using much cheaper ingredients must be making an obscene profit..... and customers continue to flock to them..... a sign of the times where quality has given way to speed (and at the same price to the consumer)..... many of these cafes dont look all that hygienic either :-/.

  18. #18
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Thundergods journey

    Thanks for the encouragement and hints.

    But a little of my background to put you at ease.

    The week after I was born I returned home to the accommodation above my fathers café.
    So the first few years of my life were living in and around a café.
    Its in my blood.

    In later years dad had a take-away shop that mostly catered to factory lunches.
    My record is 24 hamburgers at once for a lunch run; that included many variations, like no beetroot, extra onions, BBQ sauce not tomato, you get the idea.

    Years later again I progressed from driving for Pizza Hut to Duty Manager.
    Busiest night was a State of Origin Football night where we took over 200 orders and delivered probably over 400 pizzas plus side orders.

    All were delivered on time, mistake free; ie no complaints.

    I have the ability to process and prioritise orders as they come in.
    In a café you dont have to worry that an espresso needs to go to a suburb 5km away and another just around the corner.

    Im pretty sure I could get back up to speed pretty quickly.

    Anyway, as I said, this last place did 6 coffees in the hour between 10 and 11.
    I dont think speed was going to be an issue.

    Whilst I mention that one, I missed out.
    The recruiter said they were looking for someone more junior.
    Im guessing I take up too much room.



  19. #19
    Bon
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    Re: Thundergods journey

    I think its going to be hard to get a break in a cafe when you have "no experience", despite the fact 99% of those other clowns with "experience" have no idea what theyre doing...

    Maybe you could do some work experience somewhere for a week or two and get a reference, that way you can say you have experience.

  20. #20
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Thundergods journey

    Its illegal to get work experience without being paid, so no different really.

    Ive proven myself to both owners so far.

    The first one has my number and asked if he could call me when business picks up.

    Not all ask for experience and considering theyve seen what I can do, a quieter cafe would suit us both.

    Im not looking to fill a position at Campos or Epic.

    I can more than handle a quiet surburban cafe.

    And in the long run its not what Im after or need to fill my financial requirements.

    -----------------

    Heres a thought bon.

    Where did everyone with experience get it?

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    Re: Thundergods journey

    TG I reckon with your attitude youd be good for a gig at a top notch coffee place - because you are willing to work to get it right.

    Did I ever mention the steam wand in the cafe that was coated with congealed gravy?

    Ahhh Cunnamulla - its all class I tell you!

    Keep trying mate - there must be someone out there that wants a barista who loves coffee.

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    Re: Thundergods journey

    congealed gravy.....reading that made me dry reach literally.

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    Re: Thundergods journey

    Fortunately I saw that steam want being used to make gravy for an order of chips BEFORE I ordered a coffee. I spent 15 months in that town withour ever ordering a coffee from the cafe.

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    Re: Thundergods journey

    Hey grendel.....

    I can tell you where you can have scrambled eggs from the steam wand to go with your gravy......

    and thats live and well??? and happening in Perth right now!

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    Re: Thundergods journey

    Quote Originally Posted by 2muchcoffeeman link=1155193457/15#15 date=1171236755
    ....All of this occurs whilst having a conversation (or flirting ;)) with with the customer and maintaining that smile, no matter how much pressure youre feeling.

    Easy, isnt it? *;) ;D
    Never underestimate the power of flirting/having a conversation with the customer.

    During chemo, when I was bald and feeling just dreadful that wee chat with the baristas really made my day as they are as passionate about good coffee as I am.

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    Re: Thundergods journey

    Got to say, guys, if you want lumpless gravy for your chips then a steam wand is the way to go. Having said that, I prefer my gravy lumpy and my steam wand clean. ;D

    Thundergod, next time youre asked about your experience, you can talk about TGs Cafe - youve been there for six or seven months now. Im sure you can give your son as a reference.....

    Not everybody would like their resume thoroughly checked out. And Im only suggesting this because you clearly are capable of doing the job, and your home experience is still valid. :)

  27. #27
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Thundergods journey

    Thanks for the votes of confidence.

    We all know the home experience counts.
    My instructor at the barista course reckoned the day we spent with him counted more than bad "on the job" training.

    UPDATE: The fellow from the first coffee shop has rung the recruiter asking me to call him regarding some casual hours. *:)

    UPDATE UPDATE: Starting tomorrow - 3 hours a day (12 - 3) M - F. ALso have negotiated first day off - Im taking my wife to a doctors appointment on Thursday and my new boss has agreed thats OK. 8-)

  28. #28
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    Re: Thundergods journey

    Survived Day 1.

    I lost track of how many coffees I made in my 3 hours but it wasnt flat chat.

    Steady enough though and I go a few compliments.

    Made my first macchiato (2nd really but 1st paying customer).
    He liked it so much, he said, that he ordered another one a few minutes later.

    Also had an old guy come in towards the end of my shift that was scrounging to find the money for his flat white but said if it was good hed have another.
    He did.

    At least this owner likes a clean steam wand.
    There are so many other things that could be done better.

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    Thats great Thundergod. :)

    I know it isnt the job you are after, but it will get you out of the house for long enough to freshen you up for the next "real job" interview.

    Have fun in the meantime. :)

  30. #30
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    Re: Thundergods journey

    Congratulations Thundergod, I hope the job serves you well.

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    Re: Thundergods journey

    Congrats TG, I know what its like, Im waiting to see if Ive been shortlisted for a job at the moment while still looking for more.

  32. #32
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    Re: Thundergods journey

    Thanks everyone.

    The depressing thing is that this will only pay me in 2 weeks what one job Ive applied for will pay me in 1 day. ;D

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    Re: Thundergods journey

    Well done Thundergod. You have a foot in the door, and thats usually a good first step.

    --Robusto

  34. #34
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    Re: Thundergods journey

    Day 3

    The owner asked me if Id work today (Saturday - the original agreement was Mon - Fri) and as I had nothing planned said yes.
    It got a bit busier towards the end of my shift but still only did 2 hours.

    Strange thing number 1 - found a teaspoon in the grounds catcher. I could nt figure out how it fell there but fished it out and added to the washing up, then proceeded to brush down the grinder and clean the bench and PFs.

    As I mentioned, it did get a little busier than usual and the boss decided hed help out and while he was driving the machine did a few extra orders as they came in so I could see the "master" at work.

    Remember "Strange thing number 1"?
    Well this is probably the answer.
    He made one shot by taking a fresh teaspoon and filling the basket from the grounds catcher. :o :-X

    He still seems to spend a lot of time socialising with friends. I dont know if that is going to do his business any good in the long run.
    In the 3 days Ive been there he has said to me on several occasions to make "the best coffee".
    My answer continues to be "I make them all the best."

    To give him credit, he does understand the difference between a shot with crema and one without.
    He pulled 3 shots this afternoon for a flat white and two capps and asked me which one Id give the flat white customer.
    I pointed out the one with the crema on it (the other two were atrocious).
    My point being that 2 out of 3 of his shots were worse than the worst of mine so far.

  35. #35
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    Re: Thundergods journey

    TG, I think there is going to come a time when you will find it difficult to just keep biting your tongue in this situation :o.... I could be wrong of course, just going by your sense of doing it right here in this forum....

    Mal.

  36. #36
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    Re: Thundergods journey

    You are not very far off the mark Mal.

    Im just hoping one of my "real job" applications comes through soon.

    I have an interview on Thursday morning for an Audit Manager position at the bank I used to work for before transitioning to the IT company the outsourcing deal went to almost 10 years ago.

    So it would be going full circle back to the company I started out with.

    The plus for me is I know the culture and they were the outsource companys largest client so I still kept in close contact with a lot of my former work colleagues.

    Fingers crossed all.

  37. #37
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    Re: Thundergods journey

    Yes mate,

    All the best to you :)

    Mal.

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    Re: Thundergods journey

    We have had a new (rebuilt) shopping centre finally open up near where I live.

    The amount of coffee shops/cafes is incredible. I suppose most will stay open as there are new cinemas as a part of the complex opening in May. I had a coffee at one of the smaller shops on opening day last Monday and it wasnt too bad. The boss looked a wee bit stressed though, being opening day and all that stuff.

    I got to talking to the young girl (uni student) who was a barista (training still) a few days later and she was telling me that the boss has had them all around at his house for a few months training on the machine and he is really passionate about his coffee.

    He doesnt use Rios burnt coffee blend so that is a good start.

  39. #39
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Thundergods journey

    Mine seems passionate about his coffee but he has a lot to learn.

  40. #40
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    Re: Thundergods journey

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Ha, its a long journey for all of us!

    Went and tried another cafe in Tamworth on recommendation. Coffee was in a word crap. They had a Rancilio three group (nice machine) but it was teamed up with a Sunbeam grinder and a tiny stainless steel tamper that would only suit a domestic size portafiller! :o Needless to say, it was thin and watery. Blurgh...

    Oh and the milk was burning hot too. But I will give them a thumbs up for their tandoori chicken wrap we ate.



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