Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Reflections on Sydney; AromaFest, ICTF and Cafes

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    1,949

    Reflections on Sydney; AromaFest, ICTF and Cafes

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    OK, so seeing as Paul Haddon (fad) uploaded Sydney photos to his flickr account, I figured that it was about time for me to post a few reflections on Sydney. Ive linked in a few of Pauls photos from his Rocks Aroma set (http://www.flickr.com/photos/21166914@N00/sets/72157594214700215/) and his ICTF set (http://www.flickr.com/photos/21166914@N00/sets/72157594217976604/). Paul, I have presumed that you wont mind, but if it bugs you, LMK and Ill remove them.

    Aroma

    Aroma was utterly crazy. I landed at 9:30 or so with superstar barista Simon James:



    We got to the Veneziano stand, where we were helping out, at about 10am and it was go, go, go. Veneziano had bought up Daves Linea as well as an antique Haros steam boiler, an interesting little contraption ... basically it is just a boiler with two steam wands. No autofill, which was irritating, but the boys had rigged up a spare rotary pump to do a manual fill. If it has a pstat, Id like to know because the damned thing went from .8 bar and utterly crap milk to 2.2 bar and pretty awesome milk. Anyway, coffeesnob reporter on the spot Paul Haddon captured photographic evidence of me using the damned thing, so I guess that I might as well fess up. At least the photo shows me keeping the wand clean!



    Well, bag the boiler as I must, I have to confess that it was indispensable. In the seven hours that we were there, we served up over 2000 cups of coffee ... something like 25 to 30 kilos, which is about what a very good cafe would go through in a week! Utterly crazy; we probably had five or six people in the chain making coffee and at times our line overlapped the line for Schibello next to us! (I dont think that they were happy about that) The linea appeared not to miss a beat on espresso, with two groups constantly flowing and the third being loaded pretty much all day. Of course, the cart was on an angle and we had no time or resources to correct it, so all of the drips flowed on to our feet all day long! The grinders were not happy; the super jolly went off line and the robur was hot enough to fry eggs on by the end of the day. Maintaining any sort of quality was difficult, to say the least, but people seemed to be quite happy. We saw several people join the line again to get seconds, which was pretty cool, seeing as there was such a long wait, and when I was in the retail section, the majority of people asked which blend we were using and bought that. Daves WBC blend was very popular, too. All in all, I dont think that Veneziano could have asked for more!

    In terms of stuff that was actually going on, I didnt get to go and see too much. The only coffee that I had was from Ben at the champions tent. It wasnt bad, but it was clearly difficult for people to maintain quality. I also caught up with 2mcm at the ECM stand - it was nice to see him at one of these events without sweat dripping down his brow!


  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    1,949

    Re: Reflections on Sydney; AromaFest, ICTF and Caf

    International Catering Trade Fair

    I was only at the ICTF for an afternoon, and spent most of it manning the barista guild booth with a top barista, John Ronchi from Naked Coffee in QLD:



    Not having 25kg to get through was a nice change of pace!

    Ben did a fantastic job of getting the booth set up. We had a Synesso, a prototype dual boiler machine from Expobar and an ECM Michaelangelo (a HX). They were ground for with a doserless silence grinder, a MACAP (that irritated the hell out of me; doser lever on the left hand side and a built-in tamper that knocked coffee off when you tried to updose) and ole faithful, a beat up Mazzer Super Jolly. Unfortunately, we didnt have a BNZ that I wanted to play with.

    As one would expect, heaps of industry people dropped by. For them, the Synesso was the big attraction. The message was pretty much a unanimous damn is it awesome, but boy is it expensive! We had heaps of sponsorship of various coffee, which presented a different challenge - dialling everything in. The most challenging was an Australian coffee that was really acidic. Fortunately, bumping it up to 206.5 - a new record, surely - brought out a lot more body and some sweetness, but some burnt flavours were evident. Infinitely superior to sane temperatures, though. If it were roasted darker, it would have reminded me of some of the good dominican coffees.

    One highlight was Klaus (current WBC) and Dave (current ABC) dropping by. Klaus has a bunch of specially made and embossed tampers from Reg Barber, which were quite cool:



    Klaus pulled us some shots of his blend (Daterra + Costa Rican La Minita). It was a relatively light roast that required a relatively high brew temperature. Klaus seemed to be dosing a relatively small amount specifically to accentuate the acidity, which came through in spades. His stuff was definitely crisp and clean, with a bit of sweetness. It almost reminded me of a good plunger coffee. Awesome, and very different from what we usually go for in Australia. We also felt that the simplicity of flavours and the cleanliness in the cup made it a blend that really highlighted the skill of the barista making the shots.

    There was some interesting stuff around at the other booths. It was nice to see some grinder manufacturers finally listening to baristi. The bigger the burrs, the less they will heat up and the faster the thing will grind. Of course, it was very difficult to grind for the requisite 0.008 seconds ...



    One of the more interesting grinders was the Dalla Corte, which I bet is a Mahlkoenig with electronics ... the grinder is connected to the espresso machine by a cable and adjusts itself to deliver a constant flow rate. Interesting ...



    The Dalla Corte machine was also interesting. Tiny boiler per group, with temperature easily changeable. Deep 53mm portafilters, which seemed fine to me. Didnt get a chance to play around with adjusting the grind or temperature, which was a shame because they were both slightly out, but my first impressions were definitely favourable. The milk texturing was also sweet. More playing needed ...

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    1,949

    Re: Reflections on Sydney; AromaFest, ICTF and Caf

    Cafes

    Didnt have much time to hit up the cafes, but I did get to drop by a few old favourites and some great new ones ...

    Campos was exactly the same as a year before. Their coffee seems to have picked up a bit more body, but otherwise everything was pretty much literally identical to the last visit. Seriously; the cappuccini that I had had the same number of leaves in the rosetta! Damn these guys are consistent. That said, whilst theyre doing a great job at everything, Im not a huge fan of their blend. I was crashing with a friend about three minutes walk away, so it was great to be able to stroll across the road and get a decent cappuccino for bfast. Their nougat cubes are also enticing ...

    Elixir seems to be the new name for Luxe, although they still had Luxe branding around! Sloppy! Great scrambled eggs. (Im not sure if the secret is out, but its BUTTER ;P) Cappuccino was pretty good, but not as good as I remembered it. I had an espresso at the bar whilst paying and it was decidedly crap. Blonde crap in the top, sour and hot. Who serves a crap espresso to someone so unabashedly snobby as to order and drink it by the machine?

    Single Origin was ... different. Tiny shoebox of a store with great staff. Their 1/2 teaspoon espressi really highlight the difference between Sydney and Melbourne coffee! The best coffee that I had all trip was a piccolo that they randomly sent my way. Absolutely incredible milk texture! We used to pull really short shots like that for short milk drinks at Maltitude and it really forces the chocolate out. (With the Synesso at Maling Room its easy to extract a larger volume with the right flavour) Andrew liked the beans that I brought back, but I didnt get to try them. I tried their organic blend back home and didnt enjoy it that much ... then I checked the bottom of the bag and realised that Id bought it too old! Silly me. Buying more coffee from SO is definitely on the to-do list.

    Mecca has to have been the highlight of the trip - and its no coincidence that this is where all of the industry guys were going! Their baristi are all really, really good, their blend is awesome (a custom blend from Tony at Rio in Adelaide) and their machine is - literally - a work of art. I must have chugged down about a million espressi. I also had an amusing exchange with Alex:

    Me: "So you get this awesome machine and use that crappy steam knob on the side? Dude, weve got a lever on the Synesso!"

    Alex: "What are you talking about? Im using the foot pedal. Levers are for chumps!"

    Yeah ...

    Overall it struck me that one of the main differences between the best cafes in Sydney and Melbourne is the length of the shots. We seem to be going for more like the full 30ml, whereas Sydney seems to be a bit more 20 to 25ml (with 0.6mm restrictors, for those of you to whom that means anything) ... more of an emphais on chocolate in Sydney, I guess. Its pretty funny, because every time someone orders a piccolo latte here we know to dose up a bit more ;P

    Anyhoo, I had a blast on the whole trip, being able to catch up with some non-coffee friends from Sydney as well as enjoying dinner with the five-senses gang.

    Same time next year?

    Luca

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    441

    Re: Reflections on Sydney; AromaFest, ICTF and Caf

    nice reflections on the sydney cafe scene, Luca.

    I actually find the espresso at SO way too short for my liking ... but a very buttery texture that kind of makes up for is. That, and because of the small volume, its usually cooled down too much by the time you get it. But they are more than happy to pull slightly longer shots if you ask nicely!

    Besides that, they usually get excited when you order a double ristretto, and they end up sending another 5 coffees your way for free, and they start calling you brother, and asking what cafe you work in etc etc ...

    so its kinda all cool.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    4,126

    Re: Reflections on Sydney; AromaFest, ICTF and Caf

    Just got back from Sydney myself! Nice to be home, back to work next week. I think Ive been missed...

    I went to ICTF on Tuesday and Wednesday, my bosses joining me on Wednesday. I enjoyed both days, the highlights being having the current Aussie Barista Champion make me a stunning cup of coffee and meeting John Doyle who I spoke with at length. He was terrific to talk to and I guess I am now totally biased as he gave me a coffee tamper! Thank you John! I will forever treasure that! :)

    ICTF was good and it was definitely worth going to. Nice to see that the coffee section was so well supported but I did laugh at the Nespresso stand but I guess it too has its place! :D

    The various coffee folks I talked to were more than helpful and were keen to see their products promoted. I hope that that section continues to grow and develop. The venue at Homebush was terrific, the last time I went to a ICTF it was at the old Sydney Showground and even my boss commented on how much space there was and that it was laid out better than when it was at Darling Harbour.


  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    441

    Re: Reflections on Sydney; AromaFest, ICTF and Caf

    Hey Luca, just out of interest, what is it that you dont really like about Camposs blend?

    Ive heard people say that its too bright or acidic.

    Campos was the first good espresso I ever drank, so its kind of become the standard - albeit a very bright standard!

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    1,949

    Re: Reflections on Sydney; AromaFest, ICTF and Caf

    Quote Originally Posted by mattyj link=1154354423/0#5 date=1154695716
    Hey Luca, just out of interest, what is it that you dont really like about Camposs blend?

    Ive heard people say that its too bright or acidic.

    Campos was the first good espresso I ever drank, so its kind of become the standard - albeit a very bright standard!
    Youve pretty much hit the nail on the head, Matt. Very acidic - some might even say sour. That doesnt bother me so much as the fact that this acidity is combined with a really thin body ... I presume that thats due to the PNG that theyre using. Klaus blend was also reminiscent of plunger coffee in that way; quite acidic and relatively low in body, BUT his was sweeter and more balanced. But regardless of my dislike of their blend, I still go back because their espresso is quite good, their milk based drinks are really good and their technique and consistency is really world class - they have always been an inspiration to cafes everywhere and will always continue to be so.

    Ill definitely have to drop by SO next time Im up in Syd and ask for a longer shot. Ill also have to pick up a kg for the trip back and play with it more at home. I know what you mean about the random sending of coffees your way; theyre mega-passionate!

    Cheers,

    Luca

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    441

    Re: Reflections on Sydney; AromaFest, ICTF and Caf

    mega-passionate ... understatement!

    You dont want to get on the wrong side of the guy who owns the place... Not that Ive ever, I just imagine itd be scary.

    And then, sometimes, Ive found them to be too friendly ... too cosy ... but theyre certainly different, and a very welcome change to the coffee scene up here.

  9. #9
    hazchem
    Guest

    Re: Reflections on Sydney; AromaFest, ICTF and Caf

    Quote Originally Posted by mattyj link=1154354423/0#3 date=1154498253
    nice reflections on the sydney cafe scene, Luca.

    I actually find the espresso at SO way too short for my liking ... but a very buttery texture that kind of makes up for is. That, and because of the small volume, its usually cooled down too much by the time you get it. But they are more than happy to pull slightly longer shots if you ask nicely!

    Besides that, they usually get excited when you order a double ristretto, and they end up sending another 5 coffees your way for free, and they start calling you brother, and asking what cafe you work in etc etc ...

    so its kinda all cool.
    hah, i found that out about SO as well! I went in there I ordered a double ristretto and the guy who was roasting at the time kept asking me if the coffee was ok, the waiter came back and made sure too. Plus lots of smiles and thumbs up! It was like Id joined the coffee freemasons, but very nice that they could recognise a fellow CS!



Similar Threads

  1. No machines at Aromafest 2011?
    By TC in forum General Coffee Related...
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 9th August 2011, 09:19 AM
  2. My reflections on 2008 SCAA Minneapolis
    By Randy_G. in forum General Coffee Related...
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 9th May 2008, 06:50 AM
  3. Sydney cafes
    By kingswood in forum General Coffee Related...
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 15th March 2008, 06:14 PM
  4. Re: Cafes - Sydney - St Leonards
    By GR8WineandCoffee in forum General Coffee Related...
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 28th November 2004, 08:12 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •