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 ...