I found it way too crowded, and didnt even have a cup of coffee! :(
It was, however, a nice excuse to get into the city with some friends and take some photos :)
I thought it might be good to put all of it in one post - I hope it is not too presumptuous.
Post how your day was, did you enjoy the buzz, meet anyone new, gloat about your barista skills - Ben insert your name here ;) - and how did you cope with the crowds etc.
I found it way too crowded, and didnt even have a cup of coffee! :(
It was, however, a nice excuse to get into the city with some friends and take some photos :)
My feet are sore.
I got there after lunch and couldnt believe the crowds. The lines for all the vendors were very long, so I headed upstairs to the Domestic Machine Expo where things were a bit more human.
I had a few chats and espressos with folks around the ECA and Di Bartoli stands. As a result my upgraditis took a real beating and Ill be accelerating my savings plan to find a cure.
I saw Ben and Thundergod slug it out in the final, but had to leave with an impatient family before I could say gday to them.
Later on in the day I grabbed a couple of $1 coffees from the outside vendors, and I found them a little disappointing compared to the freebies I enjoyed ealier. I think the trick would be to get to them early in the day when they were fresh and well before theyd been worked off their feet.
Congratulation to Ben and Thundergod. Well done.
Love to hear more details... how many entererd, publics impressions... was Dennis effort really the potato lump he claims.... Questions, questions.
And of course, a wrap from Andy. (He does look younger than his avatar, doesnt he).
Now, get it right Robusto. Its a "lumpy spud", not a potato lump. Ive told Sue I want it on my headstone.."yada yada yada...original creator of lumpy spud latte art".Originally Posted by robusto link=1185095967/0#4 date=1185100974
The day started by wondering if wed get to Aroma at 10 and leave at 12 or go at 11 and leave straight after the Di Bartoli shootout - this was all dependant on the little ones sleep routine... there was -zero- intention to enter the comp!
Anyway, Im not a fan of crowds (and as we also found out today, neither does our little girl) and was glad to finally find the Di Bartoli stand where we ended up staying put at for what turned out to be around 3 hours, with a short break to brave the crowds again for some lunch. Poor wife and baby had to now work around my schedule as I stumbled into the comp (thanks to Renzos encouragement) and then into the next round and well... the rest is history!
Comp aside, the highlight was meeting the people behind the posts. Andy in particular surprised me by looking younger than what I imagined/his avatar, not to mention that hes a top bloke too! Great to also have met Michelle and family (Drew, Anastasia and Ezekiel, I think!), Aaron, Theodore the Thundergod, Dennis, Meanbean, Luca and various others (sorry if I didnt mention you specifically if we did meet :-/). Ive only been around CS for over a month and Im loving it - today has topped that off!
As for the wider Aroma Fest... wasnt really my thing - too many people jostling each other. No coffees drank, except the trial shots I pulled in the 10min periods in the shootout. It was fun and exciting, but I think I prefer drinking coffee in the peace and quiet of my home, without all the stress and the trembling hands from nervousness!
Great post Benandfaith. Enjoyed reading it.
Dennis, apologies for my terminological inexactitude.
Well Im so coffeed up I didnt even notice when a Google search took me into the *2005* thread. Yeah Im just going to keep on blaming the coffee ;)
Crowds were a bit challenging at times, we really wanted to have a better look around all the machines but just didnt feel like we could get anywhere near them. We grabbed a few brochures and escaped. We had hoped to see more grinders but they seemed to be mostly an afterthought. But, we did rush that a bit since we wanted to be outside shortly afterwards for the tasting demo. Were trying to decide on a grinder at the moment.
Latte art championships were a waste of time for us; since times werent published anywhere that we saw, and when we go there it was standing room only and the TVs were too low to help. Since my fiancee couldnt see a thing (shes a little shorter than me) we didnt stick around.
The $1 coffees were a great idea although Im glad we shared a lot and just ditched the ones which were sub-par. We do plan to come for the start of the day next time! As someone said, earlier in the day probably helps a lot.
Lineup for Tobys Estate was massive but they made the best coffee of the day despite the pressure. Next best was Karmee. We were there with a hot chocolate fiend so we tried some of those too, the freebie from Piazza Doro was a great strategy since herself instantly turned around and bought a $15 tin :)
We were also on the lookout for barista courses, now we have a huge pile of brochures and have no idea how well choose :)
So anyway, it was a great way to spend a sunday!
I thoroughly enjoyed it, mainly because I got in and out early. Heres my long rundown.
Another snob DrV, his SO and I drove in at 8am and grabbed a good parking spot near the rocks. Started with a pancake breakfast at 8:30am and were were out wondering around the festival site by 9:30 in dire need of a caffeine fix and a long walk. Starting early allowed us to scope the place and figure out where we wanted to go before crowds arrived.
Started just before 10am with a nice cap followed shortly thereafter by Danes who produced a beautiful macchiato on their 3 group Expobar, very balanced and moorish. :). The espresso machine aroused my interest as I had a quick gander in through the top of the machine (as you do) while waiting and saw six boilers!! There were no badges to be seen so I had to ask what it was and sure enough around the front were three digital readouts.
Managed to pick up a new addition to the family (see pic) from a TAFE stand and I hope I dont kill it ;)
There were heaps of stalls, not as many espresso vendors as last year but a lot more tea and other stuff vendors that didnt really strike my interest. There were some chocolate stalls selling chocolate shots and chocolates, but none seemed to be selling high end drinking chocolate which was disappointing.
The machine hall was better than last year since we had a few more vendors selling good high end bling like DiBartoli, ECM & Bezerra. Also present were Jura, Sunbeam and Breville (didnt slow down for those stands ;D). Saeco had a tent outside but it was kind of closed up and didnt seem to be displaying to the public as much.
I had a big close look at the Vibiemme Domobar Super and was highly impressed. Very quiet, high bling factor and it produced by far the best espressos (macchiatos) that I tried on the day. In fact I had two, one from 2MCM and one from another young bloke next to him ;). Its a really nice machine, however upon measurement of my bench space at home, a little too long :(. Come to think of it, I think I has another one at DiBartoli too from the same machine. I also tried a shot from a Bezerra Domus Galatea. It too is a very nice looking machine but the shot from it wasnt as impressive. By then I had heart palpitations so we sat down to watch some latte art and left by 12pm. By then crowds were oppressive and lines way too long. Picked up some Tobys estate "Woolloomoolloo" blend which ECM were running through their machines on the day. Didnt get to see the shootout.
The trick is to get in and out early, no doubt.
I got there around 1:30 or so, and met up with an old friend. We had lunch at Lowenbrau, and I had to dash off to the shootout.
Heaps of people everywhere, and finding your own piece of real estate was a bit difficult, not to mention trying to get anywhere in a hurry.
Had a good muck around at the shootout and put some faces to names (nice bunch of people us CSers). I guess my Mt. Kosciuszko with clouds didnt sway Andy as much as I thought. Definitely worth doing again at some other time, even if its just an informal CS gathering.
Gathered up friends and family, and relaxed and had a chat, before going our separate ways.
The weather held up reasonably well, and it was a good excuse to come into the city. Bit of a shame the crowds were so big. Good idea, but the crowds were mainly interested in cheap coffee. GJ even had a presence, along with the brothers Gee.
We got there at around 12:30pm and started poking around outside, just in time for the rain to roll on through. So we went to the Quay for lunch and than back to the festival. The crowds were CRAZY and got a cup at Danes, which was a good choice from who was around. Tobys was extremely busy so couldnt be bothered lining. Was an impossible day with a stroller that is for sure. My wife and I left our baby with my Dad to head upstairs but only got to ECA stand and just as we got there 2mcm was taking a well deserved break so didnt disturb him. But Another friendly guy came over and started showing us the Vibiemme Domobar Super. Nice machine indeed. I was chatting to him about how I bought a machine and grinder from Chris and he decided to pul me a shot. He only just got the machine so binned a few shots whilst dialling in the grind. It was funny a lady was watching him pull the shots and was saying how nice the coffee was, even though it was a gusher he was binning but after her interest he gave it to her and continued dialling in the grind to give a shot to my wife and I. Than he said want a go? Was very nice indeed once I got the dose right. One of the other guys from ECA even drank it, not knowing I made it and he was happy with it. I couldnt steam milk on it with the shot I had but more practice would have been fun. So we spent all our time with ECA in the end. I looked over to Di Bartoli but all the snobs were looking occupied and we had to head home so didnt get a chance to say hello to anyone in the end.
But as everyone said, way too many people there to enjoy it totally. Next time I would probably rather go solo as it would be easier to check out the stands without a stroller and without losing my wife in the crowds.
Crowds - did someone say crowds *:) *My gosh it felt like new years eve didnt it!!!
The fam arrived about 10:20 and there was aready a fair few people there, grabbed a map to do some more scoping out.
We went to danes but already they had a queue as did Tobys, thought that Id make it back to try them later - being all hyped about 1st aroma and all. Little did I know that later in the day would be a little more crowded.
Had a few brews and bought some really good looking rocky road for us all as well as a beauty of a cup cake for Trinity then headed into the domestic terminal to check out all the action. Did a lot of watching, some very cool machines on display. Had a nice macciato from a guy called luke from a lever machine (how cool are they!! how far OUT of my price range are they *;D)
We got to watch some of the CS shoot out but viewing was at a premium so didnt get to say Gday to anyone.
I met Paul Bassett and watched him in action for a while as well, he pulled me an espresso and a long black, as with everyone else he was run off his feet so I didnt get to ask all the questions that Id have liked, but dems the breaks.
We got out for lunch at ciy extra, then headed back for one last run and my wife wanted to check out the markets. We decided to part company - she and my daughter going to the markets and me jumping back into the fray to wander around and see what was happening at the stalls.
One thing I did notice was that because there was so many people around lining for coffee and waiting for coffee a lot of manners and common courtesy went out the door. Standing waiting for my last brew of the day and seeing the baristas making about 15 or so cups a minute was pretty cool in my book, they all had there parts down pat so that the consumer got their coffees asap and at the best temperature possible. The mob on the other hand were jostling and hoveriing, even though they knew a bunch of people were before them.
I was bought up to be polite, but made a point of looking at the barista in the eye and making sure he heard my thanks for the cup. He gave me a smile and said it was OK - but something in the semi statled look told me that I may have been one of the few in the day to thank him for the cup of coffee that had been made for me.
Collected the fam after a short amount of time, as coffeechaser said going with a pram was a bit hard (although my wife had a funny experience of 2 people asking her if they could ride "abulance" with her - she would walk along and as the people parted a little more than normal for the pram, these 2 others followed her closely to take advantage of the space provided by the pram, she got quite a laugh out of that, and it worked as well!)
I think if I go again I will get in early grab the coffees form those I would not normally get to try from, then head straight upstairs out of the main crowds.
Overall, an experience that I am glad to have tried. The wife made a valid point - it should run over 2 days.
I was there with my wife and son, ... got there at 2pm... went upstairs.. had a good chat with Damien Court at Sunbeam (Nice guy).. and the Hi Speed Camera shots of the Naked PF etc was impressive.. very innovative & visually appealing. One of the things I like about Sunbeam is there willingness to do this a little different, like showing the video clips in slow mo and a little booklet about the History of Coffee machines.....
Oh, did someone mention the crowds? Madness!! Over 2 days? not a bad idea... but not held at the rocks, but at more a purpose area like the Darling Harbour Convection Centre or Homebush (Olympic Park).. Sydney really needs to de-centralised as its just one big bottleneck (Not for the faint hearted) and it costs me a packet just in tolls to drive in (No, Public Transport is a joke at Rouse Hill!)
3 tolls... M2 - Toll, Lane Cove Tunnel - Toll, Bridge - Toll.
One thing I realised is the Aroma Festival is really not for snobs.. we demand more in the cup.. and youll never really get a good taste of whats out there unless you get there before 12... after that, the quality goes south real quick! And it does attract people who are after a cheap coffee which adds to the chaos!
I still had a good day though... :-) And I bought a coffee tree/\/plant for $5 .. bargin!
::insert mental image of a huge convection microwave here::!!Originally Posted by marcstolk link=1185095967/0#13 date=1185150042
Now theres a good idea. Much better suited to handle large crowds, centrally located and all that! Having been there last year for the catering trade fair, I should think that Homebush would be a spot on location. And you can be inside for the whole experience. Mmmm, imagine the smell! :)Originally Posted by marcstolk link=1185095967/0#13 date=1185150042
I think you hit the nail on the head with that thought, Marc. I am now wondering who it is who organises this "festival"? I can see that they are marketing it to those who are relatively new to the coffee world.Originally Posted by marcstolk link=1185095967/0#13 date=1185150042
So, is there scope for a CoffeeSnobs stand at this thing? Or is it mainly geared towards selling stuff?
I had a good day too though wish Id have spotted those coffee trees.
Personally, I think that aromafest would be a ripe forum to extol the virutes of the green bean....with one proviso - you would need to have home roasting gear on display and working, and I dont mean poppers and HGs. Im not being a snob either, its just that I think the majority of people who go along to these events dont really want to be educated on how to convert something, but rather, be able to put something under their arm, take it home with a bag of greens and plug it in e.g. gene and hottop. Could always have the alternatives on display too.
Oh, good points, Dennis but Ive got another idea...
And I wont derail this thread with it just yet. Id better confer with the boss first! I had a laugh! (before he kicks my butt for even suggesting it!) :D ;)
I just found this thread... so many different Aroma threads running!
Take said brochures and plonk them in the recycle bin... then click on the sponsor link to the left and contact DiBartoli about one of their courses. Ben is proof that their training is great and Ofra and Renzo have a genuine passion for coffee.We were also on the lookout for barista courses, now we have a huge pile of brochures and have no idea how well choose
I half tried to get a CS stand this year (albeit fairly late). The price for a site was very high and would have required more time than I had to give to make it happen. I secretly hope to get one off the ground next year though.So, is there scope for a CoffeeSnobs stand at this thing? Or is it mainly geared towards selling stuff?
I noticed that the volume of smaller coffee places was very low this year too, the higher prices of the stands would have caused that. The "big boys" can drop a few thou and palm it off as advertising, smaller roasters and small business struggle to justify the expense/exposure math though.
How great would it be to have a pile of CSrs roasting in a tent on a whole host of whacky devices and pulling great shots on domestic class machines? We might even be able to get a domestic machine & grinder sponsor to lend the equipment for event!
I think we might have the makings of a plan for "Aroma oh eight"
I agree with Andy, Shannon,
Id stay away from the stenciled chocky sauce mob and get some quality training. DiBartoli are doing fantastic stuff...Where else would you find the cream- Scotty, Hazel et al? No amateurish crappy training materials nor bling, nor logoed $5 cheap tampers etc, just quality training from the best in OZ...
You dont have to wait for some annual festival, to hire an overpriced, tiny stall. We should have some sort of nationwide gathering, as well as state gatherings on at least a semi-regular basis. Everyone bring their kit and roasting goodies. Maybe even get some catering, so we can enjoy some good food, as well as great coffee over a weekend. Makes it a bit easier than rushing around for a one day event.
Aroma, whilst its intentions are good, trying to get the buzz out on coffee, people mainly go for cheap cuppas. The location is also problematic, as there is next to no parking, and youre competing with The Rocks market. Not that its a bad thing, but the crowds would be half the size if it were held at Homebush. Everything would also be able to be contained indoors.
I had a chuckle when I saw booths from the Gee brothers and Gloria Jeans. Just two examples of organisations who are bastardising coffee. Similar to smaller boutique wineries in the wine regions around Australia, all of the big boys completely overshadow quality stuff coming from people who really have the passion for their craft.
Originally Posted by Andy Freeman link=1185095967/15#17 date=1185184792
Please allow me to echo the sentiments already presented here. Renzo and Ofra at Di Bartioli are wonderful! They know their stuff, love their coffee and get very well-established people in to run their courses. I am particularly looking forward to doing more courses, especially latte art with Mr Callahan! I just have to wait for the impact of dropping over $1200 barely a month ago to subside first... :P
I received quite a few compliments on the coffees I made the punters.
One in particular compared it to another recently quaffed sample from a nearby big name display.
Ofra at one stage swapped customers with me so I could help out a bloke asking about home roasting.
Generally I was thanked a lot for some of the little bits of info I handed out that most of us here on CS probably take for granted.
One guy was thrilled I could tell him that the recommended tamp pressure was 15kg.
He hadnt been able to find out before.
So examples like that would suggest that a lot of people would appreciate finding out more about coffee than whats supeficially put out there.
A Coffee Snob stand could be appreciated, but I dont know what benefit Andy would get out of it (trying to do the math).
Mmmm. Maybe Andy could take his new roaster, a sackful of green bans, overwhelm the Aroma festival with the aroma of roasting beans... and sell them by the 2.5 kg bag.
Ive got no idea of what numbers need to be crunched (transport, fares, exhibition fees etc) but maybe they could be recouped that way, and sign up some long-term customers into the bargain.
(Then again, perhaps more customers is the last thing Andy needs?)
Just a thought with a CS stand. Maybe a couple of the smaller site sponsors could get together under one roof so to speak, to offset/share the cost?
If I knew of dates and was able to get a cheap airfare and had a floor to sleep on I would love to go over to help out. Especially edumacating people on the ease and benefits of home roasting.
Probably one of the causes of the rudeness Shannon noticed. My parents used to own a newsagency and the words cheap, free or giveaway seem to be a cue for people to become incredibly rude and demanding.Originally Posted by nunu link=1185095967/15#19 date=1185186777
I enjoyed the short time I was there, I didnt have a single coffee, but I got to put some faces to names of CSers, so it was worth the trip to Sydney! If CS did have a stall, Im sure thered be an army of volunteers to man it.
It was all started up by the Sydney Cove Authority (now the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority) who manage The Rocks area. So, yeah they are into marketing, The Rocks that is.Originally Posted by scoota gal link=1185095967/0#14 date=1185178113
Funnily enough Aroma Fest originally started out over two days. Imagine my embarrassment last year when I turned up on the Saturday instead of the Sunday. I stare at the signs for weeks beforehand, but still forgot that it only runs on the Sunday nowadays.
We should rewind a few years. Back then it was a COFFEE festival - not all that other stuff.
Oooh that sounds like fun.Originally Posted by Andy Freeman link=1185095967/15#17 date=1185184792
I hope to blog a bit more about Aroma later this week; for now I just have only really had time to put up a few Sydney cafe impressions. Potted version: Mecca came out on top and I wondered what the deal with constantly getting double ristrettos when I ordered an espresso was.
I basically didnt bother buying any coffee from the stalls outside; they always tend to be a bit of a let down at these sorts of events. The day was really spent watching the latte art comp and the CS comp ... except that I really only ended up seeing snippets of each, then popping off to talk to a bunch of coffee people from all over Australia. Some highlights:
*Meeting up with a whole bunch of coffeesnobs
*Listening to Aarons clear, correct and concise explanations of the Silvia/Rocky combo to interested onlookers at the Di Bartoli stand - it wasnt that long ago that he clutched the portafilter and marveled at its weight when he bought mine second-hand!
*Being glad not to be exhibiting as I saw Chris talking to ten people at once whilst making coffee at the ECA stand
*Talking to Scott about his WBC preparation
*Seeing Reuben from Mecca perform at the latte art comp
*Watching Renzo seduce passers by with his spanish accent and italian machines
*Having coffee randomly thrust upon me by Zane at the ECA stall
*Seeing satisfied looks on Keith and Robs faces as another AASCA competition was successfully run
*Pulling a great shot off the Ascaso grinder and the expobar at the DiBartoli stand without dialing it in
*Forcing Chris Short from Caffetto to explain the difference between Espresso Clean and EVO Espresso Clean. Short answer: the latter contains some of the few surfactants in the world that are certified organic. They have to be imported from Germany. (Also picked up a microfibre cloth for dirt cheap - w00t)
*Forgetting to check out the cheap thun cups - doh
*Finally spending some quality time with a Vibiemme Domobar
*Scoring some coffee to try from Framey
*Scouting up some new products for work
... and probably a gagillion other things!
Hey lucinda, id be happy to offer you a bed rather than a floor to sleep on. We have a guest room with a queen size four poster bed. Next time your in syd or if you need somewhere to crash during aroma next year wed love to have you. Same applies to other snobs in need of a place to stay.Originally Posted by lucinda link=1185095967/15#23 date=1185242314
Im still too scared to try home roasting, esp. when my local roaster is so great! So i would love to hear about the "ease and benefits of home roasting".
Sounds like everyone had a good time bar the crowds. Unfortunately i couldnt make it this year, maybe next time i will pencil it in earlier and not book myself out with work.