Friday, 29 August 2008

New WBC Machine sponsors

Well this will pop up around the world on just about every blog and forum but here it is for the sake of it anyway ;P

The new machine sponsor for the 2009 to 2011 WBC are...

Grinder: Mahlkonig K30[vario and twin]
Machine: Nuova Simenelli [aurelia]

Big suprise about the mahlkonig, but i thinks it's equally as interesting to see the favourite [Nuova Simenelli] up there for the espresso machine sponsor.


Monday, 18 August 2008

Perth for Comp-time blending

With the South Australian Barista competition coming up again (12th and 13th or September at the Royal Adelaide Show) it has proved to be the perfect time to head back to my favorite capitol city in Australia to team up with the crew from Five Senses and nut out a blend.
So after a couple of decent cups of coffee at tiger tiger and velvet it was off to the cupping lab for some lengthy tasting of god knows how many coffees. I'll keep it brief, but basically at the moment the blend is using two exciting direct trade coffees, one from PNG and the other from some very excited farmers in sumatra. The next couple of weeks we'll be playing around with the roast profiles the the optimal aging of the beans to present them to the judges. And I may just squeeze a little Rwandan coffee into the mix but we'll just have to wait and see.

Will defintely keep you updated as things progress =D

The new Pullman barista

Every now and again a new toy comes on the market for all us coffee heads to tinker around with. Some are useless little gadgets, some are basically something old with a few new features, some are genuine improvements and sometimes, just sometimes something new comes out that actually has some worth. This is definitely one of those toys that really does hold some worth.
In the lead up to the last Australian Barista competition I had the opportunity to trial and test the prototype of this tamp and offer some feedback to the creator, Greg Pullman. What has followed is numerous modifications and new models each just a little bit different from the last. Culminating in the final, commercially designed, Pullman Barista.
This, in my opinion is truly the best commercial tamper on the market today. It's makeup gives the tamp a really natural feel, and really feels like and extension of your arm while tamping. Amongst it's key features is
#1: the workmanship and quality of tools and materials used. This thing really is built to take the punishment of a 100+kg p/wk cafe and last. And with seven separate parts to this little unit, should something happen, replacing the damaged or lost piece is simple and relatively inexpensive.
#2: Being centrally weighted, and with the guide of the true tamp rings, it makes it really easy in high volume to to ensure a flat, even dose and tamp. (I should also note that for those who prefer a bottom heavy tamper, acetol or wooden handles are available instead of the anodized aluminum)
#3: There is a soft, cushiony rubber thing that your fingers rest on. And while at first I was worried about this potentially pinching your skin during constant use, after working with the tamp in very high volume, I have found it to be a very comfortable addition to the tamp, which makes it that much more appealing to pick up and tamp another shot in.
#4: Did I mention that this unit can really take a beating. I "accidentally" dropped this tamp a number of times and it just keeps on bouncing back ready to take another pounding.
#5: Individual spacers allow you to customise the tamp to your individual hand size/tamping method. Those that like to really get behind the tamp and put their shoulder into it will love using the smallest spacer, or removing the spacers altogether. While those with large hands, or those that like the "radical pro" approach to tamping will appreciate the larger spacing. Personally the mid sized works perfect for me.
Final thoughts: I absolutely love using this tamp and really can't think of any improvements or negative points to say about it. I think the price is around $109 but I can't quite remember so check the website or your local dealer.
Anyone else used this please feel free to post a comment.