Travel to Italy to see Rancilio and laScala, and
then on to the
USA for the SCAA conference, completed our round
odyssey. Italy was fascinating, as much for the
espresso as for
the history and culture. I tried espresso shots
at cafes in
Milan, Como and Venice, and I have to say I never
had a bad
espresso in Italy. However, I never had a spectacular
they were all in the good-to-very-good category, and
Hard at work tasting
This Barista reckoned he
had the best!
Rancilio was an interesting visit. Discussions
with the people at
Rancilio revealed that they are making
to the Silvia machines all the time.
The latest one is the
addition of an adjustable overpressure
valve, which allows brew
pressure to be modified. Ex factory the
pressure is 11 bar, but
modifying it to 9 bar is quite easy, the
only tools needed are a
19mm spanner and a manometer
portafilter. Having performed the
modification, though, I was
unable to detect any change in the
taste of the
Display cabinet in the Rancilio
Discussing current & future
adjustable overpressure valve.
Silvia set at 9
After Rancilio it was off to laScala, who are based just outside
Venice. To my surprise they do a lot of machine refurbishment,
and I saw 3 single group Faema E61 units in various states of
restoration. After discussions I will be importing a "plumb-in"
version of the Butterfly, with a rotary pump, called the
"Eroica". I will also be testing out their grinders.
Discussing machines with
Roberto Canever, laScala Export Manager.
Electric motor and rotary
pump in the Eroica.
A fully reconditioned
beautiful old Faema E61.
Then it was on to the USA and the SCAA
conference at Charlotte,
North Carolina. This year's SCAA was a
bit of a disappointment as
far as the "New products" and
"Display" aspects were concerned,
but the educational seminars
more than made up for it.
The roasting seminar was a highlight, with over
a dozen sample
roasters of various sizes and makes all set up to
run at once,
and a bunch of expert Roasters Guild members to
supervise. I got an old mate, Bernie Digman, owner
Coffee in Arizona. I copped a bit of stick from him
I should be supervising, not learning!) but I found
experience very enriching.
In the roasting tent at
Results set up for
On the new products front, things were a lot
more bleak. I tasted
coffee from the Clover Coffee Brewer (not
as good as my vac pot,
but at US$8000.00 a lot more expensive)
and the Aerobie Aeropress
(publicity aside, it's NOT espresso,
just the normal weak
American brew.) There were no notable
new beans this year; I
would guess that travel to Charlotte was
a lot harder for small,
exotic coffee producers than travel to
L.A. A lot of the better
beans are now being sold via Cup of
Excellence or similar online
Auctions anyway, and never get
displayed at the trade shows.
Speaking of excellent coffees, this month's
special is a definite
Unique lemon blossom aroma with crisp front
medium body and smooth, crisp chocolate and
My Sunbeam EM6900 Espresso machine review from
last August still
generates a lot of emails, mostly asking if
Sunbeam have changed
or updated the machine. I believe that
there have been a number
of changes but don't know the details.
The other common question
is which Italian filter baskets I
used; they were authentic
Rancilio baskets, which fit the
portafilter perfectly. I believe
there may be some variation in
EM6900 portafilters though, with
some users unable to get
baskets to fit.
Sunbeam EM6900 portafilter and Rancilio baskets.
Rancilio double basket
Rancilio single basket
Portafilter with double
basket locked into EM6900