A New Orleans stopover started our journey to
the SCAA Atlanta
conference. I've always wanted to check out
Café du Monde as many
of my friends in the USA have sung its
praises. What it serves
are Beignets, kind of a doughnut with a
crisp outside and a
somewhat undercooked centre smothered 1cm
deep in Icing sugar. I
could feel my teeth rot and my waistline
expand as I looked at
them! These are accompanied by
Café-au-lait, a brewed coffee and
chicory mix blended with hot
milk and stewed in giant urns. The
popularity of the place (it's
open non-stop and was packed
whenever we looked) has to be due
to the experience rather than
the quality of the service, "food"
or surroundings, though.
I did find one place (Community Coffee on
Decatur St.) which made
decent espresso, but most of the coffees
I tried were horrible,
particularly the "espresso" from the Café
Fleur-De-Lis, which was
the most vile cup of corrosive black
beverage I have ever
experienced in the USA.
The famous Cafe du Monde.
espresso. Pity they don't serve
Then it was on to Atlanta, home to Coca-Cola and CNN, and
otherwise a fairly grey concrete canyon sort of city. The 2009
conference was a lot smaller than the last Atlanta gathering I
attended, but there seemed to be a lot more going on.
The Barista Competition hall had 4 espresso
stations set up,
where the "off duty" baristas and support staff
pulled free shots
and built various drinks using coffees and
blends from all over
the world. You basically just rocked up and
asked for whatever
you wanted. Some of the best shots I tasted
during the whole
conference happened here. The only problem was
that every time I
nipped in for a quick shot I ran into someone
I knew and lost an
hour in conversation.
The educational seminars were well organized,
well attended and
valuable, but as usual all the really
interesting stuff was on
the show floor. I tasted shots from
"The Slayer" espresso machine
... they were average. Doesn't
matter how "perfect" the machine
is, the coffee, the grinder and
the barista all have a bigger
effect on the final
My standout items were first of all the Mypressi
Twist, a fully
portable 9 bar espresso maker, which works by
CO2 cartridges to force hot water through a
53mm double filter
basket. It produces real espresso from the
hand-held unit, and is
the sort of thing I wish I'd thought of
Second was the Malykke grinder, a grinder
designed to accurately
weigh, dose and grind each time. The
unfortunate part is that
it's optimised (at present) for
Third was the proven Behmor roaster, which will
now be available
in 220v 50hz configuration. It <should>
be possible to sell this
locally for around A$500.00, but we'll
see when it gets here.
Inventor Joe Behm was lamenting that his
Aussie contacts hadn't
yet turned up at the SCAA show so I don't
know what stage local
supply is at.
Dinner with The Boys, a dangerous bunch
Barry & Maddy Jarrett queuing up
for an espresso at the Barista
The 2009 version of Silvia & Rocky.
Nothing's changed under the hood, though.
The UCC Syphon Bar. I read recently
where someone's planning to open up "Australia's First Syphon
Bar". I closed Australia's second syphon bar in
The Mypressi twist in action. They were
underdosing a bit, but started getting excellent shots with a
bit more coffee.
Mykke grinder display. These are slick
looking machines with impressive functionality, pity they
don't do espresso.
The 220v Behmor, complete with Brit
"The Slayer" espresso machine wasn't
producing killer shots.
Finally, I tasted some great coffees, including
special, which is:
The best description I can give to this coffee
clean flavour with balanced sweetness and acidity
and a medium
body." Very refreshing indeed.
And yes, I talked with people from Mexico and
other far away
places without catching the flu or anything else.
whole flu thing came up after we were safely
back home, so no flu
Until next month,