Coffee Cup
"Espresso! My Espresso!"
An Ongoing Internet Novelette
by Randy Glass - Copyright 2008 - All rights reserved

Coffee Cup
102
Eight Year Anniversary
10-22-2000 - 10-22-2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

      Today, October 22, 2008, is the eighth anniversary of "Espresso! My Espresso!" While I am not so gifted that I can see into the future, I have enough brain matter still organized and functioning that I can look back. Ever so slightly more than eight years ago I visited my friends out in Seaside, CA, and enjoyed a "latte" made on their steam-driven, combination machine and decided to take the plunge. Those who have been reading along from the beginning of my journey may remember that I started my quest looking at the Briel Lido- a machine that sold for about $110 at that time. A few weeks later I ended up spending about $800 for a Rancilio Silvia espresso machine, a Rancilio Rocky coffee grinder, and a Hearthware Precision coffee roaster. In some ways that all seems like yesterday, but in the cup it is light years past.

      The Hearthware Precision served me well for a few years, and was backed up a bit later by a Hearthware Gourmet when they were being closed out. They both sit on a shelf, virtual collectibles. Hottop coffee roasters now seem to be found in every niche of my house... well, not quite, but I do have a few. My relationship with Hottop began back in 2002 when I wrote the first review of the KN-8828, and the relationship continues today. From those very humble beginnings, I would never have guessed that I would be actually working in the coffee industry. I went from not knowing step one about espresso to answering many E-mails every week from folks asking my advice on all sorts of coffee-related questions. As I said at the beginning, I have no ability to see into the future.

      The Silvia has moved off to another owner and was doing well last I heard. If Silvia is a temperamental ballerina, she has been replaced by the owner of a Gold's Gym, the Vibiemme Domobar Super. Worlds apart, indeed! From a relatively-small single boiler machine which had to be equipped with a PID to electronically control temperature just to dependably coax something drinkable out of her to a machine with a huge boiler, heat exchanger, and a massive E-61 brewhead. Silvia weighed about 25 pounds. The Vibiemme about 63!

      Rocky was sold to a friend, and about a week ago Rocky began feeding a Breville 800ESXL, their first journey into "real" espresso in the home. What friend? The one who introduced me to home espresso mentioned above! Rocky's also been grinding for drip as well as for the Aeropress my friend bought based upon my recommendations. With Rocky back in the espresso business I will probably be heading out to Seaside in the near future to give some espresso lessons. In my home, Rocky has been replaced by a Mazzer Kony, Mazzer's second largest grinder! I always thought that Rocky was a good-sized machine but when the Mazzer arrived and I placed them side-by-side, and it was shocking to see Rocky so dwarfed!

      Over the eight years as my website has grown I have received a lot of letters. Many of these come from home enthusiasts, and I laugh as I read them for many reasons. First, they ask so many of the same questions, and I happily answer them. Others relate the point they are at in their quest, and they are echos from my own past; the writer on much the same path that I have followed. But the most entertaining as well as the most common format goes something like the following:

Randy,
      I have been reading your website for (_________) and it has really helped me a lot with my (___________). If it wasn't for your information about (______) I would have ended up buying a (_____) which would have been a waste of money.
      I have a question.........

      I love the compliments and the thanks I get, and I do not at all mind answering the same questions over and over, as long as there is a sense that I am helping folks out. I taught for some 20 years, and teaching was not something I didó a teacher is what I am. Year after year I taught the same things, and as long as there was one student willing to learn I was willing to teach.

      Recently I received the following letter:

     Hey,
     I was browsing the coffeegeek forums when I came across your site. I have sent out a company wide email and made your site required reading for our employees! My company just launched an online coffee store and, even though we sometimes consider ourselves experts, I believe that when you find a resource as educational as your site that you have to share it (and learn all you can from it!).
     I wanted to let you know that my friends and I here at CoffeeMash.com are big fans of the site and that we hope you keep cranking out the articles and links.
     Dr. Ben A.

      The reason I included that was not to brag. I posted it here to serve as a milestone of my progress. Just eight years ago I didn't know the difference between Arabica and Robusta, and had just learned that it was possible to roast coffee at home. Now, I work as an independent contractor for Hottop, I created the owners manual for all their roasters, and I also wrote the owners manual for the Vibiemme Domobar Super line for the US importer, 1st-Line.com.

      But beyond even that, I have included that letter to show that, yes, even if you do not know a thing about coffee, you CAN make espresso at home, and you most likely can make better coffee than can be found at most coffee shops... not all shops, but most.

      The only thing missing from this story is the opening lines: "From humble beginnings, living in a log cabin, he eventually became..." not President, but a guy who wrote more than he ever imagined possible about coffee.

      And as promised, I will not try to predict the future. I do hope that eight years from today that I am still contributing to the cumulative knowledge, and am still assisting those who are starting out... For now, let's work towards the tenth anniversary, and then see where we go from there!

Cheers to you all, and thanks for being a dedicated reader of
Espresso! My Espresso!

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