Coffee Cup
"Espresso! My Espresso!"
An Ongoing Internet Novelette
by Randy Glass - Copyright 2013 - All rights reserved

Coffee Cup
136
2013 SCAA Exhibition - Boston, MA

Friday, April 12, 2013

    Here it is, the evening of April 11, and I am in my room in Boston. After a long day that began this morning at around 6:00 AM, it feels good to put the feet up. This is the tenth exhibition which I have attended:
2002 14th - Anaheim
[2003 15th Boston] Did not attend
[2004 16th Atlanta] Did not attend
2005 17th - Seattle
2006 18th - Charlotte
2007 19th - Long Beach
2008 20th - Minneapolis
2009 21st - Atlanta
2010 22nd - Anaheim
2011 23rd - Houston
2012 24th - Portland
2013 25th Boston

Boston Convention Center

    I won't regal the joys of airline travel to you. But transportation in Boston is another matter. As efficient as the Boston Transit T looks online, in reality it is, well, not, at least for a visitor. The busses run everywhere but trying to find a bus stop and then trying to figure out if it is going where you need to go is an entirely different matter. Old towns and old town street layout can be a challenge. After leaving my home at 9:30AM Boston time, I did not get to my room, the closet that it is, until around 10:00 PM. The view from my room is nice if you like multi-level parking lots. I closed the curtains and that's the way they'll stay.

FRIDAY
    A nice slow morning in bed to help adjust to the time change (clock says 7:00AM, body says 4AM) and a good hot breakfast in the hotel's restaurant; well, it was hot, anyway, I made my way, successfully, by way of the local bus service to the exhibition center.


    The view of about 66% of the exhibition floor. Lots to see and plenty of people to meet. It's time for me to go to work, so here are some of the items I found interesting:

HOTTOP
    As you all very well know by now, Hottop is a client of mine, so it was to that booth I first made my way (and in which I spent most of my time at the exhibition). There, waiting, was a very large shipping box. Michael showed up a little later and we removed a massive coffee roaster:

    Here is a KN-8828P-2K next to the new roaster. This will give you a very good idea as to the size variance


    Here is a view of the inside of the roasting chamber. You can see the bean temperature sensor. Also note the drum support. There is no longer a need to make adjustments to keep the drum from rubbing. It is sturdily supported and turns freely.


    This is the "pre-filter" that removes any stray chaff bits that do not fall into the chaff tray. There is a built-in replaceable filter to protect the exhaust fan. It appears to be of a washable material, but it is designed to be easily replaceable.


    On Saturday I got to remove the drum from the roaster. That's a full-size screwdriver handle as a size reference.
    While there has been a lot of discussion concerning the currently-stated price of this roaster being out of line with other offerings, its compact size, very portable weight (about 42 pounds), computer interface as well as USB ability to save and load profiles, design for easy maintenance, visual appeal, and Hottop support gives it a special appeal. A lot of home roasters are disappointed at its price point but it was designed to be a shop roaster that could be located in view of customers (note the very large front viewing window) to roast-to-order while the customer waits. Intentions versus reality is another matter, and I am not trying to justify it but merely stating the manufacturer's intent. I too am disappointed in the price, as I would have liked to have seen it in a price which could have put it into the hands of more home roasters.

SMART-TAMP


    A digital tamper? If someone would have told me to look into this a week ago I would have laughed, but this device caught my eye and amazed me on its technology. The MG Coffee Tools tamper You pick it up and give it a bit of a shake and a little green LED illuminates to show it is ready. This also sets the zero point each time it powers up. Now tamp as always and small LEDS illuminate as you increase the tamping force. The LEDS are located at 5 pound increments from 10 to about 50 I think. It comes with two 58mm bases (flat and convex), and the bases will be available in other sizes as well. The base snap onto the handle portion with a clip like that which holds a basket in a portafilter body. Under the base is the replaceable coin battery. Watch for a review of this in the future.

LATTE PRO


    Two things that help make good latte art are correct steaming of the milk and a well-shaped spout. The Latte Pro pitcher gives you both. It incorporates a nice turned-down lip on the jug to help control the shape and flow of the milk (but that is not anything new). The most interesting feature were LCD thermometers on both sides of the jug (for right and left handed baristas). Available in four sizes, watch for a review of this interesting pitcher in the near future here. I revisited the booth on Sunday and they were not interested in supplying me with a review samole.

STEAMPUNK


    These folks have been hard at work this past year making their amazing machine more user friendly (see last years review of the SCAA Portland exhibition for more info). This picture shows their redesigned boiler mounting system. The entire boiler pivots upwards and has a built in support to hold it in the position for servicing. If the problem cannot be solved, two pins can be remove the water lines from their fittings, disconnect a couple of electrical plugs, pull two pins, and the entire boiler can be removed and replaced. Do not wait for a review of this on my website.

JOSUMA


    For me, no visit to the show would be complete without stopping by the Josuma booth to say hello and to sample some of the good Doctor's coffee. This year one of the offerings was Kaapi Royale premium Robusta from India. As a brewed single-origin it was quite drinkable, wholly lacking in the tastes normally associated with what many think of when Robusta is mentioned. It would make a very nice addition to an espresso blend.

KAFETTE BEKO


    I have never gotten around to tasting Turkish coffee, until today. The BEKO from Kafette This very compact machine makes a very drinkable Turkish coffee easily and automatically. I was told that you simply add the fine-ground coffee and water and sugar if you like. With a built in temperature monitor and "anti-spill" technology, you slide in the jug, press a button, and when the machine beeps, your Turkish coffee is ready. it boils the coffee, stops, then reboils in a very short time. It was quite delicious as well. Even the 'dregs" at the bopttom of teh cup were palatable. They told me that it was invented to bring an afordable and convenient way to make Turkish coffee to those who have never tried the "oldest method of coffee making."


    For $150 (plus shipping) you get (as seen above in a photo from their website) the coffee maker, two branded ceramic mugs and one pound of their organic Turkish coffee (four to choose from including one decaf offering), all roasted in the US. Risking repetition, watch for a review of this coffee maker in the future.
    I am back in my room after a very filling dinner at a Taiwanese restaurant in Chinatown. My feet are still vibrating from being on my feet all day, yet I am looking forward to tomorrow.

SATURDAY
   On Saturday I hung out in my room a little later and got to the show about 30 minutes before opening. Once the doors opened at 11:00 the crowds really rolled in and I didn't get a chance to walk the floor until after 2:30. I really didn't see anything today I had not covered on Friday that fits my style of reporting, such as it is.

BARATZA FORTE


    Before the doors opened I was glad that I had stopped by the Baratza booth. I caught both Kyra and Kyle talking about the new, very impressive Forte.


    It is a substantial and compact tool which will grind by time or weight, the grind adjustment levers lock into their detents with authority, the LCD touch screen is highly intuitive with all controls right at the front of the Thew bean hopper has a unique gate that leaves about seven grams of beans in the throat. More powerful motor, redesigned drive-belt system, all metal enclosure... you should have the idea by now. It will be available this summer. Once again, look forward to a review here on my website. I mentioned to Kyle that it would be interesting for me to test the Forte against my Kony and he was very open to the idea and said we should go ahead with that.

SUNDAY and MONDAY
    Sunday was quite busy for me. I was able to sit down about five minutes, and that is probably an over-estimate. By the time the show ended at 4:00 PM I was done. My back hurt, my voice was raspy, and my feet were buzzing in pain. I left with lots of great memories as well as an invite to a Coop coffee farm in Guatemala which I may eventually be able to accept.

    On Monday it was "Patriots Day" in Massachusetts so my worries of traffic getting to the airport were proved to be unfounded. But as we landed in Phoenix to transfer planes it was a surreal scene as some on the plane reported the news retrieved from their cell phones of the Boston bombing. In the terminal the monitors were playing the various news channels with coverage of the attack as we were boarding. A somber ending to an otherwise wonderful weekend.


Coffee Cup
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