Coffee Cup
"Espresso! My Espresso!"
An Ongoing Internet Novelette
by Randy Glass - Copyright 2014 - All rights reserved

Coffee Cup
140
2014 SCAA Exhibition
Seattle, Washington

Saturday, May 3, 2014

    Another year has come and gone, and much like April 15, my years seems to begin and end, not with Tax Day nor with New Years Day but with the annual exhibition that the SCAA puts together. This year I am back in Seattle for my second such visit to this wonderfully wet city.
2002 - 14th - Anaheim
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
2014 - 26th - Seattle
    If you have gotten to this point in my coffee blog (Chapter 140!) you should already be aware that the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) is a non-profit trade organization and the world recognized leader in coffee knowledge development. With over 9,000 members including retailers, baristas, roasters, roaster/retailers, producers, exporters, importers, manufacturers of coffee processing-roasting-brewing equipment and other allied products. The SCAA represents more than 40 countries and every segment of the specialty coffee industry, from growers to roasters and retailers. Each spring the annual SCAA Event & Symposium is held in the United States. Its the largest annual gathering of coffee professionals in the world.
    While the annual exhibition also features numerous educational and training opportunities, I spend my time either working in the Hottop booth and in slower moments roaming the show floor looking for interesting things to share with my readers. Seattle 2014 was my eleventh event in my thirteen-year involvement in the world of coffee. This year marked a change in my floor responsibilities. I still wandered the floor and spent the rest of my time in the Hottop booth, but I am now the main contact for Hottop Customer Service. Leading up to the exhibition this year my life has been quite busy with my new "professional" duties and so I spent more time in the booth than out of it. Because of that, for the first time I have enlisted an assistant to do some of the writing for this chapter! Many of you are familiar with Cher ("Double O Soul"), a participant on Homebarista.com. She was at the Boston show and did a well-received review of the show floor for that website. I needed assistance, she needed a pass to the show, she done be some good 'ol writin' folk, so we did the digital blood-brother thing by trading e-mails. Her contributions herein will have her byline added so that she will not be blamed for my typographical errors.
    I will not dwell too long on air travel, but I was lucky enough to get "Pre Check" on both flights so security was a simple matter of emptying my pockets and a doing a walk-through the security at both ends of the trip. But as the fates would have it, the yin and yang balance out and departure of both flights were delayed an hour each.

    The View out of my hotel window was quite nice if that is the sort of thing you like. I prefer trees, but to each, his own. Take a close look at the glass-domed-top building. There is a person standing on top! While the view was not all that remorkable, more remarkable was that for the three days I was in Seattle the only rain I experienced was on Saturday late evening looking out my window, and on arrival at the airport. While getting out of my cab there was a drizzle that any real Seattle native would consider no more than a mist, if that. For Seattle, I would say that the weather was remarkably lovely.
    This year's show was different from shows in the past. Being a home consumer I have always looked for items that I felt my readers would enjoy learning about. This year there seemed to be fewer of that sort thing. I thought it was maybe just me, but after a couple of days I consulted with my sub-contracted, media assistant and she agreed that it seemed that way to her as well. Even so, while I spent an even larger percentage of my time working in the Hottop booth than in shows of the past, I still got a chance to walk the entire floor a few times and came up with some items to share with you.


Bonavita

    In the past I never looked into Bonavita that closely. Can't explain, and I don't know why {note to self- use that line for a blues song}. I recently fell into a great deal on the Bonavita BV2000SC digital glass-top scale seen above, seen above on my coffee cart! I had been thinking about getting a quality scale for some time and jumped on the deal. I couldn't be happier. It is a very high-quality instrument and very well designed for use around a coffee area. It is sealed to protect against leakage and can be purchased with a drip tray and stand to be used for pour-over. The buttons are touch-sensitive (capacitance?) style so are impervious to drips. It has a very fast refresh rate, responds very quickly to changes in mass being weighed, stays on until you turn it off, and it comes with a wall wart or it can be used with batteries. It measures in .1 gram increments with a capacity up to 3kg (6.6 lbs) in grams, ounces or pounds. It also has a count-up timer function for timed brewing, and the case is stainless steel scale and the glass top is tempered. With that in mind the Bonavita booth was on my list of "must see" exhibits.
    I was looking at what appeared to be a pour-over cone when Jim Peterson, Bonavita Director of Sales walked up and introduced me to the Bonavita Immersion Dripper (model BV4000ID).


    I was interested in it as soon as I picked it up. From a distance it looks like plastic, but it is ceramic. It is made to work for tea or coffee. There is a valve on the bottom that allows steeping for as long as you desire, and moving the grey lever seen above opens the valve to complete the brewing process. It includes a lid (seen here being used under the dripper as a base) which helps keep heat in.


    There were a few similar-looking devices at the show, but I try to preclude anything plastic in food preparation, particularly where heat is involved. Besides the ceramic body, the only other thing the coffee would normally touch in the Bonavita touches is the seal for the release valve which is made from silicone. Watch for a review of the BV4000ID soon as well as one or more other Bonavita items.

Behmor
    Just down the aisle from us, Joe Behm manned his Behmor display including what I consider the best home coffee brewer available for those who prefer a drip machine. The Brazen has gained a very big following for a lot of very good reasons which you likely have read about in my review of the Brazen here. Anyone who knows Joe will not be surprised that he is always looking to make his products better.


    The updated Brazen has a new filter basket (not shown) as well as a new basket holder. These both now feature vertical sides to enable more consistent brewing and more even extraction across the the entire coffee bed. The inset image is of a new snap-in filter designed to keep larger particles out of the brewing valve. Those with cats, dogs, or shedding relatives in the home will appreciate that. The reservoir lid has also been redesigned for further insurance that a vacuum will be less likely to form in the reservoir. That was a non-issue with the update on the lid in the previous version, but better can become best. Seattle5

    Soon to be available is a new dripper carafe which, as you see here, is designed to fit under the Brazen's showerhead to allow the Brazen to make "pour over" coffee using the Brazen's unique, temperature-controlled system. Notice the carafe's internal glass tube? This has one small hole at the bottom on the side of the tube. This removable tube will allow the Brazen to brew tea!


Orphan Espresso


Doug Garrott, one-half of Orphan Espresso

    This company is likely very familiar to most who read my website. If you have ever worked on a lever machine or an old (or new) hand grinder, then you undoubtedly have visited their website. Doug and Barb Garrott are very well known for the Pharos hand grinder, and the Lido hand grinder, both designed by Doug. Soon they will be (likely more) well known for the Lido 2 hand grinder which you can find at the Orphan Espresso Design Shop website.

    OE had a booth at the Seattle Exhibition, and although I dropped by three or four times, there was not a moment when the booth was not very well attended (usually nearly surrounded) by interested folks, but I did get to say hello to Doug and Barb (finally!). At the booth I was able to put my hands on a Lido 2! There were none for sale as all the units on display were pre-production samples, but this amazing machine will be available soon (pre-order on their website for $175 for a possible June 2014 shipment).
    I mentioned to Barb that I would be particularly interested in the Lido 2 for Turkish coffee (as well as to be able to review the Lido 2 on my website), so she adjusted one to about as fine as it would go then ground a bit of coffee for my inspection. Compared to the Baratza Virtuoso I have been using for Turkish, the Lido 2 created a grind which seemed to be in a much narrower range of particle size.
    But even beyond that, the Lido 2 is a thing of beauty to look at and it also feels very good in the hand. It is quite ergonomic and I am quite anxious to get my hands on one! Features include:

  • 40mm Italian-produced conical burrs
  • Dual bronze bushings which are replaceable
  • A single tool (which is included) allows complete disassembly
  • Stepless grind adjustment

    Home Sweet (eventually) Home
        My late Sunday flight was scheduled to arrive at SMF at 9:55PM, it landed at about 11:45 PM and I did not get home until about 1:30AM on Monday morning. Could be worse... and it was. I awoke to the alarm on Monday morning around 7:00 AM, and we drove about 2 hours back the same direction I had come earlier that morning, passing the airport I had left eleven hours ago, to pick up our new puppy, then we drove back home with him. Around four and one-half hours on the road that Monday! It was a long weekend, indeed.

        It's back to Seattle again next year for the 2015 Exhibition


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