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General updates
Posted April 12, 2002 8:30pm
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Sorry things have seemed to slow down here. Whenever my life picks up and I wish there were two of me, that happens. Woo... scary thought: two Marks... Yipes.

Latest Homefront News
Hey, you know I love the CoffeeKid readers the best, so here's some really secret stuff - keep it to yourselves, okay? :)

First up, I took delivery of another couple of machines in the past week. A Nuova Simonelli Oscar, in the new silver scheme is one of them. The other is a preproduction model of the new Hot Top Coffee Roaster.

The Hottop was sent to me primarily because an importer wants my opinion on it, but also because the company that makes it, Chang Yue Industrial Corp. of Taiwan, wants the publicity that a First Look and Detailed Review will give it at the CoffeeGeek site. I just took delivery of it earlier today (Friday), and after photographing the heck out of it (along with many other items - it was a marathon 4 hour photo session using up one and a half 256mb compact flash cards), I put the Hottop to its first use.

Very initial impressions? It has potential. They need to address the cooling cycle though, somehow. How, I don't have a clue. One real plus? It's incredibly quiet.

The Oscar came as a result of a long lunch meeting I had with Roberto Bresciani, the guy heading up Nuova Simonelli in the US. Roberto is a very cool guy, fairly young (in this busines with many old guys), and I gotta tell you, I really enjoyed that lunch he treated me to, and the conversation - Roberto's as much an espresso freak as you'll want to meet.

I got a tour of Espresso Coffee Machines Co., which is affiliated with Nuova Distribution (the US company), but ECM is based in Burnaby, BC. Let me tell you, that place is an Espresso lover's dream shop, especially if you can get into the back storeroom. They have what looks like a quarter million dollars worth of antique machines, including a first gen Victoria Arduino, many of the original Nuova Simonelli machines, and many other major makers, all just sitting way up on this semi-display shelf that only the staff can see as they go about their business. I was in awe.

The Oscar First Look is due up at the CG site sometime around the end of this month. In fact, here's the release schedule for April and early May for CoffeeGeek:

First Looks
- Elektra Micro Casa
- Hottop Roaster
- NS Oscar

Detailed Reviews
- Elektra Nivola
- Solis SL-70 (I may flip these two)
- Mini Mazzer grinder
- Pavoni Professional
- Hottop roaster

As you can see, we aren't short of "Detailed Review' candidates.

Other ramblings
It is safe to say that CG has taken over my life these days. I'm trying to find a balance - so far CG is paying the bills, paying off some of its debt, but it certainly doesn't pay me a salary or give me enough to consider quitting my day job. However, in a given week I spend maybe 45 to 60 hours dealing with CG stuff - be it phone calls with advertisers and product suppliers, writing content for the site, editing other people's content, or keeping my notes as I do all these detailed evaluations. I think I need to find someone willing to help with some of these tasks, but for no real money :)

I'm a bit dismayed that the authors I have lined up are not writing columns regularly. I gotta do something about that.

I managed to come up with a pretty good coffee blend this week. It is 33% Java (Old Govt), 33% Yemen Mocha, and 33% Haitian Jacmel (the other 1% is chaff). It gives a really good chocolatey beverage, very mellow but still "bam" you know you got something distinct in the mouth. I'm gonan try it again next week, after I get some initial hottop testing out of the way.

My Illy cup collecting has slowed down now that I have way too many cups. I'm shopping at Ikea this week (if I can find the time) for a cool display case for my office.

Lastly, I want to give a public-record type thank you to Jeanette, my special other, for putting up with all this zany coffee stuff, for being my "hand model" for many of the photos for the CG site, and for learning to appreciate coffee. She used to hate the stuff. No longer. Love ya hon.

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