Part two of the eye bulging news, and some Innova news!
Posted December 7, 2001 9:00pm
Terry Z. from Espresso Parts Northwest let slip to me a new product he's developing and is ready for market on. The Innova Espresso Grinder (Pic to the right). This grinder was dubbed "The Rocky Killer" in development because it is a grinder designed to a) compete with the Rocky in price, and b) offer the quality grind of the Rocky, but also offer stuff that the Rocky doesn't have, or things people (like me) griped about.
This grinder has an impressive featureset. Here's my initial notes from conversations with Terry.
- There will 4 different versions of the grinder: a conical burr with doser, conical burr automatic without doser, a flat plate (59mm) burr with doser, and a flat plate automatic without doser
- Two colors will be initially available - red and black, with polished aluminum coming later.
- Dimensions are 16 inches tall, 6.25 inches wide, 10.5 inches front to back.
- Weighs at 9lbs out of the box empty (aluminum used heavily). Hopper holds 1.3lbs of beans. Doser models hold 1/4 lb in the chamber.
- Electronic timers may be optional, TBD
- MICROMETRIC (aka stepless) grind selection!!!
- Made in Spain
- Priced similar to existing Rocky line (eg, around $200-$250).
I will be getting one of the initial production versions very soon for full testing and evaluation, and a detailed review will be posted to CoffeeGeek.com. For further info, contact Terry Z. direct through his website, www.espressoparts.com .
Hey, here's part two of a very long rant!
Grr. I'll be so happy when this site is WIPSified with our content management system. It will make posting these updates a breeze. Meanwhile, onto the news and rantifying.
New Cups and Accessories in the House!
I'm seriously flush with new cups and stuff. I recently bought the Illy Art Cups Schwung series from ChrisCoffee, for the great price of $69, with free shipping (note, these are now SOLD OUT and gone forever!). Then I got a dozen of the Illy musicnote spoons, again from ChrisCoffee (they normally don't sell these; I got the restaurant grade ones). Then I ordered a dozen of the regular Illy Logo cups (again from ChrisCoffee).
Then, I was in Little Italy in Vancouver a few days ago (Commercial drive) and stopped into a little Italian deli and pasta place I like to frequent from time to time. I bought some fresh pasta and sauce and stuff, and while waiting to line up, While waiting, I noticed what looked suspiciously like an Illy art cups collection, hiding behind a whole bunch of mugs, cans of stuff, and assorted "stick it on the top shelf, cuz no one wants to buy it" items.
"Is that a set of Illy cups up there?"
"Why yes. They are (wince), the art cups though, very expensive...."
"Oh? How much would you want for that set?"
"Well, (wince again), $140?????"
Me, secretly going, SCORE!! SCORE!!! World Cups, which have gone for $200 USD or more, for $140Cdn! ($85USD), well, I pause, look thoughtful.... "hrmmm, okay. Sure. $140? Sure."
They climb the ladder, dust it off a bit, and go "oh, the can of coffee is expired.... let me get you a fresh can...."
"no that's okay, I'll take the original can..."
They bring it down, and the woman then says "oh, we don't have the cover.... do you want that?"
"Yes, because I plan on just collecting them, not actually using them..." as I'm deflated a bit....
"Well, how about $120 then? And I'll take your name and number, and we're doing a complete overhaul of inventory and stuff in a few weeks, and I'll specifically look for it?"
"Uhm, okay, $120... sure, that'd be good, but I'd really like the cover if you can find it..."
So I walked out with some fresh pasta, some alfredo, some spanish olives, and this lil' set.
Scores. Ya gotta love them.
New Machines on the Horizon
2002 looks to be a good year for espresso freaks. I have it on good authority that Baratza will be bringing out a new machine (won't say if it's a grinder or an espresso machine, or a drip pot, for that matter). I heard a little birdy say that Rancilio is about to make big waves in the consumer/prosumer espresso world. And home roasters could be getting some exciting new machines, very soon.
Let's just leave it at that - 2002 should be a good year for machines and technology in the coffee biz.
Toolin' around Vancouver's espresso(wannabe) shops with Aaron DeLazzer
Aaron, mentioned in the last rant (he's the front guy for JJ Bean) and I recently spent the day visiting two of Vancouver's supposed espresso nirvana shops. Caffe Artigiano on Pender at Thurlow, and Napoli on Commercial at 1rst. The espresso at Artigiano was passable, with my second shot, done by some new guy being better than my first shot, done by the co-owner. In fact his shot kind of sucked.
The shots I had at Napoli made me wince. They weren't done by Julie.
Such is the sad sad state of affairs in Vancouver. I put Aaron on the spot the days before this trip, saying "name me 3 places in Vancouver with a competent barista who is going to pull me a near-god shot". Two of the places he mentioned were Napoli (Julie only though) and Artigiano. Both left me completely disappointed. I had a much better shot at home that morning, and it was just an "okay" shot at home!
Woe is any espresso hound in this city.
CoffeeGeek.com Launch Imminent
We are completely into beta testing now, with about 90% of the planned functionality for the website complete and rocking and rolling. The reviews have been ported from Coffeekid.com, the detailed reviews are next, the tips and tricks section is done, and the content authors are, well contenting as we speak. Almost all the interactive features are done. I'm so excited! It's like giving birth. And the effort, strain, hopes, faded hopes, etc etc are finally coming to a head. I can tell you this site has about 2500 hours of development behind it. I hope it rocks and rolls.
We have some exciting stuff planned for the site. I don't want to give much away because I do find that some online folks tend to steal my ideas when I announce them (I've noticed a crop of holiday gift lists popping up, all after I did mine :), but some are so damned exciting, I gotta spill the beans.
First, we're having a grand launch contest giveaway. The Grand Prize is (tentatively, I still have to iron out the details) a Solis SL-90 espresso machine, sponsored by the fine folks at Baratza. First Prize is a brand-spankin' new Solis Maestro grinder, sponsored again by Baratza. Second Prize is a Saeco Via Veneto (Melita Café Express) machine, donated by yours truly. Other prizes include Melita manual pour coffee brewers, illy logo cups, a press pot kozee, and even a coffee bean mousepad!
I'm really appreciative to the Baratza folks for making these sponsored contest items so good. And what do you have to do to win? Why all you have to do is sign up as a CoffeeGeek user! It's that simple!
As the months go by, we will be having other contests. Sometimes you have to vote in a poll, sometimes you have to fill out a questionnaire.
The only unfortunate thing is, due to contest laws and stuff in various countries, only entrants from the US and Canada can legally enter the draw and be awarded prizes. This sucks, I know, but I can't do anything about it. Eventually I'll try to get some European-sponsored prizes for Euros, and Australia/New Zealand prizes for my kiwi and aussie buddies.
Could Livia be going Bye Bye?
It could happen. Plans are afoot for my company to do a job, a specific job that could net me a dream machine. A machine so lusted after, it can fetch 10,000, 12,000, or more on the auction market. It'll require plumbing and 220 power, but I think I can swing that with the wife... :-)
Don't get me wrong. I love the Livia. It's an awesome machine. But the possible replacement is what many consider the pinnacle of machines.
And that's it this time around. Catch you next time!