Saturday, September 23, 2006

An Epic Opening

A massive, massive shout-out to Corey "we need more power" Diamond and his top-notch crew in Perth! This took balls:

... although it was not really all that unexpected from the man whose last fit-out looked like this:

... hell, I'd trade most cafe setups for his home setup any day:

The really funny thing is that the above photo of Epic - with its three Mazzer Roburs (two of them three-phase), two Synesso Cyncras and a Mazzer Mini - was taken yesterday. This morning, I got a call from Corey that started like this:

C: Hey Luca, what are you up to?
L: Just at work, man, what about you?
C: Yep, I'm at Epic.
L: Oh, you guys are open Saturdays, too?
C: No, I'm just replacing the Mini with a Super Jolly; the Mini is too slow ...

I'm going to call it. Corey, you have officially set the record for the weakest resistance to upgradeitis. And I'll predict that you'll replace the Super Jolly pretty soon too; it's also pretty slow ;P

But enough about the machines. The machines are not what will make Epic epic. It's the people and the philosophy. Everyone in the team is passionate, skilled and brings something unique to the team. And I'm not just blowing smoke. Here's a very quick rundown of the amazing people that I worked with on my working holiday to Core in January:

Johnny: The new guy when I was there, but an absolute natural at shots.
Meg: The latte art queen. What was it in Sydney? Two jugs at once, two rosettas touching each other in the centre? Pretty amazing ... just don't piss her off ;P
Ben: Too cool for school; he left Core to start up the West Australian Barista Academy and run the WA barista comp. But you can bet that he'll drop by Epic to keep them honest.
Ness: Ness is crucial. With all of these high-fliers, she is the voice of reason, exuding a calm competence that wouldn't go amiss at Maling Room when we get busy and Andrew starts to go Gordon Ramsay ;P

Updated: Johnny (left), Megan (centre) and Ness (right). Photo courtesy of Matt.

Meg, Ben and Ness have all competed in barista comps and have all done really well. I, personally, can't be bothered working out where they came in what, but if someone wants to reply in the comments field, that'd be cool. Building such a cohesive, happy, passionate and competent team is no mean feat and it was certainly the exposure to Corey's leadership style that was the most important learning experience for me at Core. Also worth a mention are the fantastic people at Five Senses. Five Senses is pretty huge, so I'm not going to list everyone, but I do want to mention Dean, the master-roaster with a billion tastebud and, it seems, nearly as many friends all throughout the coffee industry and all over the world and Shaughan, the techy sales guy who has gone out of his way to support us with our Synesso even though we're on the other side of the country and Five Senses didn't sell us our machine!

OK, enough gushing. How's the coffee? Well, I won't know until Corey sends us some of their blend (hint, hint), but "Grendel," who dropped by on the opening day had this to say:

" ... [t]hat’s what these shots were – experiencing coffee.

Mouth feel was immense, a rich, complex sustained chord. Unique in my experience (which I will admit is limited).

The aroma while tasting was a timber caramel with a little fruitiness like stewed prunes in a dry oaky port.

The acidity was balanced, there was a genuine spiciness to the coffee which added to the complexity and the aftertaste was chocolate tobacco. I was pretty stunned.

I had originally thought to rate these out of 100 – but I find now that I can’t do that. This was very different to anything I’ve had before and I have no context for a numerical rating. Class of its own I guess."

Good one, Shaggy ... err ... Corey! You can read more and see a few photos in Grendel's blog entry. (The first photo in this post is Grendel's).

I know that I speak for a whole bunch of people in Melbourne when I say that we wish Epic espresso every success, and anticipate that it will live up to its name.

Perth readers, I direct you to go there and buy a coffee right now. OK, maybe not right now. They're open 6:30 to 4:00 weekdays. Outram St, West Perth ... anyone care to furnish the street number?

Update 1: Matt has also blogged about Epic.

Update 2: Dropped by St Ali today to pick up the tampers. Mark reckons that this is the "Capricorn" that Corey is featuring at the moment. At any rate, it's not the webpage for the mysterious "Coast," who apparently have no internet presence, so I've updated that.



At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Matt said...

Hey Luca,

Great blog and good post. Funny how being on the other side of the country doesn't mean you're any less informed about whats going on...

I'm loving Epic so far and it's only been two days... such is the need for a reliable cafe in this town... Their house blend is great... dark chocolate all the way... I'm sure you'll get sent a care package pretty soon :)

Later mate,

At 12:24 AM, Blogger OziBarista said...

Nice post Luca.

At 11:38 PM, Blogger "Grendel" said...

Yeah - good call Luca - I would not have even known about them if you hadn't laid out the challenge at CS - those Synessos rock.

At 8:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the kind words gentleman. Luca, will send you some blend soon, hopefully it doesn't get too trashed in the pressures and temps of the bagagge compartment. What's your address?

Corey (I wonder if I could fit another Synesso in my prep room) Diamond

At 5:47 PM, Blogger Luca said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 5:49 PM, Blogger Luca said...

Hehehe ... Corey, you do realise that Mark has a two-group cupping synesso near the roaster now! Thanks for the offer - can I delay it a bit until my exams are over? Maybe once we've got the FB-80 set up at First Pour we could do something for the coffeesnobs and put your stuff on tap?


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