Saturday, November 18, 2006

The exam over update - returning to regularly scheduled programming

Phew! That was perhaps the worst exam period ever! Oh well, back to business ...

[Edit: just putting in smaller photos ... damned flickr! ... you'll have to click on the wallpaper link to see it in all its glory now]

(a) Work stuff ...

Things are coming along quite nicely at Veneziano. First Pour is going to be awesome. Check out our funky wallpaper and lamp shades:

Pourn Movie Wallpaper

The funk factor is worth every penny.

We also had the FB-80 open to do some fooling around with flow restrictors. The outside of the machine, which I really should also take a photo of, inspires confidence through the attention to detail that obviously goes into the fit and finish of every part. The inside is the same, but to a higher degree. The welds on the groups are just superb and the boilers have little handwritten notes on them, just to name a few things. I'm going to enjoy working on this machine.

Belly Of The Beast (Large)

(b) Shout out to Jon!

Jon recently ordered a bunch of baskets from Synesso and mailed them out to a gagillion people, including Nim and I. I'm currently using the 14g ridgeless basket (on the right). The left basket is the 18g ridgeless. The middle basket is the LM double that I already had.


The pucks knock out so cleanly from the basket that I haven't even bothered with a proper knockbox:

Ascaso Pucks (Large)

(c) The shinier, the better

Reflective Group (Large)

OK. I finally succumbed. A few days ago I sold my silvia/rocky/ss base to Aaron (hazchem on coffeesnobs). The guys at work offered me a discount on any prosumer machine that I want, so I picked out a Maver Marte - Makin Espresso edition. Dave applied the sticker himself, but I really should have gotten him to sign the boiler, just for kicks ;P Nim has been kind enough to lend me his (spare!) mazzer mini to get me through 'till I get my own grinder soon.

Any new machine always takes some getting used to, so I burned through a bag of my freebie coffee without drinking any:

Hard Day's Work

I appreciate that I'm in the honeymoon period now when people are unlikely to say anything bad about their machine, so I'm going to try to keep my comments to stuff that's pretty uncontroversial.

First up, it was kinda nice to see that the machine came with two portafilters. This isn't at all rare for a prosumer machine, but coming from the silvia I was surprised. Needless to say I immediately ripped the single basket out of the single PF and shoved a blind filter in.

Having had the machine for a day or two, I'm still mesmerised by how shiny it is. This is a bad thing because one of the reasons why I bought it was so that I could get my morning cappuccino with the minimum of dicking around and I end up being mesmerised by my own reflection in the group ;P

Fit and finish seems pretty good. I love how the edges have been folded in and the cup warmer tray sits flush:

Attention To Detail

The drip tray is quite huge and slides right out:

Machine (Large)

(Oh yeah; and the rubber grab tabs sorta match my favourite tamper in the background ;P)

A quick look inside confirmed that this machine has the MA-TER XP700 pressurestat in it, just like Thomas' machine in Copenhagen. The deadband seems to be about 0.1 or 0.15 bar.

Nim also brought over a bunch of different steam tips for me to try out. So I put on the one that was most suitable for small volumes, as I pretty much exclusively use a 350mL jug, and I almost vomited in terror as it took about ten years to prepare the first jug of milk. Then the lightbulb went on and I realised that I could actually turn the steam knob more and all was good in the world. Early days yet, but I figure that if I'm getting reflective milk more or less right off the bat it can't be all bad:

Shiny Milk

... then we've got the espresso. I haven't tweaked the pstat and brew pressure yet, but things are looking promising. I pulled a shot of home-roasted Yirg today that tasted of lemon oil, as promised. My cappuccino with a shot of concordia as a base tasted like it had concordia in it, so I'm pretty happy, considering that the main reason that I wanted to upgrade to this machine was to make it easier for me to taste different espresso. Here's a rather bad photo of a shot:

First Shots

... so I'm quite happy with the machine at the moment and can't wait to crack it open and tinker with its ticker.

Alright, that'll do ... for now ...