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November 2017 Newsletter

We're ba-a-ack! The less said about international flying the better,
as I appear to have mislaid both my brain and body clock 3 time
zones ago, but I've been at least able to start roasting again to
re-stock. That said, there will be no special coffee this month, as
I simply haven't had the time to look for one.

I'd also ask people to remember that Tuesday 7th of November is a
public holiday (Cup Day) when they're placing orders. This always
causes delays with interstate Express Post shipping.

The HOST exhibition in Milan far exceeded my expectations, in both
size and breadth of coverage of the equipment and marketing sides of
the coffee world. The only thing missing (from my viewpoint) was the
presence of major green coffee brokers, but this was to be expected
in a machinery dominant show.

There were many of the major Italian coffee roasters present, all
spruiking their wares in various capsule formats. And yes, capsules
were prevalent throughout the stands, but what surprised me was the
lack of exclusive capsule machine suppliers. Most of the capsule
machines I saw were the standard made-in-China types we see locally.

The reason for this seems to be the competition among the various
capsule formats. Based on my observations, Nespresso seems to be the
leader of the capsule world, with CaffItaly taking the second spot.
Lavazza is a distant third, with a few other formats trailing. All
the existing capsule types are still environmentally disastrous, but
I saw a supplier of certified compostable capsules at the show.
Something that might show up in the near future.

I also spotted a "small" capsule manufacturing form, fill and seal
machine. With a size of 3 metres x 2 metres x 1 metre and a price of
300, 000.00 Euro it was a steal! It does explain why small roasters
aren't trying to get into the capsule business.

E-61 group machines were everywhere, they now seem to be the machine
of choice for makers of home espresso machines. Heat exchanger,
double boiler, single boiler, stainless steel boiler, and Lelit even
had a particularly kitsch one with a gold plated group. The easy
availability of all the bits needed to make one of these machines,
with several suppliers for each part, makes it more or less a kit
building exercise. There was even a booth displaying an E-61 group
from a Chinese metal fabricator.

The sad consequence of this is that the "entry level" point for
decent home espresso machines seems to have moved up to $2500.00 or
so. The price points below this appear to have been ceded to capsule
machines and Chinese made home appliance machines.

In the commercial market, now that computerized control of brewing
time, temperature, flow and pressure is becoming commonplace, the
leading espresso machine makers appear to have decided that
everything old is new again. Every major manufacturer, including La
Marzocco, was displaying a "new" spring lever machine.

That's right, the machines you see in old Italian films with the
long levers used to manually pull espresso shots are back again. The
tech was invented in 1948 by Achille Gaggia, to make "Crema Café".
Last time I was at HOST, in 2011, there was ONE machine on display,
made by Brasilia who went bust shortly afterwards. Now there are
over a dozen, and I would expect more to come. Expect to see them in
your local café in the next few years.

Until next month


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