Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Milano Fiera RHO 2007

I finally get a little break to blog about my Milano experience, as many of you already know I’ve been traveling around Switzerland. Living in the beautiful alps and enjoying amazing Swiss nature. I don’t think I can put a scale to this exhibition, it is HUGE. In order to understand the size of it you will definitely have to go there. Anything from ice machines pavilions, pizza makers, gelati machines ... it is just ridiculously big. The coffee sections was 2 pavilions full of various “stuff” and a ton of generic machines and grinders and bits and pieces. Only 5% of the exhibition is worth seeing and mentioning, as the rest is just various junk.

Day 1
The exhibition started slow on Friday but never the less a very good amount of people came for the first day. Lots of networking and socialising with good friends and industry related people. It was great to finally meet baristas like, James, Troels, Storm, Anna ... . A bunch of outstanding people whom I had lots of time to hang out with and talk coffee. Visits from Adelaide were very overwhelming: Tony from Rio Coffee dropped by, it was great to catch up with him as I haven’t seen him for almost a year. As well as Maria from CIBO, old friends that gave me my first push into the coffee world, people that I very much respect and care about. Got to catch up with Paul Bassett over at the café series stand, it is really amazing what the guys are doing with domestic espresso machines, I give them real credit!

I was given a position to work on the Clover machine over at the MAHLKÖNIG stand, got to play around with lots of nice single origin coffees that I had. Trying and drinking all day, I think Christian from MAHLKÖNIG and I were buzzing all day from lots of fine coffee.

The standout coffee from the clover was Rwanda Peabery that David Haugaard from Stockholm kindly donated. This coffee was full-bodied, very round and well balanced, as it cooled it picked up light citric notes, as well as some earthiness. On the smell a distinct hint of spice and cumin.

That following night we went to La Marzocco cocktail party, some more networking and socialising, great times drinking with Guido he is genuinely a very nice person. Anastasia from Clover was there also so between the drinking we had a chance to chat about coffee. That same evening the whole espresso warehouse crew went to a very nice restaurant near out hotel, James and Annette came along too, it was very inspiring to chat with James about coffee.

Day 2
Despite the headache the exhibition the next morning (Saturday) went smooth, perhaps the busiest day at the show. The clover got a real work out, it was good to work with Anastasia as we shared the stand and took breaks. I got to play around with the show Linea machine that La Marzocco had at their stand. I pushed through Haugaard's mellqvist blend and also Coffee Collective that Klaus sent over. Both espresso blends were outstanding, Klaus’s blend was on the acidic side where David’s was sweeter and more full bodies. A good example of good quality difference. It is a little hard to remember the fine notes as I was dosed up on coffee that day, but I remember them being both outstanding and everyone at LM were highly impressed, possibly the best espresso served at the exhibition.

The highlight of the day however was the latte art throwdown organised by espresso warehouse. We had a great turnout, few surprise entries included Jack Hanna (current latte art champion) Troels, Chiara (Spanish barista champion), some veterans of the industry overall about 7 competitors. There were some close calls but the trophy went to Chris Baca from ritual, a well deserved victory. Spectators and competitors enjoyed the show raising over 150 euro for CoffeeKids.

That following night we went to the Hyatt for drinks and then to a nice typical Italian restaurant, after that I went to the pub to celebrate THE LOSS of English team in the rugby world cup final.

Day 3
Sunday was a great day, not too busy so I got a chance to pull some espresso with Paul Bassett over at the café series stand. Paul pushed through Tim Wendelboe’s new espresso blend through sunbeam domestic machine. I must say that I was highly impressed with this little machine. It has fluctuation of only 1C, it is really amazing to see what the guys at café series are doing, they are really pushing home espresso to the next level. Tims coffee came out great, long infusion time made very it interesting. The infusion time was roughly about 13 seconds and extraction 4 seconds. A well balanced espresso in the cup, with slight acidity, round, well balanced. Paul and I both enjoyed drinking it.

That following night we went to URNEX party, this was the best party ever! The food was great and the bar was open, so we were drinking grappa all evening. Skip was calling rounds of grappa every 10 minutes, we got really wasted.

Day 4
Monday morning I could hardly stand from previous nights of drinking, good thing I had lots of coffee left over to keep me going. The exhibition has started to loose its buzz with lots of people leaving. We had some spare time to full around and waste milk, Chris was pouring latte art into a massive cup, which made its way around the exhibition hall.

That following evening we had a nice relaxing dinner in this very nice restaurant. A time to relax and go to bed at a reasonable hour was well needed needed.

Day 5
On Tuesday morning I took some time off to go around Duomo during sunlight. It was really fascinating both inside and outside. A quick stop at the exhibition in the afternoon to collect presents and say final goodbyes wrapped up my Milano experience.

I would like to thank espresso warehouse crew for giving me the opportunity to be there. It was great to meet so many interesting people, you guys know who you are so forgive me for not naming everyone. Hope to see you all again some time very soon.

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