Wednesday, December 14, 2005

paul: the trinity thereof

paul, paul, and paul. let's keep them straight by saying, barista judge paul; barista champion paul; and barista retailer paul (scroll down hih-ya to mecca).

this morning i took the ferry to manly to meet paul bassett, and once again wonder why i don't rename this site "the paul bassett experience." paul had his namesake sunbeam machine set up there all ready to go for me.

this machine is basically explained on alan frew's site here and discussed on coffeegeek. paul indicated to me that the next model would fix the various issues found in the present one, as well as reducing the noise a bit.

he didn't have the matching doserless grinder handy, but i saw it in the myer department store -- it has a conical burr set in a plastic carrier. it seems like a fine "starter" home grinder to me.

i enjoyed several of the little features on the sunbeam machine, such as the pop-up red button that tells you when the drip tray is full. i didn't make coffee on it myself -- you'd be an idiot to do so when paul himself is patiently willing to pull shots for you -- but it seems to me that when the new version comes out, it will be an competitive home machine for beginning coffee lovers.

unlike alan's review, i thought the gauge was actually functioning well. of course the 2 thermoblocks are there for a reason: price point, ease of care at home, and something approaching temperature stability.

plus with no boiler, and no fragile home boiler seals, you can safely backflush it without fear (i know many people do backflush silvia, but i also know 2 people who aren't dolts who have blown their boiler seals so doing -- ymmv). while the sides did grow uncomfortably warm, i don't think you can actually burn yourself on this machine, making it useful for those who love espresso at home but have small children.

paul made fine coffee on it and i was pleased to drink a single-origin espresso he pulled on it from a delicate harrar roasted by tony of rio in adelaide. but of course, like barista queen sherri johns, paul could make perfect coffee with nothing but a radiator and a tire hose.

from paul's terrace he has a view of both the north and south heads of sydney harbor (to which photos cannot do justice), a little marina, a pretty beach, and what seems like all the wild cockatoos in new south wales. as he says, it's magic.

as paul and i drove to the new and charming shop lattecino on victoria in concord, run by former aussie barista champ maccio, with a clean, minimalist atmosphere that frankly gave me serious "bologna" vibes, he and i talked about what's next for paul, the entrepreneur.

and it's called a shop in the ginza. that's right: paul's doing it in japan, and i think his world-class, italian approach will take the entire pacific by storm.

despite the crush of business involved in this, paul sweetly spent the entire morning with me talking about coffee and his philosophy. after lattecino, we went to see the third paul at his 5-month old shop, mecca, on king & york streets in downtown sydney.

this is a fascinating shop where we tasted the panama geisha again. but more on this later. . .i just loved mecca coffee and its baristi!

posted by fortune | 11:24 PM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 0 comments

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