It was almost a year ago that we, as a coffee community, began to discuss and get antsy for the announcement of who would be the 2009 equipment sponsors for the WBC. We awaited rule changes, details, and debated on what grinders should and should not be allowed.
When the rules and sponsors were announced, many raised questions about the final decisions. I made my statement, and I’ve stuck to it.
Now, with my first competition of the year passed, I think it is important to say a big thank you to the people at Nuovo Simoneli. The Aurelia, as we know it, is an imperfect machine. As is the GB5, FB80, Cyncra, Hydra, and every other espresso machine on the market. However, the people behind the machine is what sets Simoneli apart. “What is the difference?,” you may ask… They listen.
From giclures, to sight glass, and steam boiler level, this is a company listening and ready for feedback. The entire weekend, they were on hand, hanging out with us, listening and asking questions. They tasted our espresso and wanted to know what we thought of it.
I was impressed by Giani and his youthful energy. I think I might owe some competitors an apology, as we really couldn’t get him to stop telling people how much he liked the Finca La Maravilla from Guatemala. Several times, I found myself running away from awkward situations where he would be telling another barista about how great our coffee was. His support, however, was not exclusive to us, as he was there encouraging everyone.
Of course, the important part is how the machines performed over the competition. I competed on two of the three stations and found no inconsistencies in either of the machines. All 3 of my groups had a nice, even flow, and steam pressure was abundant and well balanced. The Aurelia’s being shipped from region to region seem durable and stable… as many people initially told us they would be.
We have a handful of competitions to go before the USBC and with all that ahead of us, it may be too early to make some of the evaluations that I am. However, I think this years USBC will be, from an equipment standpoint, one of the most even playing fields yet, and I look forward to a coffee (non-machine) focused event.