Thursday, March 08, 2007

A typical morning in the life of...

This morning, it's a bit cold but sunny. I woke up at 8 and found my way downstairs. I had setup my Rancilio Silvia to start up at 7 so it would be nice and warm. Sadly enough, the timer device I used is broken.. So after half an hour I made some very nice espresso to finally wake up.
I missed my regular train, so I took the next one which forces me to change trains twice. The train was broken.. it kept on activating the emergency breaks.
Finally I got to the station in Diemen (close to Amsterdam). This station is directly under one of the major flight paths to Schiphol airport. I got out and the sun was shining on my face.. I took a deep breath and smelled the kerosene. I made me think of Pisa aeroporto and some visions of beautiful Italy passed by. I walked to the office, which is directly next to the train station. There isn't much green in Diemen, except for the small park like area on the other side of the office. I passed by some bushes and trees between the station and the highway exit and heard the birds singing. The sun was warming up my face and I was listening to the sweet tones of a nice piece of music by Fabrizio de Andrè. Live can be so beautiful...Then I entered the office building. Warm, dry air hit my face. I tripped over a piece of loose carpet.. dust everywhere. Why are we working inside these offices again?


Saturday, March 03, 2007

This is the start of a new life

I went to Amsterdam today, KCC the coffee culture center. I wanted to buy an espresso machine. I've been using the Bialetti for quite some time now. I was pretty satisfied with it, but I noticed that I started putting sugar into my espressi while I did not do that with espressi I bought in the bars in Italy. I found the reason for that in the bottom of my bialetti... As it's aluminium, it started to react, get darker. It added a sour taste to my coffee. At one point earlier this week I decided something had to be done.. so here I was...

The owner of the shop is an older guy who has much experience with espresso machines and also does maintenance for them. I expected a good chat about the machinery and their technique. I got exactly that. He took his time to explain me about the advantages and disadvantages of the different machines he has in his store. We arrived at the, in many peoples opinion, best machine for home use. The Rancilio Silvia. This machine is praised for it's ease of use and good quality. I've read a lot about it at
I made my decision pretty quick as I knew this machine from the reviews already and know that it's probably the best out there for home use. After helping out some quick customers the owner of the shop took some time to show me and another customer the machine and explain how to handle it. He showed us how to set it up for first use, told us about a dozen time to decalcify it every 3 months, showed us how to make coffee with it and explained the use of the steam functionality.
After adding some stuff like a tamper, coffee, decalcify powder and a box to get the coffee out of the filter he told me that he would send me an e-mail after a little less than 2 years to get it in for free service just before the guarantee would end.

After a little more than an hour of travelling home I unpacked the machine:

Now that's beauty ;o)

After setting it up as told I made my first espresso. As the cup was just little bit too small, I missed the first couple of drops and filled it up too much.. However.. it was very nice indeed! I quickly made a new one. I remembered the complaints about not getting crema with the Silvia, but have a look yourself:

Now that is what I call beauty!
It tasted like espresso should taste like.. Closing your eyes I got a vision of standing in a bar somewhere in Lucca. The owner of the shop told me this first cup would be the start of a new life.. and I think he's right.
I know for sure now that I will carry this machine with me for the coming decades...

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