A fresh shipment of Peruvian FTO

by Reiss Gunson on Monday, 02 November 2009 13:50

We have the Peruvian fair trade organic coffee back in stock, albeit from a different source. This coffee exhibits more acidity than the previous Peruvian coffee, making it more suitable for latte & cappuccino, yet it still stays within our range of acceptability for espresso use. If you intend to prepare this coffee by a filter method let us know & we will roast it a few degrees lighter for you

Mexican fairtrade organic certified

by Reiss Gunson on Tuesday, 27 October 2009 03:02

have enjoyed trying a fair trade & organic certified coffee from mexico this morning. a fine coffee to be sure, but much brighter than the mexican coffee we currently stock, which is so delicate we can only describe it as the espresso for people who don’t like espresso. it really is like cream that has had a couple of spoonfuls of coffee stirred into it.

Columbian supremo

by Reiss Gunson on Tuesday, 27 October 2009 02:29

avert your eyes if you are a ‘micro-lot’ only kind of espresso drinker. as you are probably aware the columbian coffee has been knocked around quite a lot by adverse weather this year. as a result we have struggled to obtain columbian coffee that is well suited to espresso production. well the good news is we have a shipment of fresh columbian supremo in that is making a fabulous espresso. you are quite right, it is not from a single estate, or a single lot within an estate, its just supremo from a variety of estates. like it or not, but this is often the kind of coffee that translates best into espresso. yes, we readily admit that if you drink your coffee with milk it is a bit flat and one dimensional, but for espresso use it is simply one of the smoothest coffees we have. unfortunately much of the highly prized micro lot coffee has too much acidity, and is too bright & too sharp for making a smooth espresso. but this particular shipment of supremo beans are absolutely perfect for espresso

Otto review - conclusion

by Reiss Gunson on Tuesday, 27 October 2009 00:24

Apologies for the delay in bringing the Otto review to a conclusion

We tried the Otto out on an electric hob & it certainly performs much better than on gas

For starters the time before the coffee starts to issue forth from the spout of the Otto is around the six minute mark, a significant reduction from around 10 minutes on gas

We also achieved much more consistent results in terms of the taste & appearance of the coffee with the electric hob

The Otto provides a very strong milk steamer which makes the task of frothing the milk easy

We purchased the Otto because we are always looking for a machine that will allow our customers to make espresso at home at a more accessible price point

We have spoken at length with the Otto’s inventor, Craig Hiron, in Australia and can confirm he is a top bloke and we wish him every success and look forward to meeting him in London later this year. We are acutely aware of how much time, effort, and resource have been expended to bring the Otto to life. We have no hesitation in telling you that the Otto is a very beautiful and well made product

While the Otto delivers crema, we were unable to achieve the dense crema that the Olympia machines deliver with ease, shot after shot. This is less of an issue if you drink cappuccino as you douse the espresso in foamed milk, but as pure espresso drinkers we found it frustrating

Having used the Otto once you will need to immerse it in cold water and completely cool the stainless body, dry it down & reload with coffee before you prepare a second shot, all of which takes considerable time. This is less of an issue if you only need to prepare one double shot of espresso.

If you are seeking a machine for occasional use only to produce two single shot cappuccinos, then you will probably find the Otto meets your needs. You are likely to be frustrated if you expect the Otto to deliver a traditional espresso with a dense crema and need to do so several times during the course of a day, or wish to prepare drinks for more than two people from it

The Otto can be bought online at

In addition the Otto is a superb piece of functional sculpture to add to your coffee table; a great conversation piece

Otto review (cont...)

by Reiss Gunson on Friday, 02 October 2009 23:03

we understand that using the Otto on an electric hob gives much better results (as opposed to a gas hob), so this weekend we will try it on an electric hob.

Otto review (cont...)

by Reiss Gunson on Friday, 02 October 2009 01:59

over the last few days we’ve made a point of trying a different method each day to see what gives us the best result in the Otto, including double loading the basket (i.e. load, tamp, load again into the space created by the first tamp, tamp a second time). Obviously the double load drives the maximum weight of coffee into the basket so a much coarser grind is required. The double load approach might be OK with coffee that isn’t so fresh, but with the fresh Londinium coffee it chokes the Otto very easily.

so far in the experiment we are getting out best result by using our standard weight of 16g in a double basket (or 8g in a single), grinding to the same fineness that we use for the Olympia Cremina, and giving it the lightest of tamps; merely breathing on it with the tamp, else you will choke the Otto completely.

next time we will make our grind fractionally coarser, but still espresso grind to get it running a little faster … we are trying to get into the 80s extraction time for a dble shot that the Otto manufacturers advise… we are still a little outside that zone.

we have posted a photo of this morning’s result on Twitter if you are looking for a visual

Papua New Guinea - Sigri Estate, AA grade

by Reiss Gunson on Thursday, 01 October 2009 12:02

Now available.

Otto espresso (cont...)

by Reiss Gunson on Thursday, 24 September 2009 04:36

Not much time, other than to say we tried the Otto today and we failed miserably

The Otto guidance suggests fairly fine coffee, but this all relative to the capabilities of your grinder & the unusually deep portafilter on the Otto allowed us to put way too much coffee in. As you would expect we were greeted with a chronically over-extracted brew

On the second attempt we faired much better as we weighted out 16g with fine scales, but we still over extracted in a big way as a result of having the grind too fine

Next time we will run a much coarser grind and hope to come much closer to being ‘in the zone’

Vacuum coffee still magnificent

by Reiss Gunson on Wednesday, 23 September 2009 12:36

Guests for supper tonight, providing the perfect excuse to get out the methylated spirits powered Cona vacuum coffee maker. In reflection I’d have to admit I forgotten just how superior the coffee is to filter coffee. Its fairly easy to set up, but make sure you use hot water or it will take half an hour to heat the water with the meths bruner. It certainly isn’t the weapon of choice for a quick cup before work. Cona also offer a stove top version which would be exponentially quicker, but it certainly lacks the charm of the classic meths burner version. If you haven’t tried vacuum coffee before you really should. I can only describe the taste as exceptionally clean and sweet, the result of the coffee only ever coming into contact with glass during the entire process. The website that Cona run is an embarrassment, but the product is best in class. Check them out, still based in Wimbledon, London, since their formation in something like 1920 I understand.


Otto espresso

by Reiss Gunson on Wednesday, 23 September 2009 06:09

The Otto has arrived!

We have purchased one to conduct a full review and see if it really can deliver espresso as claimed. If it does then it provides you with a reduced price point for obtaining espresso at home

First impressions:

Otto was shipped by DHL and given the weight of the product we were concerned that it could easily be damaged in transit. As the images show, we need not have worried. Otto is double boxed in two heavy duty corrugated boxes, then finally you arrive at the presentation box. It is self evident that a lot has been invested in the development of the packaging to ensure the Otto can be shipped around the world and arrive in good condition. Considerable time and expense has also been lavished on what we would call the presentation box, with the contents held in place with custom cut foams of two different densities to ensure the contents is held snugly in place whilst being adequately cushioned at the same time

Otto is supplied with a full complement of kit, so all you have to add is water & coffee

We were initially dismayed when we spied what looked to be a cheap light weight plastic tamp in the box. However when we picked it up we were pleasantly surprised to discover that this is not the case. The tamp is made of the same high density nylon as the handles on the Otto

The health and safety brigade are kept at bay with a tastefully sand blasted ‘HOT’ in a couple of places

We consider the finish to be of an exceptionally high standard, especially the effort that has been put into achieving a mirror finish on the stainless steel body – incredible.

Indeed, the only blemish we have found so far is cosmetic, but in the most visible location on the top of the ‘group head’. The casting has a recess in it for the Otto label to be attached. The edges of the casting around this recess are a little rough and we will suggest to the manufacturers that this be addressed going forward, but we acknowledge that this is purely cosmetic and that we are being picky and many buyers would either not notice, or not care even if they did.

So we’ve established that we’ve just invested in a piece of art, but can it make espresso?

Well, so far we’ve only completed the two ‘test cycles’ where you use the machine as normal but dump the coffee to ensure that any tainting that might result from the manufacturing process is flushed away. As a result we were fairly sloppy in our approach regarding grinding, dosing, and tamping. Hopefully tomorrow we will use it in anger for the first time, with a view to producing espresso.

We are also very impressed with the thought that has gone into the manual, which is extremely simple to follow as a result of its pictorial approach which verges on cartoon like in style. In our opinion this is a stroke of genius.