We Have Moved!

Effective November 30, 2009, La Marzocco USA has moved back to Ballard! (LM USA, previously known as Espresso Specialists, Inc./ESI, was a long time resident of Ballard)

Ballard, a northerly neighborhood of downtown Seattle known for its inebriated vikings, ginormous condo projects, and terrific traffic to anywhere, was recently listed by Men’s Journal as one of the top neighborhoods in the country. Now in the coffee world, it will now be known as one of the top places to buy espresso machines. Our new address is:

La Marzocco USA
1553 NW Ballard Way
Seattle, WA 98107

Google Maps link

We are now:

  • 0.4 miles from Caffe Fiore on Leary
  • 0.3 miles from King’s Hardware and Tractor Tavern
  • 0.2 miles from Maritime Pacific Brewing Co.
  • Across the street from the old Ballard Brothel

We are still in the midst of settling in at the moment so please excuse any inconveniences you may encounter. On the plus side, you can get fresh microbrews just a block down the street.

New Website!

We finally have a new website up! Check out http://www.lamarzoccousa.com.

  • Product info and PDF brochures
  • Featured La Marzocco technologies
  • Customization options “LM Works”
  • Technical documents e.g. user guides, parts diagrams, installation guides
  • Contact information

Mechanical paddleLM Works

Is Grind Particle Size the Elephant in the Room?

With the proliferation of new or revitalized coffee (e.g. pourover, vac pots, Chemex, press pot, etc.) and espresso (soft preinfusion, pressure manipulation) brew methods, one can now enjoy a wide array of taste profiles on the same coffee prepared in different ways. In conjunction with innovations in green coffee supply chain, this is even more relevant. However, there appears to be a lack of standardized preparation methodologies and standardized assessments (both qualitative and quantitative) for these popular brewing methods. This has led to a wide degree of differences among common industry practices and resulting cup qualities.  One of these variables is grind particle size.

For whatever reason, coffee grind particle size has not been “as” fiercely discussed in the spotlight as many other topics e.g. PID, much less a common conclusion. Yet, appropriate grind size can be the limiting factor to a quality beverage. There are no grind size standards or protocol for various brew methods set forth by leading industry groups (though there is a brief grind size specification on SCAA’s cupping protocol). Worst of all, the grind size markings on any grinder are inconsistent (grinders among same brand or even in the same model), non-standardized, and non-transferable. Further, the markings become even less relevant as the burrs wear down over its lifespan.

There are Rotaps and other sieve shakers available for the purpose of grind particle size and distribution analysis. Unfortunately, they are inherently expensive, bulky/heavy, and prohibitive in wider adoption (they’re meant for labs).

Coffee grind sizer

Alas, there is the Coffee Grind Sizer. This mini Rotap first made its quiet debut a few years back but, for whatever reason, never made a splash. The beauty of this product are its relative cheap price tag and portability. Exporting refined brewing parameters from the roasting/cupping lab to retail environments can be done with exactness and ease.

To use, pop open the cap and fill it with coffee, then shake it like a rainstick (dancing to music might help). You will end up with coffee grinds separated by size in 5 compartments. Such particle size distribution by weight profile can be used to, for example, compare grinder consistency, burr wear, standardize brew parameters, etc.

More post(s) on usage and applications of the coffee grind sizer will come in the near future. In the meantime, if you have an extra $200, check out one of these and see what you can come up with.

New Mikes!

That’s Mikes x2!

Yes folks, we now have 2 sales managers representing La Marzocco USA. Chances are good that you already know them as they have been with us back in the ESI and Franke days – Mike Lanz and Michael DelGatto.

The ever caffeinated and energetic Mike Lanz  has been in the business since 1986, with ESI since 1992, and, until recently, LA Mill. Mike handles sales and customer relations west of the Mississippi. Cup Ethiopian coffees with him and he’ll spend 20 minutes jumping over how it tastes like fruit loops.

Michael DelGatto has been in the business for 20 years. He has been on the roasting/retailing side as well as the equipment side of the business. Michael covers the eastern half of the U.S. Call him up for the latest lowdown on one of the hottest markets for specialty coffee (NYC) and his expert opinion on gourmet foods, as well as a dose of his NY accent.