Just got back from Trieste yesterday, having been there for a tradeshow over the weekend.  The city is beautfiul, incredible architecture and a really nice feel to the place.  This is going to be a slightly disjointed post, but lots to cover.

The Show – triestespresso

This show alternates every year with the HOST show in Milan.  Because of this I kind of expected it to be a massive show, and it wasn’t really.  However, I don’t think this stops it being a high quality show for exhibitors and everyone I spoke to seemed to have had a good show.  I was there mainly because La Spaziale were there and it was a great chance to catch up with them.  (We all stayed over the border in Slovenia, in Portoroz which is a beautiful place with such good seafood… I digress).

Also at the show were a few people I knew including Stephen “The Flying Thud” Morrissey, who was working for Espresso Warehouse on the Elektra Stand.  They seemed very tolerant about me coming by and hanging out, pulling shots and messing around with some new steaming pitchers.

My rosetta from the new pitcher

The new pitcher

There was all sorts of stuff at the new show (from new syrups including a Fair Trade one – which takes me to the uncomfortable zone of the Fair Trade brand outside of coffee, about which I know very little so tend not to be quite so dismissive of! But then I hardly ever use syrups so I should probably worry less)

 There were all the major cup manufacturers there, and IPA in particular had a great stand with two corners taken up with some suspended cups displays over mirrored floors.


Also on show in their booth was the much lusted-after gold illy espresso cup with the bizarre hole in it.

Beautiful, if deeply impractical. 

Stephen catches me catching him browsing the cups

Vintage Espresso Machine Show

I was delighted to find that this show was on, for free, in Trieste.  It is one thing to own the book and to lust from afar, quite another to see them all up close.

The backs of machines just aren’t as good these days.  (This is possibly my favourite picture of them all)

I have no idea how this works, and frankly – I don’t care.  I love it!

Beautiful old logo

Monster groups like this wren’t really there for brewing anything like espresso, instead it was quick brewed filter coffee, by the cup expressly for the customer.  This is probably another post in itself.

The Illycaffe Concept Bar

Trieste is also famous for being the home of illycaffe and I was extremely interested to see their own concept bar that they had opened.  Inside the baristas were doing about 10 kilos of coffee a day, plus one kilo of decaf, through a four group San Marco lever machine.  There were lots of cups and other bits and pieces on sale.

Pulling my shot

Really wasn’t that great.  Tasted a bit dirty and sour.  Of course this is only 1 shot of 1000 a day, I am sure most were better.  Just my bad luck!

Handles rising….

Wall of different cups on display

Outside the tables were embedded with coffee beans.

It was a great trip, a lot of fun and also put a better perspective on what Italian Espresso really is all about (yet another post I guess).  Would love to go back again and explore a little more.

Trieste Flickr Set

[tags]trieste, coffee, caffe, espresso, barista, illy, illycaffe, la spaziale, cappuccino, latte art, latte[/tags]

8 Comments Trieste

  1. Jimmy

    I seriously wonder what those old machines cost back then, in equivalent dollars to today?

    I mean, just look at the thickness of the brew switch on the mutant e61-ish group… it’s thicker than most PF arms!

  2. Phil

    Jimmy, isn’t it a lever, rather than a brew switch?

    And Jim, I’m intrigued by that passing comment about fair-trade syrups, do you dis-agree with the idea of Fair Trade coffee??

  3. jim

    Larry – I can hardly claim any sort of credit for the idea. If you read stuff by the real espresso machine historian types (like Ian Bersten or Enrico Maltoni) you’ll see that there was no realistic way for this to brew small amounts of strong coffee with baskets about twice the size of the ones now, if not bigger. Plus the groups with the four cup splitters and stuff. You basically used your boiler as a reservoir of brew water and then just loaded fresh filter coffee and brewed a cup. It was quick, it could be done on demand, and pressures weren’t really high enough to do anything really exciting with the extraction. Early spellings of espresso often appear as expresso even in Italy (I recall seeing it on a Victoria Arduino poster, though they quickly reverted back to espresso).

    Phil – I have a variety of problems with Fair Trade coffee. I don’t see the ethics in indiscriminate hand outs. I don’t see how you can build as substainable relationship if you don’t factor quality in the cup in, and only having co-ops of very small farms means that it is very difficult to increase, demand or control quality. More than that I hate that they paint the picture of it being very black and white. It is either Fair Trade ™ or it is Unfair Trade and you are a monster for being it and enslaving peoples of the third world. For me – ethically sourced, traceable, high quality coffee is far more exciting. I want the farmer to get paid because his coffee is awesome, not because he has been portrayed as a peasant with a donkey and I ought to feel sorry for him. If all coffee tasted the same then Fair Trade would be fine. But it doesn’t.
    That said – some Fair Trade lots can taste ok, but this isn’t because they are Fair Trade, nature can do wonderful things to the coffee plant. The Cup of Excellence winner I visited in El Salvador was a complete fluke – he harvested poorly looked after trees from a tiny plot and due to a conspiracy of nature it just happened to taste utterly incredible. Now he has a relationship with a roaster in the US, he has money to maintain his quality, hire more staff and plant more trees. This is all good.

    Sorry – I am rambling. I think my biggest gripe is that Fair Trade isn’t about what is in the cup, and as much solves the problem of coffee pricing as giving $5 to a guy sleeping in the streets solves homelessness.

  4. CakeBoy

    Jim, your blog is always a great read and the photos just amazing, but today you have triggered my coffee cup fetish with the fab pictures of cups in the air, cups on shelves and …. well … cups ;)

  5. Fergus

    Jim – If you give a homeless guy a guaranteed $5 on a regular basis, he’ll be able to plan ahead, and will eventually have enough to pay for a room.

  6. jim

    Fergus – And that may be fine for the one guy you chose indiscriminately to reward (still not seeing the ethics – what has he done to earn your money above someone elses?) but does nothing for his many brethren, and does little in the way of eradicating the problem which left him homeless in the first place.

    Serious and sensible schemes like encouraging consumption at origin seem a better way to invest time and money to create more demand and increase stability in the market and it is good to see organisations like USAID and Coffee Corp working on this.

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