things

Better Espresso with Rocket Cellini Evo v2

Two weeks after the shipment arrives, here's the combination. A Mazzer Mini Manual and a Rocket Cellini Evo v2 Espresso machine. 

Two weeks after the shipment arrives, here's the combination. A Mazzer Mini Manual and a Rocket Cellini Evo v2 Espresso machine. 

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First I don't consider myself a coffee junkie, but I do drink it for the taste and at times it does make me more alert. But I would say I do enjoy a nice cup of coffee, and there are some cafe in Seoul that do coffee a level above the rest - I have Chan's in mind, and you can't go wrong with a small cafe with a Synesso and La Marzocco machines.

For the last 8 years, I've been getting my coffee fix in the morning from a fully automatic Saeco Incanto Deluxe. It does an ok job at coffee, though the espresso was a little average. And a few weeks ago, it decided to go nuts - perhaps something happened with the electronics. The grinder stopped working a year ago, and now it will not even brew.

So, after searching for a new machine in Seoul, I decided to import one from Italy. Koreans, being coffee-nuts I think, don't levy any duty on coffee machines, just a 10% tax. So with DHL/Fedex/TNT charge it would be cheaper to buy it from an online discount store and paying the Korean VAT. I bought mine from http://www.espressocoffeeshop.com and I would say that I received excellent service from them and they will even have a real person answering the phone - I don't see why I shouldn't recommend them. 

The shipment arrived in a crated double box weighing easily 30kg. Cart required!

The shipment arrived in a crated double box weighing easily 30kg. Cart required!

Standard package comes with a 1 and 2 shot portafilter. I bought the naked portafilter (on the right) in the same shipment. It was packed into the main box during shipment. 

Standard package comes with a 1 and 2 shot portafilter. I bought the naked portafilter (on the right) in the same shipment. It was packed into the main box during shipment. 

More or less my first view of the Cellini. Nice chrome steel exterior, I was caught by how gorgeous it looked right here.

More or less my first view of the Cellini. Nice chrome steel exterior, I was caught by how gorgeous it looked right here.

Comes with piping to connect to the water mains, and the other PVC pipe is to connect the waste water tray to the drainage system. Made mainly for small shops, or big drinkers at home.

Comes with piping to connect to the water mains, and the other PVC pipe is to connect the waste water tray to the drainage system. Made mainly for small shops, or big drinkers at home.

Now, I did do some research on the web, but I must confess that I bought the Rocket mainly because it looks pretty. The Cellini line more so than Giotto. I was going to go with the Premium Plus but finally changed the order to a Evoluzione model because I didn't want to wait two weeks for the stock to arrive. The only difference is that the Evo comes with a quieter rotary pump and allows for plugging into mains water supply. Otherwise, I believe it is the same.

After complaining on facebook, just about every comment there was to get a nespresso machine. I've tried them before, they're in every office that tries to be "decent" but I hate to be locked into standardized tastes - even if there are I believe 16 of them. They taste average, and no where near good. And I think I like the ritual of the freshly grinding the beans and then pulling a shot and cleaning up. Sometimes convenience is not an excuse to enjoy a nice cup. Have you ever seen a Nespresso store - sure they're nice and always in upmarket areas, the flagship in Seoul is right next to all the fashion houses in Cheongdam district. Which makes me wonder the kind of margin the make on the capsules. Once you're locked in, you're locked in.

I don't think a coffee set up where you have a separate grinder and a semi-automatic espresso machine is for everyone. First of all, if you do some reading on pulling a great cup of espresso, there are many variables involved. Get one of them less than optimal and the coffee is less than great, kill me but I think if you are consistent enough it will always taste better than any capsule coffee anytime. And that one day in the week when you pull the perfect shot and when latte art looks like a fern and not some tumour, that's the time of the week when you can feel a sense of accomplishment!

I like the way Italians proudly display their logo. This is on the Mazzer Mini grinder that is paired with the Cellini. 

I like the way Italians proudly display their logo. This is on the Mazzer Mini grinder that is paired with the Cellini.