Chiasso Coffee Co., Devonport, Auckland (May 1-11, 2012)
Chiasso is an excellent roaster, retail and wholesale supplier of coffee-making supplies and top quality equipment. This is a seriously good place, pleasant atmosphere, friendly staff and you can feel the passion for superb coffee ooze out in every direction. And if you wish for a delicious and very well made coffee, this is a great place to go! We went often, mostly in the afternoon for an after lunch coffee.
When I first arrived in Auckland this year, in February, we decided to test out the Presso espresso machine (www.presso.co.uk) for which Chiasso is New Zealand’s distributor. After pulling lots of shots with the Presso at Chiasso, we became confident of its potential to turn out a good espresso. And after discussion with Chiaso’sbarista and also theirdirector Brendan McKellar, we bought one and we gave it a thorough testing, day in day out for five weeks while in a cabin with no electricity. We used a Hario hand grinder and lots of single origin coffees and blends from various New Zealand Roasters. We are pleased to report that it can make a good espresso, with crema, once you learn how: how much to tamp, what volume of coffee, what grind setting and how to handle the hot water (pre-heat the water container and porta-filter). Pre-infusion is a must (20-30 seconds). Our advise is to buy the custom made tamper designed by Chiasso specifically for the Presso, it is far, far better than the plastic one what comes with the Presso. When serving flat whites or short flat whites (cortados) (yes, we had ACF espresso tulip cups!), we used a Bialetti Tuttocrema, a Teflon coated metal milk frother and a small metal pitcher with a fine pouring spout. Experiment lots and good results will flow.
When we came back to Devonport in May, the barista was Bianca who is decidedly expert at her craft, good natured and a joy to discuss coffee with. She competed in the New Zealand Barista Championship Nationals a couple years ago and is a natural at the craft. The offering of coffee, expertly made, is a splendid way to highlight Chaisso’s coffee and learn more about espresso. Just recently I had an opportunity to have an hour lesson on the finer points of latte art with Bianca. She is an excellent instructor and I came away knowing I need to pull a heck of a lot of shots and practice with a ton of milk! Critical to fine espresso creations is how the properly steamed milk is poured -latte art blends espresso, crema and milk into waves or patterns of complex tastes-- the texture of the streamed or foamed milk, the temperature and the quality of milk. My thanks to the Chiasso team.