Posts Tagged ‘espresso cart’

Ernesto Illy – a Really Good Coffee Pioneer

Dr. Ernesto Illy

Dr. Ernesto Illy – a Really Good Coffee Pioneer

In the early nineties, they started Coffee Fest in Seattle and that’s where I first saw Ernesto Illy.

What a class act. This man was such an elegant speaker, a real intellectual, a scientist and what seemed to me to be the “high priest” of espresso. He commanded respect but did not abuse it  – he was gentle and kind in his interaction with others and was particularly tolerant with those who had less coffee knowledge. I was in awe as a newbie “coffee wannabe” in my new store struggling to get the business off the ground.

Here was a man, “THE MAN”, who had spent most of his life in the espresso industry – a PhD in Chemistry – who knew more about the acids in coffee than probably  anybody else in the world – talking about flavor and aroma and the art and “science” of coffee.

He wasn’t just a lab guy either. He was a real gentleman and a supporter of the arts. While most Americans were still under the impression that ‘espresso was that nasty bitter black stuff they made in Italy’, Dr Illy was sponsoring Fellini festivals in New York City and creating designer collectible cup collections, that were art in and of themselves.

Dr. Ernesto Illy was also an innovator and created a brilliant design and engineering team in his production facility – not to mention a group of “cupping” experts at the top of their class worldwide, including himself.

Illy did everything for a reason – like smart scientists with integrity do – a good reason.

The Amazing Illy Cafe Roasting Operation and Production Facility

I remember reading some brochures “about Illy Cafe” when I was first considering using the blend. We did subsequently use Illy Cafe at a mobile espresso cart location we had for a while.

The brochure described the roasting facility – fully automated with CNC controlled roasting equipment and infra red scanners that scanned beans approaching the roasting machine on a conveyor system.

Infra red scanners sent the scanned data to the computer and if the beans did not meet quality control specs, an air jet came on and blew the bean off the conveyor into a “reject” bin, where it would subsequently be sold on the commercial coffee market to another roaster.

Bear in mind this was in full operation in the early to mid 90’s (~92 or 93?).

In addition, each batch of coffee had control numbers for the labels. Into the control numbers were coded all the data collected about actual length of time in the roaster, max temp reached, date and time of roasting, etc… These codes were printed on the labels of every package of roasted coffee for inventory control purposes. In the event of a flaw or a production problem, they could identify and remove all of the rest of the batch from inventory.

They were also roasting 40,000 lbs per shift at the time.

WOW…

Illy and his cupping experts developed relationships with the finest growers and plantations worldwide and developed a 9 bean blend. The reason they did this is because varietals change flavor profiles through different seasons and with 9 beans in the blend they could minimize the flavor variations and maintain a highly consistent flavor profile year round – even though some of the varietals themselves varied considerably.

Dr Illy’s Amazing Packaging Solved the Problem of Keeping Beans Fresh During Worldwide Shipping

As I remember, Illy sent out specs for quote to all the major existing packaging operations – when he was looking for package suppliers – requesting quotes for cannisters that could be pressurized with inert gas to seal in the freshness of the coffee beans after they were packaged and sealed. They were to hold about 5 lbs of coffee.

Apparently none of the manufacturers had the capacity to produce or supply the cannisters to his design. Illy finally called his engineers together and designed, and then built all the equipment they needed to make their own cannisters to spec on demand – right there in their facility.

So they designed the automated cannister fabricating equipment and the built it themselves and integrated it into the overall production process.

Now that’s ingenuity.

As a result of this technology, Illy  Cafe (whole espresso beans) can be stored in their factory pressurized containers in nitrogen for three years without going stale and the amazing thing is that after they breath a while and adjust to the environment, the blend is exceptionally smooth and always consistent.

The crema is rich and sweet and extracts like fresh roasted espresso – because it is – even though it isn’t.

Awesome technology solution.

There are many things about Dr. Illy that made him special. He was a man who truly found his purpose in life and excelled to new heights by establishing precedents in technology, quality and expertise. He set the bar high for future generations to exceed.

He was a great contributor and leader in the industry and the industry will be hard pressed to replace a man of his caliber and excellence. He was a man of singular accomplishments and intelligence.

A Touching Tribute to the Espresso Giant

Here is a picture of and a touching tribute to Dr Ernesto Illy – a Really Good Coffee Pioneer by Mark Prince, Coffee at the Moment, writing for CoffeeGeek.com. Reading this article brought tears to my eyes because I felt the sincerity and the love Mark had for Dr. Illy. I too share that admiration and respect.  Dr. Ernesto Illy was a scientist, an artist , a humanitarian and an innovator rolled into one.

Truly a great man…

Ernesto Illy – a Really Good Coffee Pioneer

Dr. Ernesto Illy

Dr. Ernesto Illy – a Really Good Coffee Pioneer

In the early nineties, they started Coffee Fest in Seattle and that’s where I first saw Ernesto Illy.

What a class act. This man was such an elegant speaker, a real intellectual, a scientist and what seemed to me to be the “high priest” of espresso. He commanded respect but did not abuse it  – he was gentle and kind in his interaction with others and was particularly tolerant with those who had less coffee knowledge. I was in awe as a newbie “coffee wannabe” in my new store struggling to get the business off the ground.

Here was a man, “THE MAN”, who had spent most of his life in the espresso industry – a PhD in Chemistry – who knew more about the acids in coffee than probably  anybody else in the world – talking about flavor and aroma and the art and “science” of coffee.

He wasn’t just a lab guy either. He was a real gentleman and a supporter of the arts. While most Americans were still under the impression that ‘espresso was that nasty bitter black stuff they made in Italy’, Dr Illy was sponsoring Fellini festivals in New York City and creating designer collectible cup collections, that were art in and of themselves.

Dr. Ernesto Illy was also an innovator and created a brilliant design and engineering team in his production facility – not to mention a group of “cupping” experts at the top of their class worldwide, including himself.

Illy did everything for a reason – like smart scientists with integrity do – a good reason.

The Amazing Illy Cafe Roasting Operation and Production Facility

I remember reading some brochures “about Illy Cafe” when I was first considering using the blend. We did subsequently use Illy Cafe at a mobile espresso cart location we had for a while.

The brochure described the roasting facility – fully automated with CNC controlled roasting equipment and infra red scanners that scanned beans approaching the roasting machine on a conveyor system.

Infra red scanners sent the scanned data to the computer and if the beans did not meet quality control specs, an air jet came on and blew the bean off the conveyor into a “reject” bin, where it would subsequently be sold on the commercial coffee market to another roaster.

Bear in mind this was in full operation in the early to mid 90’s (~92 or 93?).

In addition, each batch of coffee had control numbers for the labels. Into the control numbers were coded all the data collected about actual length of time in the roaster, max temp reached, date and time of roasting, etc… These codes were printed on the labels of every package of roasted coffee for inventory control purposes. In the event of a flaw or a production problem, they could identify and remove all of the rest of the batch from inventory.

They were also roasting 40,000 lbs per shift at the time.

WOW…

Illy and his cupping experts developed relationships with the finest growers and plantations worldwide and developed a 9 bean blend. The reason they did this is because varietals change flavor profiles through different seasons and with 9 beans in the blend they could minimize the flavor variations and maintain a highly consistent flavor profile year round – even though some of the varietals themselves varied considerably.

Dr Illy’s Amazing Packaging Solved the Problem of Keeping Beans Fresh During Worldwide Shipping

As I remember, Illy sent out specs for quote to all the major existing packaging operations – when he was looking for package suppliers – requesting quotes for cannisters that could be pressurized with inert gas to seal in the freshness of the coffee beans after they were packaged and sealed. They were to hold about 5 lbs of coffee.

Apparently none of the manufacturers had the capacity to produce or supply the cannisters to his design. Illy finally called his engineers together and designed, and then built all the equipment they needed to make their own cannisters to spec on demand – right there in their facility.

So they designed the automated cannister fabricating equipment and the built it themselves and integrated it into the overall production process.

Now that’s ingenuity.

As a result of this technology, Illy  Cafe (whole espresso beans) can be stored in their factory pressurized containers in nitrogen for three years without going stale and the amazing thing is that after they breath a while and adjust to the environment, the blend is exceptionally smooth and always consistent.

The crema is rich and sweet and extracts like fresh roasted espresso – because it is – even though it isn’t.

Awesome technology solution.

There are many things about Dr. Illy that made him special. He was a man who truly found his purpose in life and excelled to new heights by establishing precedents in technology, quality and expertise. He set the bar high for future generations to exceed.

He was a great contributor and leader in the industry and the industry will be hard pressed to replace a man of his caliber and excellence. He was a man of singular accomplishments and intelligence.

A Touching Tribute to the Espresso Giant

Here is a picture of and a touching tribute to Dr Ernesto Illy – a Really Good Coffee Pioneer by Mark Prince, Coffee at the Moment, writing for CoffeeGeek.com. Reading this article brought tears to my eyes because I felt the sincerity and the love Mark had for Dr. Illy. I too share that admiration and respect.  Dr. Ernesto Illy was a scientist, an artist , a humanitarian and an innovator rolled into one.

Truly a great man…

Where Did Really Good Coffee Come From?

Who is Really Good Coffee dot Com?

Maybe you’re asking yourself:

Who are these guys?

What do they know about coffee anyway?

Maybe they’re just coffee snobs who think they know what’s going on.

Actually, this website is one of those warm and fuzzy projects I’ve had in mind for years because I love really good coffee and have since 1966.

In the 90’s, I was co-owner of a little espresso shop called The Morning Shot for 3.5 years in Seattle. That experience taught me a lot about the specialty coffee business and espresso. We also had an espresso cart at two different locations.

After the sale of the shop, I pioneered Oscar’s syrups and the Cappucine line in the Seattle market as a broker – calling on espresso operators to drive distributor business.

Peets Was a Very Good Business Model

Prior to that, my interest in the specialty coffee business was prompted by a 1988 article in Fortune or Forbes (can’t remember which). As I sat in front of the Peets Coffee (across the street from the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, California), drinking a cup of Joe from Peets, I read that in 1987 Peets had been the most profitable retail operation in the United States – on a

[ $ / square foot ]  basis. That really got my attention.

In 1990, I began researching the espresso business in earnest and creating a business plan. And believe me, I did my homework. In addition, as a retail owner in the business (and later a broker) I got to know a lot of other operators and vendors in the business – primarily Micro Roasters and independents.

Over the course of thousands of hours on the espresso bar – with diligence as well as trial and error – I figured out how to make really good coffee. But not before chasing a lot of good customers away with bad coffee – first.

There’s a lot that goes into producing a good cup.

Of course the blend and the roaster is where it all starts.

But it’s amazing how many "espresso operators" can take a perfectly good bean and ruin it. This isn’t really a reflection on the people personally – and most of them really want to do a good job – like I did. But the difference is that I stuck with it until I figured it out. Lots of operators just don’t have a clue and the simplest way to verify that statement is to taste their coffee.

Today, I can tell what’s going on in an espresso shop about 2 minutes after I walk in the place.

Trial by Fire

As an espresso bar owner – on the commuter flight path into downtown Seattle during rush hour – I learned how to survive first and then thrive in a highly competitive market. The pinnacle accomplishment of The Morning Shot was being written up with a full page in the Sunday Seattle Times Pacific Magazine by the food critic, John Hinterberger.

BTW, a lot of the accolades go to my co-owner, a classically trained French chef, an incredibly hard worker, an all around fantastic lady and my best friend for 15 years, Lori Taylor. Her culinary expertise, hard work and exceptional customer service skills made the place what is was – day after day.

But I was the coffee guy…

The espresso business, by the way, is a blast. I’ve often said it has all of the best elements of owning a bar without the drunks.

Over the course of 3+ years, 6 days a week, 10-14 hours a day working on the espresso bar, I learned a lot about:

  • people
  • how to make really good coffee
  • how people think about coffee
  • perceived value

My intention is to create a really interesting blog and to inform people in a manner that appeals to the intellect. There are a thousand and one stories that I can tell as I dust off the mental archives and tell my espresso story.

And we’ll be reporting live from around the country (in our travels) about:

  • neat little places we find and
  • things we learn about coffee along the way

We’d love to get your feedback and we’d love to be know it if we make a mistake. My other half, Alexandra – the love of my life – is my co-author. She has risen rapidly from the ranks of a Dunkin Donuts coffee fan to a quasi-virtual coffee snob, in a mere two years (under my tutelage).

Besides that, she can write.

Together, with your feedback and participation, we are going to create a great blog and resource.

Look forward to hearing from you.

And we hope you enjoy your really good coffee today.

Where Did Really Good Coffee Come From?

Who is Really Good Coffee dot Com?

Maybe you’re asking yourself:

Who are these guys?

What do they know about coffee anyway?

Maybe they’re just coffee snobs who think they know what’s going on.

Actually, this website is one of those warm and fuzzy projects I’ve had in mind for years because I love really good coffee and have since 1966.

In the 90’s, I was co-owner of a little espresso shop called The Morning Shot for 3.5 years in Seattle. That experience taught me a lot about the specialty coffee business and espresso. We also had an espresso cart at two different locations.

After the sale of the shop, I pioneered Oscar’s syrups and the Cappucine line in the Seattle market as a broker – calling on espresso operators to drive distributor business.

Peets Was a Very Good Business Model

Prior to that, my interest in the specialty coffee business was prompted by a 1988 article in Fortune or Forbes (can’t remember which). As I sat in front of the Peets Coffee (across the street from the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, California), drinking a cup of Joe from Peets, I read that in 1987 Peets had been the most profitable retail operation in the United States – on a

[ $ / square foot ]  basis. That really got my attention.

In 1990, I began researching the espresso business in earnest and creating a business plan. And believe me, I did my homework. In addition, as a retail owner in the business (and later a broker) I got to know a lot of other operators and vendors in the business – primarily Micro Roasters and independents.

Over the course of thousands of hours on the espresso bar – with diligence as well as trial and error – I figured out how to make really good coffee. But not before chasing a lot of good customers away with bad coffee – first.

There’s a lot that goes into producing a good cup.

Of course the blend and the roaster is where it all starts.

But it’s amazing how many "espresso operators" can take a perfectly good bean and ruin it. This isn’t really a reflection on the people personally – and most of them really want to do a good job – like I did. But the difference is that I stuck with it until I figured it out. Lots of operators just don’t have a clue and the simplest way to verify that statement is to taste their coffee.

Today, I can tell what’s going on in an espresso shop about 2 minutes after I walk in the place.

Trial by Fire

As an espresso bar owner – on the commuter flight path into downtown Seattle during rush hour – I learned how to survive first and then thrive in a highly competitive market. The pinnacle accomplishment of The Morning Shot was being written up with a full page in the Sunday Seattle Times Pacific Magazine by the food critic, John Hinterberger.

BTW, a lot of the accolades go to my co-owner, a classically trained French chef, an incredibly hard worker, an all around fantastic lady and my best friend for 15 years, Lori Taylor. Her culinary expertise, hard work and exceptional customer service skills made the place what is was – day after day.

But I was the coffee guy…

The espresso business, by the way, is a blast. I’ve often said it has all of the best elements of owning a bar without the drunks.

Over the course of 3+ years, 6 days a week, 10-14 hours a day working on the espresso bar, I learned a lot about:

  • people
  • how to make really good coffee
  • how people think about coffee
  • perceived value

My intention is to create a really interesting blog and to inform people in a manner that appeals to the intellect. There are a thousand and one stories that I can tell as I dust off the mental archives and tell my espresso story.

And we’ll be reporting live from around the country (in our travels) about:

  • neat little places we find and
  • things we learn about coffee along the way

We’d love to get your feedback and we’d love to be know it if we make a mistake. My other half, Alexandra – the love of my life – is my co-author. She has risen rapidly from the ranks of a Dunkin Donuts coffee fan to a quasi-virtual coffee snob, in a mere two years (under my tutelage).

Besides that, she can write.

Together, with your feedback and participation, we are going to create a great blog and resource.

Look forward to hearing from you.

And we hope you enjoy your really good coffee today.

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