Hunt for La Marzocco……

So, when I had bought the business in September, the espresso machine I had inherited was a single group La Spaziale. It pulled pretty decent shots but was a little lacking in the putting steam into milk department, as a consequence our micro foam wasn’t quite as micro as we would like. In addition, if the business was going to get anywhere near the volume of coffee, we needed to sell we were definitely going to have to upgrade our machine to at least a 2 group, with a larger capacity boiler. Our businesses in the U.K had used La Marzocco and in fact the roasting company had been a distributor for La Marzocco. I had always been happy with the machines I had used previously, so the search began for a good used 2 group La Marzocco. Whilst I was in Vancouver, judging for the Canadian Barista Championships, I had met a guy called Nelson Teskey, who was Director of Coffee for Oughtred Coffee. Nelson mentioned that a good friend of his, had a La Marzocco 2 group FB70, that currently wasn’t being used. As it happened, this friends’ business was just around the corner from where the judges’ training was taking place, so we hastily nipped off to see the machine. The business was Agro Coffee Roasters and the chap selling the machine was called Dusty Smith. It was decided, after barely any ado, that Dusty was willing to part with it and I was delighted to take ownership of this FB70 beauty.  I was travelling back to Vancouver Island on foot (and boat obvs) and since hoisting the machine over my shoulder wasn’t an option, I would pick-up the machine on my next visit to Vancouver when I could come with our family conveyance.

My next visit came along relatively quickly, and I promptly rocked up to the exterior of Agro Coffee Roasters, whereby, Dusty and myself manhandled the machine into the back of the aforementioned conveyance. It seemed entirely appropriate to conclude business with a couple of light ales, so with that, Dusty delivered us to Powell Brewery, where I learned much about the Q Grader certification whilst some refreshing and high-class beers were imbibed.  

Back on the island, I had enlisted the help of Cole, electrician extraordinaire and boyfriend of Mackenzy, one of the team from French Press. We spent an evening battling with electrical wiring and ‘enjoyed’ much plumbing ‘fun’. After what seemed like a modest eternity, we managed to turn the FB70 on and she sprang into life, ‘She’s Alive!’ I shouted. Well, I would have shouted ‘She’s Alive’, but being British and not accustomed to showing too much excitement, I thought it instead……really quite loudly.

The next day, we kept running into pump related problems and it transpired, after further inspection that there were a series of green coffee beans lodged into various areas of the pump. Baffled by this, it took me sometime to realize how this might have occurred. The La Marzocco had spent a little time in our study at home and I have no doubt there will have been a few green bean samples close by. I do recall on several occasions my youngest son, Albie-Jack, age 3 at the time, ‘fixing’ the espresso machine. I can only guess that he was ‘fixing’ the machine pump with some very inviting coffee beans.

I was delighted that we had upgraded our espresso machine and was looking forward to making more consistent beverages as well as being able to cope with a higher volume of customers.

What next? I asked myself, Food next! I replied with barely any concern for my mental health. 

Jeremy Perkins