file OTTO has arrived!

  • PittCoffeeCrew
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10 years 3 months ago #4059 by PittCoffeeCrew
Replied by PittCoffeeCrew on topic OTTO has arrived!
OTTO lovers, your enthusiasm is most welcome and appreciated. A gadget guy, myself, I have been selectively going back to analog with a few of my preferred tools/toys.

I am not anti-OTTO in any way, shape or form, but feel there has been some irony in the latest round of commenting and an important element that has been largely omitted from the discussion.

The irony is that, while several detailed commenters have written how unfair it is to compare OTTO with the Atomic, how quickly they jump to compare with pump driven, electric espresso makers. Frederick makes a great point about OTTO's portability and taking the fun and decadence on the road - a definite tally over the heavy plug-in units (though I know several people that will take their Rancilios to a dinner party - easier than bringing a toddler!).

What has been largely missing, and perhaps something the fellow asking for the direct comparison needs to be made aware of, is the relevance of speed. The very name, espresso, is rooted in speed. James Hoffmann, a former WBC champion, said it best with [my paraphrase]:

As a cafe owner or barista, espresso and espresso drinks is about speed of service.

If you have got a lineup of 5 or 6 people, you are not going to serve them well by doing a 4 min press pot for each ... or a 6 - 15 minute OTTO process. They get a 26 - 28 second double shot and, if desired, another 15 - 20 seconds for milk; all under a minute, including swirling and pouring.
Many people desire this cafe experience at home.

The tasters and buyers of the coffee world assure us that cupping and french press is the best way to enjoy all the flavours of coffee. Espresso is the method of choice for high volume production. Not to say I do not love it - I do. I make at least one double espresso a day at home. I also french press, spyphon and pourover (Chemex).

But, back to our gentleman, whose question was "What will I miss if I go the OTTO route?"

Sir, you will miss on-demand convenience (turn machine on for 30 mins to several hours - it cycles, it is ready when you are) and the ability to serve 3 or 4 back-to-back doubles with milk.
This is not the most important element of a purchase decision, but should not be glossed over. If your desire is for a functional art piece that produces as near to 'espresso-espresso' (using Colin's apt phrase) as most folks can tell, and need only produce a small amount at a time, then OTTO may be the perfect tool. If, however, you want the flexibility of occasionally producing higher volume in a short time, you must reconsider the pump driven electric machine.

As for the elusive definition of espresso, I contend speed, inherent in the word itself, must be taken into account. IMHO, a 50 ml or 2 oz shot pulled in 25 to 30 seconds (under appropriate bars of pressure - I will not go there) is espresso. A method that produces a similar product in several minutes, without debating taste or quality, is something at least slightly different.

Having said all that, I would love a taste from the OTTO and a chance to play with one. Closing as I begun this post, I love manual processes and truly appreciate fine workmanship. Long live OTTO. Thank you Craig!

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  • canuk_guy
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10 years 3 months ago #4060 by canuk_guy
Replied by canuk_guy on topic OTTO has arrived!
This is a great thread. Keep it up.

Cheers, Guy :side:
aka canuk_guy

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  • frederick
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10 years 3 months ago #4061 by frederick
Replied by frederick on topic OTTO has arrived!
Ah but my Fine Feathered Friend, although, albeit and notwithstanding your reasonning for acquiring or not an OTTO, let me correct you: espresso is by no way even remotely connected to the word speed.
Espresso means expression, soul, heart of....
Espresso coffee is the subtantific heart of the bean.
Wether it takes 5 minutes to extract it or 30 seconds is besides the point.
If one wants to act as a barista in the privacy of his own home and whip up cappus to a flock of friends at lightning speed...so be it. Get an industrial second hand machine: Faema or any other. New, if one can afford it.
If one wants to relish all phases of the preparation of a fine espresso with a friend or alone in the same manner as one experiences a tea ceremony, the OTTO is suggested.

As for comparing the OTTO to a plugged in espresso machine, it is the only comparison possible as the ATOMIC cannot produce an espresso.
The OTTO is not a moka pot or anything else for that matter. Just as the ATOMIC stands alone in it's realm, another pedestal has been erected for the OTTO.
Try an espresso brewed with an OTTO, you shall see what all the hoopla is about. We are living history in this coffee world.

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10 years 3 months ago #4062 by PittCoffeeCrew
Replied by PittCoffeeCrew on topic OTTO has arrived!
Fair enough, Frederick, on dispelling my attempt to derive 'speed' from the origin of the word espresso - I stand corrected.
BUT, I maintain that speed is what the pump driven electric machine delivers and feel it was overlooked in the discussion until now. Our gentleman questionner wanted to know what he would be missing, and while your itemized list of counter space, expensive parts etc, was as informative as it was flippantly fun, the question of time was not adequately addressed. The ability to serve 3 or 4 double espressos at roughly the same time is important to many home coffee people and may be important to him.

More on etymology:

The origin of the term "espresso" is the subject of considerable debate. Although some Anglo-American dictionaries simply refer to "pressed-out" (rooted in the Latin origin of the word), "espresso,” much like the English word "express," conveys the sense of "just for you" and "quickly," both of which can be related to the method of espresso preparation.


'90s Madonna: Express yourself!

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  • Eamonn
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10 years 3 months ago #4063 by Eamonn
Replied by Eamonn on topic OTTO has arrived!
If I had to choose I would choose quality over quantity hands down. I don't see myself as having to make 5 or 6 double espressos every day for dinner parties. I probably used to make that much for myself but sadly under doctor's orders I've had to cut back on my caffeine addiction.
Therefore I'm leaning to the Otto.
My earlier question on what I'd miss out on if I didn't get a Rancilio for example was not just about speed, which I figured would be an issue, but also quality of the espresso, ability to to make all milk coffees, etc.
Having sampled the Otto I'm really impressed with the quality, it looks like you can make a good latte, although I haven't seen a Cappuccino made.

I guess what I'm saying is that if quantity is the only issue with the Otto, I'm happy to to pay that price and delight in the anticipation of a good brew.

BTW from talks I've had with Rancilio Silvia sellers, this machine is not the solution if you need to regularly pump out high volume of coffees every day and is really more suited small volumes. So this may not solve the quantity issue in any event. In this case you need to go bigger. Any thoughts?

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  • allan
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10 years 3 months ago #4064 by allan
Replied by allan on topic OTTO has arrived!
If you need the volume - buy two OTTOs? :laugh:

I appreciate all the contributions to this thread, it is great to have a conversation where everyone respects each others points of view.

To round out what I said earlier regarding comparing the OTTO to other machines - perhaps any FAQ section would need to explain what OTTO is _not_.

I have been impressed with the design and output of the OTTO, given that it is a stove-top machine. I realise that when people first see the OTTO they have a tendency to say "wow, what a cool looking moka pot", then "why is it so expensive?".

Being able to quickly explain why it sits in a class of its own is important I think. That "class of its own", of course, sits somewhere between classic stove-top moka pots and (much closer to) the stand-alone machines. Hence my suggestion for a FAQ section on the OTTO site.

Another $0.02 from me.

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