Espresso in the midnight Sun

The Gaggia Topazio and MM-Grinder combo high in the Arctic -- by Pierre McKenty


I’m a novice to espresso-making and it’s my first machine ever. My curiosity and interest arose from receiving, as a gift, 2 bags of unground espresso coffee beans.

Thru my web-browsings, I found and read this site.

The next step was to find a web based supplier with affordable prices, shipping skills to a North-of-60 community and secured on-line payment modes.
Result: Nothing evident, considering the general unfamiliarity of most Canadian small and medium businesses with the North.
Several more hours of surfing, readings and e-inquiries.

Eureka ! EspressoTec, Vancouver BC, is a comforting surprise, with an interesting on-line offer: a Gaggia Topazio-MM grinder combo. It was ordered and timely received.

A huge package ! The appliances are well packed in solid inner profiled styrofoam boxes that can be re-used when moving.

The MM grinder. A 1 page multilingual instruction booklet a bit confusing at 1st reading. But, the works of it are quite simple to understand. An elegant design, an efficient grinding mechanism but, the inside of the housing is plagued with wide empty spaces, narrow corners and hidden folds that makes the after-use cleanup quite a cumbersome task.. If the same mechanism was housed in a less “inner-spaces” consuming design, this grinder would be treasure.

I’m not good at drawings, but I can try and fax something to Coffee Crew for their review and comments.

The Topazio. The instruction booklet is a bit confusing at 1st reading, Thus, the on-line tutorials are helpful complements, Elegant annular-arc design, a bit space consuming on a small kitchen counter.

As suggested, I learned the works of it as I “primed the pump” and drained the machine and steaming wand with 2 full tanks of water. Barely a residue, and no mess. It now purrs like a happy cat, and the brewing head is easy to clean after-use.

Tried my first brews “by-the-book” ! I’m from Montreal, Qc, were Italian coffee bars are legion, but an espresso that good, it’s my first ! Beginner’s luck ? Or, could it be the coffee beans – Kicking Horse, Cliff Hanger – To feel on the “safe” side, I “re-prime” to flush-out a cup of water before each daily brews.

Tried “milk frothing”, “by-the-book”. The steaming wand is a bit tightly close to the housing and lacks flexibility, So, I tried using a small glass instead of a typical jug. Indeed a “fine art” ! I’ll need a bit more practice to get it right.
Thus, cappuccinos, other recipes and hosting friends, are still to try when I feel more fluent with the basics.
I’m not sure if there is a Nunavut coffee-culture and crowd, perhaps in Iqaluit (Frobisher Bay). Let’s wish that my firsts tip-toes thru this site are the beginning of something “extraordinaire” …

Thank you for this space.

Pierre is a hexa-decade seasoned francophone from Montreal, Qc. In the wake of a late career recycling and with a fresh BSc (HEC'99), I started my Arctic sojourn in Iqaluit (Frobisher Bay) in Jan.'00, with a local business, I'm currently with the finance services of a department of the territorial government, and home studying toward a professional title in accounting and fiscal planning.
As latest member of the Coffee Crew site team, (Aug.05), I wish to share, as well as I can, my trials and insights into home Espresso/Cappuccino in the high north
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