David Schomer is a tireless researcher and teacher. He opened Espresso Vivace in Seattle in 1988, began searching the world for the mildest Arabicas and roasting them in the Northern italian style, and soon earned Vivace a reputation for making the finest coffee in the U.S., if not the world. in 1995 he authored “Espresso Coffee: Professional Techniques," now in its eighth printing and available in four languages.
Schomer’s 25 years of hands-on research and resulting success at bringing out the best in coffee (with lots and lots of data), make him an ideal partner for an equipment company that wants to stretch, grow, and break new ground in espresso preparation. So began Nuova Simonelli’s collaboration with David Schomer, maetro of espresso.
What flavors are you able to obtain from your espresso with the T3?
What it does for the coffee, because it comes to temperature instantly, is it preserves more coffee fragrance.
You get a noticeably stronger flavor.
So do alI coffee drinks taste different 00 the Aurelia T3?
They do. The macchiato made on a competitor's machine is about the s와ne flavor as a cappuccino made 00 the T3. This is a huge advantage.
What is it about the T3 that gives it this advantage?
Nuova Simonelli plated the necessary surfaces in stainless steel, because brass can make the coffee taste rancid. With that, and the temperature stability, we got the lovely varietal flavors stacked up Iike trout in a stream, plus sweetness.
Why is the temperature so stable?
They put 14 pounds of brass in the grouphead. That means the hot water has tremendous thermal inertia. lt comes to temperature more quickly and holds within 0.05 degree Fahrenheit throughout the brewing cycle regardness of volume served. I couldn’t believe it when Gianni Cassatini came up to me last year at Coffee Fest and told me they had done this. I was waiting to see if anyone would go that far with the groupheads, to avoid losing heat when the water reaches the espresso pack.
And the brass grouphead in the Aurelia accomplishes this to your standards?
The stability is amazing. That was the final thing that had to be done. There had been all kinds of designs before, none of which completely shut the door on the temperature control issue.
What has your experience been with Nuova Simonelli’s engneering team?
I couldn’t be happier. They’ve been extremely responsive to my requests. There has been a blizzard of innovation across the industry, but I feel that what I have right now in the T3 is the best. I’m open to being surprised, but I don’t know of any other machine that is able to achieve this coffee flavor strength. Also, they speak my language. When I told them we needed stainless steel brewing surfaces internally they jumped right on it.
What else have they done, besides mastering temperature stability in the grouphead?
The really impressive thing is that they avoided the red-herring issue of pressure profiling. They didn’t take the bait;
they knew it was nonsense. At least that’s what I think and I don't think I’ll be proven wrong.
What if you are proven wrong, someday?
I enjoy being wrong. lt can be actually be delightful. lt’s progress.
And waiting for it to happen means I’ll never get bored. Are there features of the T3 that remained the same as previous Aurelia models? And if so, are you happy they didn’t change?
They innovated where they needed to, and kept the things that were good about their original design:
a good tank, good pressure stat and circuitry, and a steam valve that’s superior to anything out there. We make so many Americanos
and the steam is always available- good quality steam, and perfect foam.
What about reliability?
There is a brutish reliability to the T3. It is a tough, tough machine. They test them in Italy, and put them through the ringer. It stands up to really intense use and keeps putting out complex espresso-fantastically complex and beautiful.
It’s really that noticeable, with all of the high-tech espresso equipment out there?
Ohyeah, it’s noticeable. Not just a Iittle. From the first second to the 27th second when you’re pouring a shot, it’s completely stable. And it’s all about stability when you want to preseve coffee fragrance. I just got done with a training on the T3,
where I prepared my Espresso Dolce. The flavor is just a powerhouse-strong but sweet.
What’S next for espresso?
Theoretically, on the machine side, I don’t think there’s much more to be done. Once you have stainless steel brewing surfaces, tanks and Iines, and rock solid temperature, you’re pretty much there. What I need is a conical grinder built for grinding by the cup without the Italian dosing hopper. I would love to build this machine with Nuova Simonelli.
What’s next for Vivace?
Besides the grinder, for us, it’s tuning the brewing water to 150 parts per million of TDS (total dissolved solids) for more flavor layering. That’s enormously hard to achieve on a commerciallevel. We have 50 parts per million right now at Vivace. It’s exciting to think of getting to that final factor of perfect water.
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