HOST is the world’s largest hospitality equipment, coffee and food fair. It is held in Milan every 2 years and attracts thousands of exhibitors and hundreds of thousands of visitors. There were reported to have been 650,000 this year and when combined with the visitors to EXPO 2015 meant foot traffic chaos.
Italians are inherently stylish and style conscious and that makes for gorgeous displays and stands. The stand though need to stand out as so much of the product displayed is generic and largely interchangeable with other suppliers’ products. This is most evident in the capsule market that is now simply a behemoth. Thank you Nestle. With the patent having expired, there are dozens of Nestle compatible capsule manufacturers all offering essentially the same product; a few grams of a heavily influenced robusta blend. Sugar stick makers never had it better.
Automatic machines are also everywhere but there are only so many ways to design a rectangle. The current crop of machines and in particular the Swiss and German ones are black boxes with an ipad control panel on the front. Loaded with electronics, the cost of maintaining them post warranty expiry is positively daunting. To the Italians credit, their automatic machines are not amorphous and with metal brewing groups and stainless steel boilers, they produce a really good extraction.
New traditional machines have updated facades but inside, things haven’t changed enormously since 1961. Every manufacturer now offers a multi boiler machine and with brew ratios the go to measure, some even measure volume based on weight of extraction. This stuff doesn’t come cheap and that is why they are made in Italy but not found in Italy where free on loan machines and the 7g espresso reign supreme.