We had waited oh so long for the arrival of the new Astoria Plus 4 You TS
and let me tell you, it was well worth it. Now we can't imagine what we ever did without her! She had a very glamourous beginning at the World Latte Art and World Coffee in Good Spirits Championships in Goethenburg, Sweden.
Not only is she eye-catching, she has the mechanical and technical chops to match her stunning good looks. Energy efficient, with the automatic function of switching to energy saving mode when not in use, this machine is designed for the busy cafe that needs reporting capabilities to keep track of just how many coffees are being produced. The steam wand is powerful and efficient and steams gloriously micro-textured milk in no time. We are only just beginning to explore the reporting functionality, but you will certainly be hearing a lot more about this Astoria in the future.
We chatted to Johan Fritz of PartsHub
and Gourmet Coffee
, the man who made the arrival of this first of it's kind in South Africa arrival possible.
How did PartsHub begin?
PartsHub was created by hyped, stressed, swearing coffee lovers as an alternative for the parts department of GCR and it’s confined ceiling height. Over the last 4 years we have spent countless hours pouring over the increasing line-up of espresso machine and coffee grinder spares, always adjusting to the ever changing market. The deal breaker came in April 2011 when we had a chance encounter with LF Spa from Italy, our supplier with a global footprint, at a show in Joburg. We have seen the potential aligning ourselves with LF and made the vital decision to become their sole distributor in SA.
What was your background before this business?
I was the maintenance manager for Vida e Caffe, based in Capetown but servicing all the cafes throughout the country. It was an eye-opener and I took a lot of positives from my experience with them. But my real introduction to coffee was in the UK with AMT Coffee – a coffee with a difference - mobile units that was setup on most mayor railway stations throughout the Great Britian. The then 3 American brothers had huge success with their concept and were rolling out new ‘shops’ at very short intervals.
What is the most exciting part of your job?
Coming to work. Oh, and being able to assist customers that has had no luck sourcing parts from our competitors ;)
How has the coffee industry changed since you began?
Automation and precision I would say are the 2 things that has changed quite a lot over the years
What is your opinion of the Astoria Plus 4U TS machine? What makes it stand out from the plethora of machines available?
Loving It!! The user has been taken into consideration throughout the design and thus allows for maximum efficiency from the TS.
Astoria has made another solid machine that can perform ( as shown with the WBC Latte Art ) as well as any top end rival with dedicated boilers, informative display and PID. And having a 47.6% energy saving over traditional machines surely tics my eco box
It might not stand out per se, but definitely won’t stand back for anyone
What is the most asked for part in the coffee equipment service industry?
E61 Grouphead Gasket
And the most frequently asked question?
Will this (part ) fit my machine ?
Where is your favourite place to drink coffee in Cape Town?
Next to me is a La Marzocco Linea EE 1group, a Compak E8 Conical grinder with coffee from Hazz – so right here is perfect!
If I’m not at work, Espresso Lab Micro Roasters
is a firm favourite.
On location at it's new home in the Durban Surf Espresso Bar on North Beach!