I'm Paul, from Sterrebeek in Belgium. In the spanish language, Sterrebeek is more intelligible as "Arroyo de las Estrellas" (hence my alias), it means "Starbrook" (or, in German, "Sternenbach", French "Ruisseau des étoiles"...what's in a name)?
After having been to Spain, some 20 years ago, I tasted what I thought was good coffee there, "cafe con leche", or perhaps even "cortado", and because I erroneously thought I needed an espresso machine to make something like that, twelve years ago I bought a second-hand ECM Giotto, then a Macap grinder, and it didn't take that long before I was roasting on the first model of the (electric) Hottop, until that broke down, around 570 roasts and ten years later. Once one has learned to roast, it's nigh impossible to go back to commercial roasts, so a year ago I ordered and received a propane-gas fired Huky 500 which, paired with Artisan, given excellent roasts.
The trusty old Giotto (loved that excellent E61 HX) has been my constant espresso companion until last Sunday, when I drove to a suburb of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, to pick up a Londinium I lever machine built in 2014. Already, the second day into trying to set espresso with this shiny monster, I find the coffee tasting rather better than with the pump-driven ECM: more mellow, softer, less tannin, perhaps. But I have yet much to learn...however the signs are there: this is a great machine!
Now I have to find the sweet spots, some new routines, procedures... perhaps try new coffees (right now I roast a generic Brasil, and a Yirgacheffe, which I sometimes mix in varying degrees...I haven't been really adventurous in finding "magic" beans.
So, if you'll have me, I'd like to join...it would be wonderful if 911 (or perhaps 908 or, better, 917) were available, but beggars can't be choosers, any number will do!