Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Well, the Atomic website has a new home - . I retired a couple of months ago, and I made the reluctant decision to jettison the Atomic domain name. However, I have now reinstated the site as part of my personal website in recognition of the wonderful friendships I have formed through our shared interest in the world's best loved coffee machine. Unless my ISP complains, the new site should be around for the forseeable future.

As time allows, I will upgrade the site to conform to the new layout conventions, which will I hope make it clearer and easier to read. If you have any suggestions for new material you would like to see, please leave me a note.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Making Coffee Wihout Water

I just got a report in about what happens when you put an Atomic on a heat source and leave it there for three hours without water in it. I was asked for an opinion about whether the consequences would be terminal and had to admit I had no idea. I have seen pictures of molten Atomics before, and it isn't a pretty sight, but this one appeared largely unscathed apart from discolouration of the label on top.

My advice was to try a couple of brews without coffee, partly to ameliorate the oxidation effects on the taste, but mostly to reduce the risk of the pressure pot failing catastrophically. I expected the steam seals to have dried out and for there to be an unpleasant taste initially. After that, we were in uncharted waters!

Well, now we can tell you what happens when you make coffee without water and follow my advice:

"I took your advice and had leaks everywhere! I then, on further inspection, found that all of the rubber and silicone washers and gaskets had suffered quite badly. I ordered a full set of new seals from Bon Trading and they arrived in two days. With the new seals fitted the leaks were fixed but the Atomic wasn't performing to its usual standard. (No crema on coffee, couldn't froth the milk very well!) Ten brews later though it has all settled down and once again my Atomic is producing a great coffee. The only problem I had with appearance was that the "Atomic" label on the top had gone dark brown and was unreadable. As I felt I had nothing to lose I took to it with steel wool and after much rubbing I have now returned it to it's original gleaming black and silver appearance.

All in all a lucky escape. I now turn off the gas as soon as I finish frothing the milk!

I think it must have been on a large gas jet on high for about 3 hours after I made a coffee, There would have been water in the pot for I guess only about half that time so I was very lucky it wasn't terminal. If nothing else I hope you can use my experience as a warning for other Atomic users."

Friday, January 18, 2013

Atomic Restoration Service Launched

Today I stumbled across JavaCationS Vintage Espresso machine workshop, based in Brisbane, Australia. I haven't tried them out, but you need a restoration job done on your Atomic, and you don't have the confidence or time to do it yourself, you might like mto contact David at (mobile) 0435876408 or check out his website. They do other machines as well as Atomics. You can find them at 60 Kingsbury Street, Norman Park, Qld 4170, Australia.

Monday, December 6, 2010

New Atomic Book

It's been a while, but at last there is another book about the Atomic. This one is by Mikael Janvier, and in it he reproduces many of the leaflets, brochures, manuals, advertisements and news clippings about the Atomic and Stella models, right back to the earliest times.

Available at Blurb.com

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Early Jug Handle Shape

Just came across a jug in a second-hand shop - on its own, just the jug - which caught my attention because of the shape of the handle. It is almost triangular in cross section, and is a very simple "ear" shape.

On closer inspection, I made the further discovery that the handle is riveted to the metal, not bolted. This was common with the early models, so I'm picking this is a fairly early example. I have seen pictures of this handle shape before, but this is the first time I have actually seen it in real life, so I thought I'd post a pic or two.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Black Knob Stemac on TradeMe

You don't see 'em very often, but a Stemac Robbiati model has been offered on New Zealand's TradeMe site with a black steamer knob. The machine looks a little bit tired around the badge, but otherwise very tidy, and the relative rarity of the knob should make it interesting for a collector.

At a rough guess, I would say that 98% of all Atomics that change hands have the classical deep red steamer knob. Early Sassoon models often had light blue or light red knobs (these were slightly smaller in diameter than the "standard" model). The American La Sorrentina (the original ones!) sometimes had an emerald green, but these are fairly rare. Black knobs and yellow knobs are also out there, also fairly rare.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

OTTO Now Available in New Zealand

The Otto Espresso, easily the cutest salute to the genius of the Atomic, debuted at the Auckland food show and is now available at Atomic Roasters in Kingsland (Auckland) and Caffe L'Affare (Wellington). Retail is NZ$875. My friend Graeme has tried the coffee and says it is pretty good. I understand supplies are still limited, so if you want one it would pay to get in early.