December 3, 2014

A bespoke espresso machine

In 2012, Café Culture ventured up to Kingscliff in northern New South Wales and discovered an old but rather significant project by Benjamin Haymes. We now catch up with Ben again to find out how his inventions have been progressing.

In the Beginning

My brothers and I grew up in an extended family of book-dealers and our father, John, was a structural engineer. Suffice to say, our early lives were consumed with pulling things apart, repairing and restoring old machinery, electronics, and furniture. And the hunt was always on for the most “precious” thing – the rarer, more antique, more bizarre, and weirder something was, the more it claimed a prize position in the household.

Of course, this strange childhood indoctrination has never quite left any of us. And now, as we are all in our 40s, the siren call of that next “precious” thing is still something that haunts all of us. Either during idle chat at a dinner party, driving along a suburban street, or casually searching the web – something in the periphery of the conversation, or the landscape speeding by has tweaked the urge. My pulse races slightly, and I stifle an almost innate urge to pounce, or get out of a moving vehicle.

A couple of years ago my brother, Sam, who had left school and followed the family tradition into book-dealing when he was just 15 – acquired one of the ultimate artefacts. Sam had recently moved to the far north coast of New South Wales and opened his new, second-hand bookshop. We had always been great coffee drinkers, growing up in the little Italys of Sydney’s Leichhardt and Darlinghurst. It was decided even before the first box of books was opened that he needed a good espresso machine to offer refreshments to his good customers.

Gen. 1

I was looking at espresso machines on eBay for Sam, when I came across something truly unusual. There was this incredible machine for sale in Innisfail, Far North QLD – made of brass, copper and timber – it had been salvaged out of a disused Sugar Mill and was strapped to a pallet. It looked like it weighed a ton. The seller’s only other merchandise was tractor parts and machinery. It looked completely hand built.

Of course, we bought it and shipped it down the coast to Kingscliff. The machine required some restoration, and we set about getting it working – pumps, regulators, pressure testing, balancing, electrics. Finally Sam installed the machine is his bookshop in Kingscliff and began offering customers coffee.

The machine was a complete jaw-dropper and everyone who saw it had to ask the question – what, how, and why?  Eventually, he got so sick of telling people the story, that he wrote it up on a sheet of A3 paper and stuck it to the wall.

Sam fell in love with the machine and began to concentrate on offering coffee. In a small section of the shop he set up a café, where he offered an exceptional coffee.

The machine made excellent coffee; however, there was the issue of volume. With only two group heads and an unusual pump and boiler configuration, the extraction process was time consuming. The machine just couldn’t pump out the coffee like a modern commercial set up.

As the holiday season approached, we began discussing that another machine was necessary to act as a back up and standby for the enormous volume of coffee that was shortly to be sold.

Gen. 2 (the Bespoke Machine)

I began the hunt for a reliable old machine that I could quickly modify to stand alongside our Gen. 1 machine. I bought a Cimbali machine locally and began stripping it down for reconditioning. As I began disassembling the machine, it was evident of how dirty it had become. It took 12 weeks of thorough cleaning and replacing worn parts.

In the process, certain things just didn’t make sense – the electronics were too complicated, too much to possibly go wrong, and there was so much unnecessary dressing.

I am not a fan of the dosage control on most modern machines; simply put, the dosage control allows for consistent extraction when a person lacking the knowledge of espresso extraction operates the machine. So, I got rid of the dosage control and replaced it with a simple on/off switch. To do this required replacing the rather complicated circuit board (computer) with a simple and conventional Gicar auto-fill control box, and a new Hager 25A Contactor combined with a couple of 10A relays. There is now a simple control over water and pressure levels within the boiler.

I began to redesign the external part of the machine. I wanted to create something similar to the Gen 1., and at the same time completely unique. Having stripped the machine to its skeleton, it made sense to expose all the copper pipes surrounding the group heads, because they look like old images of espresso machines. I also discovered that the group heads were chrome-covered brass, so I had them polished to reveal the brass. I decided to use more copper sheet and copper pipe to draw attention to the group heads’ character. To encase the back of the machine, I chose to use wood and make it look like an over turned wine barrel (wood and copper look good together). On further scavenging expeditions I found a large pressure gauge and an old voltmeter that now jut up out of the barrel.  A few other little bits for handles, and here it is – in September 2014 I have now completed the Bespoke Machine.

So many people in Australia love coffee.  Home espresso machines, hundreds of varieties of coffee beans, boutique roasters, the science of heating milk, and on it goes. I am interested in creating a bespoke coffee experience – something unusual, individual, and hand-made, making the espresso machine a collectable artefact. I have now begun designing the Generation 3 machine.

Story by Ben Haymes


MPM Advertisment


Are you struggling to understand your business tax obligations?

Find out about free assistance to help you understand your business tax! Last updated: 6 March 2018  If you’re new to business and confused by your super and tax obligations, why not sign up for the Business Assistance Progr...
by Cafe Culture Mag


Introductory Espresso Machine Technician course

Do you have a handy team member in your coffee business that is repairing your espresso equipment but needs some assistance in understanding the technical side of being a coffee technician? This two-day course is designed for n...
by Cafe Culture Mag


Coffee is the hero of the Australian Food Service Industry

Coffee is the hero of the Australian Foodservice Industry… however cafe owners are telling us that they are more focussed on improving their food offerings in 2018. It’s all about getting the formula right and the smart ope...
by Cafe Culture Mag



Countrywide Distributors can help you!

Countrywide Food Service Distributors are the largest group of independent wholesale Distributors in Australia. From Kalgoorlie to Toowoomba, Darwin to Hobart and everywhere in between, our Distributors span the country to deli...
by Cafe Culture Mag


DIGITAL ISSUE 1 – Out now!

You are going to see a lot more from us in 2018! Cafe Culture International are pumping up our digital presence. Via this NEW monthly digital magazine we’ll keep our content fresh and we endeavour to keep you informed and abr...
by Cafe Culture Mag



Piccolo To Go

E. F. I. Established in 2007, Piccolo To Go has evolved from coffee carts, cafes, catering at large events & festivals to ...
by Cafe Culture Mag


Cultured Products – Puqpress Automatic Coffee Tamper – White

Puqpress Automatic Coffee Tamper is the latest precision tamping technology that is taking the Australian specialty coffee industry by storm. Our newest self cleaning model eliminates the need for daily cleaning which reduces d...
by Cafe Culture Mag



Castaway Packaging – Helping Roasters Build their Business

The specialty coffee industry has continued to grow, creating more competition and specialised approaches to not only how coffee is sourced and served, but also to how it is packaged. Your packaging is more than just a vehicle ...
by Cafe Culture Mag


Contact Us

Mailing: PO Box 5728, Port Macquarie NSW 2444 Australia Phone: (02) 6583 7163 Fax: (02) 6583 7169 Email:    
by Cafe Culture Mag


FIRESTARTER: A Day of Roasting Lectures with Rob Hoos & Roastress Coops

Equilibrium Master Roasters is proud to kick-start your week at MICE with an Inspirational Day of Roasting Lectures presented by SCA Roasters Guild Education Committee Associates Rob Hoos & Roastress Coops at Proud Mary Cof...
by Cafe Culture Mag



Golden Bean Hall of Fame 2017- Fulvio Pagani of Rio Coffee

The hall of fame is all about acknowledging people and businesses which have made a significant contribution to making our industry what it is today. This year accolades go to Fulvio Pagani of Rio Coffee who is such a deserved ...
by Cafe Culture Mag


Record keeping systems: digital or manual?

Having a good record keeping system for receipts and record keeping is vital…   Just starting out in business and trying to decide whether or not to invest in record keeping software? It’s crucial to have a strong record k...
by Cafe Culture Mag



Sean Edwards discusses the Top 10 Global trends in the Café Industry

I personally get to see the best of the best traveling the world visiting thousands of cafés yearly in my role of Head Bean at Café Culture International. I spent several months this year in London, New York and San Francisco...
by Cafe Culture Mag


Cultured Products – Cappucine – Smartfruit

Smartfruit is an all-natural fruit smoothie concentrate. Shelf stable and non-GMO, they can be used to make juice or healthy smoothies. Being 100% natural they contain no added sugar, preservatives, or artificial colourings at ...
by Cafe Culture Mag



What receipts should you keep as a small business owner?

A good record keeping system can make tax time much easier!   Is that shoebox marked ‘receipts’ under your desk beginning to overflow? Keeping and managing your receipts can be tedious, but as someone who’s self-employed...
by Cafe Culture Mag


Zest Coffee: Flavour creation in PNG turns to Golden Bean Success

Sitting amongst the anticipative crowd we listened attentively as the medal winners of the 2017 Golden Bean Awards were ceremoniously announced. You see, of all the coffees we submitted, our Project Raggiana Lot 1 was a very sp...
by Cafe Culture Mag


Tilly Edwards

Media  The youngest member of the Cafe Culture team, Tilly has been learning and growing within the company for a decade, and is now officially full time. She is a very vibrant and driven professional, with her lifetime of exp...
by Cafe Culture Mag



Cultured Products – Ordermentum – Online ordering on time

Ordermentum is a complete business tool for coffee roasters that handles everything from orders to payments and production. Ordermentum helps thousands of businesses get their orders and payments in on time, every time and elim...
by Cafe Culture Mag


Connor Fox

Business Development Manager Connor is an energetic café industry professional who has worked on the front lines of the coffee industry in the United Kingdom for several years. Constantly striving to find the next BIG thing i...
by Cafe Culture Mag


Australasian Cafe School Upcoming Roastery Cafe Model 5 day course

THE AUSTRALASIAN CAFÉ SCHOOL Gain a comprehensive understanding of the retail café industry and the confidence to open your own successful café. The Australasia Cafe School offers a 5 day course for new and existing business...
by Cafe Culture Mag



Get Roasted Coffee – Online store – Featuring award winning ONA Coffee Finca Deborah

Cafe Culture International are pleased to announce the launch of #GetRoasted coffees. This new addition to will feature award winning and outstanding coffees from the Pentair Everpure Golden Bean Coffee Roaster...
by Cafe Culture Mag


Justin Metcalf explains how to keep your cold brew safe

Whether its microbial or pathogen you need to know what this all means to the safety of your cold brew. The sources of microbial contamination can be your water, the containers you are using, your equipment that you’re br...
by Cafe Culture Mag


Cultured Products – Nuvia – A natural sugar replacement

Nuvia Sweetener is a sugar replacement created with the extract of the naturally sweet stevia plant. We source pure, high-quality stevia which has a clean, sugar-like taste. Our delicious, signature sweetener has been specifica...
by Cafe Culture Mag




Leading Japanese food retailer, Sushi Sushi has today (11 Jan) announced it will again be available for players, media and tennis fans to enjoy at Australian Open 2018. For the third year in a row, Melbourne’s favourite sushi...
by Cafe Culture Mag


Pimpin’ Profiles with Anne Cooper

So. you’ve read the books, the websites, tried to follow the information & example profiles presented, & you still can’t produce the results you’re after! Having the awesome opportunity to regularly visit roasters...
by Cafe Culture Mag


Cultured Product: Uniwell4Cafes

Uniwell 4 Cafes Uniwell POS Australia has been providing high quality, purpose built Point of Sale terminals to Australian hospitality venues for over 15 years. The Uniwell4Cafés system combines the latest compact ePOS technol...
by Cafe Culture Mag


Di Bella

A Glamorous Di Bella Farewell

Café Culture International had the pleasure to attend the farewell of Di Bella Coffee creators Phillip and Gianna Di Bella in Brisbane in November this year. The night was a magnificent display of emotions and gratitude combin...
by Cafe Culture Mag


Cultured Product: Bondi Chai

Bondi Chai… Bondi Chai, Australia’s most awarded chai latte, cuts through the frustrating “chai haze” for cafe owners and chai drinkers alike. It’s quick and easy to prepare and its award-winning taste and tex...
by Cafe Culture Mag


China Cafe Study Tour 2018

Attend the #1 Largest China Cafe Expo Over 6 halls of business and competitions Cafe Culture International and Cafe Culture China present: The Expanding Chinese Cafe Market Study Tour Shanghai Hotelex Coffee Expo Where: Shangha...
by Cafe Culture Mag



Issue 47 now online

Cafe Culture Issue #47 Featuring: • The Pentair Everpure Golden Bean wrap up • Product Showcase • Global industry trends • Origin Stories We know our online flipbook is great, but if you prefer a hardcopy in your hand t...
by Cafe Culture Mag


Issue 46

Cafe Culture Issue #46 Featuring: • Australian Cafe Supplier Directory • On the plate recipes • Coffee Origins • Cafés abroad  
by Cafe Culture Mag



Capturing the attention of restaurant-goers is difficult in a crowded market, but keeping that attention and building a loyal customer base is even more of a challenge. We spared five minutes with founder of online hospitality ...
by Cafe Culture Mag




Sometimes, you walk into other people’s venues and think: how are their staff so well behaved? Why is the place so clean? What are their secrets? Managing a bar isn’t easy. Among juggling stock, budgets, customers a...
by Cafe Culture Mag


TRENDING CAFES Brisbane & Beyond

Ever been desperate for a good coffee and didn’t know where to go? As a newbie in town or a local who’s in an unfamiliar ‘burb, this can be a serious problem, if you’re the slightest bit fussy about your coffee. Your pr...
by Cafe Culture Mag


Freezoccino – The Trendiest Summer Drinks.

Ready to take advantage of Australian Summer? Here’s the truism- as the outdoor temperature rises, the temperature of what’s in your coffee cup must fall. A flat white at 3.30 pm when the temperature peaks at 35 deg. C ...
by Cafe Culture Mag



The perfect condiment for your café

Caramelised Balsamic Vinegar Family owned condiment manufacturer – The Food Company, have recently released a 100% Australian Premium Caramelised Balsamic Vinegar to the foodservice market. Using Dark Balsamic Vinegar sou...
by Cafe Culture Mag


Red Roasters – Cafe Review

How refreshing is it to see an amazing cafe when you are travelling that reminds you of back home. Great coffee, amazing food and smart on trend design and a slick fit out. We did not hesitate to enter this vibrant Brighton caf...
by Cafe Culture Mag


Freezoccino – Keeping up your Summer Coffee sales.

Here’s the truism about the Australian Summer – as the outdoor temperature rises, the temperature of what’s in your coffee cup must fall. A flat white at 3.30 pm when the temperature peaks at 35 deg. C doesn’t e...
by Cafe Culture Mag



Changes are coming to GST

Make sure your business is ready from 1 July 2018… From 1 July 2018, the goods and services tax (GST) will apply to retail sales of low value physical goods ($1000 or less) that have been imported to Australia and sold to con...
by Cafe Culture Mag


Water – the mother of tea

I came across a beautiful quote while visiting The China National Tea Museum which is located on the Jilong Mountain in Hangzhou. “Water is the mother of tea, the teapot is its father, and fire the teacher”. Sometimes the r...
by Cafe Culture Mag


Stoddart – Functional Storage Solutions

Simply Stainless is the world’s leading range of quality modular stainless steel sinks, tables, benches and stainless steel shelving which covers a whole spectrum of industries – from commercial kitchens and laundries for h...
by Cafe Culture Mag



Free online courses to help Australians boost their digital skills

Is there someone in your business who’d like to get better at using computers and technology? Tell them about Be Connected! Be Connected is a new program to help all Australians increase their skills and confidence with digit...
by Cafe Culture Mag


Bare Witness – Cafe Review

Do yourself a favour and check out this new #nicespace located across the bay from the Sydney Olympic precinct. Barista & Cupping champion Franki Shi and John Suh have teamed up to launch this outstanding full service cafe ...
by Cafe Culture Mag


7 practical tips to help you save water and money in your business

Every drop counts – it’s time to be water wise. Most Australian businesses use water in some form or another—from a Melbourne café washing dishes in the kitchen to a farmer in rural NSW watering their crops. But with wat...
by Cafe Culture Mag



Super Matcha Green Teas – Add health to your menu

Enjoy our exiting new range of four super-healthy Matcha Green tea combinations. Original Organic Matcha Blueberry Matcha Turmeric & Ginger Matcha Vanilla Matcha. Made with the finest shade grown green tea leaves, handpicke...
by Cafe Culture Mag


The 2017 Pentair® Everpure® Golden Bean Competition Champions

That’s a Wrap Last week the coffee Industry judged and awarded Australia’s and New Zealand’s best coffee roasting business at the 12th annual Pentair Everpure Golden Bean Roaster’s Competition and Conference. The co...
by Cafe Culture Mag


A chapter from Adore Estate

Above being able to share our blends with more and more people, the café sites we roast coffee for always seem to have a great story to tell, from the time they approach us before opening, to when they come to us and to say th...
by Cafe Culture Mag



Cappuccine introduces Smartfruit – 100% Real Fruit Purees Smartfruit Mellow Mango + Immunity

Cappuccine Australia would like to introduce you to the Smartfruit™ range of all-natural real fruit purees. Brand new and one of a kind, Smartfruit™ mixes were uniquely formulated to perfectly capture the authentic taste of...
by Cafe Culture Mag


An Outside View of Cafe World

I am still an engineer but if any of you have read my recent article about Melbourne in Lichfield my wife has thrown me into the weird and wonderful world of coffee. Most is positive but I am also hoping to use my own percepti...
by Cafe Culture Mag


The 2017 Pentair® Everpure® Golden Bean Competition Begins!

PREPARE TO GET ROASTED Excitement is brewing in Port Macquarie as the Golden Bean Team finalise arrangements for what is going to be an epic week of judging coffee at this year’s Pentair® Everpure® Golden Bean Roasters Comp...
by Cafe Culture Mag