Photos by Vanessa Stachiw and Nils Vik
When we were just opening Little Sister Coffee Maker in Winnipeg in 2013 we were already aware of and intrigued by Synesso. I felt comfortable working on a LaMarzocco, but Synesso had a reputation for reliability and being on the cutting edge of technology, so we looked into it and got some pricing. At this time there was no Synesso rep on the Prairies, which was a terrifying thought considering how much we relied on our LaMarzocco dealer for tech support and maintenance. We read reviews and spoke with others who had a Synesso and the story was the same – they don’t break down. Despite this great news, the absence of a Synesso rep in the region was still a deal breaker.
Fast-forward to two years later and this intrigue with Synesso has grown into an obsession. With Dogwood Canada getting started, we realized this was our opportunity to get in on the Synesso club – we needed an espresso machine in the roastery so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to bring Synesso to the Prairies. In the fall of this year, Nils (Parlour Coffee / Dogwood Canada), Stephen (Parlour Coffee) and myself headed to Seattle to see what these machines were really made of and receive Synesso tech training.
We were expecting a long and grueling training – a minimum of two days with reading and diagrams, etc. Ann, who runs the Synesso show, mentioned it would take a half-day to complete. Nils and I couldn’t believe it!
We arrived at Synesso in Seattle bright and early on a Monday morning in September and were greeted by Ann, who was exactly who she seemed to be via the Internet - hilarious, relaxed and, incredibly hospitable. She gave us a quick tour of their immaculately clean and organized factory and offices. From there we met the founder and head engineer of Synesso, Mark Barnett. Mark took us through the smart and intentional design and workings of the new Synesso Hydra MVP. He trained us on how to operate and program the machine, how to switch between the six different possible programs per group head, how the levers are activated through magnets (no wear and tear!). He explained how to save a setting after you pull the perfect shot and how to manipulate your saved shot from the controller – all of this made us weak at the knees. Mark then showed us the insides of the machine – the color codes for the wires, the electrical in cold water rather than hot to improve consistency and reliability, and the ease in turning off sections of the machine to do maintenance while still being able to make drinks.
Our entire training took half a day – Ann wasn’t kidding. The machines make so much sense; it doesn’t take long to understand them or to be convinced that they are the right machine for any café.
All in all, our trip to Seattle was a total success. We have now installed two Synesso Hydra MVPs with an incredible amount of ease and continue to be amazed with all that they can do for us. Thanks Ann and Mark for being great hosts and giving us the low down on what is now by far, our favorite espresso machine!
Dogwood Canada is now a Synesso distributor for the Prairies. Please get in contact if you would like more information.