Getting my coffee fix at #illyschool

Technically, it was the illy university but hey…


image via TikiChris

Last week, thanks to the lovely people at Espresso Crazy, I was invited along to the illy university of coffee to learn about (and taste!) the amazing coffee available from illy – and it was pretty darn awesome.

This is my Illy apron (I'm gonna be a barista!) #illyschool

— I got an apron and everything —

For those that don’t know (I know I didn’t) illy runs its own barista training class over in London’s Islington Business Centre, near Angel. Here, they hammer into the new recruits exactly how to make the perfect cup of illy coffee and here is where we were all to meet.


Things we learnt:

  1. Decaffeinated illy coffee tastes gorgeous, who knew?
  2. The £139 illy coffee machines for the home make pretty much the exact same coffee you can get in a coffee shop. Not. Kidding.
  3. Drinking a lot of coffee at 9pm in the evening is a sure fire way to be up all night and to write notes like a crazy person.


Joking aside, the guys from Espresso Crazy were kind enough to not only throw us each an illy X7.1 (which I obviously had to unbox on Vine – so cool) but also gave me a link offering any of you lovely lot 20% off any purchases from Espresso Crazy* (head to and the code will automatically be embedded in the checkout). – Offer expired Jan 10th, 2014

I’m sure you’ll agree, all of this is yet again pretty darn nice of them.

Finally, the X7.1 (maybe do something about that name guys? how about ‘amazing coffee maker of win’? yeah, that’d do it) is a bloody fantastic little machine. I’m using it pretty much every day, AND I’m making proper latte milk with the whoosher** too.

Now, where did I put that apron…



*The discount covers new machines and coffee. It will allow a max of 3 items per order and will expire 10 January 2014.
**Am pretty sure it’s called a steamer, but I prefer whoosher.


I’m in Canada, writing from my second hotel of about four I think for this trip. The first night, in the Wyndhams, my body clock was still adjusting. At 4am my eyes opened like it was 9am and kicked me up into the day. Damn. “Best start work then…”

First, coffee….  and this is what I’m faced with –

Another poor quality photo from the Nexus One. Sigh.

There isn’t much tech in the world that I don’t get on with, however coffee machines (along with most fax machines) would be on the very short list if I ever made one. In fact, I just did and look – they’re at the top.


Were there any instructions for the machine anywhere in the room? No.
Any tips or pointers on the actual machine itself? No.

Tweet tweet –

About 90mins later, this appeared –

What’s the twitpic behind the link?

Well… THIS:

How freaking amazing is that? My tweet, illustrated.

To give you some background, I stumbled across Irkafirka sometime ago now, back when they randomly sketched one of Benny’s tweets. I thought it was amazing and started following them. Both on Twitter and on RSS. Irkafirka illustrate tweets. Randomly. And they’re awesome.

Yesterday they did one of mine and I’m grinning form ear to ear.

Thanks to both of you, Chris and Nick. I’m made up.


1000heads: Make mine McDonald’s

Sometimes the best kind of word of mouth is that created out of taking the mundane, everyday things we’re so used to and simply doing something different with them.

Take this example here from fast-food giant, McDonalds.

Nice huh?

They took your average, everyday bus stop and turned it into a point of conversation.


By building a bespoke steam machine made to the exact measurements of the bus shelter which then fills the space whenever anyone sits near. Only when the ad is filled with steam does the message become visible. Very smart.

Suddenly the free coffee promotion becomes the point of a conversation, instead of just merely a call to action.

Look around you, what everyday things could you turn to your advantage?

Hat tip to @litmanlive for the original link