Kees van der Westen teaching espresso mechanics

Who is Kees van der Westen?

Factory visit 1/11/2011

A rare picture of Kees van der Westen

A visit to the Dutch equivalent of Santa Claus for good baristas in his hometown of Eindhoven.

First, I have a confession: I initially saw the Kees’ machines as equipment that was style over substance. Being suspicious of tight jeans and periwinkles, I have always preferred practical clothing and practical equipment. I’m more of a Linea or a Cyncra kind of a guy, machines that only need a set of tank tracks and a turret to be useful to the Blues and Royals. I had seen the Mistral and thought it looked a thing of beauty, but, I assumed, in a botoxed-bimbo-I-look-like-fun-until-I-open-my-mouth kind of way. It looked too pretty to be able to make serious coffee; I suspected it to be vulnerable to break-down and sudden faints. Continue reading