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The great Euro trip: Denmark

by | Jul 26, 2013 | 2 comments

Off the plane, onto the train

The dream of exporting our very own machines finally became a reality the minute I set foot in Copenhagen, Denmark on Tuesday the 23rd.  The bustling station was a welcome relief from the confined spaces of an aeroplane seat.  But I soon found myself in yet another another public transport seat although this one was shared with 2 new friends on our way to Horsens in the East of Denmark’s countryside.  My new friends were a lady and her son and they were kind enough to invite me to join their card game.  Thankfully cards speak any language although the Queen was marker “D” instead of “Q” and the Jack was “B”?  The lady also used to be a barista in Norway so we had lots to chat about on our 3 hour journey into the stunning countryside.

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Scrubbing in Denmark

On arrival in Horsens my host, Jacob Verkade and his family picked me up from the train station and we quickly made our way into the sleepy village of Flemming.  The roaster was ready and waiting and we soon set up to get ready for a roast.  But my attention was soon drawn to an ugly problem: the panels stainless steel panels were covered in brown stains from the oil that we used to protect against rust. Clearly the oil was not the best thing and we ended up spending a full day scrubbing the panels to get them clean and shiny again.  I have since decided to scrap the oil in favour of a special air-tight shrink wrap designed for shipping large machinery abroad and we will employ this new feature with all of our new orders.

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SA vs Denmark

My hosts were incredibly kind and we spent hours sharing stories of SA versus Denmark over the fantastic meals that Jacob’s spouse Iben made.  Naturally, SA won thanks to my constant insistance that it is not actually such a bad place (apart from the crime, corruption and obvious public transport issues).  It was really great to see how different cultures can be while still sharing similar values across so many miles of land and ocean.

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Beat that for cross-continent customer service

On the second day we started our first two roasts.  The roasts came out great and Jacob and I played with settings and ran through all the roasting theory.   We took a short break for dinner before continuing our roasting when…disaster struck!  On startup the fan suddenly would not turn.  I tried everything and every setting on the Danfoss speed controllers.  I eventually ended up swapping the wiring to test if it was the controllers or the motors (both the fan and drum has speed controllers in our overseas versions).  It turned out to be the fan controller that went AWOL.  I spent a few hours trying different settings but othing worked.  At 10pm, we threw in the towel and went to bead with heavy hearts:  the roaster was broken.  In my bag I had every spare imaginable, but not the controllers because they have never once given me any problems!

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By Thursday morning 8 o’clock I had woken up the world looking for alternatives!   Lucky for us, Danfoss is an international company with their origins right there in Denmark only an hour’s drive away!!  We headed out and quickly got a replacement unit.  Thank goodness we used international parts, otherwise we would have been thoroughly screwed!  The parts were about 3x the price that we get them for in SA (who knew!) but after some more tinkering we were quickly busy with our 3rd and final roast.  What an adventure!

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It’s a balancing game

After a really long but victorious day, Jacob and I jumped on some bicycles and headed over the neighbour’s place to drop off some of our new freshly roasted coffee!  And yes, for all those who won’t believe me, Neil CAN still ride a bike (barely).  Here’s proof!

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On Friday we set out to Hamburg, Germany.  The Verkade family were on their way for a family holiday and where kind enough to drop me in Hamburg to catch an overnight train to Munich in the South of Germany.  We’ll pick up this story there…

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2 Comments

  1. Serett Maree

    Nice article of your trip. You are such a good ambassador for our country. Love you

  2. Dieneke Nauta

    Hello,
    I am the mother of Jakob Verkade in the Netherlands and I enjoyed your story about your travel to Jakob and family.
    Being an antropologist, I am very interested in your experiences abroad.
    You are a good observer.

    Greetings Dieneke Nauta

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