Saturday, 15 April 2017

Conid Cappuccino - more than just froth!

I am from Melbourne: the coffee capital of Australia; so when I heard that there was a coffee themed fountain pen brewing, naturally I wanted to be in on the act before it was too latte! 

The Pelikan Cafe Creme, the Lamy AlStar in coffee, the Mocha Brown Sailor Progear are all samples of other coffee-linked pens; but none of them quite perked me up until this one... the Conid Cappuccino.



Now sometimes the boast of pen manufacturers are all froth; but not this time. Here, in a limited run of only 36, lay my opportunity (if I got my order in, in time) to purchase the cream of Conid's fountain pen offerings. I took the plung (er), and took whatever beans necessary to make this pen mine.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Being excited about the arrival of a new pen is something that can turn any Quillophyle a quiver. 

Will it live up to expectations? 

Will it look as good as the photographs ? (Unless you're near a brick and mortar store, this is always a risk - sort of like on-line dating, only you're pretty much stuck with this one forever) 

Will it write straight away?

Well there was no need for me to feel despresso; the Conid Cappuccino impressed from the beginning.

The packaging was impressive without being too over the top: 
  • a small, black, hinged, metallic box simply marked "Conid" and the edition number (see below); 
  • an opaque pen stand, 
  • a Conid drink coaster (weird addition, but I guess it's consistent with a coffee theme)
  • a Conid branded cleaning cloth
  • a few other cards and notes (examples of the tests to ensure my cursive italic titanium nib is tuned as required); and
  • the pen.




9/10

APPEARANCE AND DESIGN
The Conid Cappuccino has a relatively simple design. It's not extraordinary; and yet... The luscious warmth and flow of the resin (I presume) coffee and milk swirls immediately fill the senses with a shot of excitement.
One of the reasons I haven't bought a Conid earlier, is that I have been somewhat underwhelmed by their design. There has been nothing wrong with it; it's just a little more utilitarian than a shallow "ooo, look at all the pretty colours" guy like me is attracted to. This time however, Conid have managed to include some pretty colours and swirls and suddenly I can no longer mocha them! (Oh dear, just how many coffee puns can I do?). 

While we're on "Appearance and Design" I should also mention briefly the filling system (so there, I've mentioned it. It is a major design highlight; but I'll let that percolate a little for now and talk more about it later).

Other design features include the ink window; and the clever black and white touch on the finial (the top of the cap) which is a design representing the clever piston-turning mechanism that is unique to Conid Bulkfillers (not sure I love that name - sounds like a body builder's diet regime prior to a major competition).
8.5/10

WEIGHT AND DIMENSIONS
The Cappuccino measures about 135mm in length capped, and 127mm uncapped. It also posts securely (if you like to post - and I do); and that takes the length to around 165mm. 

Width is pretty standard (around 12mm).

I find the Cappuccino a lovely weighted pen; and an ideal size. Posted it is a touch top heavy; but not ridiculously so.
8/10

NIB AND PERFORMANCE
Conid uses Bock nibs and this was an area I ummed and ahhed in while making my choices. You can choose steel, gold or titanium and I just wasn't sure which way to go. In the end I decided that I didn't have all that many titanium nibs so I would give that a go. Just to sweeten the deal, I also decided to get a cursive italic "grind".

I was very happy with my decision.
This nib wrote perfectly right out of the box. No skipping, no hard-starting and fabulous line variation and bounce. 

In my experience, titanium nibs are not necessarily flex nibs (although I have found the Stipula titanium nibs to have some pleasant flex in them). Nevertheless, this Bock nib (Bock are a nib manufacturer for those who are wondering what on earth I'm talking about) has a fabulous feel to it that makes the pen a pleasure to write with.
8/10

FILLING SYSTEM
Conid's filling system is unique. It is one of the reasons I have always wanted to try a Conid. Essentially, the Cappuccino "Bulkfiller" is a piston filler. But the way it fills somewhat resembles a French Press: somewhere between a piston filler and the Visconti and Pilot power fillers. 
Describing how the filling mechanism works is extremely difficult; so I would recommend you look at how it's done by watching Matt Armstrong of "The Pen Habit" doing a fantastic job of detailing the engineering of this pen. You check out his Conid review on YouTube here: Conid Bulkfiller on the Pen Habit
What makes this filling mechanism unique is that Conid have engineered a system that maximises the amount of ink you take into the barrell by essentially engaging and disengaging the piston mechanism with a plunger. Like a French Press in reverse. Cleaning the pen is the same in reverse; but 150% easier and more effective than Visconti Power fillers and the Pilot Custom 823. I would go so far as to say that the Conid system is the easiest of all my pens to completely flush out of ink.
The only caveat I would add to this praise is that because it is so unique, (or I'm just so damn old) I have forgotten a few times how to engage the mechanism and had to play around a few times to remember. Once my head is back into gear however, it's as simple as can be.
9/10

COST AND VALUE
One of the other reasons I haven't bought a Conid before has been cost. These pens are not cheap. And when you find a limited edition of only 36, well....
Nevertheless, the Conid Cappuccino has bean superbly engineered, is a great looking pen and has a fabulous nib. You get what you pay for.
8/10
 
CONCLUSION
This was a brand it has taken me some time to add to my collection; but now it's here, I am happy to say that the Cappuccino, is a really... wait for it... BREWtiful pen!

84/100



00-50
To be avoided at all costs
51-60
It’s cheap and you don’t really care
61-70
A nice pen with the makings of something better (just don’t spend too much)
71-80
A better than average pen with just a few flaws that stop it from being really good.
81-90
A good pen, a keeper, only a few minor places off being great
91-95
Now THIS is a pen! If you can get it: keep it, love it, cherish it, and keep it away from the dog
96-100
GRAIL




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