Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Belgium Aeropress Championship 2014 : Results and Recipes

Oh yes, yet again the comp was a bit hit. The 4th BAC was a lot of coffee fun.

18 Aeropressers at the starting line. A great coffee. And lots of spectators.

The judges from a country North of Belgium were a the top of their toes and picked these 6 semi finalists :
Sofie from 32 cup : Vice champ last year : she went for a strong full bodied cup with nice acidity. For sure the most extreme drill of the year.
Alex from Caffenation : Light cup, sweet, well balanced. And the only one using the company's competition water. Most contestants prefered Spa blauw or (Sofie) Lidl water.
Charlene from Or : Improved version of Alex her recipe and close by her world championship recipe of 2012 in Portland.
Jeff from Caffenation : Very compact flavors. Sweet. Perfect mouthfeel. The first time you drink this your mouth falls open.
Bert from Caffenation : Comparable cup, but a tad stronger. Clean mean, but just not good enough for the finals.
Isabelle from Coffeelabs : Stellar cup! For me the sexiest cup of the day. Sweet, clean, but with an extra twang - spices, sours. She was also the only one analyzing her first brew and then redialing it the second round. Still waiting for her recipe though.

TOP 3 :
1. Jeff Verellen. Multiple and Reigning World & Belgian Champ : The king is still on his throne
2. Isabelle Verschraegen. Reigning UK Champ and ready to take over next year.
3. Sofie Nijs. Second podium in a row. What a gifted girl.

With 4 out of 6, the women were omni present this year.
No amateurs in the semis this year.
Price for bad luck goes to the 2012 champ Vincent. 2 years in a row it felt to me that he had the best coffee of all losing first rounders. Keep it up 'boyke'; you still got it.

Jeff's recipe (in his own words) :
Aeropress in regular mode

Cooled almost iced container to brew on.

Rinse the filter with boiling water to open up the paper and clean it. 

Spa blue

Picking out lights, quakers, ears anything weird.
Setting 7.6 on EK-43 grinder running.
Don't "twack" the grinder.
Sieving with sowden filter: only very small fines removed. Also using static on the filter to remove chaff and nerves. 
Use 17.3 grams of the sieved coffee.

Water at 83-82c to bloom, nicely wet everything, 40 grams or so.

Wait about 30 seconds.

Use a dash of cool water to get the kettle water to 76c

Very slowly pour in the middle of the aeropress to get to about 285 grams total on the scale, take about a minute for this.

30 second plunge.

Leave 1/5 of the brew in the press and discard. 

Are you salivating yet?

This recipe sounds easy, but actually it is (to use WAC host TC Varneys words) : a fiddly one to nail.

Sofie's recipe :
16,5 gr - fines out - medium to coarse grind
240 ml water at 84°
pour, stir for 10 seconds
steep for 40 seconds
plunge for 30 seconds

For next year maybe already a good new idea.
If we would have 27 competitors in the first round, 9 in the second and 3 in the finals.... Possible.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

La Serrania is the new Decaf (Dutch)

Bijna geen enkele van de espresso bars die we beleveren heeft interesse in onze decaf koffie. Begrijpelijk want het publiek in deze plaatsen vraagt er ook niet naar. 1 van de redenen is omdat onze koffie's veelal weinig cafeïne bevatten. Een andere is de jonge leeftijd van vele bezoekers. Dit maakt dat ze nog goed de cafeïne verdragen en dikwijls ook niet zo vroeg willen gaan slapen. (dit is inderdaad ook een halve grap)

Te Caffenation hebben we altijd de ambitie gehad om alle koffieliefhebbers gelukkig te stemmen en dus ook diegenen die gevoelig zijn aan cafeïne.
En met de La Serrania gaan we hen zeker gelukkig maken, maar niet alleen de cafeïnehaters. Deze koffie is echt top en moet zeker niet onderdoen voor een andere boon. Deze week verstuurden we zelfs 50 zakjes naar online abonnees, als filter van de week. En met rede. Mooie balans, fruitige toetsen, lekker zuurtje en zeker clean genoeg om eenieder blij te maken.

Hier de info die onze online abonnees toe kregen. (voor diegenen die interesse hebben om ook elke week, of om de andere week, een pakje genot in de bus te krijgen : click hier.

Colombia Huila La Serrania Decaf
Roast Date : March 25, 2014.
• Nootjes
• Blauwe lichtjes rijpe druiven
• Beetje bloemig en een mooie balans
Ja, je leest het goed; de filterkoffie van deze week bevat geen cafeïne.
Misschien een beetje verrassend en voor sommige met angst om het hart, maar je zal zien, na je eerste kopje, dat ook cafeïnevrije koffie heel lekker smaken kan.

Mensen iets bijleren over koffie en koffiegeschiedenis schrijven zijn altijd doelen voor ons geweest. En deze weekkoffie is er eentje die uniek is in ons Belgenland. Bijna al de aangeboden decafs zijn heel goedkope bonen die in een speciaal bedrijf met benzeen van cafeïne ontdaan worden. Het resultaat is meestal ondrinkbaar.
Ofwel gaat men grondiger te werk en neemt met een bepaalde boon en decafeïneert via de Zwitserse watermethode. Dit hebben we de voorbije 3,5 jaar gedaan, en dit was wel drinkbaar.
De La Serrania is een zorgvuldig uitgekozen blend van koffie's van verschillende boeren in Huila. Onze locale partner Virmax zendt dan deze bonen naar Manizales waar ze met bergwater en natuurlijk bekomen ethylacetaat (zoals bij wijnen) gedecafeïneerd worden.
Zo blijven de karakteristieke smaken bewaard en resulteert het vandaag in een clean cup die tijdens bepaalde blindproeverijen zelfs de tafel kon winnen tegenover vele andere dure Specialty Coffees!!
De donkerdere kleur heeft geen smaakinvloed.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Colombia on the Rise

Back in 2011, Colombia was my 3rd trip to origin.
Together with my main man Bert I visited the El Roble Farm in Santander. We participated at an extensive cupping organized by Virmax. Click this link.

During the same trip we visited the WBC in Bogota and cupped a lot of damn good coffees. It must have been since those days that Colombia became one of my favorite coffee regions.

Before this trip I wasn't used to drink top quality Colombian coffees. Although Colombia is one of the largest coffee producing country's (12% of the total market comes from Colombia) in the world and Antwerp the biggest coffee harbor, I never cupped something better than average. In Belgium they talk a lot about Supremo, Excelso and Popoyan. This is a fantasy name given to a certain kind of Colombian commercial graded coffees. Origin is not specified, although most the Popoyan seems to come from the Cauca area.
Supremo is the highest grade, extra second. The two are often combined into a more comprehensive grade called Excelso. With these you are almost certainly contemplating a standard Colombia from the Colombia Federation of Coffee Growers. Nevertheless, these standard Colombians will not all taste the same. Some  lots will display much more quality and character than others, and skillful coffee buyers will find them for their customers.
However, if a Colombia coffee is identified by a regional or estate name, rather than grade name, it may be either a private mill coffee or one of a group of specialty coffees developed by the Colombia Federation of Coffee Growers. It mostly displays more character and a cleaner cup than standard lots of Colombia, although there is a lot of difference between all the different regions.

Most of the cup character is medium bodied, vibrant acidity but not overbearing, and the cup lively and nuanced by understated fruit tones. Certainly the Huila and Southern picked beans are sweeter, the more Northern ones more spicy and lower in acidity.

Two years ago we bought a lot from Virmax called El Meridiano.
Last year Villa Esperanza. Dutch link.

In between we bought a lot of Colombians, but not always to our liking. The most problems we discovered, had to do with freshness.
Freshly picked, processed and shipped Colombian coffees do taste very good. Unfortunately we mostly saw a big decline over time. Where Ethiopian coffee stays fresh over a very long period (up to 2 years sometimes) and most Central Americans can be very tasty upto six months after arrival, we notice most Colombians fade seriously after the first 3-4 months.
So our politics are relatively easy ; we buy often, but lower quantity's.
Not so difficult cause one of the biggest advantages of Colombian coffees is the fact the shipments keeps on coming. There's almost no other origin that has such an ongoing stream of freshly picked beans.

With over half a million farms it is relatively rare to buy single estate coffees in Colombia, although we managed to do so from the Las Mercedes farm. 3 different lots already this year. And very happy with the cup result, but the best ones are just landed at our Roastery.
El Tesoro (San Agustin) : a honey with a lot of depth and clarity.
Los Idolos (Huila) : a super balanced and clean cup
El Serriano (Huila) : best decaf ever

So, together with a conventional Huila, we blended in the Roast ED during this winter, we talk about 7 different Colombians since December.
Yes, that's why we call it 'on the rise'.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

BAC 2014

Listen up Boys and Girls.

The 4th BAC is a booked!

Easter Monday at Caffenation we have a sizzling line up of 18 beautiful competitors/pressers, 1 stunning coffee (TBA), 3 international judges and a lot of fans. 

Vincent (BAC champ 2012)
Isabelle (UK AC champ 2013)
Jeff (to many titles to fit on this line)
Sofie (runner up last year)
Charlene (BAC champ 2011 and WAC champ 2012)

Judges :
Martijn (The Village, Utrecht)
Maaike (True Barista, Arnhem)
Ray (30ml, Utrecht)

We start at 11 (till 14h) and serve only black filter during the tournament. €1 a cup!

Cu all the 21st of April.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Coffee Processing: Drying & Dry-milling coffee

Great informative video: Good info, nice filming and good music. Thanks Russ