Monday, December 8, 2014

The Lido 2 Grinder Review (by Bart)

The Lido 2 grinder review

As I told you last time, I have been reviewing two new grinders for Caffenation. In my previous review you can read about my motivation to getting a new grinder and my experience with the Rhino, a very decent portable grinder. Now it's time for something completely different: the Lido 2 grinder.

If you compare just the two boxes of the grinders, you will notice the Lido 2 comes from a different league. The box is very large and heavy compared to the small Rhino box. It contains the Lido 2 grinder itself, a stand to fit the grinder, a brush to clean it, the manual and a ball driver to deconstruct the Lido for thorough cleaning.
Certainly most striking is the design and the size of the Lido: this grinder is big and made of sturdy glass and metal. At first I was afraid that this glass design might make the Lido fragile, but actually it feels strong and reliable. 
Surprisingly for this price range the Lido does not come with a pouch. This confirms my suspicion on how I would use this grinder. This cool tool is not made for a quick cup on the road, it's made for a slow and perfectly tuned cup at home or even better at a competition.

As you would expect from a top range grinder, operation is more difficult. Fortunately after a short read you can easily use this grinder without having to refer to the manual continuously. Inserting beans in the grinder is simple: there is no lid on top, just pour your favorite beans in the grinder and you are ready to go. To collect your ground beans a glass jar is screwed under the Lido 2. At first this jar looks like a good old fashioned marmalade jar, but it feels more sturdy and reliable.

Adjusting your grind is much more flexible than with the Rhino, the Lido 2 gives you a much larger range of settings because it is infinitely adjustable. Because of this, I expect to see this grinder turning up at local Aeropress championships, where a perfectly tuned grind can make a large difference. The grind is adjusted with two rings, a larger ring determines how coarse or fine you want your ground coffee and a smaller ring locks the larger ring in place. The manual explains in detail how this works, including suggestions for different settings. The makers of the Lido 2 claim this grinder can grind your beans for espresso and I believe them, it will work. However, for daily espresso shots or in an espresso bar I would not recommend this grinder. Then you should look for a large volume machine.

This is an impressive tool, so what are the bad points? Weight and size certainly are not optimal for usage on the road, this is not a grinder you toss in your backpack when you go camping. Also important to note is that you will face a learning curve with the ring operation. The manual admits this, you will have to learn how to control this system to properly use it for perfect grinds. Finally, this is a professional grinder, which comes with a professional price tag. I believe it's worth its price and I seriously consider buying this one for perfect drip grinds at home. If you are a serious coffee amateur looking for a better grinder this is a good candidate.

To summarize, the Lido 2 is an impressive and high quality grinder, which is very powerful and flexible. It's not portable or cheap, but very powerful. I expect this grinder to show up at future coffee competitions or in the hands of passionate amateurs. If you want to invest in gear to get the best flavors from your beans, this grinder is for you.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Rhino Hand Grinder Review (by Bart B)


The Rhino Hand grinder review

Since a couple of years, at work I have only been drinking filter coffee. Before I had to drink pod coffee. I disliked it, and decided to completely switch to freshly brewed filter coffee. Caffenation filter coffee, of course.
Until recently, I used the Grindripper to freshly brew my coffees. It's not a bad tool to start manual brews, absolutely not. However, especially the grinder from the Grindripper was showing its limits with very intensive usage, with grinds being unevenly. The grinder itself was also hard to tune finely, which caused some frustrations in the morning.
Time for an upgrade! I got a Clever dripper with Filtropa filters. The only thing left to improve my morning coffees was a new manual grinder, which can handle my morning coffees.

When Rob asked me to test two grinders, I happily agreed to do so. 
In this post I will highlight my experience with the first grinder, the Rhinoware manual grinder, aka the Rhino.
As you can see from the photos below, the design of this grinder is attractive but nothing too spectacular. The metal finish looks good and avoids the typically more fragile plastic parts. A black, sturdy rubber ring helps you hold the grinder while grinding without dropping your morning coffees. The Rhino comes with a black pouch, a nice extra touch. 

Operation is quite simple, take the top lid off and fill with beans. Put the handle on top of the Rhino and start doing your thing. The grinding itself can be controlled in the bottom compartment which gathers your ground coffee. You can adjust the grinding by turning a screw which clicks into place. Compared to the Grindripper screw which always seemed to come loose this feels much better.
Then for the grinding itself, how does this thing perform? Quite well actually, especially given the price. As you can see from the pictures, my grinds were even and perfectly suitable for filter coffee. I do not believe you can use a Rhino for espresso grinds, but few if any manual grinders are up to this task anyway.

So are there no bad points to the Rhino then? Of course there are. One thing which might bother you is the rubber band. It can shift during grinding, depending on your enthusiasm. Nothing too bad, but it might irritate you. Another issue, which is more serious, is the sealing of the different compartments. Sometimes to lower compartment tends to come loose slightly. I never noticed it coming loose completely, so it's not that serious. However, it is a weak point.

To conclude, I really like this Rhino grinder, both its design and its performance are really attractive. It has some minor issues but it's not expensive at all, which means this is a perfectly affordable solution for manual filter coffee grinding.

After this review we were informed about new improvements the builder did on this Rhino :
"On the next one which you will receive we have made the outer burr tighter on the chamber and now it doesn’t move, we have tested and this improves grind. It doesn’t completely eliminate the bigger chunks but goes from around 15% big chunks to around 8-9% which is better."

That's what we want to hear. 
The Rhino Hand Coffee Grinder sells in our Caffenation shop for €39. 

And is included in our magnificent Ultimate X-Mas Gift Box Set : Aeropress, Rhino grinder, Caffenation mug and a bag of coffee to your choice for only €70. Already on the shelf!

Next up: a completely different grinder, as you will notice from its looks. The Lido. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Roastery Practises


Starting up a coffee roastery is easy when you buy a home roasting device, put it in the corner of your espresso bar and start roasting small batches.

It IS a totally different ball game if you upscale.
From 15kg on, the home roaster becomes an industrial machine. It need to be placed in a separate space and you have all sorts of safety, health and environment rules and regulations.
Summing them up would get me way to far, but briefly you need to have a good trace and track system, separate spaces for the greens or roasted coffee, Rento kill help, staff regulations, clean workspace, and so on, and so on.
On the photo you see our green storage space.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ethiopia Sidamo Suke Quto Late Harvest Pick


This coffee was already on our menu this year, but we are happy to present to you the Suke Quto Late Harvest Pick.
First time actually we buy the same coffee twice with a 6 months interval.

The Suke Quto is an organic coffee from the Oromia Region, and neighbour of our Sidamo Guji.
The farm was established in 2005 with the idea to implement environment-friendly coffee farming practices under the shade of the natural forest canopy. The original farm, around 1950 masl, was only 5 hectares big but has grown to over 221 hectares now. When a bushfire distroyed most of the forest surrounding the farm, many locals started to grown corn and teff on the land (which leads to soil erosion and will leave the land barren after a few years). Tesfaye, the owner of the farm, came with the idea to distribute coffee – and shade-tree-seedlings. Over 150 outgrowers are now replanting the forest and bringing organic coffee to the Suke Quto farm for processing.


After drying and sorting, beans are bagged in Grain Pro bags. These bags conserve the coffee's flavors way better than the old fashioned jute bags only.

Expect great florals and green tea notes. Clean cup. Superb mouthfeel. Awesome! 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Caffenation Amsterdam

After 10 years of working together it's time to get married.

Bert and I worked 10 years our ass off to get Specialty Coffee as a Quality standard in Antwerp and surroundings. But also our professional clients were grateful to use our techniques and learn from our experiences throughout the years.
Of course all for the love of coffee, but, oh boy, what a fun ride that was.
Like this Saturday, back in 2008.
Every week, dozens of stories, and thousands of coffees.

But times roll on and 4,5 years ago Bert falls in love with a Dutch girl.
Things became more serious over the years and 2 years ago i advice Bert to follow that girl, where ever that would lead him. He agrees.
Apparently it became Amsterdam, cause that's the city Esther lives now.

So, we decided to end our relationship.
And marry in stead.
In Amsterdam.
Theophile de Bockstraat is the street, 37 the number.
December 1st the date, if all goes well.

Caffenation Amsterdam is born. You can meet me over there on Saturday mornings. The other days, except for Monday, Bert is running the joint. He's the real owner, but of course we guarantee the good old Caffenation vibe and coffees.

Some photo's of the works and address plates : and hope to see you soon...
Rob






Friday, November 14, 2014

New Mr LGB Autumn

60% Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Adado Grade 1
40% Nicaragua La Divina Providencia Red Caturra


-2 great fully washed Specialty Coffees
-Clean, bright cup
-Loves Milk


Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Adado Grade 1 :
The Adado Cooperative washing station in the southeastern Ethiopian highlands is one of the best in the country.


The people, living in the Gedeo Zone, south of the capital Addis Ababa, are considered to be a culturally and linguistically distinct group. They are bordered by the Sidama in the East, the Alaba in the North, the Burji in the West and the Guji in the South. All of these groups belong tot the Eastern Cushitic speaking poeple, who traditionally occupied the upper reaches of the Rift Valley escarpment in northern Sidamo. Today the Gedo Zone is one of the most densely populated parts of Ethiopia and the main production area for the world famous Yirgacheffe and Sidamo coffees.

I have to admit we beat you almost to death with another Ethiopian, but isn't it so this year, they are all clean, fruity and very long lasting? This you won't find anywhere else than in the bird cage of coffee, Ethiopia!
Grade 1 stands for the cleanest pick. Less defects give better and more stable coffee!

Nicaragua La Divina Providencia Red Caturra :


The most special about this bean is its flavor of course, although there's something special about the variety as well; Red Caturra.
It is a derivative of the C. Arabica found in Brzail in 1950 and sent to country's like Hawaï, El Salvador and Nicaragua and is similar to the Red Catuai and Pink Bourbon.

The processing of this bean is Fully Washed.

The farmer's name is Misael Sauceda; As the history of many farms goes, Misael Sauceda Olivera and his brothers each inherited a part of the land of their father, Porfirio Sauceda. Misael, however, was lucky enough to be the only brother with a passion for coffee, so he was able to buy the lands from his brothers and gradually expand his own land. In the twelve years that the Cup of Excellence program has been running in Nicaragua, Misael’s La Divina Providencia made it to the international selection five times, ranking second in 2012. With the money he received from these successes, he has been able to greatly improve his farm and buy a new farm, Santa Maria de Guadalupe.

Sunday, November 2, 2014