Thursday, June 28, 2007

A coffee day out in Gent-Belgium

Today i planned to meet lovely Isabel for a quick break in Flanders seconds biggest city, Gent.

Just outside Antwerp i passed by my roasting friends from AKC to pick up samples :
Ethiopia Djimmah, Brazil Cerrado Perla Estate, a Colombia Supremo, French Roast mix of Santos, Costa Rica and Java and a couple of others. Soon at the cupping table.
And a couple boxes of prime coffee beans : Old Brown Sumatra, Honduras Monte Cristo Estate, Indian Mysore A, Papua New Guinea Sigri and Puerto Rico. Soon in our grinder.

Serge, the co-owner, just came back from Brazil where he visited several farms and cupped some amazing stuff, so we’re eagerly waiting for those great Daterra and other pearls.

Rendez vous at this small coffee house with the name Barista. They offer Viva Sara coffee on La Cimbali and Mazzer equipment. This can’t go wrong you start thinking, but the espresso missed presence and detail and was a tad too large with medium dark crema. Not bad for Belgian standards though. Peter Deprez, our representative for Tokyo can be proud of the products and knowledge he and his family delivered, but there’s room for improvement.

Then it was time to wander around the old city center. I have to admit Isabel is a top class guide. We quickly passed by this must see Wallpaper store Priem to pick up another roll of vintage vinyl paper for her daughter's bedroom.
To celebrate this we moved on to Mokabon. This very old fashioned, dark and noisy place is the best known and most visited coffee house in town. The atmosphere is very unique, but don’t expect any top quality coffee. A bit comparable to Antwerps’ Cuperus, very old fashioned with still dozens of people a day who come over for a half pounder of fresh desert coffee beans.

Better coffee beans at Simon Levelt. This well known Dutch Tea and Coffee supplier, active since 1817, opened up this very nice coffee store with a very wide choice of non electronic brewers, espresso machines, tea’s and coffee beans.
7 different single origins on the shelf. Although i wasn’t sure of the freshness and a roast on the light side i couldn’t resist to buy me three bags :
Guatemala Alta Verapaz, known for it’s vulcano underground.
Nicaragua Finca El Limoncillo, shadow grown.
Brazil Fazenda Lambari, organic bean from the Novo Mundo Estate.

I told this fine young lady behind the counter (sorry i don’t have her name) about my ongoing search for fine coffee and wrote her down this url. She was very enthusiastic and as a true magician she conjured up this white bag of coffee as a present. Fortune Coffee, the secret of China.
I while ago i met a guy who couldn’t stop talking about this wonderful golden triangle area in the West of China, where they harvest fantastic coffee, and his brother was managing some farms. Since then i was in a search for a sample of China coffee and so today i found this very rare bean. Exciting and thank you very much.

We still had two more hours to relax, enjoy the sun, eat and start dreaming about all the cupping and brewing that’s awaiting me the following days.
To be continued .....

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