Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ready for Robusta?

I agree the title is misleading.

And the picture as well, but i like this awkward latte art jam pot still life.

I'll have to be ready for robusta seen the fact i'm off to Rome and the south of Italy for a week.
Bar Camilloni, Tazza D'Oro and Sant'Eustachio, here i come.

C u next week and meanwhile keep on clicking the links.

Coffee's of the world in Antwerp

Straight from Perth Australia, Brazil and Holland.

Just some of the coffee's we've been drinking lately.

I want to thank Mr and Ms Bell from bringing along three fantastic coffee's from (micro)roastery's nearby Perth.
They were all three immaculate, with the Brew Ha Espresso as a winner.

Thank you Pieter for (again) this crazy Sul de Minas. Tasty.

And then you see the picture of the Peeze Romagna.
I heard lots of good about it and bought me directly two K, at my last visit at ESW, but it disappoints me. Sorry.

Barista Jam Time


****er is nog plaats voor enkele geïnteresseerden***

Start 17u45. Stop 20u Zondag 4 november

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Colombia COE winner La Esperanza

La Esperanza, Tolima, Colombia.
Nice when the clients bring their own merchandise along.
Jazzy Jeff had this Cup Of Excellence winner from Colombia with him.
Time to do some cupping.
Full Flavor roast said the company. Again no espresso roast, but what we were interested in was a bowl of cupable black liquid.
Direct attack on the buds. Dark Plum, little bit of citrus and very complex. Cooling down it went towards Yirgacheffe with berries. At the end we were simply drinking the bowl and that's always a good sign.

The king of espresso beans : Daterra. Troels and Thompsen already showed how good it could taste and today at Caffenation we can experience again the full bodied, sweet, pipe tobacco and clean warm finish of this fantastic Brazil.
Last year, on our first Barista Jam, Raf from TMC had some fresh home roasted Daterra with him and that was even more tasteful.
One weird thing. We had a North and South Italian style roasted bag and tasted no significant difference. Maybe a tad darker next time please?

Meanwhile it's a pity we still have to order beans like this outside the country. AKC bought some Daterra a while ago, but i'm still waiting for samples. And the other roasters.....?

Latte Art Tilt Viewer

TiltViewer : seen by joeyinteractive


Thursday, October 18, 2007

3 Shots of Espresso

Speaks for itself, although the 2nd one could have been a nice ristretto though.
I like the sound of this old machine.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tamping Techniques

James from Jimseven, Kiril from Espresso Run and Jaime from Barismo know how to tamp. At least that's my idea.
They are some of the new pack no-kick tampers.

Well for long we had a fixed system to tamp.
Shortly in steps : Dose, level, kick, tamp, clean and pull (the shot).
First you dose your coffee, mostly perfectly distributed full basket, Secondly you level the grounds as horizontally as possible with the weight of your tamper, Three, you kick the sides of your portafilter with the back end of your tamper, Fourth you tamp with coffee with a plus minus 15 kg hand force, Five, you clean the filter basket and then the portafilter is ready to be inserted in the group head.
What i want to tell you is these three men don't kick the sides any longer. They idea is to keep the coffee packed as perfect as possible, to prevent micro cracks in the puck and to improve the extraction.
Believe it or not, but it works. I mean the crema is more developed and the espresso tastes sweeter. Test it.
Below a nice clip where Jaime van Schyndel shows you his tamping technique. Be aware your tamper needs to be the right size, perfectly fitting the basket.

Dose/Distribute/Tamp by Jaime

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Lay out

Currently struggling to restyle my blog.
In October we launch a new menu and House Blend and so i thought this was the ideal moment to change my blog from 4:3 to 16:9.
Sorry if you'll see it changing again the first couple of days, it's just not that easy.

Coffee Perfume Coffee

Coffee in Perfume article from Heather/Memoryanddesire.

Yes, as I explained to a friend this week, they do make "coffee perfumes," but who wants to smell like a big cup of stale Folger's, or worse, coffee breath? The current trend in perfumery is to invoke little hints of familiar things without really smelling much like that thing itself. Such is the case with two of Bond_perfumistaboxBond No. 9's many New York-themed fragrances: New Haarlem and So New York.

I have to admit that I can't smell any coffee/espresso in So New York, even though this fragrance is said to be constructed around an espresso-and-milk accord that others have praised (or despised). On me, it opens with at blast of big, sweet flowers and tart bergamot. If I hold my nose very close to the fragrance on my skin and keep it there, I can experience the entire life of So New York's chocolate/cocoa note over a span of about two minutes. Later, the flowers soften into a disarmingly creamy melange of patchouli and tonka bean. For me, no espresso, no latte with a heart drawn in milk, but there is certainly the suggestion of the kind of cafe that carries the best chocolate gelati you've ever tasted. A perfectly lovely fragrance that suggests gourmet pleasures without actually being foody at all. So New York was created for Bond No. 9 by perfumer Laurent le Guernec.

Japan_082New Haarlem, on the other hand, has a clearly detectable dose of coffee anchored in vanilla, amber, and patchouli. On me, it is the perfume version of a perfectly bittersweet vanilla latte, it's sweet and creamy but it has an edge, an earthy/nutty texture that reminds me most of mocha pastries and coffee beans. New Haarlem is utterly without gender. It is dark, rich, and delicious and remains interesting hours after So New York has gone to bed. I was not surprised to find out that New Haarlem was composed by perfumer Maurice Roucel, who also created the divine Musc Ravageur for Frederic Malle and L de Lolita for Lolita Lempicka, among other outstanding perfumes.

Other perfumed items that contain a coffee note include:

Ava Luxe - Cafe Noir
BodyCoffee - Body Polish
Catherine Memmi - Cafe Noir (candle)
Comme des Garcons - Series 7 Sweet: Wood Coffee
Comptoir Sud Pacifique - Vanille Mokha
Frank Los Angeles - Frank No. 2
Il Profumo - Cafe Vert (based on green coffee beans!)
Jo Malone - Black Vetyver Cafe
Memoire Liquide - 102 Fleur de Cafe and 211 Cafe Royale
Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier - Santal Noble
Parfumerie Generale - Cose 02
Perlier - Caribbean Vanilla / Vanilla Coffee EdT
Ralph Lauren - Polo Double Black

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Honduras coffee

A very fascinating coffee country, but didn't really expect to be found of Honduras coffee. Never tasted anything very spectacular, but it all changed a couple of months ago as it noticed some good progression on their quality and the fact i was on the lookout for a good blender. And that's their force.

In revanche of the country surrounding Honduras they do not have the knowledge and infrastructure to offer us top single origins. Today you see some Cup Of Excellence production, but it's not one of those we present today.

As i explained earlier on it was a very tough call to know what we had in our hands exactly, and i'm still doubting.
HONDURAS LEMPIRA from the COCPROCAL CORPORATION, a small corporation founded in 1999 and with 42 men and 6 women one of the smaller in Honduras. I guess it's from this area and probably i know more about it soon, but for now the most important thing is the taste of course.

Lempira is nation's currency, but also a coffee region producing excellent beans.
Grown in between 1500 and 2000 metres high (SHG or Strictly High Grown) the beans have a all around taste with low acidity and very mild finish.
We needed a bean to get the percentage of Santos lower and replace our Italian Roast, which at 20 % and with latin, robusta and Java beans was still very important in the mix.
The former House Blend was surprisingly tasteful seen the short comings : Our Santos share was, with 25 % too high, the Robusta (at 5%) was a tad too bitter and gave some air bubbles in the cappuccino's and the color derivations in roast was causing irregular foam colors.

Problem solved with this Honduras, coupled with the good old Yirgacheffe, El Salvador Picacho and ... Brazil Santos, still there with 10% as a miracle binder.

No more sales talk now and time for you guys to taste the New House Blend. Or at the Caffenation bar or somewhere else. Someone need a sample? Mail me :


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Championship practice : The Milk

An endless discussion : which milk and how many of it?

We all have seen that hilarious vid of James and Stephen in Tokyo, testing milk for the World Championships.
Most places in the world you can find decent milk, although most participants carry tens of litres of milk with them. I understand. I do not understand those who do the same with the water, but I understand for the milk, cause it's an important factor. Seen the fact we only have to travel half an hour, by car, we're going to take along our own milk. Normally Friesche Vlag has some ok milk in the local fridge, but this time i think we have better milk.

The red brick Inza on the right is our daily milk at Caffenation. It's the market leader in Belgium. 'Normal' milk, 3.2 fat%, very neutral and not too sweet. The other two are organic ones from the organic supermarket around the corner.
We very simply made 3 cappuccino's, each one with a different milk, and tasted them blind.

The result : Inza came way last in taste. I already knew this milk is not the tastiest, but i liked its not too prominent taste, although i have to admit on this test that the other cappu's were way better. Hm. What is the price difference...?
The other two, both 3.5 fat%, were almost identical, with a small preference for the middle pack, from Heirler Germany.
So, that's going to be the one in November ladies and gentlemen.

How many of it, i mean the volume?
Every time again the judges are begging us for more coffee taste. I always had some Wahlkure 18cl/6oz cappuccino cups, but bought me today 15cl/5oz ones from Kahla. More coffee taste with Kahla! Promised!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Check Espresso Run Blog

My Photo Kiril is the man behind this blog.
I spotted him via an article on the irresistible Barismo blog.
Now we're on and on mailing stuff, and promoting one an others blog.

I think you should all read his idea's about tamping and the reviews on different beans and brewing techniques like the (Eva Solo) cold brew.
Thanks to him i'm (again) rethinking my tamping technique and getting that Eva Solo coffee maker, i won at the Championships last year, out of it's package.

So click it, and re click it.
Good luck Kiril in Milan and keep us up to date.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Blend Building with Honduras

Again it's time to take a new step forward with our House Blend.
In the past we promoted all kind of blends, today we focus on the first place on our House Blend, with on the side all kinds of single origin blends.

The first of May and the first of October are crucial dates at Caffenation. Our new menu is launched and it's an excellent opportunity to fling in some new beans and improve the House Blend.
Whole summer i've been on the look out for some new blenders. What i see internationally and on championships is specialty coffee beans that are thrown in the mix, but it isn't that easy for us. What are the criteria for our House Blend components ?
1) It needs to be stable in quality trough out the year. Some Latin American coffee's, like the Santo Domingo, get a old grass taste after 6 months, others like the El Salvador Picacho stay more stable.
2) They have to blend in with the other beans. I constantly have problems mixing up the Harrar with other beans. With the Yirgacheffe it's way easier.
3) Pricewise. We sell our House Blend €11,50 a kilo to professionals (vat incl.). You understand there is not so much room for 'specialty's'. The El Salvador and Honduras SHG we found are really affordable. Ony a 10% above the better Cerrado or Santos beans.
Why this low price tag? Very simple : we want to bring the coffee to the people and not the other way around. Caffenation offers the best beans with the highest transparency combined with the best Barista training. Offering fancy cups, machinery, publicity or marketing plans is not our goal. We want the people here to drink good coffee. Via this system it's a very accessible step in and our training enables all people with decent machinery to improve their coffee quality significantly from the first shot on.
4) The beans need to be easy to work with on espresso and stable over time.
Ever tried to pull decent shots with f.e. a single origin African? When the weather changes or the beans get a tad older you'll notice it's very very hard to keep the shot flow great. Or take these Champion winning blends from Klaus Thompson and James Hoffmann for example. Very fresh and in the hands of these prime Barista's it can taste fantastic, but a bit older and with average equipment and with less experienced Barista's the coffee comes out as a dragon.
What we need is a blend easy to use and stable over time - i mean for the first two to maximum three weeks. Solid crema development without Robusta wasn't an easy step, but i guess we found the beans and combinations to conquer this problem.
5) Antwerp is a great port for coffee beans and our roaster(s) do a fantastic job, but they do not have hundreds of beans we can pick from. Via different Mysore's, Cerrado's, Tarrazu's and others we ended with some beans from Honduras. A country that has been making a huge step up lately. I remember tasting some Honduras together with my roaster two years ago and we were not impressed. But that one Honduras Monte Cristo Estate from AKC i tasted a couple months ago was surprisingly accurate. Not the greatest single shot, but on the cupping table we thought of tasting something that was blendable. From that one on we found another Honduras, origin unknown. The first medium and full city roast were very convincing and now, after 30 kilo's of testing we found the right roasting profile and blend.
6) My dream is to compete on Championships with this main Caffenation Blend. To show all coffee drinkers at the bars or clients retail and wholesale their blend is top notch.

After struggling for years to make a 100% arabica blend that's strong enough to please everyone, from the most inexperienced latte drinker to the best qualified Championship judge, i guess i find one.
Our base for the House Blend was mainly Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and El Salvador Picacho SHG. We always added some Santos as a filler and to lighten up the mix and a 20% mixture of dark roasted beans (Costa Rica, Brazil, Indian Robusta and Java) for color, bitterness and easiness.
Today we increased the El Salvador Percentage. These beans are fantastic on mouthfeel and very well balanced. We kept the Yirgacheffe on 30 percent. Fruit and acidity as main taste characteristics, but first of all a very stable and good blender and ... very tasteful cooling down and therefor excellent in Iced Coffee's. And we threw in the Honduras. First in combination with the other particles, but now on a 30% base and it seems to work. On the first shots of 10 days old beans we found it very good but you could taste in the espresso's a tiny little bit of sharpness on (i guess) the Picacho, but fresher is was perfect.
Now it's time for some more testing on different machines and other brewing equipment, but it's a sure thing we are getting forward.

Soon i tell you more about this Honduras bean we found. It's still a little vague where it comes from exactly, but i hope to know more about it soon.

Can't wait for my next cup of ... New House Blend espresso.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Telegraph interview about Italian Coffee

You should all listen to this interview from Robert Miller with Malcolm More, which is their correspondent in Rome. This man sounds like he wants to make us believe you can't drink a proper espresso in London, or even outside of Italy, and it has to do with tradition and the love for the coffee.

What a laughter!

Somebody can tell him a countryman of him is wearing the world crown?

Click here to go to The Telegraph article

and click : Listen: Why Italians make the best coffee

Friday, October 5, 2007

The Coffee Collective

4 enthusiastic and very professional people started this company a couple of months ago. I tried to follow their steps on the web and it's getting interesting.

The idea is to bring top class coffee beans, masterfully roasters, to the consumer. But also to inform people about what coffee is or could be.
The website shows nicely the bond with the coffee producers at origin.

I guess this is something that interests me doing in the future as well. Going to visit the farms, see how they work and try to get the good beans over straight away, roast them, brew them and give as many people the opportunity to enjoy this liquid gold at the fullest.
Actually we're already doing so partially by offering so many blends, on well maintained machines, pulled by qualified Barista's at reasonable (read low) prices to a wide public.
I think you have to bring coffee to the people and not the other way around, and that's what the coffee collective does.
Also check out their blog for more adventures of Klaus, Peter, Kasper and Linus.

Hopefully soon Coffee Collective beans in Belgium and Antwerp.
To be continued.

Warm coffee out of a fridge?

Whirlpool 20RI D4 refrigerator with built in espresso maker

October 1st, 2007 by Mark

Whirlpool 20RI D4 refrigerator with built in espresso maker
The coolest coffee espresso making refrigerator make no mistake, this is the Whirlpool Espresso refrigerator which brings a new meaning to coffee on tap. We like the world of damn lazy people and this fridge is what you lazy people really need, I want one as well as I like the word lazy.

Whirlpool have just announced their brand new refrigerator which will be available January 2008, ok so this is a fridge but it is no ordinary fridge because it has something special where you can just wake up in the morning go to the fridge and hey presto espresso on the quick.

If you like the caffeine of which many of us do then this baby will suit you down to the ground, good thing is that if you like milk with your coffee it is right their in the fridge behind the espresso maker (hell yeah that is cool).
The Whirlpool 20RI D4 refrigerator not only has the built in espresso maker it has an ice cube maker as well, the sexy looking Whirlpool refrigerator is a Super premium 20 cu ft side by side marvel machine.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Espresso in Manila

Afbeelding:Flag of the Philippines.svgDark Roasts and Light Blends

By Katrina A. Holigores, Pam Pastor

MANILA, Philippines—A coffee experience not to be forgotten is what one can expect at The Block. Each establishment offers coffee creations coming from different countries or have their own house blend for coffee lovers to try. Sitting back in a cozy lounge chair enjoying a hot freshly brewed special or opting for an ice cold java treat is something to look forward to for the busy professional or just for a relaxing way to spend the afternoon.


Bringing in something different was top of mind by the franchise owners of UCC when they first brought it to the Philippines from Japan. Specializing in Japanese cuisine, especially soups and pasta dishes made this coffee shop and so much more stand out from the competition. The beverages and desserts were also a big draw and people flocked for a cup of coffee coupled with a Fruit French Toast or a delicious Strawberry Cheesecake Latte with a Japanese Handroll Sandwich. The breakfast sets are also popular as they come with a beverage of choice from hot coffee, hot chocolate, tea or a fresh orange juice. For a hearty meal, the Seafood Curry Rice is a favorite and for something light and healthy to drink, the Mango Kiwi Swirl is highly recommended. With two floors to offer breakfast goers or those who want something satisfying to drink or eat during the day, UCC is the perfect choice for a wide selection that will cater to every gastronomical whim.

Seattle’s Best Coffee

The world of coffee is something Seattle’s Best Coffee prides itself in knowing by heart. Just from reading the selections one is tempted to try the Seattle’s Best Coffee Blend which is full bodied and aromatic or the Saturday’s Blend which has a delicate flavor yet has an element of spice. One can also try the roasts (there are even levels from lightest to darkest) such as the French Roast which uses beans that are almost black in color giving the coffee a full, bittersweet aroma and taste with virtually no acidity. Seattle’s Best Coffee has developed it’s own special recipes for blending coffees and well-balanced roasts. There are eight coffee house blends on offer and the choices promise to bring together the world’s best beans for a fuller and grander coffee experience. To add to the coffee experience, one can also have a sweet pastry or a pasta dish to accompany a hot or cold concoction, decaf is also available for those who don’t want to overdo their caffeine fix.

Chaikofi Xpresso

Arie Willard, who moved to the Philippines from The Netherlands, has a long-time love affair with tea and coffee. Chaikofi Xpresso was borne out of this same passion and his penchant for good food. Chaikofi offers a lot of coffee choices—including unusual ones. There are blends imported from Brazil, Colombia, Holland, Guatemala, Ethiopia and there are drinks spiked with Amaretto, Bailey’s Kahlua and rhum. But Chaikofi isn’t just a coffee stop. Among the bestsellers are the Zonteas, which come in three flavors—Parfum De Citron (nata de coco, lemon, lime, green milk tea and vanilla ice cream), Son of a Dutch (Dutch chocolate, milk tea, vanilla ice cream) and Blushing Bride (strawberry, almond, milk tea, vanilla ice cream). The Fruiteas are also popular—favorite flavors include Green Apple, Arabian Nights, Lemon Mint, Grape and Strawberry. The Yogi Frost is a hit with yogurt lovers. They enjoy the healthy and fruity combination of Mango Bango, Pina Coco Loco and Orange Citrus Blast. People don’t just go to Chaikofi for drinks. They serve the Dutch Chicken, Beef Chai Rice and a wide variety of cakes. Gloria Jean’s Coffee When coffee is prepared the Gloria Jean’s way, they don’t just pour the milk, they create latte art. Vangie Lisa Santos, shift leader of Glorie Jean’s Coffee at The Block, says this little detail sets them apart from other coffee shops. “It shows our passion,” she said. Originally from Australia, Gloria Jean’s stores have been serving Pinoys coffee for a while now. They have more than 20 flavored coffee beans and their drinks fall under a number of categories including Espresso Classics, Espreso Expressions, Fruit Chillers, Smoothie Chillers. Favorites include the Chocolate Macadamia Latte, the Crème Brulee, Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows and White Chocolate Mocha. Most drinks come in hot and cold variants to give coffee fans the freedom to choose. Gloria Jean’s food display boasts of goodies like Chicken Pie, Banana Walnut Loaf, Dark Truffle Cake, Oatmeal Revel Bar, Marjolane and more. “We also have sugar-free selections—we have sugar-free carrot cake and sugar-free syrups for our drinks,” said Vangie. And if that’s not enough of a bait, Gloria Jean’s also offers free wifi to people who stop by for coffee.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, a California-born company, was first opened in the Philippines in 2003 by country managing director Walden Chu. Coffee Bean has since tailored its menu to suit Filipino taste sensibilities, balancing local preferences with global standards. For a quick but filling bite, choose from a wide array of offerings that include pasta, pandesal, muffins and cookies. There are also salads, sandwiches and breakfast sets that are served hot from their kitchen. There are cheesecakes and low-calorie cakes for those looking for a sugar fix. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf takes pride in being the only coffeehouse franchise in the country that produces everything straight from its own commissary. Their lineup of drinks feature choice gourmet coffees and teas, including the Original Ice Blended, which started the worldwide craze of coffee blended drinks.

Gloria Jean’s Coffee

When coffee is prepared the Gloria Jean’s way, they don’t just pour the milk, they create latte art. Vangie Lisa Santos, Shift Leader of Glorie Jean’s Coffee at The Block, says this little detail sets them apart from other coffee shops. “It shows our passion,” she said. Originally from Australia, Gloria Jean’s stores have been serving Pinoys coffee for a while now. They have more than 20 flavored coffee beans and their drinks fall under a number of categories including Espresso Classics, Espreso Expressions, Fruit Chillers, Smoothie Chillers. Favorites include the Chocolate Macadamia Latte, the Crème Brulee, Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows and White Chocolate Mocha. Most drinks come in hot and cold variants to give coffee fans the freedom to choose. Gloria Jean’s food display boasts of goodies like Chicken Pie, Banana Walnut Loaf, Dark Truffle Cake, Oatmeal Revel Bar, Marjolane and more. “We also have sugar-free selections – we have sugar-free carrot cake and sugar-free syrups for our drinks,” said Vangie. And if that’s not enough of a bait, Gloria Jean’s also offers free wifi to people who stop by for coffee.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Blind Latte Art

I first saw such a competition on the Nation Cup.
Lots of fun. So i thought it would be an excellent opportunity to trow it into a staff social.

And winner was .... myself. Really to my surprise cause my Barista's are all capable of creating nice patterns, which is not that easy for me. Call it luck and probably the fact i came up first, so the crowd helped me going.
Does it look tasty to you?

Dieter in action.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Cupping fresh against semi fresh

Weird title.
The idea came from Tim Wendelboe and his storage condition analysis or how is the quality of your bean reacting over time.
I had two bags of Santos and Yirgacheffe three weeks old and two of one week old.
The question : Would there be a significant taste difference in cupping between both?
The answer : Not really.
On the Santos we noticed i became a bit sharper and for the Yirg there was maybe a tiny little difference, but nothing serious enough to mention.

I don't know how these guys in Norway taste all these differences. Our samples were roasted the same way and stocked in sealed bags on a normal shelf.
Next step is the espresso tests. But that's for another post.