Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Scuro Puro

Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting
Sweet Maria's is impressive.
Not only did i find today this excellent photo album of other Gothot roasters, as well some Probats and many more :
Sweet Maria Roasters Photo Library

I had their Scuro Puro blend coming in today. Strong special different stubborn (?) mixture of Indonesian and Africa's finest beans.
Click for S.M. Cupping Details.
And what a cool bat logo!

Besides a SCAA Flavwheel. Something we can use for 2008, when Caffenation has the ambition to go for Specialty Coffee as a main objective.
And SCAA Green Coffee Poster.
Tanx Maria.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

My neighbour's Gothot roaster

Thisisamustseeroaster ; At Caffenation Oever, nearby the famous Kloosterstraat, we are neighbours of one of the oldest Antwerp roasters : Jespers.

Over a couple of generations these people are roaster with this very old Gothot roaster. They have it standing in the window of their supermarket!
For years and years i loved the sight and smell of it when i walked or biked the street, and now i opened an espresso bar next door.

First of all, we do not sell retail at Oever, so it's not our goal to become of any competition for Jespers. And secondly they are not focused on espresso. I'm totally not saying it's a bad or a good roaster. I still have to find out, but the beans they buy and the roasts they do is not in the line of a 3rd wave espresso bar.

Meanwhile a merry X-mas to each one of you. Enjoy your Christmas coffee's.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Our Portaflon Portafilter

What do you c? Is Caffenation going La Marzocco? Yes and no. We go Portaflon Portafilter or Teflon coated Portafilter and they only make it on La Marzocco Portafilters, this one fitting on Faema machinery.
I was waiting for a long time when finally my Swedish friends shipped over this famous tool, and i'm enchanted about the result. I guess you start tasting iron and sours already after 30 shots and i get really bored of brushing out all these portafilters 10 times a day. This Portaflon technique is the solution to this problem.

On the photo you see the results after a full day of work. Isn't that magnificent? I'm very happy with this tester and can't wait to order more. Thanks Jens for this fantastic piece of equipment, and i'll get it touch with you soon for the doubles.

On Jim Seven and probably on other forums as well, they've been discussing the health aspects of this new coating. The contra thinking people got a point, but now i see the result in my hands, and knowing the fact that this Teflon isn't heating up too high i can't believe it would do any harm to our health.
With the single shot PF the average taste with Portaflon is way better. Compare it with cooking and the idea you would use the same pan over and over without cleaning. What would taste the best ; the clean one or the dirty one?
This all doesn't mean i like Teflon coated pans. I think they're only useful for omelets and pancakes. For espresso machines though....
La Marzocco is even considering offering these portafilters and Teflon coated steam wands as an option on their new machinery. Interesting .... and recommendable.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Coffee Avenue Gullegem Belgium (dutch)

Article from a Belgian Newspaper (in dutch).

Good luck with the project Patrick. And can you send me a photo to add to the post?

GULLEGEM - Zopas opende Patrick Hanssens van Grootmoeders koffie de 'Coffee Avenue' zijn deuren in een totaal gerenoveerde loods in de Koningin Fabiolastraat inGullegem. Het is volgens de zaakvoerders de 'place to be voor koffie-lovers'.

Grootmoeders koffie is een begrip in de streek en werd ook erkend als streekproduct uit de Leiestreek. Patrick Hanssens en zijn vrouw Vinciane Pattyn zijn de zaakvoerders met een passie voor koffie. Dat merk je in het kleinste detail. Koffie drinken in de Coffee Avenue is een speciale belevenis. Hanssens: 'We willen onze passie overbrengen naar het brede publiek en naar de professionele gebruiker. In onze Coffee Avenue willen we drie generaties koffiegeschiedenis laten versmelten met een barista opleiding aan professionelen uit de horeca maar ook de gewone koffiegebruiker kennis laten maken met trendy koffiebereidingen.'

Waarom? 'We willen koffie op een hoger echelon brengen. Het zwarte vocht moet meer zijn. Plezier beleven in de bereiding van de perfecte espresso of gearomatiseerde cappuccino met chocoladesmaak. Onze Coffee Avenue is geen stoffig en statisch museum maar oud en trendy gaan hand in hand. Deze koffieruimte zal leven en mee evolueren met zijn tijd en met de bezoeker.'

Het koffiebranden zit Hanssens in de genen. 'Koffiebranden leer je niet op de schoolbanken. Ik leerde het proeven, mengen, branden en genieten van koffie van mijn vader en hij van zijn vader. Ik beleef het grootste plezier aan de samenstelling van een koffiemengeling die een volle mondbeleving weergeeft. Grootmoeders koffie streeft ernaar om het zachte in koffie naar boven te brengen. Door de samenstelling van hoofdzakelijk 100% arabicakoffie en het zachte, ambachtelijke branden wordt de koffie zacht en licht verteerbaar.'

Groepen, verenigingen, professionelen kunnen zich melden in de Coffee Avenue. Pattyn: 'We willen iedereen koffie opnieuw leren ontdekken en leren dat er veel meer is dan een koffie met een speculaasje. Van espresso longo, klein en sterk tot Italiaanse cappuccino met opgestoomde melk. Men kan er een alcoholvrij smaakje aan toevoegen of een koffiecocktail presenteren als dessert. De manier van presenteren is ook enorm belangrijk. Een mooi geserveerde geurige kop koffie is een genot voor oog, geur- en smaakpapillen. Het wordt koffie degusteren en genieten voor koffie- lovers.'

Nog dit jaar was Patrick Hanssens op koffiereis naar Brazilië. 'Ik leefde tien dagen ondergedompeld in het grootste koffieland ter wereld, ver weg van alle toerisme en bezocht koffiehuizen in Sao Paulo en plantages. Ik zag met eigen ogen hoe ruwe koffie geteeld wordt, gereinigd, geselecteerd. Heel veel informatie om te delen met andere coffee-lovers.'

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Scandinavian Invasion

Nice when you clients become friends and fanatic and friendly enough to buy in some nice beans. Today i ran the business at Caffenation II (Oever 18) and within the first half hour Dimitri and Jeff dropped me some nice coffee.
Dimitri just came back from Oslo. I asked him to bring along some TW beans. And so he did. Normally this should be our Espresso of the week for the last days of the year. To look forward for myself and surely a damn good reason for anyone in Antwerp to drop by for a sip of the Master, Tim Wendelboe's top blend. "I'll do my best not to spoil anything and pull the shots the best we can Tim".
Jeff bought a couple of Coffee Collective bags. Since we have our own Daterra from the next week on it was a pity he didn't order anything different. On the other hand it's maybe cool to compare AKC's roast, i helped tuning on the right roasting degree, with the one from this famous Danish company.
We tried the Daterra Espresso blend today. Very well. Nice balance and lots of fruit, although i missed a bit of body in my shots. Too blue?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

NY Times brings 'Starbucked'

Again the New York Times has a fantastic article to read.
This time it's a part of Tayler Clarck's book 'Starbucked'.
You'll enjoy the article.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Coffee Beans!

Have a nice day.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


It is 1961 Faema writes an important page in its own history and in that of espresso coffee machines by introducing the E61.

Since a couple of years Faema is promoting the new edition in two versions. The one on the photo is the 'Jubilé' and is automatic, and the 'Legend', the one that comes very close to the original.
Paulo, the technical director of Dalla Corte, told me his father builded the original machine, and inside there are definitely a couple of changes, but of course, it's still one of the finest machines on the market.

In Antwerp, where folks buy the E61 mainly for design, the sales go really well. For myself, i adore pulling shots with it, but for textering milk i prefer the newer techniques.

Here a list from espresso passione with all domestic and some professional machines that have the E61 group head build in.

For people interested in buying one : Faema Mertens Antwerp.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Brazil Camocim Organic and Daterra

Look what came in from Has Bean Statford England : a Brazil Camocim Peaberry Organic. The same Serge from AKC was talking about a while ago, when he came back from Brazil.

And we liked it in the cup.

Light body (oh yes there we missed something), wooden undertones, very smokey, sweet wood, cloves and unfortunately too bitter cooled down.

This is just another example of the many fantastic beans these regions are offering.

Today i went to AKC to taste the Brazil Daterra. They ordered a whole container and i was proud i had the opportunity to test the bean on different roastings.

Finally we decided to pick the medium roast. This is not a bean for dark roast i guess. We had a lot of talking on the Terroir forum about the roasting angle and after today i have to admit that what they called the North Italian style is ideal to get all the sweet out for a perfect balanced cup of espresso, cause an espresso bean, that's what it is primarily. Soon more when the stock comes in (the week of Christmas it should be).

Also at AKC we sampled a Nepal, which tasted a bit like a light Sumatra ; very ok.

And a 25 minute roast blend, that lost all details in this long process.

And 4 flavored coffee's from Carrefour. Yes it was flavored and not our cup of tea :-), but fresher and better balanced than expected. Maybe soon an article.

And a Brazil Santos Astrid on espresso, that blew my mind. I didn't like it on the cupping table and couldn't understand why Efico promotes this bean that hard. But right here right now it was way better than any other Santos in this price range. Off course, the guys from AKC know how to roast!

Coffee games (dutch)

Vond twee koffiespelletjes online.
Maybe you like 'em?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Coffee is a natural product ...

.... and it's changing all the time.
And so does our House Blend.

This week our roaster called to tell me we ran out of El Salvador.
The El Salvador Picacho SHG is our second most important bean, so you can speak of a problem.
There are more top class El Salvador beans in the warehouses in the port of Antwerp, but till today i found ours with the best price-quality report.

Meanwhile it was a struggle yesterday helping ourselves with a Costa Rica/Guatemala mixture to replace the Picacho. We're hoping to have a new El Salvador coming in at the end of the week. Probably we go for the Gourmet, which is the same region, but from a higher plateau. I definitely has something extra in taste, but .... one Euro more expensive a kilo!

I guess it's normal for a 3rd wave shop in 2007 you have to switch on and on between the freshest beans available. New Picacho stock is for seen for the beginning of March. But what about the quality? And price?
To be continued....

Friday, December 7, 2007

Koffie en autorijden (dutch)

Koffie beter dan dutje voor bestuurders

Koffie maakt vermoeide bestuurders alerter dan een dutje.
Koffie maakt vermoeide bestuurders alerter dan een dutje.
Vermoeide bestuurders zijn meer gebaat bij een kopje koffie dan met een kort dutje, zo toont Frans onderzoek aan. Vooral bij de bestuurders van middelbare leeftijd (tussen 40 en 50) zijn het meest gebaat bij koffie. Voor twintigers maakte het niet zoveel uit.

De Fransen lieten 24 personen een proeftraject rijden. Een groep mocht een half uur slapen, een tweede groep kreeg koffie, de derde groep dronk decaf. Vervolgens moesten ze een recht traject rijden, waarbij werd geteld hoe vaak de middellijn geraakt werd.

Wie decaf kreeg voorgeschoteld raakte de lijn 159 keer. Na een dutje zakte dat tot 84, na een kop koffie was dat 'slechts' 27 keer het geval. Wie niet vermoeid is, raakt de lijn gemiddeld 2 keer.

Ouderen vs jongeren
Veertigers en vijftigers hadden bijna 90 procent minder kans op ongevallen als ze een kop koffie hadden gedronken. Het effect van een dutje was slechts 25 procent. Bij jongeren tussen 20 en 25 is het effect van koffie en een dutje even groot (66 procent minder kans), wellicht omdat ze dieper slapen dan ouderen waardoor ze er meer van uitrusten.

Moraal van het verhaal? Als je vermoeid bent, kruip je beter niet achter het stuur. Doe je het toch: drink dan koffie!

Na jaren van negatieve berichtgeving over koffie, begint dat recentelijk te keren. Koffie zou beschermen tegen suikerziekte, nierstenen, parkinson, alzheimer en darmkanker. Jammer van dat blijvende effect op cellullitis? (edp)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Bux Stories

Refreshing ...

Starbucks is coming.
Not, yet, to Belgium, but at Schiphol the bar behind customs is so popular they can't wait to open 2 new in the public halls. I heard they cut a deal with Aegon. Probably they're soon going to be all over the place, taking Holland by storm.
And Belgium? No news yet. I guess it's not for tomorrow or after tomorrow, but you never know.
Meanwhile you can surf for these great Barista Brat 'Bux' stories.

Badbird Coffee Drawing

Originally uploaded by badbird
Beautifull drawing with funny name.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Peet's Coffee

USA Import these days at Caffenation.

Friday morning these three bags arrived.

In the past i sometimes made the mistake to keep special bags for special occasions, but those days are over. The fresher the better, so not letting tomorrow disturb today's party and crack those bags is my advise!
So we threw them immediately on the Macap for our espresso/lungo of the week menu.

Starting with the Major Dickason's.
Very good beans. Dark roast, but one way or the other it works. Full strong taste with a sublime smooth clean finish.
Then the Arabian Mocha Java.
People adore it. It's scratching and feeding all the taste buds. Very full and complex with lots of chocolate, spices and earth tastes. As usual i'm not so found of the Java part, but who am i? :-)

Tomorrow we launch the House Blend. Curious....

This, i think, is a fantastic way to introduce the people here to what quality coffee in the States is called in 2007.
Peet's Coffee.