Thursday, February 28, 2008

New Barista in Town

Katrien is our newest Barista at Caffenation. A real diamond in the rough.
It didn't take more than one week of intervals on the Faema to pull nice shots and draw real rosetta's. She's gifted, willing to learn and hard working.
Say no more.

Second pic is a Finding Nemo Latte (foam could be better and usually is, but i thought it was a funny drawing).

Third one a nice dripper. All signed by Misses K.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Supermarket Iced Coffee

U c them all over the these days. Those big company pre made iced coffee's.
Everytime is see a new brand entering the market i buy me one to taste.
And everytime it tastes the same as the previous one ; a chocolate drink with a touch of instant coffee.

The same for this Aldi Iced Caffè Grandiose Latte Cappuccino. Not my cup of ..... euh, coffee.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Portafilter Tattoo

As promised Bird's portafilter tattoo. Strong and bold. :-)

We were thinking about these rosetta tattoo's and i guess the reason it doesn't come out well is because rosetta leaves normally are white and in those tattoo's they were black. Ai.

Someone somewhere saw another cool espresso related tattoo?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Latte Art Tattoo

De afbeelding “” kan niet worden weergegeven, omdat hij fouten bevat.M'lissa is the cover girl of the latest Barista Mag. Here she is on her blog with Ben, who won the Millrock latte art championship, and Tony. I didn't know she had so many t's. Hm, i guess Bird's portafilter tattoo is much cooler. I'll send in a pic soon.

Friday, February 22, 2008

UK Barista Champ

Thursday, 4.40pm
The new UK Barista Champion is Hugo Hercod of Relish, a deli in Wadebridge, who won the title this afternoon at the Hotelympia show.. He was closely followed by Neli Petkova of Cafe Krem in Belfast, and then Subi Tweed of Ground, again Northern Ireland. This is a remarkable success also for Steve Leighton of the roaster Has Bean in Stafford - he had his coffees used by three of the top six, including Neli in second place.

(Info from Boughton's Coffee House)

Barista Jam Alert


Zondag 24 FEBRUARI





Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A 9th Street Espresso Saturday

Watched this vid a couple of times and decided it's about time to share it with you.
This is how a 3rd wave bar can or should be. A bit grungy, speciality coffee, latte art, chambord
press pots, the ticking and clicking, funky music, grrr grrr grinders, italians words floating through the air, .... yeah baby.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


What a coincidence. Last saturday we were pulling shots with tea. It gave better results than i expected. The orange spices infusion was drinkable and somewhere a mixture between tea and ... tea? I don't know. It's a totaly new experience, and i can imagine this Rooibos tea espresso could be an extra attraction to some people at our bar. Check out the article below :

Espresso made with red tea

Sunday, February 17, 2008

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Who says espresso has to give you a jolt to be good?

A new espresso product made from rooibos tea - often marketed as red tea - is proving that it's possible to pull a great shot from a product that is fruity and naturally caffeine free.

Produced in South Africa (where rooibos is grown), red espresso resembles finely ground loose tea. It can be used in conventional home and professional espresso machines.

Made as a traditional espresso, red espresso provides intense fruity flavors. But where the product really shines is turning the espresso into fancy coffee-style drinks, such as lattes and cappuccinos.

Rooibos takes on smooth, creamy notes when combined with cream or milk. This combination works especially well with the more intense flavor of red espresso.

New tastes

Red espresso is available online for $16.99 per 8.8-ounce bag at

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Starbucks goes Clover

I copied this Bloomberg article for you.
When i heard about SB buying in 2 Clovers i thought it was for test and that they never were really willing to launch it, but surprise suprise ... they did. In Boston and Seattle they installed one for real. And it's there to stay, so i hear.
Of course they can't run it with their regular beans, but now they are serious about rebranding and the idea is to feed the Clover with fresh coffee. Well, fresh for Starbucks at least. In Boston it was a three weeks old roast, which is not as fresh as ours, but at least a whole lot better than what a Starbucks client is used to.

And what do i think about it? I guess it's great. We scream for people to drink better coffee. And were it's better to start teaching people to drink quality than at a SB? I'm even jealous, since i don't have a Clover, and no money to install one. Maybe a project to think about for next year. ...
The only thing that scares me a bit is the fact that many so-called 3rd wave espresso bars invested all their money in a Clover, and one of the important reasons doing so was to convince people to move away from Starbucks for a decent cup of coffee. Now Starbucks starts selling Clover at €2,50 a cup, which sounds as cheap, they might be killing the small independent (Clover) shops.

Starbucks Tests $2.50 Premium Coffee to Boost Sales (Update3)

By Peter Robison

Feb. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Starbucks Corp. is experimenting with a $2.50 cup of coffee that would add a new, premium product to help fight the first drop in U.S. customer visits in its 37- year history.

In its hometown Seattle, Starbucks is testing a 12-ounce (360-milliliter) cup of ``fresh-pressed'' coffee at $2.50 each. The price is $2.25 in a Boston trial. Starbucks charges $1.55 for a regular brew. McDonald's Corp. has been stealing customers with $1.39 coffee and is challenging Starbucks by adding espresso counters.

The new drink, made in a machine that brews each cup individually, may become part of Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz's plan to increase traffic in the 15,000 stores of the world's largest coffee chain. Starbucks is also experimenting with a $1 refillable cup of coffee and slowing its expansion.

``If they can create a better-tasting product and if they can get people to pay more for it, then you'd have the missing ingredient, which is pricing power,'' said Larry Miller, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in Atlanta who has a ``sector perform'' rating on the stock.

At the same time, selling a more expensive drink may be tough as U.S. consumer spending slows, Miller said.

Starbucks has declined 11 percent in Nasdaq Stock Market trading this year after dropping 42 percent in 2007, the worst performance in the company's history. The stock fell 67 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $18.18 at 4:30 p.m. New York time.

Priced Like Lattes

A new brewed coffee would be priced just less than the lattes and cappuccinos that are now among Starbucks' most expensive. A 12-ounce cup of those drinks costs $2.55.

An $11,000 machine known as the Clover generates the new coffee. Inside, a piston rises and creates a vacuum that pulls water through ground coffee, much like a French press. The Clover's maker says it produces a better tasting drink because the grind, water temperature and other parameters can be set for each cup.

``Testing like this is something we do regularly,'' Starbucks spokesman Brandon Borrman said.

Starbucks is also trying out an eight-ounce, $1 cup of regular coffee with free refills in the Seattle area. In addition to McDonald's, Dunkin' Brands Inc. is undercutting Starbucks's $1.55 regular coffee with a 10-ounce cup for $1.39 and a 14-ounce for $1.59.

U.S. customer visits to Starbucks's cafes have declined for two straight quarters. Chairman Schultz, 54, replaced Jim Donald as CEO Jan. 7. He said in a memo last year that the chain had lost sight of the ``romance and theater'' of coffee as it expanded.

Slowing Growth

Since then, Starbucks has said it will open 350 fewer stores than planned through September and stop selling warm breakfast sandwiches, partly because they overwhelmed the aroma of coffee. Schultz also pledged to announce five new initiatives on March 19, declining to give details.

The Clover was designed in 2005 by two Stanford University graduates working from a converted trolley shed in Seattle. Their machine is now used in more than 100 cafes and has gained a cult following among coffee aficionados. The Clover's price compares with $1,000 to $4,000 for standard commercial brewers.

Servers can make cups of Sumatra or Ethiopia Shakisso in 30 to 50 seconds. At one cafe in Seattle, Starbucks offers a choice of six brews, with tasting notes styled after a wine list.

``We have made much progress as we begin to transform and innovate and there is much more to come,'' Schultz said last week in another memo to Starbucks employees. He said he was writing at 6:30 a.m. on a Sunday over ``a spectacular cup of Sumatra, brewed my favorite way -- in a French press.''

Schultz, a Brooklyn native raised in federally subsidized housing, took Starbucks public in 1992 after purchasing a small Seattle chain named after the coffee-loving first mate in Herman Melville's ``Moby-Dick.''

The shares jumped almost 13-fold during Schultz's first tenure as CEO, which ended in 2000. He had continued as chairman.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Robison in Seattle at .

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Lost & Found at the Bar

Lost & Found
Originally uploaded by orange owl
This art work reminds me of my best New York friend ever. She made art with the same feel.
Meanwhile i just was willing to talk about .... LOST AND FOUND, yes.

Lost & Found in 2007 and 2008 at Hopland :
Socks, GSM (2), Photo's (2 packs), Sunglasses (3), Banking card, Bananas, College course books (17), Cigarettes (21 packages), Lighter (8), Lasagne (yum), View Master, Umbrella (19), Bike, Marsipulami carpet slippers, Backpack, Sleeping bag, Coffee, Keys, Tissues (13), Pen (11), Scarf (5), Gloves (8), Hats (8), Blouse (4), Jacket, Pasport, Money (amount?), Paper, Magazines, Books (3), Fruits and Vegetables, Fish, Bottles of water (7), Fax paper, Wallet, .....

Where they so impressed by that cup of joe?

No children, diamonds, illegal drugs or pets yet.

Lost and Found at the Bar

Thursday, February 14, 2008

March 24 : Coffee Kids Day

photo of children
When i met Bill from Coffee Kids last year i was convinced we have to do more and better. And therefore i try to give the right example and open our bar at Hopland on a bank holiday and donate all income to the Coffee Kids Organisation.
Monday March 24, second day of Easter, Caffenation Hopland opens doors from 12 till 6. People pay at least the price of the menu and all their money goes into our Coffee Kids Tipping Jar.
Your donation gives coffee-farming families :
health care
clean water
economic opportunity.
Coffee Kids, grounds for hope!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

UK Supermarket Coffee's

Isabel was over the Canal for Sara Lee Douwe Egberts and brought along some coffee specialty's from a local English supermarket.

Inspired by James Hofmann's cupping last year, i decided to give it a go myself.

Here we had 6 packages of whole beans.
In order, with cupping and brewing results :
1, was Sainsbury's Kenyan on Medium Light Roast. Acceptable freshness and OK taste. Kenya is mostly a delight to cup. Later on i trew it on my Eva Solo and there i missed some character. Too light and boring.
2, was Sainbury's Colombian on Medium Roast. A bit Nutty and fruity, but not fresh enough. Aftertaste not very clean. On Eva Solo it was really acceptable. I was happy with the balance although i missed some punch. On my Bodum Press is was less convincing.
3, was Tesco Sumatra on Dark Roast. Lots of defective beans and variable screening. If this was an Indonesian, so where were the spices? Dissapointing and not even worth a try on other equipment.
4, was Peru Machu Picchu from Cafedirect, the ones that organised James's cupping adventure. The smell of the beans was OKish, sweet, chocolate, but at the cupping table we tasted an old, no body, sour and duff coffee. Sorry.
5, another Tesco, Colombia. Sour, no balance, aftertaste sucks. Forget about it.
6, and final was the Sainsbury Espresso Blend. As you know we don't take blends to the cupping table. We trew it directly into the Ditting for an espresso test. Start was ok. Strong, Italian, full, but the aftertaste was a disaster. I had this before with an espresso blend from Delhaize, which is one of the market leaders here in supermarket coffee. Probably some cheap Vietnam or what?....

So, no good score, but i have to admit we didn't expect so. Why? Well there's of course this price issue, although i find here in Antwerp very good beans (mostly Brazil) for very good prices. Another is freshness. It's not easy to keep them fresh in those supermarkets and this is a good thing for all 3rd wavers. A perfect reason to drag the people to specialised shops like ours.
Besides of that it seems that those blenders and cuppers for the big chains and coffee company's are not really busy with the newest evolutions. It looks like there's a lot of market study and tasting to do for those big ones. A company like Delhaize understood this and maybe we can work together in the future... Everybody is always welcome.

Monday, February 11, 2008

7-Eleven commercial (1980)

I'm not going to post every funny coffee video, but in this one i figure (for one second - at the end of the vid) ... LOL

Nana Mouskouri Black Coffee

This is our music ... and subject. That last second smile is ...very sexy. Hm.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

1 year Antwerp Barista

Dear readers, Coffee lovers, Barista's,

1 year ago is was stuck with this boring website of mine and i decided to go for a coffee blog. I barely knew what a blog or blogspot was or how to run it, but bit by bit i came into it and one year and 200+ articles later we can celibrate this first anniversary.
Not that i'm a big fan of anniversary's, but i'm very happy i made it this far.

The highlights : there are too many nice experiences i had troughout the year, but the best is the knowing Barista's from all over the world are following and appreciating the blog. My start was Antwerp and this Blog helped me reaching many more people in this city. I guess i gave basic Barista training to approximately 150 persons and advanced training to 8, all of them now fully passionate on Latte Art, Specialty Coffee etc....

What's up for next year?
Mainly Specialty Coffee.
Hopefully i can use this new Specialty Coffee website and blog to reach people in and outside Belgium and share the same coffee beans.
So often i see fantastic beans coming into the Antwerp Harbor, and so often they are just getting old and losing their taste or they're being shipping to other places in the world. My ambition is to pick out the best of them, roast them with the highest care possible and distribute them with all advise necessary.
No, i'm not going to start roasting them myself, but i see so many good roasters and roasting equipment in Belgium, that it's time to push them a bit further than their regular and often boring Java D'oré, Dessert, Mokka, Feest or other melanges. And if they dare to do singles it's not really for espresso but drip.
So, bring on the microlots and best brewing systems and let's drink more and better coffee than before. I'll try to show you all the road i'm driving on ; have a nice trip.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Godfather Illy died at 82

Jack Manning/The New York Times
Read the NY Times article here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Fresh Caffenation Honduras on Nespresso

Just for fun i tried some fresh fine ground coffee in a Nespresso capsule. Closed this refilled capsule with strong Reynolds and checked the extraction.
This was my third and last try. The extraction is a bit 'under', but quality was not below all levels. With a bit finer ground and full blend there are possibilties...

Watch out : after these three attempts, the machine was jammed, and the owner asked me to mess around with someone else's machine the next time. I understand.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Coffee Berry Info

Coffee BeanThere are typically two seeds per coffee berry packed with the flat end facing each other, but that is not always the case. A special case which is common is called peaberry which is a single seed. But, there can be more than two in a coffee berry also.

The outer skin of the coffee berry is generally tough and can withstand handling. The inner pulp of the coffee berry is generally mushy. In a few types of coffee plants, the pulp is more valuable than the bean itself. This is because the coffee berry pulp has a high sugar content and can be fermented making a coffee liquor or a tea made from the pulp. The coffee berry parchment shell is fairly tough. This is taken off in the last coffee bean processing stage. However, the coffee silverskin is so thin and attached so well it tends to stay with the coffee bean right up to roasting. When roasted, the silverskin can, and usually does, crack off the coffee bean. The silverskin cracks off because it does not expand like the inner coffee bean does when roasted. This posses a problem in two ways. First it is a thin messy chaff which is undesirable and must be removed from the batch of roasted coffee beans for cosmetic reasons. Second, it can easily catch fire.

Burning hot coffee problems?

Coffee Mug Knows When You're Going to Burn Yourself

on_off_mug.jpgOur father told us that the best way to test whether a steaming cup of anything was cool enough to drink was to just drink it. It wasn't until the fifth time we were in the hospital that we discovered that the man wasn't our father. If we had these heat-sensitive On/Off mugs, which change from the Off position when cool to the On position when hot, we'd still have our original tongues. However, as Joel from BBG points out, the heat-sensitive plastic lining has a tendency to wash off—leading to a scenario where a practical joker could paint the mug black and write OFF on the side, then pour in a cup of boiling hot coffee. [Charles and Marie via Technabob via Boing Boing Gadgets]

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Eva Solo

The Eva Solo brewer is one the most important products of this Danish company.

The idea is comparable with cupping and the French press.
I take coffee, a little finder grind than French press, and stir it up with water just off the boil.
Then i give it a couple minutes to do their job and then the tasting...

Comparable to the press, with the big disadvantage of getting too bitter after a while.
The jacket keeps it warm for half an hour, but the problem is that the coffee is not drinkable after ten minutes anymore, so...

Advantages : Nice design, easy and fast way of brewing, clean taste.
Disadvantages : Expensive (because of the design) - €60 for the litre can, hard to clean outside the dish washer, too bitter after ten minutes.

If you like the design, clean coffee and you don't want too much hassle ; this is Eva Solo Coffee Maker is one for you.

The Eva Solo is also a very nice tool to make iced brew. Kiril showed already on his Espresso run blog how to do so. I did the same last week and post my experiences soon.