Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Long Black

Long Black
Originally uploaded by Lee Nutter
After disliking this kind of brews for a long time, I changed my mind after a Coffee Collective discussion online.
It was Klaus T himself pointing me out the exact differences between our - typical Belgian of Dutch - brew method, better known as the café creme and the Americano/Long Black recipe.

I did a couple of tests and I am stunned by the results. Yes, more detail, complexity and most of all fruitiness in this Long Black. Long Black is the most common name for this drink in Australia and New Zealand and sounds way better than Americano.

The reason of my bad experiences in the past was mostly because our beans and blends were lacking the right taste to give it a good outcome. With these very fresh and well roasted Yirgacheffe and El Salvador SHG on board of our 2008 House Blend we're ready to offer now a top class Long Black. What doesn't mean we stop testing different techniques as the one described in the above mentioned CC post.

But for now; i'll going to list it on the menu next to the classic (café creme) lungo. Long Black Lungo would be a bit of a strange name, so we'll skip the 'Long' part. Black Lungo!! Cool.

I'm looking forward to the reactions of our lungo crazy clientele.

And thanks Lee for the photo and right explanation, i owe you one.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Coffee Kids Donation for Mexico

We're very happy our $1.433 donation from our Coffee Kids Day can go to The CAMPO project in Oaxaca, Mexico.
CAMPO's new education center, which is being built with the environmentally responsible compacted earth technique, is well under way thanks to our support for Coffee Kids.
Buildings are still under construction, but the organization is already using the installations to train coffee farmers from around the state of Oaxaca in worm composting and standard composting; organic gardening and greenhouse projects; and fish, sheep, rabbit and chicken production. These programs help the communities reduce their reliance on outside food sources and help improve the quality of life among coffee farmers and their families.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Full automatic cappuccino making.

Friday, April 25, 2008

A Bitter Cup (NY Times)

Victoria Roberts

A. Coffee is a complex chemical soup, and many of its chemicals, including some that produce astringency rather than bitterness, and even some acids, have been implicated in the perception of bitterness.

Bitterness also depends on variables including the coffee variety; how it is processed and roasted; the brewing method, temperature and time; and even the chemical content of the water.

Some degree of bitterness is desirable in coffee, according to the Coffee Research Institute, because it reduces the perception of acidity, for a more balanced flavor.

Some of the possible chemical culprits include quinic, chlorogenic, caffeic, citric, malic, lactic, pyruvic and acetic acids; 5-hydroxymethylfurfural; methyl furan; furfuryl mercaptan; trigonelline; pyrazine; thiazole; quinoline; phenylpyridine; and caffeine itself.

Studies reported by the institute suggest that perceived bitterness can be reduced by using hard or soft water, as opposed to distilled water; brewing at high temperatures, perhaps because more aromatic chemicals are released, canceling out the bitter ones; and using varieties other than robusta coffee, which has more caffeine and chlorogenic acid.

The institute also suggests using medium-roast coffee, which has a lower level of soluble solids; brewing using a drip system, which also cuts down the release of soluble solids; and perhaps using a coarser grind.

Readers are invited to submit questions by mail to Question, Science Times, The New York Times, 229 West 43rd Street, New York, N.Y. 10036-3959, or by e-mail to

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dutch Barista Championship 2008


1) Sander Schat, Barista Company - Zwolle: 625 punten

2) Yakup Aydin, Restaurant Het Jagershuis - Hoek van Holland: 592 punten

3) Marielle Fiene, Cafe de Blonde Pater - Nijmegen: 537 punten

4) Claudie Donderwinkel, Cafe de Blonde Pater - Nijmegen: 535 punten

5) Martin Tillema, ’t Feithhuis - Groningen: 503 punten

6) Lonneke Dijkhuis, Coffee Lovers - Maastricht: 472 punten

7) Floris van Luttervelt, Cafe/Rest. De Zalm - Gouda: 471.5 punten

8) Gerjo Baartman, CoffeeTainment - Borne: 456 punten

9) Willem van Barneveld, ’t Feithhuis - Groningen: 430.5 punten

10) Kevin Reinders, Coffee Lovers - Maastricht: 404.5 punten

Only this last man is by my knowing Caffenation client. Maybe better next year Kevin.

And congrats to Onno for winning the Latte Art Championships. C u in Copenhagen.

Daterra Arrival and other Photo's.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Latte Art Championship Results

Without the air bubbles, this is how it should have been.
My Signature Beverage at the Belgian Latte Art Championships yesterday.

Let's start with the overall facts :
We had four participants for these first finals ever.
Peter Hernout, who had sort of a wild card for the World Championships last year, in which he finished 7th!
Jeroen Clauwers, veteran of many wars, who came for fun and to have a new challenge.
François Knopes, we know from the Barista competition, but definitely not for his Latte Art.
And me, Antwerp Barista, to fill the poster. And even that was difficult. Everybody knows i'm not a Latte Art Expert ; it's just not my thing. Besides of that i hardly practice. The only thing i can normally compete with is the etching part, and designs as the above one i normally draw with my eyes closed, but here in competition, i screwed up .... again.
Also flat cappuccino's with uneven designs. The Mac's were tasty, i suppose, but i would, not in a million years, call it art. 4th place. That's what it is, but a nice experience and not unexpected. My way of learning in the past was always like that. Participating without or with a minimum of training and on stage smashing with my head against the wall. Then learning out of it and improving for better results or training my pupils how this competition goes.
Anyhow, the only championships i'll do in the future will be cup tasting. December 6 it's going to be.

Jeroen has as always a solid show, but nothing special. 3rd.

And the winners were Peter and François. Yes, the judges couldn't find a way to give more points to one or another.

Peter had brilliant drawings. Sometimes a tad too complex to bring them perfect, but an artist he is and with the right pattern selection and a bit of luck, top 3 in Copenhagen is achievable.

And then we had this 21 year old youngster out of Luxembourg. Last year at the semis and finals of the BBC we noticed his nice style and coolness, but today he blew us all away.
Can you believe this : His coffee : he used a dark roast!
He had a decaf blend!!
They were roasted the day before!!!
He used a milk texturing technique that can be seen as revolutionary. No stretching, but with only a bit of milk in the pitcher and at low pressure he has his milk rolling around at the bottom of the pitcher and the effect was marvelous!
He made his cappuccino's and sig drinks with double shots!
Very even drawings, good contrast and right in time.
He failed, by time pressure, on this macchiato drawings, if not he would have been our man for Copenhagen, but now .... we don't know.

Soon more, and pics, of this wonderfull and well organised event.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ethiopia here i come

News of the weekend :

First the arrival of our green Daterra, yellow bourbon and collection. 48K. Curious about the first roast coming in next week or so. Soon more.

Rehearsal for Latte Art. Struggling with my sig a bit. Still doubting which coffee to take with me. Probably a single origin. Risky, but i have nothing to loose. Soon more.

Had a very hectic Jam tonight. 26 people. A tad too much, but all very motivated and happy. Soon more.

And most important : We booked our trip to origin. Ethiopia at the end of October. Pfff. Unbelievable. It took very very long, but finally i'll be able to walk through the Yirgacheffe berry trees at Origin. Soon more, much more.
But today already an interesting article with nice (Yirgacheffe) photo's in this Bloomberg article.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Bad Macchiato

Originally uploaded by frostedpopcorn
Checking out the competition in Antwerp? ;-)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Belgian Latte Art Championship

Originally uploaded by Peter "Latte Art"
This Tuesday april 22, we have the finals of the Belgian Latte Art Championship at the Fermette Restaurant at Falaën nearby Dinant.

The drinks on the photo's are the free creations of the defending champion Peter Hernout.
And i will be one of the people challenging him.
Yes, i took on the challenge. Latte Art is totaly not my specialty, but i support the organisation and knowing the stage needed to be filled ; i promised to participate.
I hardly practiced and still don't know exactly what cups, pitchers, technique and signature drink i'm going to present. Pfffff. What am i doing?

Anyhow, everyone is welcome to support us next tuesday.
Results on this blog soon after.

Monday, April 14, 2008

El Salvador Coffee Movie

Very well made You Tube documentary about the coffee industry and fair trade opportunities in El Salvador.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Press Dynamics

press dynamics
Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps
Thank you Mr. phelps for this informative photo story.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

El Salvador Everest SHG

Via El Salvador SCAA man Luis Rodriguez i was able to track down this new El Salvador SHG.
It's unbelievable how these traders offer one year a Picacho from South El Salvador and the year after a totaly different one. And then they tell us the new El Salvador is in the house. Not very professional if you ask me. Of course this Latin American country is stuffed with top class beans, but how can it be they present us a so-called comparable bean, but finally with a different character.

The luck is with us and the new El Salvador coming in is this Everest SHG. It's a washed and comes from farms 1200 meters above sea level and higher. The harvest starts in late December and ends in March. The farms are located on the Apaneca-Ilamatepec mountain range. This is very closeby the Santa Ana vulcano, where the most of the Cup Of Excellence beans come from. And this we can taste.

It's a bourbon bean.
Bourbon coffee is named for the island of Bourbon (now called Reunion) where it was originally cultivated.
Bourbon coffees, especially those from El Salvador, are neotypical Central American coffees.
They are bright, aromatic, balanced, semisweet or bittersweet, chocolaty and have a creamy mouthfeel.
Aida Battle, who's one of the persons working night and day to offer us all these beauties, made a special Reserva last year that scores a 92,7 at the Sweet Maria cupping table. Of course, ours is a 'commercial' bag and not with this enormous potential, but well worth the money and excellent for espresso. Good mouthfeel, balanced fruity flavors, mediocre acidity and nice finish. That's all we need and definetely good enough to take 30 % in our newest House Blend.

Thanks Luiz, Aida and SM for all this info, and for those who are intersted, every week lots of fresh El Salvador is coming in at a selling price of 16 euro's a kilo. Recommended!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Birds and Coffee Plants

Not only Bird is the name of a Caffenation Barista, it's also an animal. ;-)
And what's the connection between birds and coffee?
A lot probably, but mainly the birds live at the coffee plantations.
A very interesting site to learn more about it is coffeehabitat.
And a very interesting article i found on the Smithsonian site.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

World's Youngest Barista

My daughter in two years ....?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Pneumatic tubes bring just roasted coffee beans into their respective

The coffee scene at the East Coast is changing quickly. And all for the better.
This Roasting plant is one good example.
This Reuters article is telling you the story.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Black Gold Movie

Teddy bought this DVD. Thanks mate.

What's this movie about?
It's about the Ethiopian coffee trade and about the poor working conditions for the local people living, although this seems not to be the right word.

Ethiopia is the birthplace and, to my opinion, still the most wonderful coffee country in the world. Yes, it's black gold ; Ethiopian coffee, but not for most of the people doing the hard work on and off the fields. It's a shame they do not get better prices!

I once spoke a girl from the Harare area, studying in Antwerp, and she told me her family had a good living from their coffee labour, so it's not misery all over the place.
And I see more and more people ready to offer better prices. And i see more and more people ready to improve working conditions and raise the general quality level what could be resulting in higher prices as well.
That's good, but it is not good enough. We all have to try harder and secure this black gold is bringing money in for every link in the chain.

Clicking the logo on your right hand side could be a good first step....

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Grinder Search

Opened up Mythos
Originally uploaded by King Seven
I'm on a search for a new grinder and the weird looking one on the (King7) photo is one of the possibilities : The Simonelli Mythos.

The last 5 years I've been buying grinders at the same rhythm as i buy pants. And the more i buy, the more i know about them and the more difficult it gets to find the right one (i'm talking grinders of course ;-) ).

I've been reasonably happy with the Mazzers, Macap and Mahkonig, but they all have their weak points.

Mazzer blades do not last very long and only the heavier types do not heat up. And those big ones are very ugly and soo heavy and ... big indeed. And no professional doserless Mazzer, although Henk told me it's coming.

Macap is terrible to click. Clickclickclickclickclick....on and on and very loud and lots of spill. The looks are great yes, so big programmable doserless could be a future possibility...

Mahlkonig's K30 seemed to have it all, but after one and a half year of use i start turning away from them. The burrs only last 600Kg, but the biggest problem is the heating up. For 100 grams an hour it's ok, but once you start pulling shot after shot, the grounds come out hot, the taste gets thin and the under extractions show. Then you start grinding finer and that way you get into a vicious circle. On top of that the grounds are clumping which makes it more difficult to distribute. And the shot mass is too irregular. Yes, a whole of problems for such an expensive machine.

What are the solutions?
This Mythos can be great, but it's still not very known and expensive. And ugly.
Azkoyen Cappricio? Ok price and now it's less static than at the launch it could be a solution, although the looks do not fit with Caffenation. Aw, we're difficult today.
Compak also looks ugly. And their A8 grinder on demand is very high priced.
Big Faema or La Cimbali? I don't really trust, although i'm curiously waiting for the new Faema conical.
Anfim? Yes, this Caimano series look stunning, with titanium burrs lasting 3000 Kg!! Very good price. Cleanest dosing system. Very reliable. All ok, we just miss the ease of the automatic shot by shot grinding that makes the K30 such a winner. Maybe it's coming soon?....

Wait and see.


Want to know more about Italian Espresso Machine Making?
Click this beautiful and informative site.