Saturday, May 31, 2008

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Kyle Glanville's Way to Copenhagen

The Intelligentsia

With the Black Cat website.
And the Black Cat Blog, on which you can follow, almost day by day, how the American Champion Kyle Glanville and his team are preparing theirselves for the World Championships.

But they don't speak anymore about the Single origin or Blend selected for Copenhagen. Is it still the El Salvador Matalapa, with it's typical maple-brown sugar-hazelnut flavor?

Following the blog and watching the video from his series in Minneapolis can be very learnful to all Barista's competing at championships. You never know what you can steal from this Master.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Barista Jam II Photo's

Barista Jam II

Yesterday eve we had top roasters, Barista champions, Espresso Bar Managers, SCAE Belgium reps, Caffenation staff, Antwerp coffee lovers and others at our second professional Barista Jam.
Main objective was meeting one another and drinking, cupping and talking coffee. And it worked wonderfully.

At the cupping table an impressive line of singles from all over the world :

El Salvador Matalapa (Sweet Maria's)
Nicaragua Dipilto WP Decaf (Sweet Maria's)
Yemen Mokha Matari (Hasbean)
Kenya Getumbwini (Hasbean)
Rwanda Cup of Gold COCAF Amizero (Hasbean)
Honduras La Fortuna Cup Of Excellence (Hasbean)
Ethiopia Sidamo (Vermeulen)
Papua New Guinea (Vermeulen)
Zambia AA (Vermeulen)
Kenya Mamuto (Terroir)
Colombia El Descanso Huila (Terroir)
Brazil Ingletierra (Verellen)
Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Idado Valley (Verellen)
Bali Kintamina (Verellen)

Amazing isn't it?
Most praised were the Mamuto (of course - explosion of berry and chocolate), Bali (what a revelation - nice cherry, earthy taste), Rwanda (wild, strong and espresso potential), Matalapa (fine balance, nice finish) and most controversial the Yemen of course. Is this coffee or liquid rubber? :-)

Espresso :

Coffee Collective Espresso Blend
Papua New Guinea Dark Roast (Vermeulen)
Brazil Daterra Yellow Bourbon (Vermeulen)
Stumptown Mountain Dew Blend
Espresso Vivace Blend
Bagels and Beans Panama Espresso Blend (Boca)
Caffenation House Blend

Say no more.

Monday, May 26, 2008

La Esmeralda 2008

Sometimes i think they talk too much about this Panama farm. But on the other hand it's good publicity for the specialty coffee industry.
For myself it's always interesting to see what coffee companies are willing to pay for this (exceptional) bean.
Here the list.
It's mostly an American thing, but also Japan is buying in hard and to my pleasure i see Boon bought a small batch at the Panama auction as well.

As a final remark : if this is the top in the world, then you notice the money a coffee farmer can make is not to remarkable. 476 000 dollar in total for the Esmeralda lot. Not really a big company, nevertheless the reputation. A popular espresso bar can make the same figures.

(Also check for his thoughts about the auction)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Thank God it's Friday Pics

Some kind of magic is happening at the Caffenation bar at Friday afternoon.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Barista News International

When i have my Google alerts doing their thing i stay perfectly informed about the newest gear, the do's and don't, the championship results and ..... the gossip.

But this week nine out of ten of articles about Barista's in the States are about society figures and moral issues it looks like.

The biggest news this week was about a Barista fattening up the Olsen twins. Scary! ;-)

Or the fact the Barista's at Chick-a-latte and Cowgirls Espresso making cappuccino's in their bikini's. How conservative can you be if you have problems with this?
Was it a good cappuccino? That's the question! :-)

The only 'serious' Barista news came from down under, .... again.
It's about Andy Freeman, who started up the Coffee Snobs website and forum. Interesting, but these advertisements on the web pages are so annoying.

So, as a conclusion i'm very happy most of the information about what's going on in the coffee world can be found on webblogs like these you find in my link list. "Better info, less bullshit".

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Daterra as Coffee of the Week

What a wonderful bean this Daterra from Brazil.
Bought the greens at Efico and Jean did the roasting. The Yellow Bourbon one.

What a wonderful roaster this man!! Without a trace of the second crack he was able to catch this overall smoothness and full flavor, tiny acidity and an incredible unique finish.
I tasted Daterra from George Howell, Coffee Collective and AKC, but we beat them all, guaranteed.

If you feel the need to know more about this wonder of nature ; Sweet Maria's has a wonderful report about it. Click it.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Barista Jam Pro II

We did it before, we do it again and we'll keep on doing it. Barista Jams!
Coffee professional meet up at Caffenation at May 26 from 19h on.

Lots of cupping : Yemen, Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Papau NG, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Brazil, Costa Rica, ....
Lots of espresso : Daterra, Caffenation House Blend, Stumptown, Vivace, Sweet Maria's, ...
Nice new equipment : Simonelli, Espresso Lab, Portaflon, Anfim (if it arrives at time), ...
Lectures about coffee harvesting-processing, WBC, ...

But first of all a time to meet and greet, all these coffee lovers from Belgium and Holland.

Looking forward meeting you all next week.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Jack Hanna in Action

Always nice to see this Australian Latte Art Champion perform. Certainly his tulip cappuccino looks impressive.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Vietnam Coffee

Looking across coffee fields in Vietnam
According to the C&CI, Vietnam exported 1,2 million ton of coffee in 2007, bringing in a total revenue of more then $US 1,8 billion, which equates to a 22,3 % increase in terms of volume and a 50 % rise in value compared with the previous year.
Last year was also the first year that the value of coffee exports from Vietnam exceeded those of rice.
According to the Vietnam Association of Coffee and Cocoa, the 10 key buyers of Vienam's coffee are Germany, the US, Spain, Itlay, Belgium, Poland, France, the Republic of Korea, UK and Japan, which account for some 75 % of the country's total coffee sales.

The fast rising capital accumulation of Vietnamese coffee is producing an unexpected turn of events in coffee prices, and whereas last season, when prices received by Vietnam's coffee farmers were also relatively high by historic standards - and there was a detectable rush by farmers to sell most of their coffee to take advantage of the high price - this season they are much better capitalised, with a 50 % year-on-year increase in turnover and very high profitability.
In fact, an average coffee farmer in Vietnam today may be earning $US 350 a month, which is relatively high by local standards, thus creating an opportunity for coffee farmers to hold on to more of their coffee and wait to see what happens to prices.
As Fortis Agricommodities Monthly (by clicking it you can go to the coffee figueres pdf files) explained, a further effect of this accumulated wealth is that coffee farmers - and those outside the coffee production process - have begun to buy Dollar assets, including physical coffee, as a hedge against inflation.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

New Summer Menu

Every first week of May we launch the new summer menu.

A real top class Masala Chai Latte from Monica Heron.
Two new caps.
One new mac.
The long black launch.
And most of all a couple of refreshing Iced Coffee's, like the one on the photo. Iced Malibu is the name.
We put one shot of Routin Coconut syrup in a tall glass. Then we decorate the sides of the glass with USA Import caramel sauce. Fill the glass with our famous sweetened blended iced milk. And finish with whipped cream, caramel and decoration. Yummy!

Monday, May 12, 2008


Baca's shots
Here we see Chris Baca's shots running.
We saw last year at the WBC a Skandinavian competitor (from Norway?) doing this kind of technique and for what i remember it didn't please the judges. What a shame.
Luckily Baca and his team mate Drew Cattlin had more positive reactions on their simultaneous spro technique at the United States Barista Championships at Minneapolis last week.
The basic idea is to prepare one portafilter. Put this one on the side. Prepare the second one. Then put this one down. Pull two shots with the first portafilter and directly after a second pair of shots with the second PF.
For me this sounds perfect. First of all to have a better overview at the extraction times and most important to offer the judges four similar fresh shots. I think i'm going to train my boys and/or girls to do the same thing at the BBC at the end of the year.
If you want to see it in action you can go to my USBC 2008 article from last week and see the vids. Cool cat this Baca boy! And with -no distribution needed- Anfim grinder!!! Mines arrive hopefully this or next week.
(flickr photo from the SCAA blog)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Not the Best Caffenation, but Coffee Nation

In Copenhagen in June, the SCAE will find the best coffee nation--not which is the best nation to plant, grow, harvest and process quality coffee, but what nation takes the best care of the coffee after that.

To discover the winner is a simple process: we add the results from the our World Championships, in Latte Art, Cup Tasting,Coffee in Good Spirits and the World Barista Championship. This implie that the winning nation in the Latte Art gets a score of 1 point, number 2 gets 2 and so on, with the same going for the other competitions. The nation with the lowest number of points wins. So, in order to be eligible for this grand prize, a nation needs to be participating in all four of these World Championships.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

David Makin takes the crown Down Under

Judges watchful eyes
Originally uploaded by Syd Low
2008 Barista Champion of Australia is .... David Makin .... again.
With all his experience and top shape i'm looking forward seeing him with my own eyes next month.
Good luck David.

Have also a look at the other Syd Low photo's.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Nespresso Goroka Review

At Isabel i have nowadays the possibility of brewing an espresso on a (super cheap second hands) canary yellow Francis Francis espresso machine.
Before last weekend there was only this very small and cheap Magimix Nespresso machine. Although i had my hesitations about this system, i did not have high expectations and wishing on those lazy Sunday mornings and so i was satisfied with their strongest capsule (Ristretto) mixed with warm milk from my Bodum milk frother. A good Barista needs to be creative enough to get satisfying results with a minimum of equipment. ;-)

And so again Nespresso surprised me with their 'Monsooned Malabar' capsules half a year ago. Not the real stuff of course, but again drinkable. Let's say, with a pre warmed cup and 25 seconds extraction it was above amateur espresso machine brews. Not to be too critical about the average home 'barista', but most home single origin (expl : from one certain bean and not as a blend) shots are not my cup of tea/coffee - sorry.

And now Nespresso launches a Grand Cru Limited Edition called Goroka, or a Papua New Guinea Single Origin. When the average Monsooned Malabar is a nice bean, but not too overloaded with taste, a Papua New Guinea is a bit more complex and it is most difficult to press all their tastes into an espresso. In the cupping we mostly discover lots of fruit like prune, apricot, oranges and lime, but the overkill of acidity quickly ruins our espresso experience.
So, a far too difficult task for the Nestlé boys? Yes indeed. The espresso cup shows nothing of the promised prune and fruit ; at least not on this machine. It didn't taste that bad in the beginning, but the aftertaste was very sourish, sticking on the tongue.
Then i tried to take the fine ground out of the capsule - Medium Roast, and prepare a small cupping bowl with it. The cup showed more real New Guinea and cleanliness, but of course way off the 'real' stuff.

Conclusion : a too ambitious project that, in my opinion, scares of more costumers than it attracts. I don't know the exact bean(s) they use for this Goroka, but probably a cheap one, to sell it with big margins : 35cent a capsule (7 grams?) is very expensive. That makes let's say 140 times 35ct or plus minus 49 euros a kilo. I don't wanna talk about margins, but count high, very high.
Cheers, Mister Clooney.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Kyle Glanville is USBC 2008

Kyle Glanville
Originally uploaded by SCAA Blog
This cool guy from Intelligentsia Los Angeles is the new US Barista Champ.
As he stunned everyone with a top class performance last year and with Stephen Morrisey as a stand by trainer this year he was probably the main favourite.
And he made it happen.

I only saw a couple video's of the semi's in which he and Chris Baca looked very focused and precise, but there were so many top Barista's in Minneapolis. I'm sure all of the finalists are ready to end up with a medal at the WBC.

It's always nice to see the guys perform, but the bottom line is the taste of the coffee of course and probably it's in this department this man made the difference.

Congratulations and good luck at the World Championships in Copenhagen.

Kyle Glanville is USBC 2008

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This cool guy is the new US Barista Champ.
As he stunned everyone with a top class performance last year and with Stephen Morrisey as a stand by trainer he was probably the main favourite. And he made it happen.

I only saw a couple video's of the semi's in which he and Chris Baca looked very focused and precise, but there were so many top Barista's in Minneapolis. I'm sure all of the finalists are ready to end up with a medal at the WBC.

It's always nice to see the guys perform, but the bottom line is the taste of the coffee of course and probably it's in this department this man did it happen.

Congratulations and good luck in Copenhagen.

Friday, May 2, 2008

New York Coffee Scene, by Jazzy Jeff

A coffee and espresso trip in Manhattan/ the state of coffee and espresso in Manhattan.

On our trip to New York I had decided to draw out a map of coffee places I had to visit. Good coffee and espresso was a rare sight not so long ago on the east coast, especially in New York, where big chains dominated and still largely determine where people go for a cup of joe. Speaking of which, last time I went was in the summer of 2006 and “Joe, the art of coffee” together with “9th Street Espresso” were the only real decent cups around, especially for espresso type drinks.

But this time a nice surprise awaited me. A veritable coffee-scene, albeit still small in comparison with the big town, is unfolding. It seems that everywhere I went there were baristas and coffee geeks from other shops that knew each other.

Early pioneers have expanded over the years, the original venerable 9th street espresso (located east 9th street between Ave C and Ave D) has now also set up shop in the famed Chelsea Market (located 9th Ave between 15th and 16th street). 9th street espresso used to pull shots with Counter Culture coffee, but I heard they just switched to Stumptown. You could see these guys are dedicated to making every cup excellent, asking me instantly what I thought of their brews. I chatted away with them about beans, machines and flavors. They pimped out their Marzocco, spraying it in black with pirate logo’s.

A pleasant new addition to the scene was Everyman espresso, based in the lobby the Classic Stage Company theater (located on 13th street between 3rd and 4th ave). Peter, the barista in charge when I was there, told me that Everyman was a remnant of 9th street’s early expansion, before they abandoned it and chose the Chelsea market as venue. He proved to be an excellent barista and pulled a few perfect shots on his shiny 2 group Synesso. He was friendly enough to let me taste the Stumptown blend vs Counter Culture blend, the hairbender was superior, more pure chocolate and smoothness indeed. The macchiato was also well made. Having looked at the great assortment of Counter Culture bags they had to offer I bought an Ethiopian and a Costa Rican single origin. Peter told me he was practicing for the West Coast Barista competition, I wish him the best of luck. A friendly shop in an artistic setting.

Joe, the art of coffee expanded to 4 new locations. I’ve been to the 13th street location (between univ. pl. and 5th ave) where I went 2 years ago. Not much had changed, which is all right, I found that the cups at that time were exellent. Except I now have a better basis for comparison, having sipped excellent espresso at Caffenation during the last years AND paying attention for a change. They work with a roaster called the Barrington Roasting Company and offered only a few blends and 1 single origin, the lack of specialized beans made me think that they were slacking lately. The machines were also behind on the competition, the 2nd store I went to in the Alessi shop in Soho (on Greene st.) used old grinders and obscure Italian machinery. Now I must rate them just above par, the waiting line was also gone this time around….

Time to go to Chelsea where Café Grumpy (w. 20th street between 7th and 8th ave.) awaited me. Rob told me about the place too many times so I HAD to go there. Glad I did! First of all when you enter the space you’ll notice the large Synesso machine, what a beauty. They use beans roasted by Novo, and also Intelligentsia single origins on the Clover setup. Yes the Clover setup, 2 pimpin’ Clovers for each bean seperately, I guess to increase purity, madness. The espresso, or should I say, ristretto, had good chocolate and roundness. The Rwanda Zirikana from the Byumba Province on the Clover had brown sugar, earthy notes and dark fruit in it. The Bolivia Anjilanaka, Caranavi was pleasantly acidic and a light spicyness.

Wandering through the Lower East Side I stumbled onto “The Roasting Plant” (81 Orchard st.). This was completely by accident and wasn’t on any of my maps, but fresh roasted coffee was in the air, completely hypnotized I stumbled in. The place was small, they could fit about 3 tables. The main attraction is the roasting machine, it’s based on the same principle as the I-roast or my Gene café roaster, hot air does the trick. I ordered a Yirgacheffe, the “barista” typed in my order and instantly the beans were literally flying over my head in a tube system, wow, this concept tries to kick it up a notch, this gives birth to the phrase: roast on demand. Sadly I was disappointed that it was made by automated machines. This came through on the palate, a bit flat and underextracted. The machine is of course not as adaptable as a good barista, it can’t guess the good temping pressure, it can’t determine the good roasting time, grind or water temperature. Rob did a post on this a few weeks ago on this blog, check it out.

At the end of my trip I decided to 2 more stops. In New York Magazine I saw that a new espresso bar was opening in the east village. Abraço is an incredibly small shop (located on 7th street near 1st ave.) full of southern European influences, noticeable trough the Italian sodas, cookies, and yummy churros. The espresso was excellent, tough I forgot which beans they used…

Lastly I took the train to Williamsburg in Brooklyn to see what the hype was about “El Beit” another hyper new coffee bar. Peter, the barista at everyman insisted that I visit the place. He couldn’t be more right. El Beit was full of young energy, the place had Anfim grinders, clovers the newest Marzocco’s and used a whole range of Counter Culture beans. I tasted a few single origins on the clover from Peru and Costa Rica which blew me away, incredible clean tastes.

A very common sight was the large usage of naked portafilters in the 3rd wave bars, most of them had triple gaskets and the baristas pulled triple ristrettos with them. This goes good with big milk drinks as it accentuates all sorts of spices and chocolates, but as espresso it can be harsh. Espresso needs more breathing space to develop fruity, acidic and flowery aroma’s in my opinion. I probably missed some but I think this is a good overview of what the city has to offer. Any recommendations or comments? Please click below.

Article written by Jazzy Jeff, april 2008.