Thursday, June 26, 2008

Beans & Blends

What never gets tired is tasting coffee. Mostly we taste espresso's, but of course we also do a whole lot of cupping.
And the more we do so, the easier it is to see how we have to roast them and what would be the best brewing technique, or totaly not.

Lately I've been searching for a new Brasilian with a nice price tag. I'm happy with Daterra for example or some Minas Gerais, but it's not only our goal to offer the best coffee, but also at an affordable price. We want to bring the coffee to the people and a good price helps a lot.

What did we cup and what did we blend?

I found out a fantastic Washed Rwanda. Also in England you see this country is getting more and more popular and for good reason. Very interesting for both espresso and filter/press and a taste that's a little bit in between Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and stronger (robusta) African beans. Our bean had good body, nice acidity with bits of fruit, wood and nuts. And a very good clean finish. Top catch and even better than the Rwanda Gold we recently bought at Hasbean.

We were very enchanted the first time we were tasting the Papua New Guinea beans our Roaster Jean bought a couple of months ago. And the more we taste them the better they get.
On lighter roast fantastic for Eva Solo or Press. It has a bit of the earth taste of the neighbours from Indonesia, but less overpowering body, much much more fruit, good balance and a cleaner finish.
On medium/dark roast is goes as a single origin espresso or you can blend it in. And that's what I did.
Since long I was hoping for a good bean to replace the 20% Honduras share in our House Blend. Very fresh, the espresso quality of the Honduras was one of a kind, but never met a bean that looses so much taste over time. And nevertheless we deal very very fresh, it did of course a lot of harm to the stability of the blend.
So we trew out the Hond and took in the Pap. Only 10% ; that's a normal part for beans from this area, but even then most Java's or Sumatra's come through way to hard and give it a tangy touch. Not this Papua New Guinea. Unfortunately we do not know more about the origin of the bean. No specific origin and certainly no estate tracking. So I'm already afraid not to be able to catch the same bean next year. I tasted recently a neighbour version of this bean at Efico though ; maybe we can vary with this one.
At the same time we elarged our Brazil part, although I'm still thinking we can make some improvement here. And we kept our jewels Yirgacheffe (Ethiopia) and Everest SHG (El Salvador) at the same share.

I'm very very happy with the new blend. First reactions were super. Curious what my Copenhagen tasters will tell about this Blend that suits for both espresso and filter/press, lungo's, espresso's, americano's, cold coffee's and milk based preparations. Not easy, but I think once again we were able to push up the bar.
And hopefully by the end of the year available online.

To end I wish to share my cupping experience of some (Danish) Estate beans. I was very surprised to see Estate coffee at the local grocery shop around the corner in Copenhagen. I like the espresso bar a lot and know these guys are experts, but oh what a disappointment at the cupping table. The Kenya was very boring. Too sharp, no undertones. And the Mexico Chiapas had nothing to offer either. Pfff. And for 28 euros a kilo!!!! A shame.
I remember now that on my first trip to Copenhagen i liked more the coffee at Estate than at Europa, but at home i had way better results with the Kontra blend (also at Europa) than with the two bags of Estate. Isn't this strange?

Now time for a well deserved holiday. Ciao.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Casper Engel World Cupping Champ

... and a very nice fella!
Congrats Casper.

Look mom ....

Originally uploaded by flyingthud
Who took the photo and who poured the shot? The old world champion and the new one with the most original Latte Art pour of the year.

Don't try this at home. ;-)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Stephen and His Hopper

Stephen and his hopper
Originally uploaded by King Seven
Stephen Morrisey from Ireland is the WBC 2008.

He's on a whole lot of photo's on coffee blogs around the world and he will be on a lot more from now on.
Was it the way the coffee was ground, the fantastic blend Square Mile roasted, the nice latte art, the 3 espresso's in one hand, the original signature drink, all his experience or his incredible cool?
When Steffen Schwartz (Coffee Consulate) and I were standing in front of Stephen Morrisey on Thursday, we saw him practicing new art patterns and Steffen was telling me he found out why Stephen was always that relaxed ..... 'It's because he's a musician'.
Was that his extra weapon?
But a very very nice Barista representative for the upcoming year for sure.
Congrats Stephen with your world crown and I hope to meet you (again) one day or another.
(for more info you can click here for an older Antwerp Barista article and funny photo of Stephen Morrisey or directly click his blog)

Belgium 19th

Congrats Detlev on finishing 19th with 605,5 points. A truly great performance it was, certainly for a first timer on this big stage with all camera's and press following.

While I'm eating my hat noticing Kyle G (8th) didn't make it to the finals - was he too cold or didn't his espresso's come out?- the finals are running right on this moment.
I'm proud remarking I had predicted 4 out of the 6 finalists. Peter's Mexico didn't come trough unfortunately. Yung was fantastic in the series and is a logical 5th. But then the big surprise ; Liesbeth Sleijster. I've seen her often but never talked to her and now I think that's a pity cause she had such a relaxed and natural style that I would like to know more about her. Gefeliciteerd in ieder geval Liesbeth en ik beloof dat ik in de zomer richting Nijmegen kar voor een espressootje! Yes, that was a Dutch intermezzo.

Now the finals : simul spro (simultanious shot processing or all 4 espresso's running at the same time) for Stephen M. using the Anfim Super Caimano Coffee Grinders - I think he's going to win.

Later on more.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Copenhagen WBC Day 2

The day started off with the Latte Art Competition.
Peter Hernout was fighting to do better than last year's 7th place.
And i expected him to do so, till...... he dropped his pitcher. Yes, it never happened before, and it will never happen again, but today .... 'BANG'. So, he had to redo his cappuccino's, confidence lost, one minute overtime and bye bye dreams. I don't know the final points yet, but with so many highly competitive Barista's in the field it looks like it's all lost. Bad luck.
Later on I saw Onno from the Netherlands doing great. No risks and no special show, but good points and probably in the final round.

This year you have every time 2 Barista's doing their show at the same time. And with a little help from host Manu Demets the show was guaranteed. Nice.

In between i saw the new Simonelli Aurelia running. Great soft infusion machine. And their Mythos grinder. Super fast and accurate. It looks like this company doing a great job to take their piece of the cake. And maybe next year as the official WBC machine.....??

Then Day two for the Barista Championship and my friend Detlev to kick off the show.
Brilliant! His best performance ever. You would never tell this was his first WBC appearance. Finals are probably a bridge too far, but definitely a whole of points.

A bit later we saw a good performance by David Makin from Australia.
And then by one o'clock it was time for the United States of America and Kyle Glanville. I was sipping this fantastic Santa Teresa at the Panama booth and talking with Maria Luisa Berard when she told me Kyle had these same beans in his blend. So we went together to enjoy the show. Once in I was flanked perfectly by Detlev on the left and Tim (Wendelboe) on the right.
15 minutes with no 'his' or 'uh' and a nice style and sig drinks all prepared individually at the judges table. I'll eat my hat if this man doesn't make the finals on Sunday.

Last stop this afternoon was not at the WBC but at the Estate shop. I remember really well the first time i was there drinking my first ever Clover coffee and that's what I did again today. La Minita on Clover with a brownie and cream on the side. Top!

Tonight i have this Kontra-Dalla Corte party down the street and tomorrow the first flight back home.
I hope you enjoyed my reports and don't forget to follow the live stream this Sunday for the finals. And for nice photo's ''.
(bedankt Jeroen voor de foto van Peter)

Detlev Battiau in Action at the WBC 2008

Live .TV show provided by Ustream

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Copenhagen WBC Day 1

Today it all started with the first round of the Barista Championship. 52 country's are sending a representative this year. That's a new record!
And Coffee In Good Spirits. I didn't find out who won this competition yet, sorry.

For the Barista part i don't have a lot of information either. What i saw live was nothing spectacular, but online i saw the Canadian, Michael Yung, with an excellent performance. A blend with Daterra and Yirgacheffe, Anfim Grinder, very nice system with wooden box to hide empty and dirty materials, cappuccino's at the judges table, good verbal presentation, very clean workstation and a sig drink with not only espresso but also vac pot coffee. Yes!! This can be the first finalist.
Markussen for Denmark looked a bit too nervous ; even in his speciality, the latte art, he didn't show a lot of confidence.
Of course, the taste is still the most important element and that i can't see.

At the fare floor i was stunned by the new Dalla Corte (DC Pro) and Kees Van Der Westen (Speed ster). And I was very happy with new steamtips for my Faema ; it was about time.

More stand were very learnful, not at least those from the Latin American country's promoting their specialty beans.
The best cup i had was at the El Salvador boot, where Luis Rodriguez gave me this superb coffee you can see on the photo. Yum.

More news from the Belgian guys and other tomorrow. Ciao.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Copenhagen WBC Day -1

Hello everybody.
Sitting in my poor and disappointing hotel room writing you about tonight from the most important coffee city in the world - at least for this week.
My internet connection is only small band, but the Jacobsen Saaz Blond beer on the table makes up a lot.

I spent most of the night at the Coffee Collective for this very interesting 'Meet The Farmers' Daterra Lecture.

I read and published more articles about it, but hearing it all out of the mouth of Isabela Pascual and Andreza Marzarao (nice exotic names) and with the help of their slide show makes it all way easier to understand and remember. They were the perfect representative for this famous Brazilian Cerrado Coffee Power Station.
More about the specifics of the Daterra coffee in the future.

I was happy to have a short talk with Klaus, Casper and Peter about their Coffee Collective project, the upcoming WBC, Daterra, Blending, Roasting and the coffee scene in general. Yes, a whole lot in a short period, but i have the feeling we can keep on talking for days about all this.

The shop/roastery is a whole lot smaller than i expected, and on a strange location. On one hand it's nice, this small town feel, but on the other hand it's a pity they can not reach a wider audience via their espresso bar, although this probably isn't their main objective. That's roasting great coffee and for sure this company is one of a kind doing so. Company's like this one give me perfect nouriture for the further development of my own Caffenation project in the upcoming months and years.
I'm already hungrily waiting for their opinion about our newest House Blend. Hopefully next week some first results.

Walking back to my hotel room at Osterport i stopped for a quick shot of caffeine at the Kaffe Plantagen espresso bar at Sankt Hans Torv. My buds were tasting the same aromatics as at the Moderna Museum in Stockholm and surprise surprise, the coffee came also from a coffee company from Barcelona. The espresso was way too large and a tad too old and astringent (?) though. But nice Barista and bar anyhow.

That's it for today.
And remember : hapiness is a warm puck.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

World Championships Preview

Tomorrow afternoon i have my flight planned for the Danish Capital and the awaiting Barista World Championships.
What can we expect?
A lot! Of course. It's not only Barista Championship, but also Latte Art, Good Spirits, Cup Tasting and, new, Ibrik Championship. It's also a big Fare, seminars, classes and party's for coffee lovers.
And good espresso in the town of all these formers world Champions like Klaus Thomsen, the man i'm hoping to meet at Coffee Collective Roastery/shop for the Daterra coffee class Wednesday eve.

I won't be in Copenhagen for the full period, but I am hoping to meet and greet a lot of people and catch some of the competition the first two days.
On the Barista front i expect a lot of single estate coffee's in competition, less spectacular art patterns on the cappuccino's and left and right simultaneous spro or 4 shots of espresso pulled (almost) at the same time. Generally the things we saw at the US Championships last month.
That's also why the US Champ Kyle Glanville is my main favourite. Together with him i expect in the finals on Sunday : David Makin (Australia), Stephen Morrissey (Ireland), Sören Markussen (Denmark), Daniel Remheden (Sweden) and - top tip from Peter Deprez - Salvador Benitez Espinosa (Mexico). Wait and See.

For the during of the Championship you can follow this blog with reviews and updates from your host Bergami.

And to end and to inform all those people who wonder what this Championship is all about i copy you the mission statements :

  1. To promote the growth, excellence & recognition in the Barista profession.
  2. To grow the Barista's knowledge of and expertise in, the preparation and serving of specialty, espresso coffee through competitions.
  3. To promote the knowledge and consumption of specialty coffee to the consumer through the Barista.
  4. To become globally recognised as the premier World Barista Event in the coffee calendar.
Maybe we even meet up in Copenhagen.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Round 1 Order WBC

2008 WBC Round One Order

Day One Day Two Day Three

United Kingdom
New Zealand
South Africa

El Salvador
United States
Puerto Rico

Costa Rica
Czech Republic

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Caffenation Customers Signature Drink

For our 5 years existence we asked the customers to invent coffee drinks, comparable to the signature drink at Barista competitions. So, based on coffee and without alcohol.

At Friday 13th we had our 5 nominees entering the competition, together with their fan club and Caffenation Staff.
So all together 25 people having a fun eve with great coffee. At least, that was the idea.

Patrick, the man on the photo, came in first with his 'Orange Truffle Mocha'.
A cold drink with a double espresso shot base, then mix with orange juice, unsweetened cacao powder, caramel, ice cubes and some milk on top.
Great, very inventive and good looks. A bit comparable to our Iced Americano, but sweeter and fruitier. Good job Pat.

Than it was time for Annelies and her sister Catherine. 'Iced Speculate'. A redesign of our Italiano, or an espresso shot blended with lots of quality vanilla ice cream, milk and some kind of gingerbread (speculoos). Fantastic!

3rd was the group of Nina and Christina ; young and lovely students who are the perfect type of new styled coffee bar visitors. Their 'invention' was called 'Siberian Sweetheart'. Two shots of our famous espresso, one scoop of ice cream with some American cookie crunch, cream and again some cookie crunch and chocolate syrup on top. Yes!

4th man in the battle was Björn. A young man who, the same as Patrick, can say he was there 5 years ago when i was standing all alone behind the bar, waiting for costumers. Björn is 5 years later still coming and on Friday he prepared a very original drink with crunched Werchters bonbons, a strong Mokka Harrar Lungo, topped with some foamy milk and chocolate syrup. Damned good cup of coffee it was.

Last but not least we had the cockroach gang. 3 friends who invented a bizar coffee drink with Indian cockroaches. Luckily this wasn't their selected drink that night. 'Da Mintzkoff' was the name and the cup was filled with good espresso, an After Eight (mint)chocolate, cream and cocos syrop on top. The taste was a mixture of Colgate tooth paste and strong coffee. Surprisingly good though!

And the winner is : Iced Speculate. Now for 5 months on the menu at Hopland 46. Check it out!

WBC This Week

1 9 - 2 2 J U N E 2 0 0 8

Official WBC Live Video Feed Coming Soon

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Fressshhhh Philosophy

Very interesting 21st Street Blog article from Luke :

Our coffee is fresh. REAAALLLY FRESH. Sometimes too fresh to pull a shot of espresso. It’s fresh from the harvest, expedited from origin to the roaster, and then roasted to order each week. At 21st Street we try to represent these beautiful coffees on the retail side. We can’t make it taste any better than what our roaster found on the cupping table. We focus our expertise on the craft of brewing. We like to surround ourselves with other experts that compliment what we do well. That’s why we like Intelligentsia.

Our roaster has recently made a commitment not to sell coffee beyond 10 months from the harvest date. Once you pick the coffee cherry from the tree it’s a race against time to get these beans to market while they still have all the flavors that made them worth the high price to begin with. Having said that, not all coffees are in season year-round, so there are times when our menu is full and times when it is lean. The lean times are almost over…

Here’s Intelligentsia’s “In Season” initiative in a nutshell…

Specialty Coffee has it all figured out, right? Direct relationships with growers, careful roasting, Baristas pulling perfect shots… we’ve squared the circle. Not exactly, as there is a final missing piece: seasonality.

Coffee is just like great fruit and vegetables. Most coffee-producing countries have only one specific harvest season each year, and once the coffee is picked from the tree, it begins the inevitable process of slow decline, losing quality with the passage of time. The result is that no matter how great a coffee tastes while in its prime, the day will always come when it loses the very things that made it so tasty in the first place.

What then does Intelligentsia In Season™ mean? It means that our coffees are offered only while they are fresh and retain the vibrancy that both nature and the fastidious coffee farmer intended. It means that the coffee offers the same kind of compelling traits it did when we first selected it and brought it to our Roasting Works

The coffee industry has long perpetuated the idea that coffee is a year-round crop without recognizing publicly that the harvest cycles do not allow for this. So you really need to know when a coffee was actually harvested. Selecting your coffees in this way ensures that you are getting them while they are their most delicious. The Intelligentsia In Season™ initiative is our commitment that every coffee encompassed by this effort has no more than 10 calendar months between its sale and the completion of harvest.

Ok that sounds awesome… but what does this mean for the menu? Wait… for… it….

Zirikana- Rwanda is out of season but we’ll have a little at the Frick building this week. Finca Matalapa- El Salvador and Anjilanaka- Bolivia are just about out of season, but we’ll have them this week and that will probably be it.

The first new coffee to arrive will be the new Direct Trade offering from Panama- El Machete. I know I’m excited because I haven’t had Intelli’s Panama before. This will soon be joined by new crops of Tanzania (another new one for me), Colombia (the Huila crop of Tres Santos) and the always popular Kenya. Next month we’ll have our choice from the latest crops of Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala. We’ll have our hands full trying to decide what to put on the menu- that’s a nice problem to have. Whatever we have, you know it’ll be F-F-FRESSHHHH. Respect

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Starbuxes new Business Strategy

Starbucks replaces baristas with vending machines

Starbucks vending machine

Is this a rebuild clover? :-)

Weird man this Shultz. Every week another story.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Probat Coffee Roasting Book

I received this book from Jan and Ingrid when they came over to enjoy the Barista Jam a couple of weeks ago.
Jan and Ingrid are doing the distribution, maintenance and revisions of all Probat equipment and already asked me a couple of times if i were interested in starting up a coffee roasting project.

Of course i've been thinking about it, but the deeper i think the more i start to understand how difficult this roasting job can be. I guess it's better to stick to our specialty and that's most of the work in between the roaster and the consumer drinking the cup.
On top of that i have day after day an incredible admiration of the job my roasting is doing. Week by week he is giving me this great quality consistency. Again last Saturday with the delivery of 16 kilo's Papua New Guinea. Unfortunately i don't have exact region or estate information, but the coffee is brilliant! And within the delivery 4 new Santos samples from Efico. No photo's of these, but the tests are only half way, so maybe more later on.

About the book : i started to read it with a lot of enthusiasm, but once the scientific talk kicks in it's all over for me. It's possible to read it trough, but even before turning the page i've already forgotten what they said. Not my cup of tea ; way too technical.
But a good book for those who like to start roasting. I don't know where they sell it, but i do know it's on my bookshelf at Hopland for those who might be interested ....

Friday, June 6, 2008

Training for the WBC

Tonight was a good time for the Belgian Barista and Latte Art participants to train for a live audience and jury.
I was there as a 'taste' judge and adviser for the verbal performance.

First session of Detlev Battiau : a bit hasty and nervous of course, but general feel was ok.
Espresso's : Problems ; acidity of Sidamo and Tarrazu are coming trough way too strong. It was sticking at the sides of the tongue from the first second on till the aftertaste.
Cappuccino's : Too cold, not sweet enough, half finished drawings.
Sig drink : nice although a bit too complex to follow. It's not easy being a judge and pay attention to all those small words and details.

Second session of Detlev after evaluation : he took a couple more seconds in his introduction to make a stronger first impression. Good.
Espresso's : Bravo. Full taste, sweeter and the Colombia San Augustin doing the job better. The crema didn't look perfect, but the taste was a 5 for me.
Cappuccino's : Different milk this time and good balance. Warmer and a very sticky and nice microfoam. Good contrast and heart shaped pattern. Well done Detlev.
Sig Drink : This is his specialty, although verbal part could be a tad more spectacular, although i'm sure in two weeks it will be spot on.

General impression is ok. He struggled technically in his second session, but with longer extractions, sweeter and hotter milk and a more positive body language it all came out fine. It looks like he can score high in Copenhagen.
Good luck Detlev.

Also our Latte Art Champ Peter Hernout was there to do two 8-minute run troughs.
Every shot looked spot on. Nice glossy and sweet milk and ok patterns.
On the photo you can see him working on a lovely signature drink, with on his side Detlev, his trainer and last year Champion Peter Deprez and Peter D's father.
Good luck Peter.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Hacienda Bergami Antwerp

Here you can see the evolution at my plantation.
This is the results of 9 months of hard labour.
At this speed i'll have my first usable crop ready by 2040. Pfff.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Caffenation and Barista news

It takes ages to get my new (old) Simonelli machine running. Plumbing, promised for yesterday eve, didn't happen. Bummer.

The Anfims are doing great, although i have not programmed the timer yet. Can someone help me?

This and next month there is elarged interest from professionals to work with our Caffenation House Blend. It's a big honour for me to help people launch their business or change their coffee on the grinder.
Every day again i notice competition is totally not capable or motivated to prep grinder, machine and/or workstation. These days there is so much knowledge available, but almost nothing is happening in the field. Are these companies blind? In this city and country it seems an impossibility to pull an espresso with a 'normal' extraction. In 99% of the businesses they have one grinder. This one mostly has old rusty blades and is grinding course for cafe creme. So if, and i say if, somebody is smart enough to understand that a good cappuccino needs a good espresso to start of with, the 'espresso' runs approximatly 7 seconds!
It's almost a one man's action to bring in decent espresso in Antwerp, but bit by bit we change the landscape. Single handed we achieved to have plus minus 15 etablishments following the basic rules of coffee making. GRIND, DOSE, DISTRIBUTE, TAMP, BREW, SERVE, REPEAT.

Next week we celibrate our 5th anniversary. And for that we have at Friday the 13th a special party. We asked our clients to invent a coffee drink, style signature drink.
The simple rules are the same as in championships : coffee based and no alcohol.
The five nominated persons, although we hope and expect groups of 5, are coming over that night to prepare, with our help if needed, their drink. Each group has half an hour to make enough drinks so everyone can see and taste them.
At the end we will give points at the best drink of the eve. This one will be offered at all Caffenation clients during the summer season.
This week is final week to put recipes in the box at the cashing. Good luck. Soon the results of this competition on the blogspot.

WBC Copenhagen.
I heard Bart is training hard for the cupping competition. His style is very special, but i'm sure he's capable of beating the sh.. out of everyone out there in Denmark.
Meanwhile Peter for the Latte Art and Detlev for Barista are training hard. This friday i'm invité at the Viva Sara headquarters to judge their performances. Curious....

As espresso of the week we had our Daterra on the grinder.
Also the bean sales went really well ; the twenty kilo of Yellow Bourbon Daterra was sold out in 16 days. Not too bad for a city like Antwerp.
Yesterday Daisy and Katrien pulled shots with the Hasbean Honduras COO and today we have a Rwanda gold on the grinder. Only one small bag, so in the running of the day we gonna get over to the good old Napoli styled Barberra. Come on in for a shot. Cheers.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Anfim Grinders Arrival

Simply the best!
That's my first impression on the newly arrived Anfim grinders.
We have a Super Caimano with Titanium blades and Timer and a Caimano regular on board since Thursday.
Finer particles, less noise, great dosing, nice looks (certainly in black - the inox one disappoints) and most of all very consisting taste because of not overheating. Off course we're not the biggest espresso bar in the world, but with our previous House Blend grinder, the Mahlkonig K30 we had constant problems with over heating. Then MK is telling us to buy one with cooling, but why do i have to pay double compared to Anfim?

I guess it's way too early for final conclusions. Mostly it's only after half a year or so we can come with more specific talk, but the first tests are stunning. From the first shot on i had more dept and detail in our espresso. I have to admit that for the Daterra i couldn't taste something extra but our House Blend came out very very well. When clients ask you why it tastes so good without noticing new equipment.....

On Saturday, when we pull shots at a very high tempo, we had same taste in the morning, at noon and still late in the afternoon. Everyone in the specialised coffee world knows this is what we dream of.
After our spectacular Teflon coated portafilters we accomplished another major breakthrough quality wise.

Soon i'll order the home version - Best model - and a grinder on demand with brackets.
To be continued.....