Can't link it direct from you tube, so you'll have to click the link above.
Funny vid with Paulie going on and on about 'Bufalow Mosarel' and 'This is the worscht'. Hilarious.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
The Roast of the Month at Caffenation is a washed Rwanda Arabica. I have no more information about it, but i do know it's a real top class espresso bean. Very good body, strong, little earthy, vibrant, low acidity and a mellow clean after taste. Best described as an improved Indonesian. Great to drink as a single and probably also brilliant in the blend, although we still rate our latest Papua New Guinea a tad higher thanks to its dark fruit tones.
Meanwhile I'm Cupping and Brewing Square Mile's Rwanda. A review soon.
And for all Rwanda lover's I have this very interesting 'Independent' article underneath this link.
It looks like Rwanda is the newest and hottest bean in 3rd wave land. And for good reason!
(oh yes ; don't you think this Rwanda flag is one of the most beautiful?)
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I guess i planned already 4 times the last 12 months to go to London. This weekend it finally happened.
And one way or another it looked like the perfect moment.
Square Mile is the new coffee company started by Stephen Morrisey, James Hoffmann and Anette Moldvaer.
Since it only opened a couple of days/weeks ago i had the honour of being one of the first visitors.
With my mate Dave we strolled in on monday afternoon for a cap, espresso and a lot of coffee talk.
The Poyser street accommodation looks very rough but gives it a nice big city rock and roll feel.
To me this project is one a kind.
The beans selected (a review later on the week), the Anfim grinders coupled with the Synesso machine (a dream team), the new beans packing system (in buckets with a valve!), the cool designs (strong black and white), the strong and friendly personality's of this trio and the omni present passionate and professional approach are going to shake the coffee world for sure.
I tried to make two epresso's on the Synesso and this felt really nice. The shots were running with an incredible consistancy. Very good flow, without dripping, and dark colored during full extraction time. Unfortunately the roast was way too fresh so it lacked details and the fruit tones were hidden behing the bitter and roast flavors. But never tasted such a strong shot with such a clean and pleasant after taste. I can't wait to try out their espresso blend on my own machine this week.
Square Mile Coffee Roasters. Don't forget the name.
You can click the blog link on the links list to follow their path.
Of course Square Mile was not the only coffee experience these 2 days. We had fantastic Latte Art by Cameron at Flat White. Never saw Latte Art patterns live at this level. And very consistent. A genius.
The espresso could have been better though. Larissa, a Caffenation addict from the early days and newly London resident, already warned me for the bitterness.
It tasted like a 1 day old roast, but appeared to be a over roasted Monmouth Blend. Not my cup of tea, but a perfect match for the milk. Very good cream and chocolate taste. Wonderful and highly recommendable.
And with their ordered Square Mile espresso beans waiting at Poyser Street I hope to be back soon.
Besides of the above coffee i only had one small espresso at a Costa Bar at Camden. Not the best shot, but compared to the other big chains it was an improvement. A bit comparable to the Coffee Company espresso.
I hope there will be more independent espresso bars coming to London soon. For a city sooo big and packed with Starbuckses, Nero's and Costa's it's almost unbelievable you can't drink, besides of a couple of exceptions, decent espresso.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
In Limoges France, we were, after some adventure activity's with the kids, very hungry and thirsty. And there was no restaurant in that whole neighbour hood.
Oh yes ; we spotted a McDonalds. Not to our liking, but when you're hungry, even a burger can be tasteful.
Not .... I noticed later on, but what was more interesting was this brand new McCafé they installed next to the hamburger ordering desk.
Time for a test.
"Je pourrai avoir un Decaf Latte en un espresso s.v.p.?"
The two girls (I wouldn't directly dare to call them Barista's. At least ; not yet) behind the counter first look at me like I'm from another planet, while I'm start wondering if this was a Fata Morgana or something.
So I'll order again and then one starts typing in, meanwhile talking, a Latte Macchiato and a Expresso.
I'll ask again for a Decaf. They don't understand. "Un Decafiné. Café sans Cafeine?"
"Ah non", she replies "we don't have this. Only our regular blend."
Can you believe they start up this kind of bar, with two employees, and no Decaf or one or another different taste.
So, since Isabel isn't capable to tackle some Caffeine after noon, I'll just stick to the Exxxxpresso.
20 seconds extraction, grinded on Malhkonig and brewed on a La Cimbali, for one ounce of liquid. Seen worse .... tasted worse. Like at an average Belgian espresso bar for example.
It was comparable to Starbucks. It was warm and black.
And on top of that there was some typical French taste in it. Some undefinable specific cheap bean yelling for sugar.
I just left it half empty and started silently dreaming about my cups at Caffenation.
And I asked those two princesses from above if they had some Fanta left over.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
600 stores will be closed down in their home country, the United States of America.
By clicking here you can see this wonderful map of the store evolution around the world, from Portfolio, with attached share map and some other Howard Shultz articles.
And read :
Meanwhile I have confirmation from a good source Starbucks in planning to open a new store at the Brussels Airport, for travellers only. This franchise store will be operated by the Italian catering group Autogrill. Seen their struggling on the share market, it looks like an ideal partner for Bux. ;-)
The opening should be happening by the end of this year.
Wait and see. I still doubt ...
(photo from benhanson. Thanks mate)
Saturday, July 12, 2008
In France we ended up at the country house of Peter, Bettina and their daughter Tessel. A very nice family we knew from skiing last March. That was in Vallendry, this time the village was called Luxury and it's as nice as the name!
Seen the fact this is a coffee blog, i do not want go into holiday details, but move on to the coffee making.
In Amsterdam he got a very nice Vibiemme machine, but here just a Ranchilio Silva. If I would have known i would have taken some fine ground with me ; they only had pre ground mild Albert Heijn and a Arabica Lavazza.
Nice toys to play with, surely compared if I hear people at 'Koffiepraat' who only have some Nescafé of Handpresso with them.
But of course I'm a difficult man ; The AH was not my cup of tea and a not fine enough grind. The Lavazza on the other side was a too fine grind.
So, with the AH i had to go for 15 cl doubles and with the Lavazza I almost blew the pump. At 6 gram on a single basket i was able to pull singles shot with thin crema and lots of bitter.
So far the bad news, the good news was the steaming. A bit weird to feel so much power coming out of such a small machine with this small steam wand finishing on one steaming hole. The results were fantastic pitchers - yes they were fully equipped - filled with velvety micro foam. Although the crema of the coffee was never top, the latte art was good looking and lots of fun.
Regular readers of this blog know I adore the Eva Solo coffee brewers. The one i won finishing 3rd at the BBC in 2006 was partly broke, but an excellent one to take along on this Holiday.
At the Landes I started with my own Papua New Guinea. This first day I was overwhelmed by nice details, good balance and minor bitters, but as days flew by the quality dropped quickly. Sure thing you need fresh coffee if you want quality. Of course not only with this coffee brewer ....
In Luxury I opened this new bag of Puerto Rico, I bought in San Sebastian. The Eva Solo gave good strenght, but not too happy with the fruit and acidity. Disappointing for a coffee bean this expensive, or was the roasting off? Too old greens? Who knows.
I do know that making this great cup of Joe, every time again is an incredible challenge. Once you are used to 'so-called' God shots, it's difficult to find ease with an average cup. But on the other hand .... isn't that what is getting us up, time after time, to do better and try harder? .... I guess so.
The life of an Antwerp Barista and his struggles in the coffee kitchen ..... the story continues ....
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Quick entry before restarting fully next weekend.
I had this small email coming in from the 'Daterra Team'. I thought it was quite interesting.
Dear Partners and Friends,
During the last SCAE show held in Copenhagen myself and Isabela had the oportunity to witness the perpetuation of all the hard work Daterra have untiring done towards quality. Four out of the six finalists during the 2008 World Barista Championship were using Daterra Coffees in their blends. In total there were 52 participants at the Championship.
The 2nd place David Makin from Australia was using our Reserve Vintages from 2004 and 2005. This is also the confirmation on how quality in the Penta Boxes can be kept and even improved to prepare the best espressos.
The finalists used Daterra as follows:
Second place - Australia - David Makin - used Daterra Reserve Vintage 2004 e 2005 in his blend by Veneziano.
Third Place - The Netherlands - Liesbeth Sleijster - used Daterra Bourbon Collection and Bourbon Yellow in her blend by Peeze.
Fifth Place - Canada - Michael Young - used Daterra Bruzzi in his blend by 49th Parallel.
Sixth Place - Denmark - Soren Stiller - used Daterra Sweet Collection in his blend by The Coffee Collective.
We thank you all for helping us to promote quality and sustainability around the world and specially our staff at the farm who constantly work to achieve excellence in the cup.