Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mr. phelps Coffee Bean

morning coffee bean
Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps
Morning coffee bean from my favourite 'coffee photographer'. Click the photo for a better view and entrance to his other pictures.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008


How do you drink your coffee???

Me, with patience. That's what you need in a 3rd wave espresso bar. Every other week new coffees/beans come in and the first thing you want to do is testing it. By cupping or throwing it directly into a grinder for espresso or by press pot, filter, whatever.... But patience needs to be your friend. First of all the coffee beans need to breath out all the gasses from the roasting. Not for health issues, but for taste reasons.

You see the taste of a bean changing from day to day, but the biggest change is within the first week. Where the coffee tastes too heavy, perfumed, bitter and wild the first days, it all comes together between the 4th and 7th day (plus minus).

Sometimes we do already some cupping after day one, just to get a first impression and to see how it's changing over the first days. Mostly it's the Friday roast that's tested Monday and if we are really in need for a new bean/blend, we start pulling espresso's from Tuesday on. Then we notice a lot of changes within the first three weeks, after which the top tastes and details are out and everything is sold. But that's the maximum stretch we do. Normally we count on selling everything within the first two weeks, so people can drink it within the first three weeks and than a new one can take the place.

Last Saturday our new Brazil Daterra Bourbon Collection came in. Oh God, it was hard the first days, waiting for the bean to hit its top. Patience my friend, patience is your best friend.

Nice article about the subject is this one from Linus/Coffee Collective.

Oh yes ; the Daterra is, as always, devine.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Barista Bikini Girl Throws Boiling Water on Pervert

I'm questioning myself : If I would be serving coffee's in underwear and a girl passed the drive tru only wearing mens' underwear ; what would I do? Uhm, maybe give her a free cup?
What would you do?

Sunday, August 24, 2008


This is a Stok (say 'Stowek') capsule. The Black Shot 200.
It's a caffeine add on to your personal drink. For an extra boost.

Actually I think it's a bit ridiculous, although the website is one of a kind.

We just advice people for an extra espresso shot if needed. The real stuff qua...

On the side thought : we have more and more people ordering a double shot cappuccino. Translated to a Latte, this would be equal to a quadruple shot Latte! Maybe we should put this one on the menu ; sounds cool.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Van Boon tot Barista

The Deprez Brothers Bart and Peter (Viva Sara) wrote the first serious book about the new coffee culture in Belgium.
The book is called (Van Boon tot Barista) and published by the Davidsfonds, Leuven.

It's about a lot of things ; from the history over processing, harvesting, blending, roasting, brewing techniques and recipes and health to finish with Barista knowledge.
Very complete with 14 pages about all different coffee country's as my personal highlight.
Except for the old fashioned idea about coffee dosing (7 grams for one and 14 for two espresso's !!??) I can find myself really well with the content and hope they can get a second, more specialised, book printed one day, and maybe with a 3rd wave espresso bar list....

Order via :

Of te lezen te Caffenation, Hopland.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Starbucks Belgium

Starbucks Vintage Logo
It's unbelievable, but it happened.
Starbucks came to Belgium. And not even behind transit zone, but just at the main departure hall at the Brussels airport in Zaventem.
Not that I recommend people to go there for a cup, but it's big new for us.

I wish em all the luck and think all together it's a good thing for the coffee industry in Belgium.

Here's a (dutch spoken) video post from Kanaal Z.:
Klik hier om deze video te bekijken.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Barismo's 10 Reasons Why Coffee Doesn't Taste as Described

10. Water
9. Grind
8. Brew time
7. Temperature
6. Crop variance
5. Weather
4. Roaster error
3. Brew method
2. Age coffee gets old.
1. Personal palette

For details click this Barismo article from last week in which Jaime van Schyndel points out nicely why your coffee doesn't taste the way it's written on the label of your coffee bag.

For me the main reason is the fact some roasters are way out of line in their descriptions.
Take this example from a Stumptown (by the way a fantastic roaster, don't get me wrong) coffee, the Nicaragua Los Golondrinas COE. This one should taste like chamomile blossom -oh subtle and hard to find back-, grannie smith apple -possible-, apricot -also possible-, dutch chocolate -can someone tell me how Dutch chocolate tastes like ; I don't even think it exists! and do we talk milk or dark or very dark chocolate?- and black cherry -ok.
It better be this spectacular Mr Sorenson, at $60 a pound!!
I have to admit I'm eager to order a bag of this coffee, but wouldn't it be a big set back not finding back the tastes written on the label? Of course, then we can go back to the 10 reasons why ; that's the circle.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

New York for Coffee Capital

These days there is plenty of rumour at the US East Coast.
While there was a lot of movement the last couple of years, we see an increased interest from the other 'big' players - we're talking Ecco, Stumptown, Blue Bottle and Intelligentsia - from the West Coast and California to start up roastery's and espresso bars in and around Manhattan.

Click this link for the full New York Times article (photo from the NY Times as well).

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Coffee With The Soprano's

Seen on Coffee Ratings before. But worth a copy.
Paulie wants a 'just coffee'. Hilarious.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Iced Salami Latte

After the ongoing discussions (from consumer's point and Murky's point of view) about clients rights and Barista's freedom in drink preparations or refusal doing so, we had an interesting order yesterday.
"Can you fix me a Salami Milkshake?"

And we made him this .... Iced Salami Latte.

Do you have a weird drink in your freaky mind? Our fingers already get itchy.

Oh yes : after this Murky thing we made ourselves a triple shot on the rocks.
NOT good. The Murky guy had a point. And his solution to separate the espresso from the ice was smart ; in Spain people order a thousand times a day an espresso with a glass full of ice cubes on the side. But there they sweeten the espresso first and then mix it up. Cafe con hielo, yummy!

Oh yes, don't forget to watch the Jack Nicholson's clip in the link. And the 333 responses on the subject. Do you have 3 hours? :-)

Oh yes (2), our dude liked the drink. LOL.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Full Throttle Coffee

Once again the guys from Atlanta think to throw in a coffee soda kind of ..... I don't know what.
The can looks good to me.
I'm always curious how it tastes. It's not sure you'll taste coffee though.
Here the article from the 'csnews' site :

Coca-Cola's Full Throttle brand opens up with a new premium coffee and energy blend drink, which is made with 100 percent Colombian Arabica coffee plus Full Throttle's energy and vitamin blend, the company stated. The 15-ounce cans come in three flavors -- mocha, vanilla and caramel -- and will be available initially in the Pacific Northwest and Southeast, before rolling out nationally in August, according to the company. The launch of the line extension will be supported with marketing campaigns and sampling events to drive awareness and trial, the company stated. The marketing will feature the tagline, "Coffee. Fully Charged," and packaging will be bilingual, with both English and Spanish.

Coca-Cola North America, Atlanta

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

New Coffee's

Last week we had a couple of very interesting coffee's on the menu.

Jeff went to Copenhagen and the Coffee Collective.
There he met Linus, who sold him a big bag of the CC espresso. Alongside he was so generous to offer a bag of Ecco Caffè Fazenda Cachoiera Espresso.
Well done Linus!

I heard some good things about this company before and was finally able to test one of their beans. The Brazilian Ecco was a big hit among our Espresso lovers. Very full taste for a Single. Powerful, chocolate en super clean. We liked it a lot.
What they call Northern Italian Roast is a dark roast for us. A tad too dark to my own likings. A bit comparable in roasting style and taste as the Peet's I once had. I guess i like it, although we tend to go a tad lighter. But it isn't easy. If i remember the Terroir NIR, that one was lighter, but didn't do it at all for me. Hm, difficult.
For those who are interested in knowing more about it, or who want to buy some :
Ecco Caffè California USA.
Once again we were able to enjoy the Coffee Collective Espresso Blend.
Although this company is barely one year old, we have been drinking a lot of their roasts.
And we certainly hope to keep on doing so in the near future.
Can you send us a bag of the new Finca Vista Hermosa crop please?

From the trade show at the WBC in Copenhagen I picked up two microlot samples from Panama.
I was really looking forward to taste them, but couldn't find what i was looking for ; something like the Esmeralda or Santa Helena? Probably also due to the roast that was unfortunately a bit off.
I did quiet OK on espresso though.
Thanks Cafetales Don Alfredo and Verde Rey for the samples.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Coffee Dosing August 2008

With our new Anfim we're totally overdosing for the moment. With brilliant results.

Years ago the Australians (Basset, Sebados, ...) showed us how to overdose, or grind less fine, but with more coffee in the basket.
The old Italian school still talks about 7 grams for one and 14 for two shots.
What we do today at Caffenation is 11 grams for one and 19,5 grams for a double espresso. The sizes of the filter baskets are : 6 grams for the singles and 14 for the doubles. So, yes, that's some serious overdosing.
Result : very steady shots. The higher dosing gives almost no risk for underextracted shots (like below 20 seconds) because of bad tamper leveling. The coffee sits so pressed in the machine, the water has almost no possibility to escape and this way the extraction stays in between 25 and 30 seconds. Taste wise we have less acidity, more sweetness and also more detail.

Top tip : I noticed the tamper needs to fit as perfectly as possible of course, but also needs to be heavy (we use the regular Reg Barber) and is by preference flat. This way I find it the easiest to get best results with the over dosing technique. Check it.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Marcel D'Anvers

What a team we have on super Saturday's.
And stylish. ;-)
(on the other side of the camera there were plenty of girls)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Square Mile Coffee Review

What did we try :
1) Square Mile Espresso Blend
2) San Francisco Tecuam burro, Guatemala, washed and sun dried, by Sergio Barillas Escamilla
3) La Rosa, Costa Rica, Caturra and Catuai, semi washed and sun dried, by Fernando Vindas
4) Kenya Muchoki Peaberry, auction lot - no info available
5) Myamagabe, Rwanda, 100% Bourbon, washed and sun dried.

First the Espresso Blend.
Very good blend indeed. If I have to compare it with Kontra or Coffee Collective or Tim Wendelboe or Stumptown or Caffenation then you notice some similarity's and differences. For me it was most comparable to Tim's from end 2007, but a bit stronger.
The roast is medium. I'm not sure, but I suppose it's just roasted on the second crack, although i have no further idea about times and temperatures. It's surely light enough to show fruits and acidity and strong enough for bitters and strenght. I only tried it on Anfim Caimano linked with a big Faema and Portaflon PF, 91°C and 1 ounce. The roast was 9 days old.
The shots were easy to prepare and taste wise I have no complaints. Powerful. Lots of body. Clean and Round. No specific fruits jumping out. Medium Acidity while drinking, but my personal feeling is that the finish is a little too sharp. With our House Blend we look for a mellow round after taste. The Square Mile Championship Blend had this, but it's lacking a bit on these first Espresso Blend shots. Of course it's always difficult to compare circumstances and machinery.
Then we pulled 5 ounce cafe cremes. Double Portafilter. Plus minus 14 grams in a double baskets and light tamping. The ground was the same as for espresso's (therefor we used almost 19 grams) but it was laying way deeper in the filter basket and so we had our 25 seconds extraction for a lungo cup.
This way we had more detail, some caramel and liquor and a fantastic after taste. Way better than our House Blend. Only one negative thing : cooling down it became quickly too bitter. Sure thing a Yirgacheffe/Columbia Huila (to just name two) add on would do wonders for this.

Than cupping the lighter roasted Single Origin/Estates.

The Guatemala : I had a similar bean as Espresso Roast from Hasbean which I liked a lot, and also this one came out really well. At the cupping table we noticed a medium body with a very sweet entrance, some beech nuts, a low acidity and a clean after taste.
On French Press I was so impressed with my morning pot, I was the whole afternoon angerly waiting to make one more in the evening. And I did ; at 10 pm! Delicious. Once again. Super duper clean. Not too heavy. Nice half ripe fruits (tasted some prunes and apple). A bit of sweet and sour and a very nice cooling down.
On Chemex (with the same ground - not too coarse, but of course coarser than filter) : Sweeter, heavier, a bit aged even. Much more body and a clean but no so nice after taste. And I missed the fruits of the Press.

The Costa Rica La Rosa : Cupping : Light body, some citrus, a bit thin and an after taste that stuck a bit too much to the sides of the tongue. The cooling down was fantastic, very sweet and nutty.
On the press I came out a bit too light for me. Maybe I need to dose higher next time.

The Kenya Muchoki (what a name) : Medium body, zest-fruity, a young - not yet developed - taste with a very clean after taste. Wasn't this too lightly roasted? I don't know. Of course there are so many very good Kenyans on the market and we had a couple bags of the Mamuto the last 6 months, which is no comparison, with nothing actually. But also on the press it couldn't do it for me.

Then last but not least the Rwanda Myamagabe : The same week as our Rwanda came out and once again a fantastic experience. Earthy, some green vegetables notes, dried fruits and good after taste. But to be honest : ours had much more body, pleasant earthy notes and a truffle undertone that made it the most spectacular Rwanda I ever had.
The Eva Solo brew of the Myamagabe tonight at Caffenation was very welcomed by the 7 or 8 people I offered a cup. Most people thought it was very pleasant although it lacked some strenght, but that has to do with their habit of drinking espresso's and strong lungo's I guess.

All together very well done Stephen, James and Anette. Keep up the good work and see you guys soon.