Monday, December 28, 2009

Top 10 Coffee's of 2009

Here we are with the best of the year from Caffenation.
CD's is coming next week, but first things first : espresso's of the week :

1) Brazil Dutra, roasted by Alfons Schramer for Mondo Del Caffè Luxemburg.
This was a gift from Luca Sierman and spot on.
Great balanced, mild and clean coffee. Maybe not the most complex and detailed tastes, but for sure the most popular cup we had on the menu this year.

Just as last year 3 coffee's from England in our top 10, but also 3 from Luxemburg and even on 1 and ...
2) Rwanda Musasa, roasted by Knopes Luxemburg.
Personally this was my favourite one. Smashing all the way and back on the menu soon.

3) Guatemala El Bosque Red Bourbon. Greens by Hasbean. Roasted by Jean Vermeulen.
Isabelle used this one for her finals performance at the BBC. Complex and very fruity and really nice in the caps.

4) Little Green Bag- Caffenation. Roasted by Jean Vermeulen.
5) Yirgacheffe Conventional (by Bagersh). Roasted by Jean Vermeulen.
6) El Salvador, Finca Los Amates COE. Greens by Hasbean. Roasted by Jean V.
7) Square Mile Winter Espresso (Minas & Sidamo). Roasted by Square Mile London.
8) Isola Blend. Roasted by Johan & Nyström Stockholm.
9) Guatemala Puerta Verde. Roasted by Knopes Luxemburg.
10) Ethiopia Limu Grade 2 (by Efico). Roasted by Jean Vermeulen.

So, a mixture of 'own' coffee's, some by Knopes and a couple others.
2009 was our best year so far, that's for sure.

And thanks to James from Dose who sponsored us number 7, now on the grinder at Caffenation Hopland 46. A perfect way to end the year.


Sunday, December 27, 2009


Or the way my daughter Rocky spells cappuccino. :-)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Direct Espresso Lungo Infusion

Here an example of drinking coffee straight from the tap. Respect Hidde.
Warning : Don't try this at home.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

X- Mas Coffee : Rwanda Musasa

This years Christmas coffee is a single origin from Rwanda.
Those who are frequent blog readers remember this post I wrote about this coffee. That day we just had a small bag from Origin Roaster Capetown.

When Knopes told me to bring it in half December we knew we didn't have to look any further for our X-mas coffee this year.

The Rwanda Musasa is one of the most fantastic beans we ever tasted. It has a very full taste. It's complex, but still very easy to drink. It has plenty of body, a fine acidic touch, deep flavors of wich chocolate and green vegetables are the easiest to spot - there's much more, and a sweet mellow after taste.
Top tip : pull a double very concentrated shot (plus minus 1 ounce with +20 grams of fine ground) and pour over nicely textured fresh milk. This cap has such great texture ; it's like an angel pissing on your tongue. Very soft and sweet. Just perfect.

Is this the coffee of the year? Probably. And if not ; it's going to be close. Next week we know ; the top 10 of the year is on its way.

We only have 24 K in the house at only (special X-mas promotion) € 9,90, for half a kilo.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Schomer Still Inspiring

For me Schomer's Barista handbook is still the bible to start with.
And it was his video we (and I mean Caffenation crew and Peter Hernou) learned Latte Art from. We probably watched it 100 times. No shit.

Now I read this article at Coffee City.
I think Schomer is right about this. It's very very important to keep on tasting/testing all the singles from your blends as espresso.
We also do it regularly and this way you can see how the beans evolve over time. Is the crop still fresh enough? Is the bean still delivering what's in for? Is the roast ok for espresso?

This way we noticed last week our Papua New Guinea Sigri is going downhill. We have it in the blend for it's body and spicyness, this last bit mostly in the finish. But the body is fading and the spicyness gets too acidic. It's still a nice blender, but body and balls of the blend is at drift.
With also the Bolivia La Paz Organico almost out of stock, and the Yirgacheffe in a danger zone, we have to reshuffle.

Luckily we have great Harrar on the shelf. It's not the easiest to blend in, but on a 15% base, combined with a Dominican, Yirga and a mild Brazil, we still have a very good House blend.

With new crop Brazil and Rwanda coming the last 2 weeks of 2009 we'll have to keep Schomer's blending techniques in mind the upcoming weeks.

Hasta la vista, baby.

(between brackets : the old time La Marzocco lover who Schomer was, changed weapons and is using a Synesso. 3rd wave coffee world is moving fast)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Crouching Slayer

Crouching Slayer
Originally uploaded by SlayerSeattle
I like this set up, even it's not finished yet.
The work bench. The industrial setting. The small knock box. And of course ... the machine. Sleek.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Barchoq New Leading Bar in Antwerp

It's not hard for me to write this. I've been helping Jens from day one, which was almost 2 years ago, and this has always been good fun. He's a great student and bit by bit over classing us. On my short trip yesterday I noticed some changes, great changes.

First the bar was loaded. And not with tourists or young girl with a chocolate crave - not that I have anything against it. No, nice people, all styles, all ages, nice.

Then his Latte Art pouring progressed. It was very good before, but that double shot latte he poured out for Sophie was breathtaking. Perfect 13 leaves, well balanced, brown circled and good contrast. Unfortunately no photo.

Then the first in Belgium with Aeropress on the menu.
We work together on this little program, but if I'm sure it's not going to stay a little program if this brewer keeps on brewing coffee's like this.
I had a Kenya Ndimaini. Superb cup! And very close to the best Clover I ever had, which was a Kenya, roasted by Peter Dupont, on a Clover at Estate, Copenhagen.
This Ndimaini was delivered by Caffenation and roasted by Knopes.

Then the first Anfim Timers set in Belgium and maybe a world première.

We get used to see timers build in the Caimano. Sometimes even 2 timers, but this chap has 6 (six!) timers on a row. With special buttons on the side of the La Marzocco to activate them.
Brilliant Jens, really brilliant. I want the same.

Keep up the good work. I'm proud.
And may the rest of Antwerp and Belgium follow these great initiatives.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Starbucks goes Synesso and Anfim

Nice little article and photo from Daniel's blog.

Here you see how these newly rebranded Starbuckses look like. I'm curious who delivered them the Synesso and Anfim Super Caimano's. If 49th did this, I'm wondering what's in the grinders. Can't be the regular over roasted SBux stuff.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Climate Change Effects on Coffee

Copenhagen is home of coffee, we all know.
But today Copenhagen is also the home where a new Climate 'Save The Planet' agreement should be signed these days.

The Climate Change we're seeing these years is influencing also the coffee volumes and quality. There's an increased demand for (quality) coffee, but the problem is that because of these changes in climate the total coffee production seems to decrease.

Even in Brazil, where lots of new coffee fields were planted last 2 decades, there seem to be a decrease, something like 8 million bags of Arabica for this new crop. That's a lot.
Nevertheless Brazil is, thanks to scientific models, an example on how you deal with this warmer earth. If you want to plant a crop where the model says you shouldn't, then it's going to be very difficult to get credit for that.

And what happens more and more is farmers changing from Arabica to Robusta. Less rain and stem borers that are attacking Arabica more than Robusta make Robusta fields more productive.

We can see in the Bean Belt (part of the earth where (most) coffee is produced) that most of the country's expect a decrease in volume this year. So, expect high prices for 2010.

And, nevertheless a big decrease in crop for country's as Uganda, a future for Robusta.
If you see how Robusta quality is improving lately! In India they started new agricultural and processing techniques on the Robusta's, with amazing results. I don't think we're going to pull single origin Robusta shots the upcoming years, but an increased percentage in some espresso blends could well be possible.

Most country's in problems with this 'wild' weather are the African, like Tanzania, and Latin American country's, like Nicaragua.

And a last danger in these days of Climate change is the hurricane risk.
In Puerto Rico they didn't have a great crop this year, but imagine a big hurricane on top of this....

An interesting read on this subject is this one at
And this one from USA Today.

Friday, December 4, 2009

New Coffee's (Dutch)

Nieuwe week, nieuwe bonen.

Alle weken een andere Mokka Harrar (Ethiopië). Soms dezelfde boon, maar de minste verandering in branding en/of ouderdom geeft een sterk wisselend resultaat. Ik heb 2 professionele klanten die er in hun resto mee werken en die komen soms klagen. Niet dat ie per se slecht is, maar wel weer anders en soms moeilijk om te zetten.
De Harrar Bashawieh de laatste keer was net iets te donker om ook voor press te dienen, maar wat onze reguliere brander deze week meegaf dan weer wel. Veel fruit en diepe en wilde toetsen. Een smaakfeest. En voor 4,20 euro het pakje....!
Ik zag daarnet dat de Harrar bij hun de best verkopende koffie is op dit moment. Wellicht niet toevallig. November-december is niet direct een hoogvlieger in nieuwigheden, terwijl de Ethiopische bonen - heel laat geoogst vorig jaar - nog altijd heel erg goed smaken.
Soms zelfs beter, zoals onze Yirgacheffe. Waanzinnig op Aeropress vinden we. Ongeveer het beste wat we dit jaar al geproefd hebben. Incredible sweetness op lagere temperaturen. We durven tot 40 graden te zakken voor deze bak te brouwen en het blijft werken. Check it out!

Terug nieuwe Kenia binnen. Ben naam vergeten. Iets makkelijker en minder sprankelend dan de vorige, maar nog altijd een stuk spannender/smaakvoller dan de reguliere AA die je op de meeste plaatsen terug vind. Slechts 4,50 euro.

Verse Indian Monsooned Malabar, nieuwe Oogst Brazil single estate!!! en een gourmet melange voor press/filter. Maar die moeten nog getest worden. Da's voor zaterdagochtend. Wie goesting heeft....

Oh ja, ook nog een Daterra Sweet Collection voor espresso, momenteel Espresso & Roast of the Week. Kort gezet heel lekker al moet ik toegeven dat, ondanks de Penta Box verpakking, er toch wel sleet komt na 1 jaar in het magazijn.

En tot slot : Elk jaar met Kerst een speciaal offer. Dit jaar de onovertroffen Rwanda Musasa. Een zeeeeer spectaculair boon die - hou je vast - asperges met pure chocolade in zich draagt. Tenminste vorig jaar toch. Kom dat zien. Normaal vanaf 18 december at Hopland.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Caffènation versus Coffee Nation

What's the difference between Caffènation and Coffee Nation?

This is a Caffènation Barista.

And this is a Coffee Nation Barista. (as seen at '')

The coffee-serving baristas of Coffee Nation, a new drive-thru coffee stand in Salem Oregon, serve their tasty caffeinated beverages while clad in skimpy bikinis. Coffee Nation partners with Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen in this venture, and maybe soon also with companies that sell lingerie, penis enlargers, and vaginal shave, just to keep the whole package lip-smackingly complete.


It's all about pouring techniques I guess.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cupping Notes by Roel & Jazzy J

A lot of coffee’s coming in from Knopes and a little delivery from George Howell’s terroir, Roeland and I had a little time Wednesday to cup them all. Here’s the lot:

1st up was the Gichathaini, Nyeri, Kenya, north Italian roast. It is amazing what a different roasting profile can do to a bean. First of all, the color of the beans looked the same as any medium roast so it was expected that it would cup like a usual Kenya. But this was not the case, very low in this cup. (Over) ripe blackberries, some caramel also some dirt.

2nd was La Montaña, Chalatenango, El Salvador, full flavor roast. Roeland noticed very malty notes on this one, I thought it had more nuttiness with nut peel. Good balance between honeyed sweetness and lemony acidity crisp and clean.

3rd was a little bit more exclusive Marco Aurelio's Villa Flor, Nariño, Colombia, full flavor roast. Columbia was the star in last year’s WBC, always exiting to taste, a lot of surprises, so expectations were high on this one. Very complex and hard to describe, mango and tropical fruit notes, very sweet and clean. Low acidity. One very big feature is that this is a 2007 crop, I didn’t notice it until I read it in my mailbox just now! George Howell used frozen vacuum sealed bags to keep this one fresh, it clearly works.

4th was Kirigu Estate Kenya from Knopes coffee roasters. A lot of Knopes’ coffee came in last week, this one may be the best, at least for cupping. Extremely crisp raspberry acidity with sugar cane sweetness. Blueberry all around. Red wine, but creamy after all. We will expect more excellence from this roaster in the future.

(for this Kenya : also watch In My Mug by Steve L.)

Jazzy Jeff & Roel Zoekt Boel.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Crossing Antwerp by Night

Shot this photo around midnight on my way back home from Kassa 4.
You can spot this van in the Verbondstraat.
I lived around the corner more than 11 years. In my days this Donko's Koffie van wasn't parked there though.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Home Brewing Session (and Aeropress)

Last week we had 15 persons over for our first Home Brewing Session.

Good feeling to see all those people coming over on the morning of a bank holiday.

On the program a short overview on our company, coffee origins and brewing techniques.

Most important was to see the 'best' brewing methods and to taste all these coffee's.

Starting off was the FILTER brew.
Conical filter with a 1 and a half minute extraction against flat filter with a 4 minute extraction.

Then FRENCH PRESS regular against a French press with scooping off before the press.

Then AEROPRESS classic brew against Aeropress championship brew (keeping the press upside down for half a minute to create some extra steeping time without filtering the coffee).

And to end a warm Aeropress against a cold brew Aeropress.

The coffee we used was a regular Yirgacheffe.

I was very afraid people wouldn't taste the difference between all different techniques. Also I was afraid they would prefer techniques we don't envy so much. Of course it's all a matter of taste, but it's our main objective to get the most and cleanest of tastes out of the bean.

For the (conventional) Yirgacheffe we used, it means medium body (even less for filter), a all over flowery bouquet with hints of citrus, sweet middle part and refined finish. A light coffee with no so much caffeine.

It appeared that most of the differences in taste between the different brews was very clear and the techniques easy to understand and copy.

The Aeropress seemed to be the most popular tool, which is understandable. This brewer gives you the opportunity to go either strong and small or mild and longer. Or somewhere in between.

Me personally I use the AP for a 25 cl glass, using 20 grams coarse grind. Isabel likes the regular technique, shown on the package, added water for a 35 cl cup. Evert prefers to improve his stovetop technique and grinds 16 grams finer (just above stovetop - 4 on a big Ditting) for a 10 cl cup.

Aeropresses are flying out of the shop right now.
For those interested : Hopland 46. Bring €30. First come, first served.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hacienda San Pedro Jayuya Puerto Rico

Been in contact with Rebecca and Roberto Attienza since a couple of years.

In Atlanta I had the privilige to meet up a first time and last week I finally was able to visit their farm, death center Puerto Rico mountains.

Roberto is 3rd generation coffee farm holder and under his wings the Hacienda San Pedro became world wide known for 1st class coffee.
We had the Yauco Selecto a couple of times on the grinder at Caffenation. This coffee came from a farm not far away from Maricao and was also run by Roberto.

But they no longer do the Yauco Selecto anymore and focus now entirely on the San Pedro farm in this small town called Jayuya. Jayuya is an Indian name and the city is half an hour away from Ponce, Puerto Rico's second biggest city at the south of the isle.
It was a fantastic to experience the last part of the harvesting and processing.

The beans rolling in were the last ones picked, mostly unripe left overs and only for local consumption.

The crop was not a big one this year. They only expect 1000 fifty K bags of their premium quality.

Hopefully we will be able to take in a couple dozen ones.

Thank you Rebecca and Roberto for having us over at the farm. It was a very warm welcome and we learned a lot.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hacienda Juanito Maricao Puerto Rico

The first Hacienda we visited was the Hacienda Juanita in Maricao. In this village I took the photo's I showed you in my last post.

This is a nice Hacienda and village to experience a real Puerto Rican vibe. American products and habits are still present left and right, but once between the people or coffee trees you get a good feeling.
The coffee fields are small and the coffee is only distributed locally.
But the nice thing about this plantation is you can stay over for the night. Pick room # 9 and you have a lovely view over the valley and coffee plants.

In between most coffee trees in Puerto Rico you will find plantain trees. This is a kind of banana that doesn't taste as a banana. When eating raw it tastes a bit like raw potato, but it looks like banana. Very weird experience the first time, cause we were expecting fruit.
It's very healthy though and in their local dish Mofongo they cook it and mash it up with herbs and sometimes meat. Yummy! I had some tropical backed bananas before, but this variety and way of preparing is kinda special and less boring.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Puerto Rico Coffee Drinking

I'm just back from the Caribes, Puerto Rico.
Very nice trip to origin we had.

I was a little bit chocked by how many people live on this relatively small island. 3 to 3,5 million! And all together they possess 1,5 million cars!! That's even more chocking.

Official this is US soil and this you could see. The Burger King-Casino-CBS-Hamburgers-Fast living-Airport red tape, etc... were all over the place.

Luckily Puerto Rico got enough unspoiled hide outs to please us. Plus, most of the people enhance their Spanish background more than their American citizenship and this makes these inhabitants very special.
And very friendly and open and happy to see us. At least; that's how it felt.

Of course, this blog is about coffee, and there's plenty of coffee on this island.

Lots of coffee producing country's don't have the habit of drinking their own coffee; Puerto Ricans do.
Mostly they drink drip coffee and the general coffee quality was ok.
Having wonderful coffee beans helps of course.

Funny was their habit (as you can see on the photo above) to stick small red straws in their 'cups'.

The beans are all over the mountains. If you cross the island you can go up to 1300 meters above sea level. From on 800 meters you can spot the trees along most of the roads, as you can see on this picture.

Harvest just came to an end.
The most beans we saw were the green ones from the young trees.

And black ones, from diseases.

We were lucky to visit two Coffee Hacienda's, but that's for a later post.

Home Brewing Session Tomorrow

Beter laat dan nooit : Morgen eindelijk de eerste Caffenation Home Brewing Session met Stijn, Karen, Bart, Sara, Kristof, Johan, Lander, Samuel, Matthias, Regy, Liesbeth, Kris, Addie, Jochem en Melanie(?).
10 uur stipt.
ps : reserves Veerle en Stephan mogen ook komen, gezien er toch enkelen te laat verwittigd waren door mij; mijn excuses daarvoor.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Angelo op Training

I told you before I get along really well with the top performers from last year's Dutch Barista Championship.

Last week # 4 Angelo came over to Caffenation to get himself some extra training for more class performances in the future.

Fantastic atmosphere with this gifted young man behind the machine.
Keep up Angelo. We stay in touch!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Brussels Espresso Bar Run - Karsmakers

My friend Jyrki opened his bar almost one year ago.
Here on the Rue des Trèves (Trierstraat?) you can spot people from all over Europe. The streets surrounding the European Parlement are covered with food and drink establishments, but it's Jyrki who serves the best cup of joe.

At Karsmakers you got a long list of drinks. And even 'Soydrinks' are on the list. That's rare, but a good thing. Some days we have dozens of soylatte's or whatever ordered, but I never see other bars offering a soy based cap or latte. Finally I found one.

The space is very deep and has a brilliant back garden.
The interior is very warm, with lots of wood and reminds me a bit at the Or Bar in Gent, but larger.

The machine behind the bar is a 3-group Kees Van Der Westen and the grinder a duo Mahlkönig. Right!
The beans are roasted by Coffeeroots.

I ordered espresso and cappuccino.
Even though the Walküre cups seemed to be too flat, the crema on the espresso was perfect. And the taste was very good. I'm ensured of good acidity in our House Blend thanks to a good portion of Yirgacheffe. I notice lots of coffee roasters are aiming to replace this with Sidamo or Zambia or Colombia or something, but mostly it's not the same. I was missing some punch in the sour-sweet area. But very good balance and great after taste.

There's still some work at the cappuccino's though. Too milky, too hot and not sweet and silky enough. It was a bit comparable to Simon Says last year or a Caffenation cappuccino two years ago. Better milk, less milk, shorter shots and a better binding in the second part of the steaming could be a help.

Very very good start Jyrki. A very relaxed atmosphere, great clientele and good coffee. I'll be back.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Brussels Espresso Bar Run - Natural

Centre Bruxelles gets a new face lift.
The Square is a part of it and already finished. Here on the Monts Des Arts, nearby the museums, I spotted one of the Natural Caffe Bars and stopped for a coffee.

First I thought I walked into an Illy bar. Same style, same atmosphere, same coffee.
On the Della Corte, coupled with a Mahlkönig, they prepare basic Illy coffee's. Mine was not warm enough, but tasty, and Isabel her Latte a tad too light and not sweet enough. My impression was that the girls were more concerned about polishing the chromé bars than making good coffee.

It got the feel of a modern sandwich bar and not an espresso bar. For me it's a missed opportunity to bring decent coffee in the heart of Bruxelles, but I can understand people like this clean and chain-like type of bar where you can easily step in and not being bothered by anyone else.

This month the Antwerp Barista is on the roll.
And you readers seem to appreciate this with more viewers than ever.
Thanks for all the support.
I finish up the month with a triple Brussels Espresso Bar Run. Hope you like it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

House Blend(ing) God Shot

This post is about Coffee Blending.

And my Caffenation House Blend God Shot this morning.

We were really struggling last 2 months to keep our main (House) blend top class level.
It's our workhorse, the blend that we propose to all our wholesale clients. Off course there are exceptions, but 90% of our pro's use the House Blend.

The beans do change once or a couple of times per season. There are different reasons for this. Mostly because a certain bean is not tasting fresh enough anymore, but also because we don't have enough stock of a certain origin. It can be due to price changes, ever changing personal taste, etc....

The current House Blend consists of 5 different beans. The main ones are a conventional Ethiopian Yirgacheffe (25%) and a neutral Brazil Santos (25%). Then the Latin American part with Dominican Santo Domingo Organico (15%) and the Bolivia La Paz Organico (15%). To finish there's 20% Papua New Guinea Sigri for the spicy bit.

The House Blend espresso this morning was a God Shot. It's a couple of times a year you taste a shot that so incredible you can't believe your taste buds. This one was like that.
Semi strong, medium body, controlled acidity and massive fruit with great chocolate.
The roast is a medium one and 6 days old.
The beans were roasted seperately.

I can't promise you it's going to taste every shot like that, but we'll try to.
To achieve this high level we added - again - an extra grinder; our 7th! But that's a post for tomorrow or the weekend.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Strada Badge work

New Strada Badge work
Originally uploaded by Terryz1
Inspired by Seattle manufacturers it looks like.

For more photo's ; go to Terryz1 Flickr page.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Espresso Capsules Test in Nieuwsblad

This Saturday we had 3 pages in one of Belgians biggest newspaper 'Het Nieuwsblad'.

Jürgen (The Glorious owner and a well known sommelier) en me were invited by André Peeters to test some coffee's.
The place to meet was at the Piva (cook school), where Luc was running the whole process and also judging the drinks with us.

This wasn't about Specialty Coffee, but household espresso machines working with capsules.

The tested coffee's were Illy, Lavazza, Nespresso and Dolce Gusto Nescafé, all on their own equipment of course.

We were testing them blind in neutral cups.

I was afraid I wouldn't like the espresso's at all and told this to André. He understood, but asked us not to sack the coffee's. Of course I understand.

The biggest problem for me was the way they made the coffee's. I'm sure this could have been better, but on the other hand was this system an ideal way to copy the way people make their coffee's at home.

This test happened two weeks ago, but I didn't report you to keep the scoop to the newspaper. A part of the article (in Dutch) you can find here.

My personal taste results?
Best cup of the day was the lungo from Dolce Gusto. It was a pleasure drinking it. Fruity, balanced and fresh.
Unfortunately we were looking for espresso's and therefor we couldn't give it more points, although I tried.

Best brand was Lavazza. They gave this typical Italian taste. I missed intensity and freshness and details, but it was better then I expected.

Illy was liked more by my two friends, but not by me.
I tasted cheap and old beans. Can't understand the Trieste men can not perform any better.

Nespresso was the biggest disappointment. Don't know what happened, but I even had one cup on which the crema looked like sour coffee milk.
Their ristretto I simply couldn't drink and all of the 3 variety's tasted very chemical.
Based on earlier Nespresso testing this came to me as a big surprise.

So happy with the fact the press is giving a bit extra airplay to coffee. Hopefully this may inspire the big names in the Industry to give us better beans and machines.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Singapore Coffee

Keefe was our WEHTMMM gallery man last summer.
In September he visited his parents in Singapore and brought along a small bag of typical Singapore coffee.

They roast it pitch black and with sugar.
A real hell of an experience to drink this as an espresso. It is actually impossible, even for Heavy Metal Cuppers.
Brewed like the Asians do, with a sock/filter it tastes like.....charcoal, but drinkable. Also Keefe gave it a sip, ... smiled and said "Hm, this feels like home". :-)

A espresso bar story on itself.

Good luck in A'dam Keefe (and Josefine).

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Our newest link.
Tons of coffee news and fun.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ivan Verschueren

Caffenation history classes :

The summer of 2002 and I'm sitting in my backyard at the Haantjeslei with a friend called Ivan Verschueren.
We first met in 1997. In those years Ivan was a sales representative for Lavazza. We had a meeting once, but in our coffee supplier search for our Pitten & Bonen juice and coffee bar, we finally picked Segafredo.

No hard feelings from Ivan, who was a sporty guy and even with coffee from the 'competition' on the grinder he visited us at least once a week and we became friends.

That day in 2002 he was going to work for Cook & Boon and I was as a consultant working on a 'Soup and Coffee' project in which the client asked me to get some info about this Cook & Boon coffee, that was hyped a lot in Antwerp those days.
While sitting in the sun and drinking some beers Ivan thought that I wasn't the right man to work with existing coffee company's. Better, to him, was to seek companionship with a small specialised coffee roaster somewhere. And even better; starting my own company.

For me it was a totally new idea and I wasn't interested. I had one consultancy job on the roll, a second one was coming in and I was not very reluctant to start something that serious immediately.

Half a year later, when both consultancy jobs unfortunately ended/failed, I started to think differently. By that time I met Jean Vermeulen who was the right roaster/companion to start working for myself. The project was an espressobar with coffee bean sales - retail and wholesale.

June 2003 Caffenation Hopland opened doors and now 6 years later we're a well known named in coffee land Antwerp and surroundings.

Ivan now works, since a couple of years, for Rombouts (Holland) and we still meet up from time to time.
Last time was at the Belgian championships 3 weeks ago.
Ivan was standing next to me when Kenny was announced winner of the championship with a Rombouts coffee on the grinder.
I felt really happy for Rombouts and Ivan, people with a big coffee heart.

So Ivan, again thanks for the top tip that day long ago. A small tip, but oh so important in my life and, if I may say, in this of so many Antwerp coffee lovers.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mad Cow Milk (Dutch Photo)

This week has been hectic. Big storm on the shop to taste our new (mad cow) milk. :-)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I love the taste of Freedom

From the same photographer as the Latte Art below.

You can see on the bottle the cow that produced your milk. Unbelievable.

That's better than those Vedett beers with one or another drunk on the back of the bottle.

Latte Of The Day


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

October & November Crisis

Every year we suffer in this period of the year.
We angrily waiting for the new Brazilians to arrive and hope to find enough African or, rarer, fresh Latins.
After been disappointed by the latest arrival of El Salvador, Colombia, Honduras and Nicaragua single origins; next two months could be tough.
The organic Santo Domingo and Bolivia La Paz should be back by Saturday. They still had a less grass, jute and ashy taste when we had them at the beginning of September. Hoping....

Future acclimated warehouses (like the Trabocca or 49th P Roasters ones) should help us enormously.
Therefor I'm very happy with the new Efico efforts and their soon to open new warehouse in the harbour of Zeebrugge.
Hope to get there soon and write an article (with photos) about it.

To finish a photo of a Caffenation Latte with Tulip design. Not the best tulip ever, but nice microfoam and contrast.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

'I Need Coffee' Battle

A nice article from Michael Allen Smith (I Need Coffee), who's talking about the best two shots he ever had and compares a (all mighty) Esmeralda Clover brew from a top notch coffee company with a proper (popcorn) roasted Kenya brewed with his French press.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Cupping Notes from Jeff & Joost


49th Parallel roasters:

Guatemala, Finca La Perla

Altitude: 1400 meters

Variety: Bourbon and Caturra

Roast: Tad darker than medium

In the cup: White peach with some caramel. Very sweet and balanced cup, clean finish.

Honduras, El Manzano:

Cup of Excellence winner #3

Altitude: 1500 meters

Variety: Catuai

Roast: Medium-light

In the cup: Very juicy sweet and snappy acidity, reminds me of an apple I like named “jazz” little oak wood, little caramel, clean aftertaste and mouth feel.

Coffee Collective:

Guatemala, Finca Vista Hermosa

Altitude: 1700-2000 meters

Variety: Bourbon, Canturra and Catuai

Roast: Medium-light

In the cup: Clean, toffee, milkchocolate, nice body and good underlying acidity. Still, not that interesting, maybe I expected more.

Ethiopia, Idido Yircha Cheffe Aricha

Altitude: 2000 meters

Variety: Natural Arabica varieties

Roast: Light

In the cup: Creamy ripe strawberries very very pronounced, good acidity for ajuicy mouthfeel. Maybe a bit off balance, but still very clean for a natural. Mind-blowing clear-cut taste profile, one of my all time favorites to cup.


Ik heb eindelijk de tijd gevonden de 3 Caffenation koffies te cuppen.
Allen gecupt als espresso's omdat ze espresso-gebrand zijn.

Hier de resultaten:

Guatemala El Bosque Red Bourbon:

Geur van de bonen: vol, zoet, romige vanille
Uiterlijk van de bonen: egaal, gelijkmatig, middelgebrand (vlak voor de 2e krak)
Geur van de gemalen koffie: vlezig, als paté, doet denken aan Kopi Luwak, aards, warm en vertrouwd

Aroma (geur van de natte koffie): honing, zoet, caramel, marshmellows op de bbq, crema catelana ( gebrande suiker)

Smaak van de hete espresso: vol, zoet, veel body, stevig, lichte afdronk van gepofte kastanjes

Smaak van de koude espresso: fruitiger; zoete dadels

Waardering: 9

El Salvador Finca Los Amates Cup Of Excellence :

Geur van de bonen: licht gerookte noten
Uiterlijk van de bonen: groot, net na de 2e krak, zeer goede kwaliteit
Geur van de gemalen koffie: loden/ tinnen soldaatjes, truffel, stevig, mooie diepe geur

Aroma (geur van de natte koffie): rozijnen, dadels, weer gebrande suikers

Smaak van de hete espresso: verrassend licht en genuanceerd, veel romige vanille, zoet fruit als ananas en mango.
ook romige pure chocolade
licht assige nasmaak (te donker gebrand?)

Smaak van de koude espresso: wanneer de koffie afkoelt krijgt hij ene veel diepere bitterdere smaak, richting verbranding

Waardering: 8,5

Brazil Fazenda Cachoeira Canario :

Geur van de bonen: notig (pecan), zoet, vol
Uiterlijk van de bonen: klein rond, ruim na de 2e krak, een paar, heel licht geroosterde bonen er tussendoor (±2%)
Geur van de gemalen koffie: aards, vol, stevig, truffel, donker, diepe bittere chocoladegeur

Aroma (geur van de natte koffie): zoet, heldere suikergeur, kaneel (mooiste crema van allemaal)

Smaak van de hete espresso: kaneelsuiker (heel duidelijk!), romig, chocolade, stevig, vol, ietwat verdrogend in de keel.
wat te donker gebrand. Helaas geen fruittonen, wel een heel heldere laurierdrop nasmaak

Smaak van de koude espresso: De koude koffie wordt veel vlakker, erg bitter en de laurierdrop overheerst.

Waardering: 7,5

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Barista Jam & Home Brewing Session Attendees (Dutch)

Onder het motto 'Met een Muji Timer in de hand wandel ik door heel het land' gaan we er deze herfst weer keihard tegenaan.

De volgende mensen worden nu zondag 11 oktober verwacht op de Barista Jam Non-Professionals vanaf 18u45 te Hopland 46.

DAVE (2)
LORIN (laatste kans)

En de 11de november/wapenstilstand voor de eerste Home Brewing Session - sorry voor al die Engelse woorden - vanaf 9u45 's morgens tot 12u stipt (want de zaak moet open).


Hier kan/moet nog iemand bij.

Tot dan!
Uw gastheren/vrouwen Rob, Katrien, Jeff, Noömi

Monday, October 5, 2009

Barista Job Search Stories

Last week we had a good one :

Girl walks in and asks : "A Soy Decaf Flat Latte please". And 5 seconds later : "And do you have a job for me?"
At least she was polite. And drinking (some kind of) coffee. Lots of people asking for a job don't even drink coffee. Do we look that good?

Last year we had another good one :

Guy walks in and orders a 'Latte de Pooh'. This is a latte sweetened with honey (on top).
One hour, or something, later he walks out without paying. Bird yells at Katrien that she needs to get the guy. Katrien storms out the bar and chases him.
When she comes back in with the guy on her heels something funny happens. He pays his dept and without a shame he then asks us if we don't have an open position for him.

I don't know his name, but he's still coming and drinking his poohs. But I think he found a job somewhere else now. :-)

Oh yes; for those interested : we're not looking for new people right now.