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!