Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top 10 Coffees of 2010

Last post of the year ; better be a damn good one.
So, our best coffees at Caffenation.
Grinder : Anfim Super Caimano.
Machine : La Marzocco Linea.
Baristas : Bert, Katrien, Noömi, Roeland, Isabelle, Joke, Fanny, Toon or me, myself and I.

1) On small quantities but brilliant : Bolivia Machacamarca from Hasbean. We scored two bags of this bean at the world championships in London.
Lovingly grown in the Yungas region of Bolivia, roasted in Staffordshire, this coffee was Colin Harmon's bean at the WBC in 2009 and smashing all the way.

2) Bolivia Colonia San Juan 8 Estrellas.Thanks Knopes for this beauty, and again in their line up the upcoming year, as I heard from a good source. :-)

3) Equal quality, but I didn't want to force our stuff harder then needed : Nicaragua La Pradera Cup Of Excellence. Some of our X-Mas coffee espressos were the best shots of the year. Fantastic acidity, complex, clean and great in the caps.

4) On 2 last year and again worth a podium : Rwanda Musasa. This was Isabelle's coffee at the Barista Championship Series and also roasted by Knopes. A job well done chaps.

5) Little Green Bag 4.2. Proud at the latest version of Caffenations top blend. Half Brazil Carmo de Minas, half Ethiopia Yirgacheffe, this coffee is complex, strong and works well with milk. Still on the menu till, probably february.

6) Burundi Bururi Buramba AA. A bit unregular, but in its peak an overwhelming experience. Tonloads of fruit and wild lingering spices.

7) Party Harder. A fantastic fantasy blend of Brazil Dutra (#1 last year), Nicaragua Las Nubes and some Sidamo from Bagersh.

8) Malawi Geisha Vireya. This microlot from Hasbean was the sweetest coffee of the year.

9) Dominican Republic Jarabacoa Ramirez Organico. The base for our first LGB and Isabelle's coffee for the finals. Great lemon and the base for warm chocolate cream cappuccino. We want this back, but please a bit earlier in the season.

10) Ethiopia Harar Star. The three bags we bought from this Harar were the best Harar we ever had. Very complex, earthy and sweet and also great for filter.

7 of the 10 coffee's this year were roasted at our own roastery. A break through for us and we're proud about that.

For next year on the menu : some more Cup Of Excellence and Ethiopians of course. Also we expect great coffee from Honduras, Zambia, El Salvador and Nicaragua. The winning country of 2010 Bolivia is not planned yet, but hopefully on the menu by summer.

Have a good end of the year.
And new year.
See you in 2011.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Slow Coffee = Trendy (Dutch)

Zowaar komt er nog iets van. Van onze 'Slow Coffee'.
In Nederland werd het woord uitgeroepen tot Culinair trendwoord van 2010.
Nu nog eens mijn Caffenation domein terug krijgen en er mijn Slow Coffee url aan koppelen en we kunnen weer mee.

Lees hier het artikel van koffiegek.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Smashing Filter Coffees in 2010

Not a Top 10 for filter coffee's, but a general overview.

It was a break through of the slow movement. Abid Clever Dripper, Aeropress, Chemex, Hario V60 and other manual coffee brewing systems were the biggest change at our bar this year.
It even became an addiction for me and it was very often unbelievable to taste how a certain bean behaves totally different on filter, compared to espresso.

Generally spoken we used lighter roasts for these brewing devices, although it wasn't always easy to find the right profiles.

For the first 7 months we bought a lot of beauties from Knopes Coffee Roasters Luxemburg. Thinking of the Guateamala El Bosque, Bolivia Colonia, their Cup Of Excellence and Guatemala Tecuamburro.
I didn't like their Maragogype coffee and I didn't really ours either. This is a very expensive bean, but is lacking character. Very mild and silky yes, but nothing more to please me.

It was a year with some very prominent Kenya's. Knopes deliver 3 beautiful ones the first months, all sources by Mercanta. Tonloads of sweet fruit and creamier then ever, with the Kenya Tinganga as our favourite bean.

We had a lot of filters of the week from all over the world, but Ethiopia still gives the best value for me. Almost every Sidamo and Yirgacheffe filter of the week were very very good. Nice tea accents, sweet, mostly complex, easy going and very remarkable on the lower temps.

My 2 most loved filters of the year were :
Tim Wendelboe's Cielito Lindo from Honduras. Peach, berry's, nice mouthfeel and the cleanest cup of the year.

And a Kenya Kangocho AA. Tonloads of Blackcurrent, sweet and more complex then most Kenyans.

Next post : Top 10 espressos of 2010.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Top 10 CD's 2010

A yearly overview of our newest and best CD's.

For a couple of years Ethiopian music animated the charts, this year Nigeria takes over.

Fela Kuti is probably the Grandmaster of African Music and since day one at Caffenation we pump it through the speakers.
This year's Compilation Boxes are probably the deal of the year. I bought Fela Box Set 1, or 13 albums on 9 CD's and I only paid € 37. A steal!!!

1) Fela Kuti : Box Set 1 on Wrasse Records. Favourite track : Alagbon Close. Listen.

2) Big Boss Man : Humanize (from 2001 - but it does sound like the 60's! - on Blow Up records). Here they are live.

3) Bollywood Funk Experience from Jonny Trunk and Joel Martin (on Nascente Records). Listen to this wicked shit. The CD is packed with crazy tunes and so are all Experience Compilation CD's by Nascente. Buy em all if you have an espresso bar. If not : Buy em all as well.

4) Curtis Mayfield : Theres no place like America today (1975 on Curtom Records).
5) Charlotte Gainsbourg : Irm (on Because Music). Best release in 2010 if you ask me.
6) Lalo Shifrin : Compilation Cd (on Verve).
7) Blue Note Trip Maestro
8) Ahmad Jamal : Four Classic Albums comp (on Real Gone Records)
9) The Best of Burlesque : 50 club classics (on Music Club Deluxe)
10) Carolegians : Pum Pum Hotel (on Hotel-Grover Records)

Almost top 10 and recommanded for espresso bar owners/visitors : Massive Attack, Afro Tropical Soundz vol 1, Two Barrel Reggae, Saturday Night Fever and Happy Days.

If you have suggestions for the new year : drop a comment.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Roasting Techniques by Jazzy Jeff

Tonloads of Barista information online, but not so many for coffee roasters.
Our main coffee roaster Jeff thought it was a good idea bringing out some of his roasting experiences.
This following article is his :

Roasting experiments:

Folowing the lack of information there is about roasting and profiles I decided to put my findings
online to usher in some discussion. Why not be more transparent about this? As an experiment I
took one main component of the house blend: Peru Altomayo. We roasted these full batches on 3
profiles, tasted 6 days after roast on espresso, all on the same grind (ditting 2-) same machine (linea),
same temp, same dose (22 grams, 2 shots) all roasted on our Giesen roaster:

Fast cat:

-a fast ramp up with high fan speed (45pct) with a pause in heating the drum on 10.30 minutes @

-1st crack at approx 11.30 @171c

-Shortly after the middle of the 1st crack, heat back on and developing time for 3.3minutes

-Drop a few seconds after 2nd crack at 15.30 min @ 193c

Result: fresh and lively acidity (apples), butterscotch, clean finish, maybe thinner body

Normal cat:

-slower ramp up with lower fan speed (40pct) with a pause in heating the drum for 2 minutes going
in to 1st crack on 11.10 @ 166c

-1st crack at approx. 12 @172c

-Shortly after the middle of the 1st crack heat back on and developing time for 3.5 minutes

-Drop after a few seconds after 2nd crack at about 16.10 min @ 193c

Result: Dull but sweet, remarkably less acidity but bigger body, a bit of dried fruits (figs).

Slow cat:

-Even slower ramp up with back valve full open, fan speed at 35pct, same pause in the flame on
11.50 @ the same temp of 166c

-1st crack at apporx. 12.40 @ 172c

-Shortly after the middle of the 1st crack heat back on and developing time for 4 minutes

-Drop after a few seconds (low sound 2nd crack) at about 16.50 min @ 194c

Result: Creamy, almost no acidity, sweeter, but bitter ashy notes, maybe some tobacco, classical

We tested these shots with the people in the bar that Sunday, Roeland included, and 4/5 liked the
fast cat. 1/5 liked the slow cat, a classical tongue.

I noticed also that a faster roasted coffee will be lighter and will benefit from a few more days resting

to control the acidity a bit, a longer darker roast will be drinkable sooner but drop also faster in
quality due to oils being more exposed to oxidation.

Jazzy Jeff

Monday, December 13, 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Best Cup in Town

Maybe I'm exagerating a little bit, but the filter brew at Starmeal Wiegstraat Antwerp - opposite Pastaiolo - is a darn fine cup of coffee!!!

We installed a Vintage Wega 2-group espresso machine, a big Anfim Super Caimano for espresso, a Compak K6 for lungo's, an Anfim Super Caimano Drogheria for filter grinds and big bags and on top a super duper Bunn Infusion Coffee Brewer.
We threw our freshest Kenya Genthumbwini on the machine and it's a killer. Never expected this machine to deliver such finesse and dept!

So all you looking for a great cup : go Starmeal and order the Filter of the week. To stay or to go.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Take Out Nation Open

Take Out Nation Open!!

A new episode in the Caffenation Stories. Open Fridays (with Tall Thomas) and Saturdays (with Roel zoekt Boel) from 11 till 5. Take out Coffee's, Beans and espresso or cappuccino at the bar in Hopland, right door at #46.

C u soon?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Espresso Bar Run : Blue Bottle Brooklyn

Nice title for this run.
Blue Bottle is a San Francisco based coffee company, as you can read here.

Half a year ago they started a new bar and roastery at the East Coast. At 160 Berry street, Brooklyn New York, to be exact.

After visiting former Stumptown roaster and friend Derrick at Mast Brothers Chocolate Company around the corner, we strolled in for an espresso and latte.
This bar is beautiful indeed. It's like a garage-warehouse-bar kind of place. The interior designer is probably the one who did they Ice Hotel. A bit cold for me, but I was more interested in the equipment anyhow.

The 4 cold drip brewers were getting a lot of attention, although I don't see anyone drinking a Kyoto brew.

The pour over bar looks impressive and the Female Slow Bar Barista is doing one filter after the other.

With that crazy SO Indonesian from BB San Fran still in my mind, I decide to go for a straight shot from the San Marco lever.
On the menu an aged Daterra. Hm, not the best of beans for such a machine I think. The Barista agrees but does his best to get everything out of the bean. Indeed a good machine. The espresso is one of the best shots in New York.
Special techniques this Barista.
He has a 7 push tamp technique, he looses an insane amount of ground and is very sloooooooow. Actually the slow bar here is faster than the espresso bar.

The grinders are from Mazzer and the main espresso machine a Pressure Profiling La Marzocco FS80!!! I think.

Aside of the espresso they serve soda water. Not bad. And Isabel her Decaf Latte is the creamiest ever.

Most impressive was the combo with the Mast Chocolate bars. These guys are fantastic, so don't you forget to hop in there when you're in Brooklyn. Here's their adresse and website.

So, congrats Blue Bottle with this nice bar, with roastery in the back. I'll be back with some more chocolate, but please change your speakers by next time....

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Here the article by Brianna DiSylvester.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Tim Wendelboe Espresso Films

Simply the best online guidance : Click on TIM.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Portland 2 Weeks Later

This was my photo from 2 weeks ago :

This is now :

Lucky me.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Little Green Bag : The Restart

Almost 15 months ago we had our first bag of 'Little Green Bag'. A bag with 2 or 3 organically processed beans.
Most of the people really liked the blend and saw it as an improvement over our classic House Blend.
Click here for the post and the Thuisbarista forum review.

IDEA : At the first day of the start of the Roastery we had plans to create a (new) state of the art blend. Not to replace the House Blend. I think this one remains our more 'commercial' and number 1 blend value wise. 'No better cup for the money' is the House Blend idea and at €14,80 a kilo we think of achieving this goal.
No interesting new blend name was found and so we relaunch the Little Green Bag.

With the LGB we aim higher and go for a clean quality blend. Of course this has a certain price tag, but the 'real' espresso fan is focused on quality, isn't it?

SEASONAL : The Little Green Bag espresso blend is, just like comparable blends as the Square Mile and Tim Wendelboe one, constantly changing throughout the year. This is because green coffee is a seasonal fresh product and different producing countries have different seasons and harvesting periods. We try to buy smaller lots of coffee and not store them for too long in order to keep the coffee as fresh as possible. Therefore we change our blend from time to time to highlight the coffees we currently have in house. In addition we strive to improve ourselves and make a better product every day because our knowledge, habits and preferences are constantly developing.

TASTE : Our first LGB of 2010 has a medium body, refreshing acidity with lemon upfront. We notice a good sweet middle and a lovely finish with dark chocolate flavors.
On a regular (2,5cl) espresso the acidity is modest. On the double ristrettos (3cl) we notice a peak in acidity in the beginning and a longer aftertaste. This last one is our favourite way to experience the Little Green Bag.

Although it's an espresso blend, one of the reasons we have the Dominican Republic in it at 50%, it's because of the, oh so important cappuccino. At the bar the cappuccino and latte's are the most popular drinks and the taste of this LGB cappuccino is best comparable to a warm chocolote drink with cream. Delicious.

CONTENT : We couple the Dominican Republic Jarabacoa Ramirez Washed Organico here with the Brazil Carmo De Minas Pereira Estate Pulped Natural. The last one doesn't have an organic label, but is sustainable.

For the future we hope to keep the organic part as high as possible, but forgive us if this isn't always the case. Very hard for us to find the perfect organically certified bean in Europe.
We expect a new LGB by the last week of the year.

PRICE : To launch this LGB we have it on the shelf at €4,50/250 grams or €18/kilo. With the price increases of the last weeks I'm afraid the next one is going to hit the €20 marker, but even then I think it's fully worth the price.

ROASTING & PURPOSES : The roasting on this blend is lighter than the House Blend. This way we enhance the natural sweetness of the Bean and create a refined acidity. This also means the LGB is a stellar filter or press coffee.
For those who are on the look out for a stronger and/or big bodied cup we have to direct you back to the House Blend or eventual Week Roast coffee's.

Here a (flat) preview of the upcoming bags (probably more for 2011) :

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Espresso Bar Run : Portland

Not so fanatic as I was before, but still a decent espresso bar run in this coffee crazy city.

I think, after last post, you heard enough about Stumptown, so now time for the other :

I spotted across the Ace Hotel a little new bar : Courier Coffee Roasters on SW Oak.
Tyler and Lee(?) standing behind their Synesso, waiting for clients. Not too busy in the newest bar in town.
We went in anyhow and had a great time. With good coffee. This 3 day old Yirgacheffe was one of the better shots this holiday. Very wild and complex. I bet it would taste different after a longer degassing period, but this is the way they like it, and I can understand. Keep up guys ; nice bar.

Walking uptown we end up at Glisan, between 21st and 22nd. The smallest bar in town, but nevertheless with a roaster!!!! Can't it get any crazier?
This Sterling sales point had Eric behind a bar. And of friend of him steering a beautiful San Francisco Sample Roaster.
The El Salvador espresso had brown sugar and big mandarin taste, but unfortunately a bit bitter in the aftertaste.
Lots of espresso drinkers at this joint! That's positive.

Then Barista at the Pearl District ; 13th SW.
3 high qualified Barista's behind the counter. 3 Roburs in front of them. On each of them a different brand.
Today 3 blends.
1) Stumptown Hairbender. No thanks.
2) Intelligenstia Black Cat. Tempting, but no, I'll go for the 3rd one
Counter Culture Apollo.
I heard a lot about this new CC project and eagerly attacked the double.
Very, very smooth. Fat Body, but lacked some taste in the high compartment. Hm. Something I notice a lot here in Portland. A pity.

A last bar. Yes we missed out Ristretto roaster, although I had a bag of them (not so good unfortunately). And Heart. Sorry guys.
Heard a lot of good things about them, but I ran out of time and energy.
Public Domain on 603 SW Broadway.
They say about theirselves that their coffee is great. Also the look of the bar, logo and equipment is pretentious.
It's a Mazzer world out here with 6 big boys, paired with a Slayer and a Synesso!!!! Who's paying for all these goodies?
I'm sorry guys, but the Kona on filter (Hario VP02) was not drinkable. It felt like I was drinking the soles of my shoes. Reminded me of Star****s.
Barista's showed of nice technique and the girl making my filter was very friendly, but there it all ended.
Very typical that the bar and working area was like 40 square meters and the rest of the bar only half of this. Why don't they try to make it all a bit more cosy, with sofa's and wooden chairs .....? I know America has this 'take out culture', but in 2010 I was hoping for more.
From all of the espresso bars in the USA; Ost in New York, East Village(20th and 1st Av.) is the only really cosy espresso bar I've been into so far. Good music, good seating, nice lighting, friendly open minded staff. Yeah. And it's working! More please!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Stumptown USA

Because of our stay at the Ace Hotel in Portland and New York I had a very good look at Stumptown Coffee Roasters these days.

You can see this as a review of this coffee company, but for me it's more like a market search and comments on how they work. This is all purely personal and discussable of course.

I first heard about this company 5 years ago. They had the most spectacular adds in the Barista Magazine.
One day Kees Van Der Westen came back after installing a big 5 group machine for them in Seattle, he brought along a couple bags of ST beans. The Ethiopia Idido Misty Valley was probably the biggest eye, and taste bud opener I ever had in my professional coffee life.

So I kept following the company and posted some articles about them.
After a small encounter of their pop up bar in Amsterdam I finally went over the ocean to visit them.

One of their bars is at the Ace Hotel in Portland and right at the reception of the hotel. It was a great experience to enter a hotel lobby with a strong coffee aroma.
At first the Barista's give me a cold impression but once you start speaking with them they were very friendly and gave a good service. Of course this is America and bringing over a drink to the table is a part of the job they don't like. In a service minded country like this, with staff costs so low it's a shame they don't give a bit more service. I remember a remark from Tim Wendelboe, when he visited espresso bars in New York that he was impressed and jealous by the service and time the people here invest in their client.
I don't say they don't deliver a great job, but for me a top service is knowing the client by name and serving his/her drink at the table. But that seems to be unseen in the States.

The Hairbender espresso was good as always. The cappuccino's looked good and the milk quality was top level.
The one Chemex I had from the brew bar could have been better though. Ethiopia Mordecofe. Great bean, but average in the Chemex.
This brings us at the first big problem I have with Stumptown and US roasters in general ; they don't roast 'filter'. All their beans are roasted for espresso, even the Kenyans. I don't get this. They do agree there's more taste in a 'filter roast' and they invest an insane amount in beans sourcing and equipment and research to kill a big part of the taste later on the process. ????

The cupping we did at the Belmont enterprise was very good. Matt did an incredible job explaining the cupping process and the coffee were - although roasted for espresso - very, very good.
Kenya Gachami Peaberry : a Grand Cru. Big black berry, well balanced and sweet.
Decaf Colombia La Piramide : Best decaf ever!! Very sweet and clean.
Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Tumticha : Very complex with all Yirchacheffe components in plural.
Colombia El Jordan : Only coffee with 2 stars at the table. Still good though.
Indonesia Sulawesi Toarco : Very fruity, clean and light for a Sulawesi. Stellar job!

In New York the bar at 29th and Broadway is a big hit. It's so busy you don't even want to do the queing. But I did, and was always rewarded with good quality coffee.
Here a couple remarks about Stumptown New York :

- One day the had the Hairbender on press : wrong idea. I can understand a lot of clients like this kind of blend/roastf for press, but I totally don't.
- I also think the Hairbender is not best blend for all the milk drinks. For me it's missing a bit of acidity and brightness.
- They have a Chemex bar, but nobody orders one. A pity on one hand, but a luck thing on the other hand, cause it's a lot of work and we already had to wait 10 to 15 minutes.
- Don't see a difference between a cappuccino and a small latte.
- The technique behind the machine with pouring the shots in small espresso cups before transferring them into the to-go cups looks very stylish. A good idea.
- Interaction between Barista's and clients is almost non-existing. Boring! Every bar of shop you enter in the States they give you a warm personal welcome and try to give you the time of your life. Why can't they do this in a 'third wave' espressobar?
- The french press of the day is the best drink in town valuewise, both in Portland and New York. In Portland they had a board with the name of it and the possibility of doing it yourself. Fantastic idea. Nothing like that in the big apple ; a missed chance. Even Starbucks announces the name of the coffee/blend they brew.
- The looks of the staff is nice.
- The Mistral espresso machines the right choice of equipment.
- The pastry is very good.
- The interior design one of a kind.
- I regret I hardly see people drinking espresso at Stumptown. Isn't this the core of it all?
- The Robur grinders give a good stable grind quality, but are very slow compared to the Anfim Super Caimano with dosers. With this last one you can dose your ground more precisely so you can tamp on them immediately. Big time win!!
- And the best for the last : why are the Barista's so slow? I'm sure my men/women are twice as fast prepping all these drinks. And yes, at the same quality level. I don't understand they want to make every drink seperately. 9 out of 10 'coffees' are milk drinks and served very flat, so I don't think it's a shame to steam up some milk for 2 cappuccino's at once... Like at a championships. A faster service, higher client satisfaction and bigger income would be the result for sure.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Interesting stuff in Portland Oregon.
The most coffee crazy city I've ever visited. Like everyone on the street is well aware of what's available and the Baristas have ton loads of knowledge and both are willing to spread their info.

Most remarcable is how food conscious people are and how they see 'local' and 'organic' as a plus towards quality and an answer to all mass production company's.
They now have 26 micro roastery's in and around town from which Stumptown is the best known, but it feels like almost all are roasting and bagging great coffee's.

And that's exactly what my personal ambition is. Bring top class products, try to ban the big multinationals (if possible) and have some fun with your clients.

Portland has been very inspiring for me and is recommended for all people in the food and beverage industry. And a must for all those who adore organic and local

Later on I post an espressobar run.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Caffenation Cup of Excellence

A huge step forward this first roast of Cup Of Excellence.

We roasted this Nicaragua Pradera for filter and notice caramel, fruit, very well balanced, smoky and smooth cup. And .... great on espresso as well!!

We ask € 6,50 for a 250 grams bag. That's a bit more then for the other coffee's, but probably the cheapest fresh COE coffee ever. So, don't hesitate and drop by.

Property Characteristics: Coffee Characteristics:
Farm: La Pradera
Farmer: David Ariel Lovo Gutérrez
Rank: 14
City: Dipilto
Region: Nueva Segovia
Country: Nicaragua
Farm Size: 43.33 Hectares
Coffee growing area: 32.85 Hectares
Altitude: 1450 masl
Certification: None

Variety: Caturra
Processing System: Washed y Sun
Lot Size: 52 boxes
Pounds: 3,446.23 (1,563.18 kgs)
International Jury Score: 87.19
Cupping Number #: 295
Price: 5.30 USD
Winning Bidder: InterAmerican Coffee GmbH
Top Jury Descriptions: aroma/flavor: black tea,
raspberry, floral, vanilla, butter, chocolate, acidity: citric,
orange, lime, fruity, strawberry other: grapefruit, cooled
well, even, sweetness and acidity well-balanced

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Panama Pamwamba Bag

I'm already working at my top ten cd's, filter coffees and espresso coffees of the year 2010.

Now already our winner in 'coffee bag of the year' : The bag of green Panama Pamwamba. Lovely.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Espresso Bar Run : Athens

I haven't been there, but this article is really inspiring and I want to go as soon as possible.

On championships we've seen already a couple of years great performances. Hopefully I can taste some of those shots on origin at 5 Points, 1000 faces or 2 Story's. All numbers and coffee ha!

(photo from OnlineAthens)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Espresso Bar Run : Espressofabriek IJburg

It's not close to the city center, but if you have some time to kill in Amsterdam; maybe take a tram at the Central Station and go to Espressofabriek's second bar at Ijburg.

We did last week and saw a nicely designed bar in the middle of modern buildings surrounded with water.

The menu and equipment is (almost) the same as at the Westergasfabriek bar. And even the staff looked the same with grandmaster Francesco at the steering wheel.

The doppio of the Amaro Gayo was a bit dissapointing. I suppose it's just not my bean this year. Too smoky and dark? I don't know. I always liked it before, but now it fails two times in a row. Is it the roast? Is it the season?
Great cap though! I'll come back when the weather's back on track and my sailing boat finds the way to an Amsterdam canal.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Belgian Barista Champ 2010 : Kathleen Serdons

Back home from another Championship and again we have a cup.
Isabelle gave a fantastic show and came in 2nd after Kathleen.

For months I've been expecting Kathleen to win this year's title. And Isabelle to finish second.
I can't say who's the best Barista in general, but Kathleen has just a little bit more experience and with the Rombouts team on the side I knew she was the one to beat.
So, no surprise she's going to defend our country in Colombia next year.

A bit more suprising was her coffee : a Puerto Rico. Most blog enthousiasts know I'm a big Puerto Rico fan and when tasting 'our' Dominican Republic coffee last week I remarked big resemblance with this typical 'Puerto Rico flavor'. A nice clean coffee with moderate acidity and a clean chocolate aftertaste.

We had this year just one big problem, and that was our championship roast. Young roasters we are, and the final roasts from last week were a tad too short. So forget body and sweetness. I don't say Isabelle would have won with a better roast, but sure thing is that we came short on this part.

Congrats anyhow to Isabelle. Technically maybe the best performance ever on a Belgian stage. And congratulations Kathleen ; what a classy performance, proud we'll have someone like you to defend our colors.

3rd place for Louis Donk. This man is a roaster! He was 2nd at the cuptasting championship two years ago and is a real self made man.
His Panama Carmen Estate is a great cup and Louis a very nice chap.

Remarkable that 4th spot was a typical island coffee (Galapagos) as well. Seems to be a new trend.

Cuptasting : Not Caffenation in the finals. Bert, Jeff and Roeland underachieved unfortunately. Roel from Java coffee won the cup. Very nice fella and coffee fanatic this man. Congrats.
Bart was second and Tom and Katrien from Or 3rd and 4th. Wow, that's amazing.

Last round of applause for Jeanne Gennar who was organizing this event. And all sponsors. Very well done.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Agenda October 10

October is our bussiest month of the year.
Halfway now and things are rolling smoothly.

Other years I have a lot to say about the upcoming Barista Championships, but minor news this year.
I had the honour of sitting through one of Isabelle's run, on the side of Joost Leopold. Oh dear, this guy knows ten times more about this kind of stuff. Lots of experience, good tastebuds and a fresh look - as an outsider. Hopefully this training was a good push in the back to perform well next week Tuesday at the San Marco Village in Aartselaar.

3 other Caffenation participants that day. All 3 at the cupping table. Bert is going to defend his title and Jeff and Roeland are going to prevent him doing so. Wish them all the luck.

After reblending our House Blend twice a week we hope to have a more consistent recipe from next week on.
The newest Brazils are afloat and very promising.

Almost ready to launch our newest top blend : Little Green Bag. Ambition was to have all beans organic, although this seems to be harder then forseen. Wait and see, probably something for half November and then changing every quarter.

The same for this online coffee sales. This is a project pending 3 years now. Pfff, hopefully we'll have something ready by the end of the year. Don't expect a full shop ; I'm playing more with the idea of postbox memberships. 1 for filter, 1 for espresso. Also for our neighbours from the North. Exciting.

Fanny meanwhile had her debut performance yesterday eve. She bought a caravan and rebuilded this one into a mobile espresso bar. Stunning. Sexy. Mean. (the Caravan). Soon some pics.

And we're also planning to launch Take Out Nation next doors of the main bar in Hopland. A coffee display, education, cupping and take away bar, all in one.

And, and, once this one is on the roll we have some space for the Bunn Trifecta. (November?)

So, enough stuff for the rest of the year.
I'll keep you posted.
Have a good cup,

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New York's newest Espresso Bar

D'espresso is a library flipped on the side.

Looking forward to visit this one next month.

More about D'espresso.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Koffie & Punx (Dutch)

Kijk eens wat een fijne blog er hier ineens ten berde verschijnt.

Keep up this 'Daily Black' Koen - wereldklasse.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

From the Cradle of Coffee

Newest coffee on the menu is the Bonga Forest. This is an unwashed Jimma from the Kayakello Cooperative from Bonga, Kafa.

Yes, it's at the birthplace of coffee.
We serve it as our filter of the week and you can take some home at €5,40 a 250 gr bag.
Expect wild, but mild coffee with earthy mushrooms and wooden notes and a soft and short aftertaste. Not the coffee of the year, but something a true coffee lover should taste anyhow.

Soon this one comes in roasted for espresso, which makes more sense probably, but at Caffenation we like to experiment isn't it?

Here some more info about it :

It is no secret for coffee lovers that the coffee plant coffea arabica originates from Ethiopia.
The mountain rainforests in the south-western part of the country are its original - and indeed,
ideal - ecological environment. The wild coffee bean, only to be found in Ethiopia,
encapsulates this rich and genuine flavour that propelled coffee on its global journey.

However, the wild coffee is in danger. A growing population means that more and more
forests are being partially cut down or even totally transformed to farmland. With the help of
international scientists, the Ethiopian government identified the Kontir Forest, situated close
to Mezan Teferi in Bench District, as an important natural coffee forest. As from 2003, it is
protected as primary coffee forest sanctuary. 200 guards have been deployed. In line with best
international practice, protection measures involve the local communities. Families living in
the surroundings have the right to collect the wild coffee. In return for this privilege they are,
however, obliged to help protecting the forest. The yield is strictly controlled to avoid over-
exploiting the forest.

Marketing wild coffee from these truly unique preserves provides an important income to the
local communities. Conserving the coffee forest becomes an expression of partnership –
between coffee collectors and coffee consumers. Our supplier has obtained a certificate
according to EU-Regulation 1992/91. The coffee is certified both as organic and as a wild
collection fruit. The supplier works hand in hand with the local farmers’ cooperative, based
on a long-term contract. The quantities available through this unique arrangement are very

For more information please visit:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

After Slow and Cold .... Soft Brew.

Someone tested this one?
Nice design. Looks expensive though.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

"A large Latte please"

More and more we have people over who order a large Cappuccino or large latte or small latte or stuff like that.

And then they see me as an 'unfriendly man' when explaining there are no sizes in these drinks.

Mostly Dutch clients have been brainwashed by big chain coffee company's as Star**** and Coffee Company and do not know anymore that a cappuccino is a cappuccino.
I agree you can make 15cl or 20cl cappuccino's, but I'm against a menu full of small, medium and large sized milk drinks. I'm not even talking about caramel machiato's, 'venti's' and other insane American monster drinks.

I remember Coffee Company arguing a couple years ago that they increased 10% after introducing different sizes in their milk drinks.
Well, mister CC, we increased last year 25% by keep on serving 'traditional' cappuccino's.

Our 'Company Credo' = not more, but better coffee's. The rest will follow.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Brazil Harvest 2010

Ordered today my first bags of the new crop Brazil - to arrive at the warehouse by monday. Very curious.

Meanwhile read this Bloomberg rapport about the current situation in Brazil :

Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Coffee crops in Brazil, the world’s largest grower, will receive adequate rain to flower properly in coming days, alleviating concern that hailstorms could harm trees after four months of drought, a forecaster said.

A cold front reached the southeastern states of Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais on Sept. 26 and arrives in Espirito Santo state tomorrow, said Expedito Rebello, head of research at the government’s Meteorology Institute, known as Inmet. The likelihood that it will cause hailstorms fell to 10 percent from a 60 percent probability estimated a week ago, he said.

“The rains will help the coffee harvest after all these months of drought,” said Rebello in a telephone interview from Brasilia today. “The weather will be very good for the flowering of coffee trees from now on.”

Coffee trees in Brazil’s Southeast, which grows about 85 percent of the country’s output, need showers this time of the year to flower properly before developing beans for the next harvest. The region went through a 120-day drought, compared with an annual average of 50 to 80 days in the past five decades, Rebello said.

The area’s crops will receive about 50 millimeters (1.9 inches) of rain in coming days, Rebello said.

The state of Mato Grosso, which produces about 30 percent of the country’s soybeans, will also get rains tomorrow, Rebello said. Soybean growers have delayed planting to wait for rains, he said.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Testing Some Championship Beans

Espresso of the Week : Columbia Consaca, from the Narino area, not far away from Pasto (in between the city of Cali and Ecuador).

The average temperature in the area ranges between 18 to 24 Celsius. The soils in the Consaca municipality are rocky and volcanic, and they provide the coffee plantations with excellent basic nutrients. The production area at the farms is on average 0.9 Ha.

Towards the championships, we're experimenting with some beans. This one is the first from a impressive line up of greens we have stocked now, or on their way towards us.

It's a washed Caturra-Castilla-Colombia variental.
Expect sweet ripe stone fruit, a touch of strawberry and chocolate finish.
€ 6,00 a 250grams bag.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Abid Clever Dripper

New at Caffenation : The Abid Clever Dripper. Very clever € 20 investment if you ask me.

Abid Clever Coffee Dripper from The Other Black Stuff on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Budget Sample Roasting

I don't like hot air (sample) roasters.
I don't like the price of professional sample roasters.
Here we maybe found a solution. Cupping still needs to be done. Curious....

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tim and Tim

The craft from Brendan Inkognito on Vimeo.

Finca Los Placeres Nicaragua Matagalpa

In the house : a mighty Maragogype from the Los Placeres Estate, San Ramon Matagalpa Nicaragua.

The maragogype bean is very popular in Belgium. It's the favourite bean of our grand mothers and still roasted in all 130 roastery's in Belgium.

We are not so found and rate most of the margagogypes as too expensive for it's quality, but this one is different.
Not the country ; Nicaragua is famous for their margagogype bean.

Special is the size :
It's a huge 19+ screened marago from the Mierish family, who also produced that great Nicaragua Limoncillo we had before (and still one green box waiting on the shelf!).

And the taste :
As velvet as it can be. Medium body. Sweet. Almost mild as a white tea. And super clean.

Soon we'll give it a go for espresso, but now only for filter. I think it's even too light for the Aeropress.
At the shop for €5,00 per 250 grams. A steal. :-)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tamp Control

This item comes back once a year.

Last week I read a great article about it.
I don't think I have a better explanation so I'll just link it.

One more top tip to add : buy a naked portafilter to master your tamping technique. This is the easiest way to see where you're at.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Dorito stands for DOuble RIstretTO.

These days in specialised bars in all English speaking country's they mostly serve you this kind of drink when you order an espresso.
It's a very concentrated double shot, barely larger then a one ounce 'classic' espresso.

We at Caffenation use a naked portafilter to pull these kind of shots. It enables you to master your dosing and tamping technique. And believe me ; here it is where you can seperate the boys from the men, if you know what I'm saying.

Of course you need the right coffee and a sturdy machine.
And a grinder well adjusted.
We mostly use our House Blend, an Anfim Barista grinder and La Marzocco Linea machine. The shot is undoubtedly very syrupy with lots of dark brown crema, so you have to stir it well before drinking.

The problem with most double ristretto's is that the coffee gets too bitter and harsh, so you're desperately looking for a glass of water to rinse your mouth. And here, I think, we're delivering a good job. I've tasted 2 Dorito's yesterday and twice it was very strong, but not harsh, but velvety and with a very smooth aftertaste.

So, a happy Antwerp Barista is greeting you.
(and by the way : this ristretto photo is not mine, but one from Gimme).

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Roastery Diary

Three weeks on the run with our own roasts and time for a first evaluation.

Reason for starting up our own roastery was triple.

First we wanted to upgrade our coffee's. We thought that a new Giesen roaster with computer on the side, better roasters tasting buds and new roasting techniques should do the trick. And yes, this is already going really well. Still things to improve of course, but a general good level.
Mostly we have been roasting our coffee's a tad lighter than before. More taste is our reward.

2, we wanted control over the greens. In the past we bought some bags and made recommandations to our roasters, but now we have full control over this part we notice considerable improvements. If you compare for example a low budget Brazil Santos Fancy 17/18 with a Brazil Daterra Montecristo Fairtrade...... So no more.

3, the fun. It's a whole lotta fun to do. And anti-stress compared to the hectic Barista life behind the Caffenation bar.

Most disapointing beans so far : Papua New Guinea. Sometimes you see a good bean go to the devil in no time. This Papua is one like that. At once it was all over. Plus it's PSC A/X grade and as a non-roaster - at the time of cupping/buying - I underestimated the importance of a stable screening.
Also the Harar Star performed not to our liking, although a different roasting profile can maybe help us here.

Most liked beans were the Daterra, Ethiopia Sidamo, Mexican Decaf, Kenya Gethumbwini on filter roast (hell of a F press this morning), Honduras San José and the new crop Peru Altomayo.

This week we hope to improve our air control and start roasting larges batches.

Soon we'll open doors for all people interested to have a peep at our pride. Let u know soon.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hills Bros Coffee - Commercial Classic 1985

Hilarious. The best part is the satisfied 'lord' at the end. Ha!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Oliver Strand about the New Coffee Bar

The best 'Coffee Journalist' on mother earth wrote another interesting piece :
click it

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mexican Mountain Water Processed Decaf

Here's one Caffenation roast to be proud of.

I know most of the coffee amateurs do not have the smallest interest in Decafenated coffee. As a espresso bar manager I do have interest.
The one we bought is a Mexican one. In Antwerp it's hard to find a Swiss water processed decaf, so we went abroad and bought this one from Mare Terra.

For a decaf it's very clean. Maybe it lacks a bit of body, but we need it in the shop 99% for milk drinks and this one comes out as the 'perfect' one.

SANROKE has developed a unique process by means of using the
clear, pure water from the glaciers on the highest and most beautiful
mountain in Mexico, the Pico de Orizaba o Citlaltépetl.

In the decaffeination process, the green coffee beans are immersed in water in order to
extract the caffeine. The water contains the soluble components of the coffee beans
which hold the elements of the flavor, so that, during the extraction of the caffeine, the
beans maintain their original components.

To separate the caffeine from the water containing the soluble components, the water
passes through a special filter which removes the caffeine. This results in “flavor
charged water” saturated with flavor components but free of caffeine, which is used
again in the extraction process.

So all decaf, but also other coffee amateurs, come in and test our supreme Decaf Cappuccino.
The Caffenation ambition is to serve outstanding and unique coffee's. I think this one fits perfectly in the line.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Illy 6 grams : het vervolg (Dutch)

Om alle misverstanden te vermijden even een vervolg op het Illy verhaal dat ik van de week aanhaalde.

Eerst en vooral maakte ik een typfout :
Ik schreef :
"Back on the 6 grams philosophy with a couple of questions :
6) why is Illy's best Dutch speaking Barista, Yakup, nog agreeing with this 'theory'?"

Die 'nog' moest een 'not' zijn. Sorry. Ja, het zou een beetje raar zijn zo'n Nederlands woord in een Engelse tekst.
En nog raarder zou zijn dat Yakup die 6-grams theorie zou ondersteunen. Niemand in Nederland trouwens, laat dat duidelijk wezen.

Laat ons ook duidelijk wezen dat ik in 'c' geen probleem met Illy koffie heb. Vind het op zich geen fout product ; vind gewoon het 6-grams verhaal klinkklare onzin. Ook uitspraken die door hun gedaan zijn dat ze superieure bonen in hun blend draaien. Wat is een 'superieure' boon in the first place?

Nee hoor, ik denk dat we veel aan Illy (en bv ook Starbucks) te danken hebben. Ze hebben mensen hun vista op koffie verruimd en verbeterd. Ook hun blending en verpakking en dergelijke was zeker baanbrekend.
Spijtig genoeg is Illy in België er met de tijd niet op vooruit gegaan. 10 jaar geleden werd er in de Kleine Bourla en hun eigen espresso bars meer precisie aan de dag gelegd dan vandaag terwijl de koffiewereld intussen een enorme sprong gemaakt heeft.

Mijn excuses nog eens aan Nederlands beste Barista Yakup voor het foutje en allen tesamen er tegenaan nu voor lekkerdere koffie, hand in hand.
Tot snel,

Saturday, August 21, 2010

We're a Specialty Coffee Roasting Company


First batches of House Blend (with date stamp).
Hope this stamp will motivate others to do the same.

Blend for the first week :
50% Brazil Daterra Montecristo
30% Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Washed Conventional (by Bagersh)
10% Peru Altomayo New 2010/2011 crop
10% Indonesia Sumatra Organic

Soon more story's and photo's of our own Roastery. Very happy.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Illy's 6 grams Story

I first met an Illy representative 14 years ago, while I was starting up my first espresso bar.

They guy was so full of himself it was disgusting.
What struck me the most was their bluff about the beans they used and that you only needed 6 grams per serving.
And when I asked him what the beans were, he told me it was a secret. Yeah sure it were the best beans!

This week I passed by a client of mine. They worked with Illy before and changed to Caffenation because of our freshness and price.
Now Illy passed by to convince them again of going back to them.
And what was their argument? That you only need 6 grams of Illy (and 7 grams of ours) to pull a coffee. That would close the price gap a bit. .....?????!!!!!

I couldn't believe my ears that in 2010 the Illy boys/girls in Belgium are still telling the same story as 14 years ago.
First of all I thought it was about taste.
And secondly we all know that the fastest way to good taste is the training of the men/women behind the machine.

Back on the 6 grams philosophy with a couple of questions :
1) who is measuring these 6 grams?
2) who ever tasted a top 6 grams espresso? I didn't.
3) why would you need less Illy coffee for a 'good' taste than from another brand/bean?
4) how you accurately make sure of having 6 grams exactly time after time?
5) to my knowledge there's a co relationship between filter baskets and content. how is Illy dealing with this? they have their own universal baskets?
6) why is Illy's best Dutch speaking Barista, Yakup, not agreeing with this 'theory'?

Hoping for answers in the comments area. Or just mail me.

Meanwhile we stick at Caffenation with our deep (16gr) double filterbaskets and the good old technique of high dosing (20 grams). Of course we're talking about espresso's, not those long 'Belgian' coffees. For the later one we use 14 grams of freshly medium roasted and freshly ground, for a double, yes.
Our House blend for the moment is one with 50% Brazil Daterra, 30% Ethiopia Yirgacheffe, 15% new crop Peru and 5% organic Sumatra. And yours?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Espresso a-go-go

What about this weeks Espresso (Roast) of the Week : Espresso a-go-go?

A duo of the Brazil Poços de Caldas and El Salvador La Fany. Last one is today's most popular 'blender'. Together with the Brazil it gives you strenght, complexity, chocolate flavors and a long and lightely spiced aftertaste.

Both beans roasted by Knopes (Luxemburg).
Price only € 4 or 4,20 (I forgot) for a 250 grams bag.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Espresso Bar Stories Augustus 2010

Every week brings another story. Some more interesting, some a bit boring. This week I took a couple of photo's to write about it.

Saturday :
Sylvie (or was it Sylvia?) is a very loyal and friendly woman. Sometimes she's passing by on her own, sometimes with her son, I don't know the name off.
Last Saturday morning she's enjoying her tea in one of those 'leather' seats opposite of the bar. While her son is reading a comic at the bar she goes to the bathroom and comes back with a book. "Look what I found!" she yells at me very excited."Where did you find this book?" I asked.
"It's a 'free book' meant to be found and read. It was stuck in the bathroom behind the pipes. I'm very happy with it, I think it's a good one.

The Road, written by Cormac Mc Carthny, Pulitzer price winner.
And on the first page we see a handwritten message.
It's a bookcrossing book.
This intrigues me and I go to the website and after a couple of clicks I find this.
Thanks Elena you picked our bar for this initiative and good luck Sylvie with your book.

Monday :
Laurent is a 5 year Caffenation Veteran. He came in sight the days he was dating blond Charlie. That didn't last long, but meanwhile he kept on coming for his favourite 'Muscat' cappuccino's.

This time he came along for a take away mocha.
While waiting at the bar he was babbling on and on about this upcoming Motor bicycle exam and how nervous he was.

Probably a bit too nervous. He puts the mocha cup on the roof on his car, then gets in, but .... forgets his drink.
He seems to be a careful driver Laurent; it was only 25 meters further up the road the mocha decided to take a dive. Hopefully Laurent was more lucky on the bike....

Saturday, again :
Thomas from Balen studied at the Plantijn Hogeschool around the corner 3, 4 years ago. In those days he liked sitting at our bar more than going to school and so it happened one day he came in touch with Little Patrick.
Patrick and his brother had the luminous idea of opening an Antique furniture shop annex Espresso Bar in Hudson, a city in between New York and Albany. And Thomas would be their man behind the bar.
The idea lasted long, but the store never opened.
So Patrick had to find a new profession. And he found one : I Phone sales man.

In those days he was getting his hands on hundreds of IPhones and his office was ..... in our bar. The business was prosperous and Patrick ambitious, but bit by bit the Americans were blocking their IPhone sales to foreigners and Patrick had to shop somewhere else.
After a couple weeks of negociating he found himself a new dealer .... in China.

The day his big box full of IPhones arrived he was all tensed and curiously he opens the box.
What a dissapointment to discover the only thing inside was a pair of sneakers.
Because Thomas never had his promised job, Patrick offered him the shoes.
Up to now Thomas is the only guy I know wearing 16000 dollar sneakers. What a way to walk the streets. :-)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Giesen Installed

Look at this man!

I mean; don't look at this man standing besides the roaster. Look at the roaster man!

(Euh yes, Roeland is a 'Roaster Man' as well)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

We go Cup Of Excellence

The best beans from El Salvador mostly end up in the Cup Of Excellence program.

And soon (October?) also in our grinder and bags.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


It's not my habit to post only once a week.

The upcoming roastery, moving, very busy bar and other stuff are asking a bit too much from me.

Now at home resting for a couple of days. And meanwhile thinking about our future.

It's sure Caffenation is a company in transition.
A year ago we had two bars and a low income from equipment & coffee beans. Today we only have one bar and lots of installations, coffee bean sales and a daily sell of Hario, Aeropress and other home brewing gear.
For me this is a normal movement. Because of age, changing interests and sky high staff costs it feels like we have no other options.

Also the Dutch market and the e-business are laying ahead of us. With so many good coffee beans and experience in the third wave espresso world we think this is were we have to go.

So a bit more patience and we're drinking the 'real' stuff. I've been having lots of positive reactions on the specialty coffees we've been serving this year, but I promise you this is just a glimpse of what's awaiting for you. The warehouse is getting packed with exotic coffee bags. And that smell every time I walk in! Can't wait to start roasting.
With a little bit of luck this friday our first batch. Exciting.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Throw down in 1 cup

Roeland and Roberto are battling for the best art, in 1 cup. Lots of fun.

Thanks to Stein for the filming.
Thanks to Mr J. Adderley for blowing the horn.

Friday, July 30, 2010

El Bosque is Back

The all mighty Guatemala El Bosque is back where it belongs : in our Anfim grinder (of the week).
Last year number 3 of the year.
And Isabelle's coffee for the Barista finals.

This new crop Guatemalan is roasted by Knopes. Still a bit too fresh today, but all the other coffees are sold out so we gonna pull some shots for you anyhow.

Watch out : this one is not for sale yet. No panic though ; it's a 7 kilo sample bag. The coffee should be back in larger quantity's in two weeks.

Here some Joost Leopold El Bosque cupping notes, crop 2009 (Dutch) :

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

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Daterra Bruzzi Reserve 2008

By accident we found an old Daterra Bruzzi penta box (vac packed Brazilian coffee). Almost 2 years old, but on medium-light roast its surprisingly well balanced. Nice experiment and very succesful, so already finished up today.

But no panic, I have lots of goodies in the (Knopes) roaster tomorrow. On display by the weekend.

Sorry for the Harrar lovers; again we are going to run out of stock in a couple of days. The good news is that we will replace it with the almighty Rwanda Musasa for 2 or 3 weeks. Not bad at all.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Coffee in New York : New List

People keep asking for New York coffee houses.
Here a very nice list.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Coffee Roasting Basics - Color Changes

As new born roasters (or almost); it's time to start informing you a bit on roasting profiles and stuff.
This excellent video comes from Sweet Maria's.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Koffie wordt Duurder (Dutch)

Ja, heel veel prijsstijgingen in ruwe bonen. Pffff.

Hier artikel (GVA).

en hier (Laatste Nieuws).
en op Koffienieuws!

En ja, ook wij zullen moeten volgen.
Maar kom, de House Blend steeg laatste 2 jaar maar 1x en onze Ethiopische koffie's staan al een jaar of 5 op hetzelfde niveau. Niet echt klagen dus.

Why You Should Hate Coffee Blogs

I found, euh ... Friso found, this interesting new Blog.

It's for the more 'advanced' coffee lovers.

Click this.

Hopefully this blog will keep on living.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Mark Weinberger Special

This man Mark rolled in the bar in 2006.
Nobody knew where he came from, nobody knew what he did.

For years he came in on hot summer days to drink espresso's, semi-sweet soda's and a cappuccino left and right, meanwhile playing on his Sony laptop and smoking Verellen vanilla cigars.
Strange dude indeed, but he was very liked by all other clients, except for the cigar smoke of course :-)

Last year we were waiting for him to come back from his winter holidays. His habit was going off for skiing for a couple of months and come back by spring.
No Mark to be seen for the full summer.
Yes we missed him.

And by the time we were really woried we read this article online.

'Our' Mark seemed to be one of America's most wanted 'criminals'. Serious? Yes.
The days he arrived in Antwerp he was on the run. He had several cases running against him and while he was in Greece, at what seemed to be his last trip as a free man, he took off.
And ended up at ... Caffenation, home of the brave.

Our weeks espresso blend is made to remember his days at the bar.
A blend of Malabar, Yirgacheffe and a part of Costa Rica. A Mark Weinberger Special.

Probably in jail for the rest of his life, but tasty in a cup today.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Espresso Martini

For years I'm telling cocktail bar owners and the local cocktail men/women to put an Espresso Martini on their menu.

I'm still surprised why they mostly refuse to do it.
I think it's a fantastic drink.
Of course you need to know how to make a decent espresso first. That's something we handled before. Underneath the link a nice recipe for an Espresso Martini. Shake it out!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Interview Michael Phillips

You want to know more about the new World Barista Champ? Click here.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Best Aeropress Method of the World

It took a while - I don't know why - to bring our World Championship Aeropress recipe to you. But finally here it comes.

Again a look at the preparations and the final in England.

Jeff and I were searching to get out the most of the Washed Yirgacheffe from Square Mile Roasters.
After hours and hours of experimenting and tasting we come up with the following :

Grind : One bit finer then filter. On Ditting : 4.

Water serving temperature : tough one. We trained at 80, but then competed in the finals at 82°C. Jeff thought the roast was very fresh and needed 85, but I thought that was dangerous. He went for something in the middle.

Volume of coffee : 20 grams. A classic cut for us; a lot for a 20cl drink maybe.

Then the brewing :
Before the actual brew we decided to make a blind press to heat up the plastic of the press, the cup and rinse the paper filter.

We first take the filter and filter holder off and reverse the press. 20 grams is ground in a stainless steel cup (this is non static, except for the lightest of ground!!) and we use a funnel to keep things clean.
As pouring device we went for the Buono Kettle. This allows you to pour slowly and, this way, control the blooming. We often see an uncontrolled blooming while pouring too much water too fast.
We pour the water very slow and keep on rotating the base to make sure all coffee grounds brews well. This takes about 30 seconds.

We screw on the filter and wait 60 seconds. By this time all coffee is well agitated and it's time to turn things into pressing position.

We go now for a very slow press.

After almost (another) 60 seconds we stop just before or just on the moment of the hissing sound. The last bit of water is very oily and bitter.

Get rid of the Aeropress and serve your cup.

From the 6 judges, 3 of them thought this cup was the best. 3 others pick Marie's cup. The head judge Tim V came in between to take a final decision. He thought Marie's press was a tad cleaner.
Surprise came later when I heard about her technique : 80° (served with the Buono), same semi fine grind, 16 grams of coffee and the same steeping time.
Seen the fact both recipes are very close and scored as high ; it may be seen, for this coffee, as the perfect way of getting a 'perfect' cup.

(photo by Tim Varney and also thank you Tim for the very good organisation)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Caffenation House Blend Edition Summer 10

It's a while ago we said something about our main blend, the House Blend.

It's stable since a month and we're very happy about it.
For €14,00 we offer one kilo of coffee excitement.
Main component is the all mighty Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. Add on equal parts of Guatemala Antigua Panchoy and a conventional Brazil. And finish off with 10% Indonesian Sulawesi Celebes Blue Toraja.

It's an espresso blend, but more then ever suitable for filter, press and iced coffee's, due to the higher percentage of Yirgacheffe.

Plenty of body (thank you Panchoy & Blue Toraja), a vibrant mid with acidity peaks and a very long finish.

The only problem we notice is in the blending.
When blended before roasting the espresso is bold, but very flat.
Blending after (individual) roasting gives the punch and details. Very big difference. We're playing with the idea of blending all bags of House Blend post roast, but this is going to weight seriously on the price.
Wait and see....

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

WBC Fun & News

The comp in London was interesting, but mostly I went for fun and info.

From all the stand holders, my three favourites ones were :

Kees Van Der Westen and his new Spirit machine. So beautifull and easy.

La Marzocco and their new Strada. Actually is was already in Atlanta and Milan, but finished now and ready for production. Maybe interesting for us as well.

Bunn with the Trifecta. A revolutionarry coffee maker. Also called the new Clover. Best coffee on the fair.

The best cuppings I had were at Trabocca and the El Salvador HiQ coffee's from Willem.
And a great Peru Tunki from WE.

The fun mostly came from the people.

So much fun with Melissa, Thomas, Valentine, Lennart, Angelo, Addie, Jochem, Simon, my Barista's of course, Patrick, Henk, Yakup, Koen, Karel, Friso, Joost, Steve, Gwilym, James, Cameron, Francois, Esther, Hamma and all the other I forgot or don't have their names. Lots of kisses.