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.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Bert in London

I picked this photo cause it's symbolic for Bert's performance at the Cuptasting Championships.

We go back in time. The Belgian Barista CC in 2007 with Bert on stage. He was all stressed for this event and started choking for the first minute on. He didn't even finish his performance which is very very exceptional.
Exceptional is the best way to describe Bert, on and off stage. Exceptional in positive and negative sense.

At the Belgian Cuptasting Championship he was really relaxed and still enjoying a beer and a sig minutes before the cupping started.

In London he was at the starting line at 8 o'clock, but only performing at 1 in the afternoon. Tension building up all the way and that was noticable.
First set of 3 cups and Bert looks totally confused, shaking and not finding the 'different' cup.
Second set of 3 cups we see disbelief in his eyes. He can't taste any difference in between them.
Normally he's a man that picks 6, 7 or 8 out of 8 in a minute and a half.
In London he picks 1 out of 8 in 3 minutes, beating statistics! Unbelievable.

It's all or nothing with this man. This time it was nothing. I feel so sorry, but there's nothing we can do. Or shall we go back to the relaxed style? Sometimes being less serious may help - for him.

Roeland in London

Originally uploaded by reggietamper
Of course we also had Roeland.
Actually he stepped into the Ibrik story because there was no real Ibrik candidate at hand.
I was amazed by his finesse on stage.
21 points is not massive, but good enough to finish 10th.
He was willing to give the Ibrik a more modern touch. Most Ibrik coffee's are kinda flat and Roeland wanted to bring in some higher notes. The Malawi Viphya Gheisa Microlot had nice creamy body couple with lemon and apricot. Yummy.
The whole approach was not really the thing the judges were looking for I think, although they really liked the coffee's.
Well done brother, we're proud!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Michael Phillips

Finally Mike.
And finally Intelligentsia.
Everybody's happy now? I hope so.
I am.
And how could Peter Deprez know Guatemala was that good?
I scored 3 out of 6. That's very average. You can notice I'm not so fanatic anymore as I was before. Most of the competition go up in level, but decrease in interest of the spectators. I suppose it's all a bit too complicated and since the points for taste went up it's harder to judge the presentations of the Barista's.
Probably we have to look into the rules again with special attention towards the public. When Phillips started his presentation the music was pumping through the speakers and people were shaking. Yeah! Can't we bring the music and words louder so everyone can enjoy what they are doing and not only the judges? Now 7 people enjoy the words and coffee and the other 70 or 700 are nothing more but wallpaper.

Final Results:

Michael Phillips (USA) 706 points
Raul Rodas (Guatemala) 691 points
Scottie Callaghan (Australia) 672.5 points
Colin Harmon (Ireland) 659.5 points
Soren Stiller Markussen (Denmark) 644.5 points
Stefanos Domatiotis (Greece) 632 points


Soren Stiller Markussen, DENMARK
Fabrizio Sencion, MEXICO
Kyle Straw, CANADA
Ana Lucia Hawit, HONDURAS
Michael Phillips, USA
Scottie Callaghan, AUSTRALIA
Yara Castanho, BRAZIL
Thomas Schweiger, GERMANY
Colin Harmon, IRELAND
Alejandro Mendez, EL SALVADOR
Stefanos Domatiotis, GREECE

(photo by confusebee - thanks)

WAC 2010

This is kinda new, but very exciting.
24 of worlds' best 'Aeropress Baristas' all came together at the Brew bar at Olympia London for fight for the world crown.

Caffenation has Jeff in competition and he performed outstanding with a 3rd spot. Wow! Very happy with our 'recipe' and his consistent brewing.

Jeff in Action in his semi's.

The judges in action. On the right two former world cuptasting champs Anette & Tim W. So serious tastebuds.

See the blog for the winner and more info and photo's.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

WBC 2010

This one is my last post before heading to the Capital of Coffee.

Besides the all important World Barista Championships, we still have a lot of other things going on in London City.

Starting with their blog. Very funny and informative. A must read.

The competitions :

World Cuptasting Championship
: Representing Belgium (and Caffenation) : Bert 'Bird' Van Wassenhoven. Fast as lightening and pin point accurate at the Belgian Heat, this 5 year Barista is trying to keep Belgium on the coffee map of the world. Good luck Friday Bert.

Coffee in Good Spirits : Jeroen De Corte (who comes from the same village/town as your blog host) is the perfect man for the job this year. Good luck Jeroen.

At the Latte Art Championships : Francois Knopes has the (almost) impossible task to do as good as Peter Hernou last year ; winning. Be we have all trust in this young gifted Barista.

The Ibrik Championship : Here we spot other Caffenation Barista, Roeland Lenaerts. I've been tasting some of Roeland's creations and never expected Turkish coffee to taste so good. Good luck.

And not on the official program : The WAC, World Aeropress Championship.
It's funny to see on the internet how this comp gaining more interest than the 'real' stuff.
(Jazzy) Jeff Verellen is Caffenation Barista/Roaster and ready to take up the job for Belgium. To know more about this competition you can read this earlier post.
This competition will run over 2 days - wednesday and thursday - at the Brew Bar. Finals forseen at Thursday 4 PM. Hopefully with Jeff at the press. Good luck boy.

For those not in England and curious about the event : go here, for live streaming.

Monday, June 21, 2010

"Haraka haraka haina baraka"

One of the photo's from this year's SCAE photo contest.
My favourite from the list.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

WCB 2010 Predictions

Third year in a row I'm posting my predictions for the upcoming World Barista Championship.

In 08 and 09 I scored a surprising 4 out of 6 on both occasions. Tough to do better, certainly now I follow it less than before, but I'll give it (a long) shot.

1) No doubt about American Michael Philips. Maybe the strongest last year, but killed by nerves and a super duper Square Mile coffee.

2) Colin Harmon is another back to back national champ that made the finals last year. Logical bet I think. Good luck Colin.

3) Home crowd favourite John Gordon. Just as Colin competing with Hasbean beans. Steve may start getting nervous.

I suppose 99 out of 100 people would pick these three as well. Now time for specialised betting and gambling.

4) Scottie Callaghan was Latte Art champ in Tokyo 3 years ago. He has lots of experience and darn fine coffee. Count him in for a top 6.

5) Kyle Straw! for Canada. This man has experience, coffee, a Super Caimano and his mother language in his favor. Can't go wrong.

6) Ishan Natalie represents South Africa. These days this country is on tv screens world wide. Very well known for football, less for coffee. Last two years Ishan had some great Origin beans and fluent performances. So lots of experience and time to harvest. You think his fans will bring vuvuzela's?

Of course there's serious competition from Norway, Denmark, Hungary and Finland with strong Barista's. To be expected in the Semis.

Belgium rep is Kenny Burssens. I never expected him to become Belgian champ the day I met him backstage in Mechelen last year September. He was still very uncertain about himself and his coffee, but grew bit by bit and delivered a stunning performance in October at the Finals.
Never a Belgian Barista prepared himself so profesionally for the WBC. He's a cool cat on stage and a top 12 performance wouldn't surprise nobody. Good luck Kenny.

Dutch Barista Sander Schat is ready for this second WBC. Last year in Atlanta he was deeply disappointing. Time for revenge. And why not top 12. To complete the circle.

Who do you think is going to take the crown?

Roeland prepares for Ibrik

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Roast of the Week : Guatemala Tecuamburro 'El Pollo'

Another prime bean from Mercanta, delivered by Hasbean.
We've had a couple of coffee's from this Finca San Francisco on the menu before.

Today we offer the 'El Pollo' microlot. This lot is situated at the very highest point of the farm which is 1770 metres above sea level. It's a mix of Bourbon and Catuai varietals, which are hand picked, fully washed and sun dried.

In the cup we have a round sweet coffee. It has a buttery moothfeel, orange-lemon acidity, caramel sweetness, with a very long and clean finish. Really remarkable.

The roast is medium. Great for espresso and, although not perfect, nice on filter/press as well.

We still have plenty of Tecuamburro in stock and offer you a nice price : € 5,20 for a 250 grams bag.
See you soon?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hario V60 Brew Technique

After seeing a lot of people struggle with their pour over, I want to share this Bloom Diagram made by the master himself : Jaime van Schyndel (Barismo).

You can clearly see where in the filter the coffee's creating its bloom.

We have almost poured a thousand V60's last month and start having an idea on how to do it.

Take the right filter for the right amount of coffee.
Size one is perfect for 20-22 grams of medium ground for 240-280 ml of brewed coffee.
Size two is perfect for 25-30 grams of medium ground for 350-400 ml of brewed coffee.
This is more than the well known 60-65 grams a liter.
But you'll need more when using this bloom technique, cause there's some of the coffee you won't use for taste, but it's helping you to lead your water. See the V'-shaped sides. As long as you keep these, the flow of water is well controled. When you're able to get a 3 1/2 to 4 minute extraction the cup will be very rich.

1) Start with a little bit of water in your kettle, so you don't overdo the blooming.

2) After a 20 seconds bloom you pour in the water (95°C max) agressively. Start in the middle and then go outwards, but don't go to the side.
This way you push the coffee up and to the sides. The top will flop open and you will create a sorte of a (volcano) crater.
Don't laugh, but sometimes it makes me think at Alien(s) and the expanding of those alien eggs. It really flops open.
Don't wait to long with this first pour. If not you'll have a kind of crust on top and your control is gone.

3) Take it easy the first minute. You sides are still a bit soft and may collapse if you pour too wild now.

4) Keep a steady flow till you finish your brew, after three and a half or 4 minutes. This means full emursion. A full, well balanced taste will be your reward.

If the brew goes too fast, grind finer.

Good luck.
(thanks Jaime for the very informative drawing)

Thursday, June 10, 2010


For those on the look out for more espresso bar runs :

And maybe help them with some Dutch or Belgian bar reviews.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dave Grohl in FRESH POTS!

Great Vid (thanks François). Is coffee a drug? Yes, of course.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Leuven Espresso Bar Run : Break

2 years ago I was walking through Leuven with my good coffee friend Jozo.

He had his mind on opening a Caffenation styled bar in Leuven and I thought this was (and still is) an excellent idea.

Meanwhile searching for a vacant shop we had a look a the (future) competition.
I liked the style of this cosy place called De Dry Coppen.
And most known was Koffie Onan.

I was not very impressed by both quality and spirit. We are used to communicate about all things we discover and hope our passion inspires other people to help improving coffee quality and experience.

I noticed a couple other places on the side, but nothing excited me.

When I drove my car to Leuven at the beginning of this year to install our first machine at Ron Blacks I was curious about the coffee evolution in this city.

New bars popped up but, as far as I could see and taste, nothing to my liking.

But then, a couple of months later, I received a mail from a man called Michiel. He was on his way to open a specialised bar in Leuven and was interested in some training.
I explained we do a lot of classes and training, but only for Caffenation clients.
He told me he was not willing to work with our products, so we never met.

This week, when I had an extra in between hour in Leuven, I walked up his bar at the Bondgenotenlaan, close to Central Station.
Break Espresso Bar is the name and this guy is serious.

A 3 group Simonelli Aurelia. Twin Mahlkonig grinder station. A Bunn o matic. Respect.
I was very curious about the content of the grinder.
Knopes Espresso Blend! Why did nobody tell me this. ;-)

Very good bar. If Michiel keeps his motivation, this bar is on it's way to legend, in and outside of Leuven.

My friend Jelle, from Cantaloup, is waiting for a Simonelli technician to prep his machine. I suggest, after that, the man drives his van to Leuven to lower the heat on Michiels Aurelia, cause that was the only real minus.

Keep up the good work Michiel.
I heard I missed another new bar in Leuven ; that's for my next visit.
And hopefully later on .... a Jozo bar, with Caffenation on the menu.
Up to that day I suggest people go on espresso bar run and don't forget Ron Blacks. I think they do a great job. Certainly for not being an espresso bar. Maybe someone has to start an espresso test with all places listed.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Antwerp Espresso Bar Run : 4 new Bars!

Yesterday espresso bar run in Leuven (Break Bar, - a run report soon), but today we finally drove around our own town to witness some new upcoming Antwerp Barista's.

The idea was to order every time an espresso and a cappuccino.

To state things clear : an espresso is :
Wikipedia explanation.
The current world champion Gwylim D used 20 grams fine ground for two 2,5cl espresso's. This is the way Caffenation works as well.

A cappuccino is :
Wikipedia explanation.
The current world champion Gwylim D used on of his espresso's blended with warm (65°C) textured fresh milk for a 16cl cup. At Caffenation we do the same with 17cl cups.

Roeland (Mc Doeland) and I were hitting our first spot in our hometown Antwerpen Zuid.

Caffe Internazionale in the Volkstraat opened a couple of months ago.
This joint hosted former restaurants (Soeki) of Nick and (founder and neighbour) Carlos. Now Marco and Deborah welcomed us in this very good looking 'International' coffee and pastrami bar.
Coffee : Vascobel.
The equipment used were a Faema E91 Ambassador 2-group, coupled with three (old) Santos grinders. Ai! Never had a prime espresso from a Santos grinder, and it didn't happen this time. It was 6 cl in stead of 3cl and had no strenght at all.
Cappuccino had no sweetness and tasted like perc coffee with a bit of foam on top.

We also ordered a filter.
A nice old fashioned silverware filter. The brew ratio looked good and the presentation rocked, but the grind was way too fine, the coffee was in between the two top layers in stead of above and the extraction took 8 minutes in stead of 3-4. A missed chance. The menu says : Bomma's do it better. I agree.

It's a pity that such a nice bar with great food, interior, music and people can't serve any better coffee. Maybe a good Barista course would do wonders.

DC (Delicious Coffee) Espresso Bar at the Kasteelpleinstraat is a new bar working with Taeymans koffie.

I heard good things from this guy from Westmalle.
We ordered an espresso and cappuccino.
The very friendly and good looking Barista Kristien asked if we wanted a cappuccino with milk. Pfff. I told her that's it's not a cappuccino if it would be without milk. Since I started in coffee 13 years ago, a cappuccino is a cappuccino and nothing else (see explanation above). In 2010 this shouldn't be a point of discussion anymore.

The equipment was again a 2-group Faema E91 and 1 big grinder (Macap or Faema?).

The espresso was 6cl and with a little bit of beige colored crema. It tasted this way. Like a long coffee that had a 15 seconds extraction. A bit factory perculator flavor.
The cappuccino was about 85°C and served in a double walled glass, so I burned my tongue. The basis was not a 3 cl espresso but a regular coffee (I think).

Besides of this the bar is well located, the 'barista' very friendly, the place clean.

Then Cafématic at the corner of Vlemincksveld and Begijnenstraat(?) - replacing the former Coup de Foudre hair dresser.

The owner is Carmenne. She's a veteran in the food and drinks scene in Antwerp.
The bar is very well located, the staff friendly, music ok and the interior is the best ever.

The coffee they serve is Illy. (you don't need a link do you?)

The equipment, an 80's or 90's Gaggia with 1 Mazzer Super Joly grinder.

We order a cappuccino and an espresso, as you already understood.
They serve us a lungo (15 cl coffee) and a lungo with a bit of foam on top. Say no more.

The Beatles have a song called 'Getting better' and that was what I was hoping for biking towards Barnini.

What a surprise to be welcomed by Annick, the owner. I was unaware this was her bar. Great are the memories when we met for dinner long ago in Rome Italy. In those days, this loyal Caffenation friend, was studying Photography and discovering the world of (Italian) coffee.

Nowadays she's having her own espresso bar.
Coffeeroots are supplying the beans. The equipment is a beautiful Simonelli Aurelia 2-group, coupled with a Simonelli Mythos (wow, and unique in Antwerp I think) and a Santos Silence for lungo's.

The espresso was served in an awkward Durobor glass. Bad choice, but a decent result after all. It was lacking some freshness and detail/complexity and became a bit bitter at the end, but no defaults really.
The cappuccino was ok. Go back two years in Caffenation history and we would serve the same kind of cup. Smaller espresso's and improved texturing techniques would be a future help.

Well done Annick and I'm happy you're here. I'm sure it was not by accident you had more clients and a better atmosphere than the other 3 bars.
Happy as well there's a decent bar in town not working with our coffee. This should help to improve overal quality and creating a wider community.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

WAC 2010 First Training Session

Yesterday eve Jeff and me were meeting up for a closer look at our WAC (World Aeropress Championship) participation.

Professionals as we are, we already ordered some of that sweet washed Yirgacheffe coffee Square Mile Roasters is going to roast for this competition. I know they'll send us a bag soon, but that's not soon enough for a guy like Jeff, so he took out his Visa.

The coffee is a prime Ethiopian perfectly roasted for all kinds of filter and press techniques.

I'm not going to let you in on all ours secrets ; that's for post-London, but we first made a V60 filter brew to have something to compare with.
This cup was awesome. Lots of weight, punchy lime zest flavours, buckets of flowers, bergamot, well balanced but still complex, sweet and a long and mild aftertaste.

Question : Would we be able to reach all this with the Aeropress?

Yes and no.
We made 12 different presses and had some shakey results.

The variables we had to play with were :
Volume or how much coffee to use.
Grind size or how fine/coarse we need to grind the beans.
Water temperature.
Taste quality of the water.
The way we pour in the water.
Stirring system or how do we mix up the ground coffee with the water.
Steeping time.
Brewing time.
Reversed or straight up technique?
Pressing time and power.
And a couple small things like : what server and cups to use? cherry picking or not? we grind directly or not? What's going to be the Roasting date? And so on.....

Not easy, but very fascinating.
It gave a very good feeling we were able to solve a couple of small (personal) taste defects by changing one or more of the variables.

Very happy and stiff (from the cafeine) we left the house.

Meet you guys James (bis), Steve, Ben, Nick and others in London yeah!

(on the photo you see our co-taster Elisa. Jeff looks like doing a photobomb, LOL)