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.

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