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.