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