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