As you can read in my header. Caffenation is a 3rd wave espresso bar. For what it's worth; I can't find another term for it.
For those not knowing what I'm babbling about : 1st wave is the start of the commercial espresso machine. People go drink espresso based coffee drinks outside of their home.
2nd wave is Starbucks, or company like SB. Peet's for example in CA, Coffee Company in Holland or Jacqmotte in Belgium.
Then we have the 3rd wave were it's all about taste. The coffee bean gets a holy 'status'. We treat it with the highest care and start going single origin and single estate. Latte Art plays an important part in this movement.
Now the 4th wave...
I was wondering for years what the next wave would be like. And I think it's a bit early to yell it out to loud, but it seems that 4th wave is in the making.
This article from 'salon.com' handles about this 4th wave. Reads very well and hitting the link 'Serious Eats' makes you start to dream of a new wave rolling on the beach softly.
But that's not enough folks. 4th wave is not only about espresso; It's also about 'slow food' and the rise of the slow bar on which Barista's start brewing coffee's with the help of 'improved house hold coffee brewers' like the Chemex, the Hario filters, the Vac Pot, Aeropress and other manual and non electronic equipment.
For me that's the future of coffee and if you give me a couple of months, you're going to witness this at Hopland as well.
The biggest step forward in this movement for me is that we close the gap with the customer seriously. It asks again some craftsmanship and experience, but is way less expensive and difficult then pulling decent espresso's at home.
This is stuff I'm working on very hard at the moment.
Soon more, a whole lot more. And it doesn't matter if it's the fourth or not. It doesn't even matter if it is a wave or not ; it's the quality in the cup that matters. And the fun drinking it. And believe me ; we're drinking smashing coffee's for the moment!
Very exciting period we're in, if you ask me. Lot's of new techniques, equipment and beans. It feels a bit like we're rewriting the future of coffee right now. Very exciting indeed.
* and if the slow bar fails, you can still use your chemex for flowers.....:-)
(thanks Bradley Allen and pourdover for the inspiring flickr pics)
Friday, February 26, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Beste Heer Janssens,
Vandaag opnieuw een foto in de GVA van je. Dagelijkse kost zou je zeggen ; maar vandaag zagen we je een kop Starbucks aan de lippen zetten.
En in de ondertitel luidde het dat je je outte als koffiefanaat.
Al meerdere jaren dachten we te weten dat je een koffieliefhebber was. En al meerdere jaren hoopten we je op een dag in onze bar(s) te mogen verwelkomen.
Het was voor ons, Antwerpenaars, dus een beetje pijnlijk om te zien hoe je die Amerikaanse koffiemok met zoveel liefde omknelde en niet de onze.
Al bijna 7 jaar lang leggen we, wat koffie betreft, een fanatisme aan de dag dat zijn weerga in Antwerpen en omstreken niet kent.
We trachten voortdurend, en meestal gratis, mensen de kunst van het koffiezetten - voornamelijk espresso - meester te maken en denken te mogen zeggen dat we in deze opzet prima slagen. Tot ver buiten de landsgrenzen strijken vele mannen en vrouwen neer om specialty coffee te proeven en/of kopen en Caffenation Barista opleidingen te volgen.
De haven van Antwerpen is volgens ons de beste 'koffiehaven' ter wereld, en onze samenwerking met de lokale traders verloopt dan ook bijzonder goed.
Bedenk, dit wetende, nu eens hoe we ons voelen als we zien hoe je je (ineens) aanhanger toont van een Amerikaanse multinational die koffiezetten toch op een heel andere manier benadert.
Maar verder niet getreurd : onze deur staat alle dagen open en je bent nog steeds zeer welkom. Voor een lekkere single estate ristretto of espresso, double shot cappuccino, iced mochaccino of andere.
Met het nodige vakmansschap gebracht en met Antwerpse trots.
Antwerp Barista en zaakvoerder Caffenation Hopland.
Monday, February 22, 2010
When you type 'Coffee Antwerp' on your Google Search Engine page you'll find the first breath of my blog at number 18.
On the first links it feels like the company's who paid have the first say.
They start talking about Caffenation in reviews and the wikitravel page from Antwerp. Not too bad, mostly because they're very positive. Happy me.
When you type 'Espresso Antwerp' you see Bar Choq as the first bar on the map. And the first two articles come from my hand. That's interesting.
I had a look at 'Speciaty Coffee Antwerp' and notice 3 Caffenation linked notations in the first 5. It's getting better all the time. :-)
One way it's not so important.
At the other hand if feels good to be rewarded for some efforts and tons of coffee passion.
I've been blogging on and on for 3 years now and noticed lots of people in and out of Antwerp, in and out of Belgium, picked up some info.
At the beginning I didn't understand what I was doing. It was more a reflex. It was like an egg I had to lay.
Now it's a diary that's going on and on and on.
And still a whole lot more in the pipe line.
To finish of ; the biggest coffee company in Antwerp - and well deserved - is Efico and they don't have a hit nowhere at the first pages of Google. A shame.
Today I hope they'll have a couple extra clicks via this link. Nice site.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Since a couple of days I'm experimenting with this Hario coffee mill.
They call is Sketon or Skeleton or something. My Japanese is a bit off these days.
We are doing really well with the Aeropress in the shop, but these Hario products are a perfect add on, and even more, since there's an incountable amount of Hario coffee related stuff available, it could elarge our offer seriously.
I'm not the best man to ask for experiments. I like to do it, but soon as I'm having an OK result with one product of technique I'm often too lazy too keep on digging.
This coffee mill doesn't ask for a lot of experiments though.
I reminds me at my childhood and it reminds me also at the Zassenhause, Peugeot and Bodum hand grinders I worked with the last couple of years. But this Hario mill is better yes.
It has conical ceramic-coated burrs. Contains no wood for cleaner taste. Is easy to clean. And produces more even grounds.
And unbreakable it looks like.
Now I just have to wait for my Amsterdam friends who are working on a similar product range and a hand mill with double the force for the same effort. And that could be a winner, cause grinding manually is a damn hard job if you have to make a lot of coffee's in a row.
Last weeks we've been having an increased number of demands for cheap(er) coffee grinders. So, for those who are brewing filter or press, this Hario could be the right piece of equipment.
Soon available at our shop, Hopland 46, Antwerp.
(once they're in I post it, and also the price)
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
Reading this article I became, once again, aware that I DO have to go to Portland Oregon sooner or later. To my idea this must me the most coffee crazy city in the world.
I'm a coffee lover - Duh! - and ... beer lover. This Espresso Stout sounds wonderful. You can send me a bottle.
I'm a bit afraid the general coffee culture in Portland is a bit one dimensional, but if it's good, it's good you know.
Have a look at this new company, Heart.
The guy/owner comes from Scandinavia and bring this new roastery and bar in style (refurbished Probat, Mistral, Scan designed bar, ....). Very inspirational. Great job, and keep on going till I'm over to taste some of this Heart Coffee.
Or send me a bag :-)
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Enkele weken terug bij mijn vriendin Jeanne op bezoek.
Bocholt is voor vele mensen ver weg van huis, maar ik bezie het gewoon als een beetje verder dan Lommel en daar ben ik van.
Woon nu al een heel pak jaren in Antwerpen, maar mijn roots vergeten doe ik niet.
Als Koffieliefhebbers en Noord Limburgers onder mekaar was het een gezellige ontmoeting, al ging ik vooral om haar Academie/Trainingscentrum te bekijken. Nee, niet keuren :-)
Jeanne Gennar is National Coordinator van de Belgische chapter van de SCAE, organisatrice van de Belgische kampioenschappen die onder de SCAE organisatie vallen en oprichtster van Kofca.
Bij Kofca kan je terecht voor de meest diverse en uitgebreide koffiecursussen. Als onafhankelijke is Jeanne prima geplaatst om iedereen, zowel liefhebber als professional, te ontvangen in haar Academie. Alsook voor het behalen van bepaalde SCAE diploma's.
Ik vertel dit niet om speciaal reclame voor Kofca te maken, maar bijna wekelijks krijg ik van mensen de vraag waar ze Barista, Latte Art of andere opleidingen kunnen volgen. Gezien wij te Caffenation enkel mensen opleiden die met onze koffie werken, verwijs ik ze dan graag door naar deze kwaliteitsinstelling die nauw samenwerkt met de alom gekende Coffee Consulate organisatie uit Duitsland.
De Set up in Bocholt is niet de meest geeavanceerde, maar weerspiegelt zeer goed een gemiddelde opstelling uit een espressobar.
Tijdens de korte test vond ik de Reneka machines prima functioneren. De Santos molens leken me wat te snel te gaan, wat het doseren niet vermakkelijkte en ook aroma deed verliezen, maar toch een knappe bar.
De enkele shots van Knopes koffie smaakten verrukkelijk.
Als we in de toekomst ook nog een slow/pour over bar zouden kunnen installeren om de mensen wegwijs te maken in andere brouwtechnieken dan lijkt het me een perfecte omgeving voor trainingen.
Veel geluk Jeanne met dit project en tot binnenkort.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Last week we had the honour to pre test the new Dolce Blend from Espresso Vivace, this well known and revolutionary Seattle based coffee company run by David Schomer.
It was his first or one of the first espresso blend without robusta. I guess we still noticed some Monsooned Malabar (a bit darker in color), but mostly top class beans roasted to perfection. There were voices saying it was a little bit too dark, but that wasn't my opinion.
Beautiful full tasting shots with nothing jumping out, well balanced and sweet and long after taste. And fantastic in the milk!
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Blue Bottle seems to be all over in San Francisco.
So a long post under my finger tips right now.
The main Blue Bottle bar at Mint Street (behind the old Federal Reserve) is so centrally located that we even passed by 3 times.
First visit was for break fast and .... coffee, of course.
It felt very special to enter this place. The day they installed this famous Vac Pot brewing installation/Syphon Bar, this joint became one of the best known bars in the world. And with reason.
At The Shot Coffee Ratings they are number one in the ratings since 2005 I think.
Maybe the expectations were set too high up front or maybe we're too spoiled, or maybe our 'European' coffee palette is off, but we were not always too fond from what they offered us.
The cappuccino looked very tasty, but was too bitter to my understanding. The idea to pull very strong double ristretto's is perfect, but I was lacking marriage between coffee and milk. It could be the blend, but I think it was the overconcentrated shot. The sweetness of the milk needs to blend it with the acidic part of the espresso and here it wasn't working. Why aren't they serving them the way they do at championships?
These days I also see the same type of unbalanced and too bitter caps served in London and Australia (from what I heard of) and I think it's a weird evolution, and I have problems with it. Although maybe it's the future of milk based coffee drinks.....who knows....
Their 4 group La Marzocco, coupled with big Mazzers, Nueva Point cups and Clover milk was a nice way to go and the place was packed on every visit.
The interior feels a bit cold, but nice and the outside space is quite unique I think.
The lamps and speakers were the coolest ever.
And the mixture of people couldn't be better.
And then all the facial hair at both sides of the bar..... No comment :-)
The coffee though ....
The drip coffee was average and the Kyoto iced brewed tasted like root beer, old and dirty.
Then the syphon bar brew, from this spectacular Hario bar.
We went for a Colombian, the Cauca Tierra Dendro. Sounds great.
It was a good cup. Full & complex. A bit leathery and sweaty as well, but we missed the higher notes. And without these higher notes the drink became rapidly boring. We only drank half the serving. It's a very spectacular way of brewing coffee, but I'm not so sure it's the right one for commercial environments.
Oh yes .... can you please throw these long, small Hario glasses in the garbage can? They're good to smell the aroma's, but impossible to drink from.
We keep the best news for last : the espresso's.
Their regular one was good.
Their Indonesian on the San Marco Lever was .... stunning! One of the best ever. Very, very complex, with tons of fruit, spicy acidity and a very long and exciting after taste.
Well done Barista.
It's a very spectacular bar, but doesn't someone behind the bars dares to talk or smile? It felt a bit like a laboratory in there. So, throw away those black working clothes, pump up the volume and make some fun alright?!
Then the SFMOMA roof top garden coffee bar gave us a warmer feeling. The very good looking and friendly female Barista was pulling good shots on a KVDW lever machine, in fantastic arty cups, and made our stay memorable.
I understand there's less traffic at a museum, but still... a bit of a smile and talk won't hurt no one.
The fantastic outside rooftop terrace and the Luc Tuymans (from Antwerp!!) exhibit on the same floor made the visit a once in a lifetime experience.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
If I would live not too far away from Post street : I would drink my coffee at farm:table.
Our hotel was 2 blocks up north from this very charming and very little bar on Post street. Where Abraço is the smallest espresso bar known to men, this one comes in second. How they're able to squeeze in 3 people behind the bar on 1 and a half square meters is a mystery to mankind. :-)
But we totally liked them, and their coffee, and their break fast.
Although this in Santa Cruz located coffee roaster has more bars working with their coffee ; this was the only one we visited.
The Verve straight espresso blend shot we tasted contained a Brazil and an El Salvador. Superb fruitiness and body. The acidity felt a bit forced - I think they overdosed in volume and under dosed in water. The finish was remarkably mild, although short.
On Sunday morning we found two empty spots at the table (there's only one) for a very nice arty break fast and a Sidamo Haile, wet processed on Eva Solo. The normal Eva Solo proposition was a Sumatra, but we didn't drink a Eva Solo in a long time...
When comparing the Sidamo on the French Press afterwards, we should have known. Way better detail and freshness on press. A great coffee as a perfect start for a perfect Sunday in San Francisco California.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
On Valencia 375 you find the most spectacular espresso bar from San Fran, Four Barrel Coffee. Probably even the most spectacular I've ever seen.
They got this enormous space packed with beautiful equipment, a roasting facility and of course lots of coffee drinking people.
We had already too much coffee in our body to drink one more. Besides this, the queue at Four Barrel was the longest ever.
Even with 6 people behind the bar, steering the two LM Mistral monsters, they couldn't follow.
The interior is fantastic and for pro's like us, it was breathtaking to see the roastery was build in at the end of the bar.
We can't understand the city allows them to roast in a place this. Maybe they have extra filters to clean the outgoing air. Or friendly neighbours....
We've been drinking Four Barrel before, so we're sure their drinks at the bar are great. So, for all who's heading to the West Coast ; go Four Barrel. And pump up the atmosphere, cause that was the only thing missing I think.
Someone ever thought about giving some service to the people, so this may create a bond? And some fun behind the bar? If my Barista's have to work in a so cold environment - behind the bar - they won't stay long I think.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
We've been drinking Ritual before as you can read here.
And liked it a lot.
But the fame of Ritual goes back to the days Ritual Barista's Drew Catlin and Chris Baca showed some of their magic at the USBC two years ago.
Finally we had the opportunity to visit the bar ourselves.
We just had to follow the cycling bikes to end up at their bar on Valencia street.
At first we were disappointed.
The space looks a bit like a big company cafeteria. Big, cold, strangely decorated and no atmosphere.
We fell for the equipment though. Big Mazzers, coupled with a big 3-group Synesso. Besides the 'iepe iepe' sound the moving steam wand made, nothing but good about this monster. It seems to be an ideal milk texturing machine. I saw some great Latte art!
We tasted a Brazil sweet tooth espresso. Good strenght. Nice extraction. Pleasant acidity and fruit balance (cherry-prune), but bad mouthfeel ; very dry. Bizarre.
We tasted a Colombia El Alcazar V 60 brew from their beautiful pour over bar.
Together with a self made Aeropress at Willem Boot's training center (Geisha Panama La Esmeralda - yes!) this was the best brewed coffee we tasted on our trip.
Superb Balance, texture. Perfect full flavor roast. Lingering after taste and super duper clean. This was a Clover level drip.
Can I propose some adjustments?
Oil the steam wand. Buy a new Hifi. Group the laptop boys and girls in a back room. Buy extra seats. Buy some warm wall paper. Turn the Cynesso a bit so we can see the shots run (difficult one this one I know) and make some fun behind the bar.