Sunday, February 27, 2011

Filter & Press Brew Comparison

Couldn't find a good title for this post.

This morning I lined up the Aeropress, Abid Clever Dripper, Sowden Soft Brewer and a Bodum double walled French Press.

Coffee : Caffenation Afroman Filterblend. 50% Tanzania Utengule, 25% Zambia Munali, 25% Rwanda Rwabisindu on a light roast.

Ratio : 20 grams of (fine) filter grind (all the same grind). 330 grams of 92° water. (Aeropress 300 gr).

Techniques :
Aeropress : regular position (no reversed). Adding water on top all the time till I reached the 300 grams. Total brewing and pressing took 2'30"

Abid Clever Dripper : white rinsed filter from Melitta. Very simple style. Pour on 330 grams on the coffee and let it seep for 2'. Run through another minute.

Sowden Soft Brewer : Pour on 330 grams on the coffee and serve after 4'

French Press : Same technique

Results (when hot I spooned once, then started sipping and drinking)
Aeropress : 66°. First spoon was very good. The sipping and drinking later on started not very good but then it balanced. I guess the acidity needed to be tamed. Very soon the sweets took over and showed fantastic Granny Smith and passion fruit. Clean cup all the way.

Abid Clever Dripper : 66°. Coffee looks very well filtered and clean.
First spoon didn't convince, but once drinking this coffee balanced and showed nice nuttyness, bits of fruit and a very bright cup.

Sowden Soft Brewer : 64°. Spooning went well, nothing special though. This cup gives a very mild easy coffee with hints of figs and nuts.

French Press : 71° (double walled works well as you can see). Early spooning same as Sowden. Drinking disapointed. Sourish. Metallic. Unripe fruits.

The cooling down :
Aeropress : What a cup!! Tonloads of tropical fruits (mango, cactus, kumquat, banana) and very clean. Barista's cup!

Clever : Very well balanced. A bit of everything and easy to drink. Yum.

Sowden : Flavors sames to vanish while cooling down. Very mild, but also boring.

French Press : Disapointing all the way. Not clean and not nice.

Conclusions on the taste and brewing method. And coffee of course.

Aeropress : This device is easy and handling all kind of techniques, roasting profiles and temperatures.
Watch out : this cup is too complex and acidic to everyones liking. More like an advanced kind of cup. More tealike.

Clever : Easy as always. Very commercial brew. (Isabel liked this one most)

Sowden Soft Brewer : This brewer needs surely more steeping time and a pre heating of the brewer. Gives surely more body like most full immersion brewers.

French Press : I noticed before the press is not such a big fan of lighter roasts. Surprised by the result, cause I generally like this Press. Maybe need to redo the test with a coarser grind.

The coffee/blend : Depending on the technique I think we have a winner. The lighter roasts make the fruiteness come out really well but demands a finer grinding and higher ratio.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Honduras Marcala

This new crop Honduras is not a single estate, but a very careful selection of beans from the Marcala Region.

Honduras is a country that's improving on their coffee quality year after year. Our X-Mas coffee from the Pradera estate was a perfect example.
And their 2010-2011 crop is even better!

Our Marcala is a very well balanced coffee, medium body and strenght and notes of caramel, figs, nuts and honey. It's a SHG Honduras coffee and typically less acidic then most Central American coffee's. This makes it the perfect bean to blend with our African beauties.

This week this coffee is at offer for both filter and espresso. The red bags are the filter roast, the black one the espresso version. Good luck.

More info on Honduras and their coffee at this link.

Friday, February 18, 2011

New Little Green Bag 1.2 out Now

Equal parts Rwanda Rwanbisindu, Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Peaberry and Honduras Marcala give you a punchy complex espresso with gloopy mouthfeel and hints of Nuts, Lemon and Chocolate.
It's an espresso best pulled long - say 30 seconds extraction. This gives you a very pleasant sweet and sour based shot, ideally for all 'milk drinks'.

Price € 20 a kilo and available at the specialty shops Caffenation, Barchoq, Broer Bretel, Inspire, Crusio and (soon also at) The Village Coffee Utrecht and Kaffee-ine Mechelen.

We've been testing it a lot for filter brewing as well and notice a splendid cup of joe. Nice body, very pleasant citrus notes and complexity all through the cooling proces.

Very proud about the blending and roasting; it's most probably the best Caffenation blend ever!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Belgian Aeropress Championship


Starting at 10 o’clock at Caffenation, Hopland 46, 2000 Antwerpen.

Rules & Regulations :

The rules are fairly straight forward, 3 International judges will evaluate (blind), purely based on taste, the best filter style brew from the Aeropress. We want the competition to be as transparent as possible, with the intention of fine tuning the hugely varied technique used to brew on the Aeropress.

General Rules : everyone will use the same coffee, graciously donated by Caffenation Specialty Coffee Roasters.

The coffee will be preroasted one month before the championship. One 350 grams bag of this coffee will be send to all competitors.

At the championships we will have the same coffee, 6 day old.

The required volume of the drink is 2dl, which has to be served in the supplied cupping cup. It is up to the competitor what kind of water is used, no added ingredients are allowed. All competitors will have a 8 minutes comp time. Failure to serve the drink in that time will mean disqualification. The technique used by the competitor must be in writing and given to the judges this will not be considered in judging.

Equipment : The supplied equipment will be all grinders and boilers at Caffenation. Competitors are welcome to bring their own grinder.

We will have 1 Big Ditting grinder, with a scale 1 up to 10. 5 is regular filter grind. Most Aeropress recipes use a ‘6-grind’, we used a ‘4-grind’ at the WAC-London.

You can bring your own, but there are Aeropresses available for those interested.

Any modifications to the actual Aeropress will need to be authorised by the Head Judge and if need by the organisation.

Water - Bestmax filtered Antwerp tap water will be used via the Bravilor boiler, set at 93°c. You are allowed to use your own water, and your own water boiler of choice.

Rounds : There will be qualifying rounds. Probably we go with a one against one knock out system. More info later on.

After each round, competitors must use the judging time to clear their station ready for the next round of competitors.

Competitors must have the Belgian nationality or must live in Belgium since 1 year.

The winner maybe represents Belgium at the World Aeropress Championships in Bogota Colombia (2nd – 5th of June). We're still negociating....

Please sign up free via email or at the Hopland bar : Giving their full name, adress and phone number.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

1st Belgian Aeropress Championship

Caffenation is proud to present the first Aeropress Championship in Belgium.

This event is going to be held at Caffenation, Hopland 46, 2000 Antwerp, April 24th, starting at 10 o'clock.

More info one of the days on this blog.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Rwanda Rwabisindu

Very proud to have this Rwanda coffee as a SOE or filter for a while, meanwhile blending it with Ethiopia Yirgacheffe and Honduras Marcala in our Little Green Bag 1.2

Rwabisindu is the name of the central washing station where this African coffee is processed. The washing station serves 35 farmers with 80,000 Bourbon coffee trees Emerth & Gaston Gatsinga are the owners of the washing station. They also own a hospital, where Gaston works as a doctor.

The landlocked country of Rwanda is called "Land of a Thousand Hills" (Pays des milles collines). Rwanda is one the smallest countries of Africa and supports the densest population of the continent. Mukashyaka Epiphanie is the owner of the coffee mill and is a genocide widow working to rebuild the specialty coffee industry in Rwanda and the community where she lives. All coffee is hand milled and hand sorted, which helps to create a coffee that is very sweet and complex with bright bold acidity, nutty flavors and awesome in all milk based drinks.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Espresso Bar Run : Two for Joy Amsterdam

Had to meet a couple of friends in Amsterdam.
They suggested one of the newest bars in town : Two for Joy.

A couple months ago I had the pleasure to enjoy a perfect diner with wine around the corner. That day a liked the neighbourhood, a so did I the second day of Feb.

Two for Joy at the Fredriksplein 29 is a semi chique place, with a nice clientele and very friendly Barista's.

At TFJ they roast their own beans on a 1 kg Toper.
This roaster is a typical roaster if you are looking for a cheap one to start with. This doesn't mean you can't roast well on such a device.
Unfortunately I couldn't taste this in the espresso shot I was drinking. Very Italian. Not too bad, but not third wave level I think. Too Italian. :-)

They also have a slow coffee menu. We ordered two filters.
One Barista came over with two mugs with a Hario 1 filter on it. In there freshly ground. He poured in some water with the Hario Kettle and then left everything on the table. It was a bit of a do-it-yourself-filter coffee, without advise.
I didn't want to do start pouring and tasted the coffee in the cup.
The Kenya AA was over concentrated, but even when adding water I was not half as good as it could have been.
The El Salvador Pacamara was an old bean and very boring.
Sorry guys, but this should be better next time!

Even seen the fact there's still some progress to make, either on roasting and preparation, I would recommand this bar.

Top tip for the owners : Check out the local Barista or Brew Competitions?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cup Of Excellence on the Rise

Read this article this morning :

MISSOULA, Mont. –Spectacular overall results for the 2010 Cup of Excellence auctions indicate strong international demand continues for competition-winning coffees.

"Even in uncertain economic times, this is a clear sign that farmer-identified, exceptional coffees with unique flavour profiles are very much appreciated by coffee connoisseurs," explained Susie Spindler, Executive Director of The Alliance for Coffee Excellence, Inc.

The average per pound price for the combined auctions was a record $8.67/lb for green coffee still at origin - up almost $2.00 from 2009.

The first place coffee from each of the auctions ranged from $22.05/lb for the Honduras winner to $40.09/lb for the top lot from Colombia.

Since the program ensures that the majority of the auction proceeds go directly to the winning farmer, those who were facing tough times have described these prices as miraculous. Buyers, on the other hand, have found that purchasing these rare coffees have given them a competitive edge in their marketplaces.

About forty-six percent of the winning bidders were Japanese specialty coffee companies where demand is still on fire. Europeans accounted for twenty percent and North American roasters for about fifteen.

The largest increase by far came from Australian and South Korean roasters who have doubled their purchases of Cup of Excellence coffees since 2009 - marking phenomenal growth in their markets' specialty coffee demand.

Since 1999, the Cup of Excellence has been hosted in Brazil, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Colombia and Rwanda with future expansion planned. Each competition is open to all farmers in a producing country with no fee attached for the first entry.

Each country's 3-week competition process utilized Probat Probatino roasters and the skill of international cuppers to evaluate and award the top coffees from each harvest.

The Cup of Excellence program is managed by the non-profit Alliance for Coffee Excellence, Inc, which enjoys a membership of global coffee companies as well as passionate coffee connoisseurs who can now register as Solo Supporters and receive a small share of this year's award-winning coffee.

The auction and the website are executed in partnership with CommoditiesOne, a leading software development firm based in Sydney, Australia.

For more information about the Cup of Excellence program or to become a member log on to .

(Source: Cup of Excellence)


If you are interested in supporting the work of Cup of Excellence and learning more about the programme, membership for 2011 is now available. This year we have introduced a new ‘Solo’ category for individuals (baristas, home roasters and others). Details are available at

If you are interested in attending any of the Cup of Excellence competitions during 2011, please complete your application at

Kind regards,

Grant Rattray

Managing Director

Cup of Excellence

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Espresso Bar Run : Hopper Rotterdam

Karel Rietveld is a Caffenation client and coffee afficionado since a couple of years.

When I first had him in a sunday eve coffee session and he talked about his idea's and ambitions I didn't really know what to think about him, although he showed a strong personality, good brains and serious experience.
Today it feels like our first meetings are maybe more then a couple of lines in lowlands coffee history. This new espresso bar Hopper he opened in Rotterdam is something completely new and shining.

I'm not going to talk about location or design, but coffee.
Karel took the decision to play with all kind of good coffee he finds on his path.

As you can see on the menu board he had a couple of filter roasts from James gourmet coffee. Can't believe I didn't notice this roaster before. Stunning coffees. Perfect roasts and apparentely easy paying and shipping.
I tasted the Guatemala La Laguna on reversed Aeropress Press. Very bright coffee! Delicious cup Karel.

The only minus was the coffee on his impressive Elektra grinder. The Panama Bambito from Ongebrand/Vandeputte was a bit off, but what stroke me was the fact there was no other coffee for espresso. So this single had to carry the heavy load of being the single espresso shot, but also base of all milk drinks.
To my opinion it's way better to have a specialty coffee blend for all these preps and a single on the side to give espresso lovers something extra from time to time.

The espresso machine is a 3-group Mirage idrocompresso lever machine!! And an Uber boiler helps him to make all the pour overs. These are all made with strict procedures. Everything is scaled and timed and that's very smart in a commercial environment with more then one Barista behind the bar.

So, Karel keep up the good work and I hope we can get some of our stuff on your shelf in the future.
For all people who are planning to start up a bar, just one advise : "go Hopper!"

Tuesday, February 1, 2011