Thursday, June 30, 2011

Photo Diary

This photo is a close up of a bag of Tanzania coffee. I bought 3 big bags in the beginning of February and only had them at our place at the end of June.
The big problem is the beans are loosing a lot of quality waiting to be shipped. Temperatures in the bags can go up to 50°c.
After they are stocked in the sun for 1 or 2 months - this is not exceptional! - we're receiving a degrated coffee, compared to the pre shipment sample.
Also cargo traffic may take long. A container from Papua for example has 45 days on the seas before hitting the Antwerp harbour. Nothing good, but also nothing to do about it.

Still a stellar cup though. Nice fruity notes, well balanced, crisp and clean.

This was a Party with a capital 'P'. Unfortunately I had to leave early one because of my busy scedule. (watch the Simon Boone Sausage sticker right below!)

Every year we try to score the winning WBC coffee. I wasn't so sure about this year's bean, cause we have so much stock already. Then I saw by accident this sticker on our Electricity cabinet this week. It shows that we roasted the Illusion last year in September. 3rd wave Specialty roasting company we are. ;-)

It's a while ago we saw those boxes, but here they are again.
Time for the Daterra Bruzzi espresso. We needed an easy to roast bean with good strenght and body. This one displays these characteristics really well and could be a perfect match with the mighty Yirg. To be continued.

The Ethiopian Mokka Harrar has been a very important bean for Caffenation since the day we started.
And every year again we're looking forward to the new crop. It took a bit longer this year, but here they are.
The picking/screening was not the best. It takes us 15 minutes a batch to pick the underdeveloped beans out of the cooling tray, but it's worth the effort. And it makes us feel a bit closer to those doing the same at origin.
First espresso's of the 2011 Harrar have been a big hit. People think it's our best ever. Big body, berry-like acidity, winey, wild and a little earthy.
The idea is to have this one at the shelf at every LGB Caffenation powered bar, so soon somewhere near you.....

Sunday, June 19, 2011

News : Maastricht

Busy days.
Slow Coffee is very popular with this weekend an interview plus nice photo's : De Morgen Magazine.
Tomorrow same thing : Nieuwsblad.

Slow coffee is definetely on the rise. Sales of retail and wholesale easily go 3-fold compared to one year ago.
Last friday we roasted filter batches of our Panama, INdo Mena Gold, Kenia en two Ethiopians. And tomorrow we'll add one Tanzania.
Most of them on display in Maastricht where Caffenation has a stand at The Village. (we like that name)
And on the side at the Coffee World Tour : Little Green Bag at the Chocolat Company, Onze Lieve Vrouweplein 2.

C u there.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Espresso Bar Run : Café Labath Gent

My main man Thomas has his own bar : Café Labath.
Of course I'm the right person to judge cause I deliver the goodies (LGB as the main stuff), but this man is a real pro and pleasure to work with.

The location : great.
The equipment : Big La Marzocco F80 3-group with Teflon, 3 big Anfims, 1 really big Compak R120!, a Bunn ICB brewer, all slow coffee tools/brewers, ACF cups, ....

The staff : he has Valentine and Isabelle with a new gifted girl behind the bar.
The attitude : pro

Never saw a start up in Belgium with so much potential as Café Labath.
First spro, the day before opening tasted great.
Let's rock this town Thomas.
Good luck at : Oude Houtlei 1.

Friday, June 10, 2011

WBC 2011

Although jet lag seems to be over I can't sleep tonight.
So a good time to write a post about the World Barista Championships I attented last week in Bogota Colombia.

First I give you some links from posts written about important players and top experts.
Theotherblackstuff : David Walsh his view on things. He works for Marco and helped to build and run the brew bar. This time lapse tells it all, and watch the funny tall man in working gear behind the bar in the afternoon of day 3 - it's Bert and the only one to recognize ;-)
At least David has the best photo's!

Jimseven : world's most popular coffee blogger, and co MC, again writes a nice one. And he has all the right to speak as he delivered, again, a coffee for the finals. 6th place. Believe me, that's very good. And a good post from James.

Hasbean : a long, emotional and very well fonded post by Steven Leighton. After having a couple of coffee's in a couple of finals he shot the main bird this year with delivering the right one for Alejandro - why nobody writes his surname? - Mendez from El Salvador.
Now we know again why we asked this man several times to deliver us the right coffee for the Belgian Championships. Unfortunately he didn't find us the right one last year and we sourced somewhere else - probably the main reason Isabelle didn't win. :-(
Congrats with this stunning result Steve.

Was this the best WBC ever?
First of all it was the first at origin.
And that was a fantastic idea.
There were 200 persons going on a WBC sponsored Trip to origin, but also a lot of other coffee professionals and amateurs combined coffee fields with the championship.
Because Colombia has fantastic coffee's, very sweet and friendly inhabitants and beautiful farms. Bert and I attented this great cupping - slurpurama - event at the El Roble Hacienda. As you read before.

The coffee fare at the Corferia in Bogota was totally different from what we were used to. With over 500000 (!) farms in this country we saw a lot of farmers here. Most stands displayed wet mills in stead of espresso machines.
A bit boring for most European coffee people, but seeing this you start respecting the farmers more then ever.

This trip was a good way to learn and appreciate Colombian coffee a whole lot more. All Colombian coffee's in the Antwerp harbour is 2nd grade at its best, but mostly less than that. From the 30+ coffee's I cupped last week, at least 25 of them were better than the best Colombia presented by the traders we work with.
Time to get them to Caffenation of course. I think we met the right coffee people to buy some of these beauty's and display the soon at our bars.

The championship was as predicted a competition between the UK, USA and Aussie champ on one side and the Asians and Coffee Origin Champs at the other side. This last side I didn't mention up front, but luckily there was Peter Deprez in the comments to remember us the coffee producing country's are getting better by the year. 6 producing country's with the last 12!!!! And no Scandinavia, Canada or Belgium.
A pity the Belgium team didn't find the right bean to stun the jury. Who picked this Nepal? Not the best of idea's and a disappointing 36th place for Kathleen.

I saw half of the semi finals performances - missed Alejandro M - and tipped Japan to win. She performed less good in the finals and fell back from 2nd to the 5th place.
The winner used 100% coffee in his performance and served the espresso's without crema - wow!. Who wants to see how can click this link. And with commentary this year - great idea!

Was this the best WBC ever?
Uhm, This one was my 4th trip to the WBC and I would fully answer with a 'Yes'. For a lot of things mentioned above, but also this comp was far away from home for most of the people and therefor I saw a better bonding. I'm very proud and happy I was one of them. The coffee world is such a fantastic world to live in. In Colombia we saw all coffee people sharing and enjoying all this coffee info and that's how it should be.

Colombia and the WBC thanks.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

WBC Colombia : The Prequel

Very happy being here in Colombia.

It's my 4th WBC and it feels like, far away from most peoples homes, the friendship and bond with one another is stronger then it ever was before.

I think it was a right decision to be represent with a Caffenation team. And for more then one reason.

For Bird and me the first days were awesome.
Medellin was the first stop. Never visited a city with 2 faces that were so opposite, but at the same time interesting. It's a vivid city with a big future I think.

Then we moved on to Bucaramanga. A city as funky as its name.
Not so much to see here, but within an hour of the Hacienda El Roble.

Probably Huila has the most smashing coffee's, but the region of Santander has El Roble.

With 18 other coffee professionals we tasted 31 different varientals! I could wander on and on about it, but never this man is going to inform you as good as Zachary Carlson did with this post.

Besides of coffee this estate displayed great hospitality, food, the most beautiful birds and flowers I ever witnessed and great coffee of course.
Thank you Oswaldo (owner) and Giancarlo from Viramax, who invited us on this great venue.

Meanwhile we arrived after a shaky bus ride at San Gil, capital of the adventure sports.

Friday we should be back in Bogota and ready to meet more coffee lovers at the WBC. Very looking forward...

(photo's will be added after my return)
(follow our and other tweets meanwhile for more info)
(and for some funny Maarten articles) - click ESW in the link list.