The current Belgian cup tasting champ is called Roel Driesen. And the bar he opened in Hasselt, Limburg is called Mucho Gusto.
At the Zuivelmarkt 44 we encounter this passionate coffee professional. Since 3 or 4 years we meet one another in bars or at cupping tables and we quickly found out that our taste buds were matching.
The same thing happened today at Mucho Gusto. The moment the coffee aroma's are touching our nostrils and tongue we go searching for tastes and have a fun time doing so.
Test results : The Los Lajones on V60 was a joy. The decision to keep extraction around the 2 minute mark seemed to be the right one for this small cup. Yes, a 15cl filter coffee is kinda small and maybe it would be wiser to enlarge this. The work load is the same, but the joy of a 25 or 30cl cup is bigger.
It was very clean and fruity and the cooling down just brilliant. Excellent job Roel.
The Sidamo (Operation Cherry Red) was good but not very good. I can't tell why but the finish was a tad to bitter for me. Not bad at all, but compared to the Panama....
Also his Barista techniques at the espresso machine (Della Corte - combed with a classic Mahlkonig K30) were good. You can see this man prepared himself really well for the job.
The interior was a bit too posh for my liking. Besides of some old brown cafés and Shanti Beans I think all Hasselt bars are too clean and shiny and not very personal. I heard you have to do it this way in Hasselt. Pffff, don't believe the hype Roel and gimme some more of this vintage Jazz and coffee house feel.
So one more excellent espresso bar (with some Caffenation beans) in Belgium to discover.
Friday, July 29, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Last week I had a 3 hour Barista run at Kaffee-ine Mechelen.
It was a lot of fun to share the stage with front man Yves.
This bar opened a couple of months ago and has already a big fan base.
Remarcable was the popularity of all iced coffee's.
Also Take Away coffee seems to be a normal thing in Mechelen.
This tour is not only marketing, but also a study of ergonomics and procedures. Yves is a rookie Barista and there's still some progress to make, but undoubtely this man got all the energy and talent to serve the best coffee in Mechelen.
We're also still working on the tuning of the La Marzocco : Temp adjustment, correct volumes and pimping baskets and steam tips. Check!
New (brown) cups are coming and the winter menu is in the making.
Good job Yves, the Little Green Bag is in good hands with you ; keep up the good work.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Here we go with some hot news from the Caffenation Management.
I'm happy to announce George Baker is touring again. Not to play songs, but to test and pull some Little Green Bag espresso's and espresso based drinks.
I think it's good for me to learn more about all the LGB cafes and their habits.
This Saturday July 16 I'll be ascending the stage at Kaffee-Ine, OLV Straat, Mechelen. Hope to arrive at 2 and give Yves a hand till 5 or 6 in the afternoon.
I think I have a good idea about the coffee market in Belgium and Holland, but I'm sure there's still a lot more I can only learn by working in all these specialised bars.
The idea is to continue touring till all LGB distributors experienced a Roberto/George Bergami/Baker performance.
The complete Touring list will be available soon.....
Greetings from Una Antwerp Paloma (Blanca)
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Last year and a half I helped 20 or more people starting up their bar. Most were espresso bars and also asked us for equipment supply.
I've seen it as a big honour to help all those people. For many this start up was a life changer, so I felt it sometimes stressful to advice them.
But bit by bit we became experts on all the facets involved in the opening and daily management of a coffee specialised entreprise.
There are a lot of different chapters in between the willing and the final completion of a start up.
It mostly starts with a meeting. Lots of interested 'partners' are already known to Caffenation and the way I think or act, but some of them need a bit more info to start with.
Then we start talking about their ambitions and marketing plan. What are the main products, prices, place to act and people to attract? We learn this in school of course, but in real life it's not always that easy.
I'm doing this kind of thing - and I love it - for half of my life I also like to help the starters to judge locations or sometimes even find a spot.
An profitable espresso bar needs a lot of coffee drinkers a day, so a busy street, square or center is necessairy.
Later on we start working on budgets, break even point calculation and targets.
Then the menu.
Then we decide what equipment to use.
Eventually we help searching staff.
And of course, the training.
Roeland has become our first Barista trainer, but actually everyone working for Caffenation help to train all rookie or experienced Barista's.
As important as the quality is the atmosphere in which we're drinking our black gold. Without the right music, furniture, light, decoration and staff there's not enough reason to attract a lot of people every day of the week.
Then we have a look at the right suppliers. Bit by bit we see more and more professional company's in the coffee world to help us achieve our goals.
Final round is the installation and tuning of the machines and training on the premises.
Of course there's always a lot of follow up to do and we continue to give coffee classes and cupping sessions and give every pro a lot to read and follow.
For new starters in Belgium, Holland or surrounding country's, don't hesitate to contact me if you have the ambition to start an espresso bar with us, or if you want to improve your cup quality and atmosphere around it.