Thursday, December 20, 2012

This weeks House Blend

We buy
Brazil 18+ Maxim €4,50 (yes, it's way cheaper now, but that was a deal from half a year a go)
Ethiopia Yirgacheffe gr 2 € 4,89
Rwanda Gisenyi 87 € 4,95
Panam Palmyeri Estate € 6,70
Indonesia Pre-Anger Estate € 6,05
Costa Rica Monte Cadet Estate € 7,70

We sell, blended at € 13,68

The Monte Cadet, Pre Anger and Palmyeri were just ends of lots we had in last summer.
New in the blend from next week on :
Ethiopia Limu
Indonesia Java Kayumas

Friday, December 14, 2012

Yirgacheffe Filter Roast (nog altijd aan de top)


Op mijn rondreis door het koffieheiligdom Ethiopië 4 jaar geleden leerde ik Abdullah Bagersh kennen. Hij was in die tijd de meest befaamde Specialty Coffee 'verlader' van Ethiopië-en meteen de hele wereld zeg maar.
Intussen wordt zijn leven niet makkelijker gemaakt om al die beauty's het land uit te krijgen, maar de klassieke 'gegroepte' koffie's komen nog elk jaar veilig toe.

Abdullahs passie om altijd en overal een correct product voor een correcte prijs te garanderen is werkelijk onovertroffen. En van zijn 'klassieke' Grade 2 Yirgacheffe kopen wij elk jaar minstens een 3000 kilo.
Deze is niet traceable en ook niet biologisch, maar wel nog altijd bij het beste wat de markt te bieden heeft. ZEKER voor deze prijs.
We hebben dit jaar 3 verschillende lots van hem binnen gekregen. De eerste was heel goed, de tweede gewoon goed, maar deze 3de is de beste. Een beetje raar eigenlijk want meestal is de eerste de slechtste (een beetje overhaasting en veel onrijpe besjes), de tweede de beste en de derde middelmatig (laatste pluk gebeurt meestal iets minder goede klimatologische omstandigheden).

Waarschijnlijk de laatste Ethiopische filterkoffie van het seizoen, maar wel eentje om in te kaderen.
Verwacht je maar aan een vrij klassieke Yirg, met mooie 'florals', maar ook een aanzet van citroen, hibiscus, schitterende mouthfeel, subtle en clean.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

How to Judge a/your Specialty Coffee Bar?

These days we see a lot of lists and competitions for best espresso bar.
 I actually wanted to write this article long ago and not after winning the Allegra award for best bar in the Benelux.
 I know it's all relative, but this list is maybe a help for people who want to start or upgrade their Specialty Coffee Bar or for others who want to judge a bar. Let's be your own judge and see how you score on a scale of 60.
I always said that quality is only half the ride. In this scoring sheet it counts for half the points. The other points are for 'all' the rest. Of course sometimes you can't separate one from the other, so we have to stay flexible.

Espresso Taste /10 points
Cappuccino Taste /10 points
Filter/Press Coffee Taste /10 points

General Atmosphere /7 points
Design Interior /7 points (I know these 2 things come together very often)

Service (order and/or delivery at the table) /1 point
Pour in (like latte art or slow brews) at the table /1 point
+1 choice for espresso /1 point
Possibility to buy beans (whole or ground-on demand) /1 point
7/7 opening /1 point
The offer of 1 or more 'Signature Drinks' /1 point
Outside Sitting /1 point
Acceptable Price Setting (say maximum €3 for a 6oz cap) /1 point
Offer of more then one 'milk' variety (Soy or rice or non fat or...) /1 point
Offer of Decaf based drinks /1 point
Free Wifi /1 point
Airco /1 point
More than one news paper for clients /1 point
Bathroom facilities /1 point
Acceptable Speed of service(difficult to judge, I admit) /1 point
High quality take away cups (with anti heat sleeves) and trays /1 point

Of course it's impossible to judge a bar with 1 score and of course we can keep on discussing all these things and I also think we have to do that. Don't forget : Always in a friendly atmosphere and with the final intention to create a better coffee world.

To avoid all mis understandings : I'm not saying Caffenation scores 60 on 60. Not at all! I'm my own worst judge ever, believe me. But every day again we try harder and don't forget; it's in the details you make the difference! It's with marginal gains Bradley Wiggings won the Tour de France and it's with the same mentality your bar may win the next award for best 'coffee bar'. 

(Unfortunately I can't allow any more comments on this blog - because of spam reasons, but hopefully we meet very soon, or mail me with all kinds of comments or questions or stuff I've forgotten to mention).

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Koko Amsterdam

Karlijn & Carolien, ofte KoKo, Oudezijds Achterburgwal 145 1012 DG Amsterdam

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Postal Membership : This Week Malawi AAA

Malawi Pamwamba AAA :

This coffee is grown near the town of Namadzi in the southern Highlands of Malawi, an area better known for producing world class teas. Coffee has been grown here only since the early 1980′s, but with increasing sophistication. The coffee trees, consisting mainly of Catimor and to a lesser extent SL 28 varietals, grow in clay loam at between 3400 to 3800 feet above sea level. The coffee farms all maintain programs to subsidize the cost of housing, health care and education for workers and their families.
Planting coffee is also a soil conservation measure in these areas, where erosion is a widespread problem, as the bushes are planted in contour lines therefore controlling run-off and reducing soil loss. Coffee is mainly planted by smallholders, so it is often inter-cropped with other species in order to supply food to the household. Recently some farmers have started to plant macadamia trees, which can constitute another lucrative income source.
Cherries are harvested at dawn and brought to pulperies before early afternoon. Careful washing and grading is carried out on the same day before the wet parchment settles into separate fermenting tanks. Interesting to note that this Coffee (as with most coffee from Malwi) is transported through Mozambique for shipment from Port of Beira on the Indian Ocean.

What do we taste : Typical Eastern African Touch, Swedish Cinnamon Rolls, Little hint of Lemon Grass and Pine Nuts.

A vibrant and smooth bodied cup.

Rocking in the free Village World Utrecht

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Allegra 2012 Award for Best Independent Coffee Shop BNL

With Hopper 2nd and The Village 3rd. Nice podium isn't it?
And proud of course.
Thanks to the Barista's. Yes that's what i said on stage after Jeffrey offered me the trophee.

And, briefly, the key to succes in 3 small steps :
1) Get your Barista's trained. I mean better. I see a lot of Barista's with all kinds or degrees these days, and then they think they are Barista. It's a profession dudes. And you only get better while practicing, and by preference in a real espresso bar on serious equipment. And, if possible, aside of an experienced Barista.
We train appr 35 professional Barista's a year.  All our trainers are people who still pull their own shots on an almost daily basis.
I see a lot of Barista trainers who are not behind the machine anymore. They need to get their asses back there. In between the youngsters and some other fanatic Barista's learning the small in-and-outs. Maybe just ask the specialty bar around the corner to do a weekly shift. Or at least a monthly visit and play with the newest coffee's and equipment. You'll notice you lost a lot of the 'real' stuff in your training room!

2) You have to pay your Barista's better. They are the face of your company. They make or break you, and it better be the first thing.
What your clients are paying for is a piece of art. Without good Barista's you won't have a good bar!! So, train them better. Make sure they perform. And then pay them properly.
Of course I see a lot of 'Baristas' doing the dishes, spreading sandwiches, making soups, serving cola's. Well then you are probably running a sandwich bar or restaurant and then we talk about a different ball game.
But an espresso or specialty coffee bar needs to focus on coffee and it's the Barista that's running the show, so pay him/her for it!

3) Looking for a new Barista? Don't look too far.
I have 2 or 3 people a week asking for a job. And the first thing I ask is if they are Caffenation fans. If they are not visiting the bar from time to time I won't hire them.
I hire people who love the bar and its atmosphere and coffee (of course). This way we are sure this future Barista knows us, we know him or her and we will all be one big happy family.

So, again; it's not me who made Caffenation win the award, it's the team of Barista's who did it!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

New Filter for our Online Members : COE Mexico!

Agustin Moreno Salgado, Finca Corral de Pidra.
Roast 14/11

1) Cup Of Excellence is an organisation who's on the research of the 'perfect' bean and auctions every year the best lots in 11 different country's. This movement is very important to stimulate coffee farmers and cooperatives to improve their coffee and via this program raise the price to a more-than-fair level. For Mexico it was the first year they entered the competition and we scored a part of lot #5.

2) The farmer Agustin lives in Veracruz and began cultivating coffee 20 years ago. They renovated almost all the coffee plantation and began planting in grafted coffee that are more resistant to nematodes, 6 years ago.

3) We haven't been happy with the offer of Mexican beans in the past. Mostly to the specific climat (Mexican is most Northern of all American coffee producing country's) the average bean has a very flat and boring taste.

4) But not this one; here we a Panamesque full flavored cup with some florals, hints of stone fruit and an elegant chocolate touch. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Filter Week : Rwanda Vunga



Vunga cooperative is a washing station (coffee mill) in Jomba, Nyabihu, Western Rwanda and named after the nearby village. The Vunga station is at 1463 meters, with coffee coming from the surrounding hills ranging from 1700 to 2100 meters. The area borders the Virunga national forest, which has a healthy mountain gorilla population, and is just a couple hours from the borders of Uganda and DRC (Congo).
This area features rugged terrain with steep hills and deep misty valleys, which provide a natural water resource. The Virunga mountain range, which consists of eight major
volcanoes, is a branch of the Albertine Rift, also known as the Western Rift Valley which spreads over Rwanda, Uganda and DRC. The name “Virunga” comes from the Kinyarwanda word ibirunga, meaning “mountains.”

The Rwanda are early this year.
And this one is not only our base for the Little Green Bag, it's also our stunning filter of the week.

A spectacular Autumn coffee that taste like a lot of seasonal veggies : bitter carrots, asperges and nuts.
The cup is clean and has enough acidity to give it a balanced profile till the last drip.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

LGB 4.1 : Rwanda/Ethiopia

First and most important part is the Rwanda Vunga.

Vunga cooperative is a washing station (coffee mill) in Jomba, Nyabihu, Western Rwanda and named
after the nearby village. The Vunga station is at 1463 meters, with coffee coming from the
surrounding hills ranging from 1700 to 2100 meters. The area borders the Virunga national forest,
which has a healthy mountain gorilla population, and is just a couple hours from the borders of
Uganda and DRC (Congo). This area features rugged terrain with steep hills and deep misty valleys,
which provide a natural water resource. The Virunga mountain range, which consists of eight major
volcanoes, is a branch of the Albertine Rift, also known as the Western Rift Valley which spreads over
Rwanda, Uganda and DRC. The name “Virunga” comes from the Kinyarwanda word ibirunga,
meaning “mountains.”

Our coffee is a mix of bourbon and typica and relatively small in size.

Last year we had a lot of delay on the new crop Rwanda's, but this year they 'sailed' the containers around the cape and so it arrived very early in the Antwerp harbor. This means very fresh, and tastier.

Don't kill me if left or right a potato bean pops up, but don't mis interpret this flavor with the typical pie, carrot, salsify (schorseneren) and asperges notes. Yes, it's all in there.
And more of the autumn, with nuts upfront, and laurel and some green tea bitters on top.

A very spectacular, but clean cup indeed.

Second part is a classic from Ethiopia, the Limu Grade 2.

In the past we hardly discovered a Limu that matched the quality of a 'normal' Yirgacheffe of Sidamo, but this year the crop of these last 2 area's is very shaky, with this Limu lot being better then ever.

The Ethiopian part gives a bright tone to the blend, also a good (red) fruityness and pairs wonderfully with milk.
This way the cappuccino's pretend of being sponsored by Snickers.

Our doubles give a nice acidity and some bitters upfront, big nuttyness and the best after taste ever.

Extra bonus : Thanks to the Limu we can keep the price of this Little Green Bag under control.
Hopefully we have enough supply to stand tall with this one till the new year.

Then we suppose the Brazils and Burundis come into play. B&B magic. Working on it.
See you soon,

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sarista, the new Senseo (Dutch)

Normaal babbelen we hier over 3rd wave of koffie-op-het-scherpst-van-de-snee.

Maar ik was toch wel heel nieuwsgierig naar dit nieuwe apparaat van Douwe Egberts.

En zo ook onderstaande bloggers en testers :



Ikzelf wist niet goed wat er van te denken. Is het nu een espressomachine of niet? Bij DE zijn ze daar niet duidelijk over, en zelfs na het bekijken van de video is het me niet duidelijk.
Nespresso toonde duidelijk aan dat Espressodrinkers een krachtige 3cl drank willen met een donkerbruine cremalaag. Terecht. De manier waarop kan beter; maar geen discussie over de looks en de definitie van de drank.
Hier bij de Sarista gaan ze ineens weer richting grotere koffie en een 'lungo crema' laagje er bovenop.

Voor mij is grotere koffie's zetten met een espressoapparaat zowat de slechtste manier van zetten die een mens ooit verzonnen heeft en ik hou mijn hart dus al vast voor het resultaat.
Voor de donker gebrande fabrieksbonen pas ik sowieso, maar blijkbaar kan je die funnel/bonenhouder makkelijk de top afsnijden en er dan je eigen 'stash' in doen.
Mijn persoonlijke You Tube over Nespresso refill mag dan al honderduizenden hits hebben; deze keer ben ik niet echt van plan me zo n machine aan te kopen voor de test. Mocht iemand het echter in huis hebben gehaald en er eens Caffenation koffie op willen testen; dan stel ik me met deze altijd kandidaat.

Dus mogelijk in de toekomst toch nog een vervolg, maar voor vandaag; halt aan de Sarista en terug richting Specialty Coffee.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Espresso or Ristretto?

Let's first start with some thoughts i blogged before :

and here

Some stuff does come back, but coffee is an un going story isn't it?

Long ago it was all very simple.
You ordered an espresso and they gave you a 3cl (1oz) beverage. Strong, full of flavors, good with milk, no problems.

Then they started to up dose the filter baskets - those bloody aussie's :-) - and the drink became sweeter and more bold.

Bit by bit the espresso volume went down towards 2,5 cl and soon after you saw a lot of Barista's going back to the original 3 cl, but not with a single espresso shot in the cup, but a double; so actually a double ristretto.

Where will it end and how do we deal with it?

It is very clearly not global, but meanwhile wide spread. Although the WBC rules insist on pulling 'regular' doubles, in the field the double ristretto's are taking over.
Go visit the average San Francisco, London or Melbourne Specialty Coffee Bar, order an espresso, and they will serve a double ristretto straight away. The rules (mostly adapted): 20 grams of extra fine ground of espresso roast, approximately 1+ ounce of filtered water that's pressed through it and we have a 20 to 35 seconds dripping naked portafilter, preferably engined by a high tech pressure profiled espresso machine monster. A lot of power and complexity in the cup and great base for fine textured fresh milk.
In The Netherlands, Belgium or France this is mostly not the recipe and also Germany and Scandinavian are in jeopardy.

Normo Antwerp is the first Belgian bar only pulling ristretto's, although still splitting them (for milk drinks) with the double Portafilter. Nice initiative and double as good once this Strada is going to land at the Minderbroedersrui - go check out that monster once its in.

We, at Caffenation, have fantastic results with our double ristretto's, called Dorito (on the menu).
The naked filter technique results with the La Marzocco Linea were very shaky, but our Mistral now does a great job and the ('naked pulled') Dorito and Dorito based Flat White (16cl cup or 22cl glas) are on the rise.

The next logical step for us would be to offer this concentrated shot straight away when someone orders an espresso. Most probably this is something we can't stop happening, but what about the 'classic' espresso we spoke earlier about?
I think this still is a bloody good drink and I don't want to lose it and, as a result, weaken our menu.

So for the moment we ask our clients - certainly the international and progressive by nature ones - to specify what they want when ordering their espresso.
And the same for the cappuccino; "1 shot of espresso or a double (ristretto) based one"? "In a cup or in a glass"?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Filterabonnement : This Week Costa Rica Monte Cadet

Costa Rica Monte Cadet Estate : Roast 18 oktober 2012

Voor filterbereidingen is mijn favoriete overzeese land wellicht Costa Rica. Voornamelijk de helderheid/brightness van de boon is heel apart, en verslavend.

Farm info : Monte Cadet :
Area :  7 has,
Variety: Caturra, Catuai, Geisha
FARMERS:  Mario Solis
REGION: Tarrazú
MICRO REGION:  Canet , San Marcos
PRODUCTION:  170 bags,
WET PROCESS: Semi Washed
DRY PROCESS: Patios and  African beds, 
Geographical location: Latitude 9.6826 °N & Longitude 84.0042°O

Deze boon is enorm clean en heeft toetsen van
Drop en framboos en smaakt ook een beetje vlezig.
Smakelijk! Rob

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Filter van de Week : Panama Don Pepe

Address:        Volcancito, Boquete, Panama       
Producer:        Antonio Vasquez
Product Availability:    Harvesting in October – February – Available from November – August
Beans:    SHB (Strictly Hard Beans)
Soil:     Volcanic
Processing:    Washed

Founded in 1899 by Don Enrique Vásquez, Don Pepe is a fourth generation coffee farm and a former Best of Panama winner. Perched high on the slopes of Baru Volcano, Don Pepe is located in Volcancito, a micro-region within Panama's celebrated Boquete growing region.

After picking, skin and mucilage is removed using Penagos machinery before the coffee is dried. First part of the drying happens at cement patios and finished using raised beds with a mesh bottom - allowing air to circulate freely around the coffee. The coffee is of the Typica variety - one of the main cultivars of Coffea Arabica, whom many other varieties have derived from. The yield is pretty low, but the cup quality rewarding.

Geuren en smaken :
De versgemalen koffie geurt bijna als vers gezaagd hout.
En ook in de smaak komt iets van (zoet)hout omhoog.
We merken dadelijk waarom deze koffie bij ons voor 95% als espresso (LGB) gebrand wordt : vrij krachtig en een lage aciditeit. Toetsen ook van colanoten.

Best Brewed hot enough to enhance the acidity : 93-96°c.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Keep Cup at Caffenation

I remember when we first discovered these reusable, eco friendly, funky colored cups, i was very sceptic about the value for our bar.

When Joke pushed me half a year a go to give it a chance in our Take Out Nation i was still reluctant. But she swore she would sell it, so we ordered a box of 30 or 40.

And one month later they were gone.
We ordered a new box, and again .... all sold within a month.

This time we start dealing them at our main bar at the Mechelsesteenweg and so do some of our dealers.

The prices are €10 for the 20cl and €12 for the 30cl version.
With our FFFF system : First Fill For Free, we expect lots of positive reactions (again).

When clicking here you see how fashionable these cups became, all over Europe.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What's in the Postbox this week : October 10

We have a great Ethiopian coffee for our Membership clients this week.

Interested in a weekly bag of Specialty Filter Coffee (and living in Belgium)?

Here the (Dutch) explanation :


Elk oogstjaar is anders en zo ook de 2011-2012 oogst uit Ethiopië.

Van de grote 4 Specialty regio's Harar, Sidamo, Yirgacheffe en Limu weinig goed nieuws.
De Harar heeft een kleine oogst. Onze (Semi) Direct Trade is behoorlijk, maar minder spectaculair en ook duurder dan verwacht.
Van de Sidamo hebben we zelfs nog niets bruikbaars binnen gekregen.
En de meest Yirgacheffe's vallen ook wat tegen.
Terwijl Limu in dit kwartet meestal het zwakke broertje is, krijgen we dit jaar een uitmuntende kwaliteit.

Zo ook deze Washed grade 2 - meer info spijtig genoeg niet ontvangen.
De espressobranding van vorige maand was al een topper, maar ook over de 'filter' niets dan lof. Heel veel mooi rood fruit, viooltjeswater en een aangename aciditeit; vooral dit laatste was de vorige jaren niet echt de specialiteit van de meeste Limu's.

(noot : 50% van de Ethiopische (export)koffie is van Djimmah, maar hier komt zeer zelden een lekkere boon vandaan)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Espresso Bar Run : Koko Amsterdam

Yes, they're open.
Finally, after 2 years of planning and training.

This project was very ambitious and both Carolien and Karlijn need a full income out of this project and so it took a while to find the right spot and budget.

Oudezijds Achterburgwal 145, 1012 Amsterdam is the place to be. Yes, that's very central and along the canal.
The space is old and industrial, but of course the girls totally pimped it to their own taste.

Fashion combined with Design and Specialty Coffee is the concept. And the atmosphere is Stylish and Sexy. I don't see another place that has this kind of atmosphere.

So, very proud C&K chose our Little Green Bag as their main coffee blend.

The equipment : a shiny GB5 from La Marzocco, 3 sturdy Anfim Grinders; one is for LGb, one is for espresso of the week and one is for filter or bags, fresh tea from Van Aelst and filter coffee on your prefered brewer.
After extensive training at the Espressofabriek, The Village, Inspire and Caffenation they know how to steer the gear and this you can taste.

Good luck Carolien and Karlijn. And keep up the good work. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Filter of the Week : Panama Lerida

De eerste van 2 mooie Bouquete koffie's die we in september binnen kregen.
Panama is 'on the rise' en zowel de Don Pepe als de Lerida farm is daar een mooi voorbeeld van.
Deze koffie is dankzij zijn Natural Processing enorm fruitig. Volop Framboos & Mandarijn, maar ook mooie kruidigheid (lichte cayenne zelfs) en een toets van Jasmijn thee op het tipje van de tong.

Situated in the Highlands of Boquete, Panama, at an altitude of 1600 to 1800 meters above sea level, on the foothills of the Baru Volcano, the quality of this special coffee takes advantage of the deep volcanic soil, the micro-climate (abundant rain and sunny, dry and windy during harvesting season) and its varieties (Caturra and Catuai). The Caturra variety is a mutation of Bourbon coffee discovered in Brazil
while the latter is a semi-dwarf Arabica whose cherries hold solidly to the tree.
The Lérida Estate was founded in 1922 by a retired Norvegian, Toleff Boche Mönniche. Not only did he establish one of the finest coffee farms in Panama, he also had a great interest in the preservation of nature.  Therefore, he made sure that 60% of the Finca Lérida is an ecological reserve.

Friday, September 28, 2012

LGB 3.2 Panama/El Salvador

Time for a change.

First time ever we have a Panama or an El Salvador in our main blend.

First the Panama Don Pepe Washed Typica :

Address:        Volcancito, Boquete, Panama       
Producer:        Antonio Vasquez
Product Availability:    Harvesting in October – February – Available from November – August
Beans:    SHB (Strictly Hard Beans)
Soil:     Volcanic
Processing:    Washed

Founded in 1899 by Don Enrique Vásquez, Don Pepe is a fourth generation coffee farm and a former Best of Panama winner. Perched high on the slopes of Baru Volcano, Don Pepe is located in Volcancito, a micro-region within Panama's celebrated Boquete growing region.

After picking, skin and mucilage is removed using Penagos machinery before the coffee is dried. First part of the drying happens at cement patios and finished using raised beds with a mesh bottom - allowing air to circulate freely around the coffee. The coffee is of the Typica variety - one of the main cultivars of Coffea Arabica, whom many other varieties have derived from. The yield is pretty low, but the cup quality rewarding.

On itself we taste sweet lemon, vanilla and a clean sweet finish.

Then the El Salvador Pinares de Santiago :

Address: Canton el Matazano, Municipio Quezaltepeque Departemento La Libertad
Contact: Mauricio Moreno
Owner: Borja Letona, S.A. de C.V.
Organization Details: Plantation (1 owner)
Product Availability: Harvest December to March available as of June
Quality of coffee: SHG (Strictly High Grown)
Area: 183 Ha
Soil: Franco Arenoso
Coffee Type: Arabica - Bourbon
Elevation: approximately 1200 meters / 4000 feet above sea level

We taste excellent mouthfeel and great blending potential. Maybe not the most striking coffee in the warehouse, but it goes wonderfully with the Don Pepe.
Honestly it's also a way to keep the price tag 'reasonable'.

We blend this 3.2 with 2/3 Panama and 1/3 El Salvador.
The espresso's show very sweet and punchy flavors, with big orange peel and marashino cherry.
The ristretto's push up the bright acidity, but still orange and with a very long clean after taste.
The cappuccino's taste like liquid Orangettes (chocolate-orange). Yes sir!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What's in the Enveloppe (Dutch)?

Voor onze online leden : kijk eens wat we deze week in de postbus gestoken hebben :

NAME   -Chomo Factory, a name which comes from a nearby
                Village named after a prominent man who lived in the area. 
LOCATION  -Gatanga, Thika District, on the slopes of the Abandere   
                               Ranges. North East of the capital Nairobi. 
ALTITUDE  -1,800 M above sea level.
SIZE   -The factory has 540 small scale farmer members with   
                                Approximately 200,000 coffee trees. 
TYPE OF SOIL - Well-drained, red Kikuyu volcanic soils

KENIA is voor ons hét land bij uitstek voor onze filterbrandingen. De standaard op het vlak van 'harvesting' en 'processing', gekoppeld aan de terroir, klimaat en ervaring maakt hun koffies onweerstaanbaar.

De koffie van deze week was ook onze pick voor de World Brewerscup Championship te Wenen, waar Robert mooi 6de werd!!
Zijn recept : V60 size 2 dripper. 30 gram koffie medium maling op 500 gram gefilterd water (87°C). Blooming 30". Totale looptijd 1'55". Gezet in voorverwarmde 'Server' en geschonken in voorverwarmd porselein. Klasse.

Flavors? : Lime, juicy mouthfeel, grape, bitters of red grapefruit.
Veel plezier er mee, Rob.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Caffenation Online : the Filter/Press Memberships

Since years I'm working on this project/online shop.
There were a couple of reasons to postpone it all the time, but finally we've landed. Or almost.
Still a couple of 'stars' and links to be 'glued' into the sites of course, but the ball is rolling.

And it's a nice ball game. Most of things i've been doing in my life came out of passion and love, and so is this project.

What reasons are good to subcribe online?

Although people won't believe that i'm very often afraid of entering a bar/shop/restaurant ; it's the truth though. And many more people are so; they definitely want to share the atmosphere we, or our dealers, are creating, but there's a threshold, something they are afraid off.
But with a membership that gets the coffee at their doorstep, or even better, directly into their house..... That's a good reason to stop buying supermarket stuff!

Some people don't have time to visit a bar or specialised shop to buy a bag of fresh stuff.

Some people are living abroad, far away from Specialty Coffee.

Some are too busy to leave the office or have a big house hold to cover.

Some people are not interested in fresh coffee with a story.
Or am i mistaken?

Of course some people do not trust us and don't want to subscribe. Or they don't know what the difference between Specialty coffee and the average stuff is. Or they don't have a grinder. Maybe they even think (pre)ground coffee is as good.....

For those who don't trust us : we're on the market for +9 years and focus number 1 in all those years was giving people a good time and a good cup. We're not a money driven company!

Very often people see our prices and since we're cheaper then most of the competition, they think we're not as good. Of course I'm not saying we're the best! I don't like company's who scream out that they have perfect roasts and the best beans. We try to do our best. We try to do better. For achieving these goals, me and my people are travelling the world. We're on a continious look out for all movements happening in this crazy coffee world.

Afraid for what's going to be in the bag?

Besides all trends and fashion statements, we want to keep our buds sharp and inform you about all our tastings.
With every envelop we send out, we attach a paper with information about the bean and its taste notes.
After 26 weeks you'll have a minimum of 20 different specialty coffees at your doorstep. Coffee is a colorfull world, with African beans the most colorful. :-)

Why whole beans?
We can go on discussing about differences in personal taste, roasting angles and origins, but nobody will argue that pre ground is as tasty as freshly ground.
Whole beans probably loose most of their flavor after one month. Ground coffee looses most of its flavor in 2 days. This doesn't mean the coffee is not 'good' anymore, but you tend to loose the details and for me that's not 'good enough' anymore. So, whole beans it is.
I remember a 'traditional' roaster once telling me that I would ignore 99% of the market this way. Well, if that's the truth; I'm not interested in 99% of the market. Or better; I'm hoping I can motivate some people within this 99% group to start grinding on demand. Brew by brew.
Yes you'll have to make an effort!
Yes, you'll be rewarded!

For the first 50 half year members we offer a free hand grinder. Later on we'll start selling hand grinders for low prices; this way we hope to help people experience the freshest (filter/press) coffee of their life. Maybe even the best (filter/press) coffee of their life.:-)

What's important for us :

For getting all these amazing flavours in your cup, it's very important we keep a focus on the following:
'In Season' means single-origin beans, which are no older than 10 months from the completion of the harvest. You'll taste the difference between fresh or old crop. (probably we dare to make exceptions for Ethiopian, Kenyan or Vac Packed beans)  

'Light Roast'  means Sweeter, with great balance in acid, aroma and complexity, but still with enough body.
These roasts also give a longer shelf life, although we hope your bag is empty every week. :-)

'Freshly Roasted' : not only we like freshly ground; most coffees will get to your doorstep within a couple days after roasting.

'Specialty Coffee' : what's specialty and what's not? Tough one. For me 'Specialty Coffee' is coffee with a story, with something exceptional, not conventional, as clean as possible, gourmet, premium, +80 points coffees (cupped on a 100 points scale).

'Coffee with a Story' : attached to the coffee you'll find a paper with some info about the bean, origin, country and taste.

'Correct Brewing' : on the envelop or at the blog or later on our specialised slow coffee web site, you'll find brewing advise. The coffee will only taste as good as how you prepare it. Still have some questions; don't hesitate to ask us or one of our specialised dealers.

'Local' : the roasted coffee comes from Antwerp. Taking note this membership is only for Belgium (and later on The Netherlands), this means local. Not from a factory far away. Not flown over with an airplane, which is a real 'killer' for your coffee.

'Micro Roast' : all these coffees are roasted on a 15 kilo roaster, in which we roast 12 kilo at a time. We believe this small scale roasting gives us deeper flavors. Yes, we are small, artisan, and focused on quality.

You'll find all this as important as we do? Don't hesitate and surf the site :
Be aware these memberships are for Belgian adresses only. (a distribution in the Netherlands will follow soon)

Soon a link at our regular Caffenation Site will be available as well. 

I'm hoping to hear from you soon,
Caffenation, Specialty Coffee Roasters.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Online is Fine

Hi di Hi,

Not yet official, but the online shop is open already. Click here.

(For those who don't like the url, it's just commercial guys, sorry)

Soon a couple more blog posts about it. And official launch - just testing now.

First a little explanation of the coffee that went out to the first members this week :
The Costa Rica Tarrazu San Rafael :

Due south of San José you will find the majestic mountains of Tarrazú. Sheltered between the Pacific Coast, the Central Valley and the high peaks of the country´s central mountain range, Tarrazú is one of the world's most famous coffee growing regions. This magnificent area, fondly known as the Area of the Saints, is considered to yield the most superb Strictly Hard Bean coffees in Costa Rica, grown at altitudes between 3,650 to 5,900 feet.
The rich volcanic soil, the high altitude, as well as the perfect combination of sunlight, temperature, and precipitation provide the essential components to produce an exceptional coffee.
International cuppers have recognized San Rafael RZ Tarrazú during its 150 years of existence as the best coffee of the Tarrazú region. This cup exemplifies a true Tarrazú with its deep aroma, vibrant and lemony acidity and smooth finish.
Special varieties or types : Caturra, Catuai

What do we taste :
Zoethout - liquorice
Lichte runderbouillon - light beef broth
Medium acidity
Heldere cup - bright cup

Enjoy! Rob
ps : still a couple bags in our shop or with some of our distributors  

Sunday, August 26, 2012

LGB 3.1. on the Shelf.

One week to late, but here's the new LGB brothers and sisters.

I suppose I don't have to introduce the almighty Yirgacheffe anymore. This Ethiopian classic is back were it belongs : in our most loved little green bag.
This last shipment from our favourite Ethiopian supplier Bagersh is a tad smaller in size, with even some nice peaberry ones.
But, as usual, cleaner then the first shipment at the beginning of April. And with more body.
Although we recently saw a small pricing decline in the green coffee market, the Ethiopian is almost at a historical peak, but still very interersting value wise. We still regret not having any more information about this Yirg.  

More info on the Collaborative trade we did at the end of last month.
This Guatemala Antigua Hunapu has all the flavors we want from a Guatemala.

When I cupped the filter roasts this morning I was again surprised by how clean and well balanced this coffee is. Enough acidity to keep our buds amused, but first of all this creamy mouthfeel is what gets to your attention.

Hunapu is the original name of Vulcan de Agua, in the native language K’iche, which is one of the most prominent of the native languages in Guatemala. Hunapu literally means “mountain of flowers” and is the brand name for coffee processed at Bella Vista. It is a blend of coffees received at the mill and it is separated by day-lots. Most of the coffee is of the bourbon varietal but there can also be a mix of other varieties, like caturra. The reason the Zelayas have chosen to make this a blend is because it is only within the last couple of years that the speciality coffee industry has focused on seperating lots and talking about varieties. The Hunapu blend is made up of coffee picked on the same day by different producers and is based, in part, on the amount of coffee delivered from each farm. It is simply not sustainable for Bella Vista to process two bags of cherry from each producer.

Good luck with this LGB 3.1., that should do the trick till the end of September. 

the NEW little green bag @ TakeOutNation

Friday, August 17, 2012

House Blend : What's the cost? (Dutch)

In navolging van o.a. Tim Wendelboe heb ik de behoefte om de zaken wat duidelijker te stellen.

Met name i.v.m. House Blend, of onze meest klassieke blend.

1) Wat is de samenstelling?
2) Wat kost deze koffie? (Niet alleen voor jullie, maar ook voor ons)
3) Wat is het verschil met andere espresso blends op de markt?

1) Momenteel bestaat de House Blend uit 5 gelijk gemengde componenten :
Rwanda Gisenyi 88
Ethiopia Yirgacheffe
Brazil Isidro Pereira Pulped Natural Fair Trade
Tanzania Machare AA Fair Trade Organic
Guatemala Finca Buenos Aires Los Marias Organic

2) Wat kosten deze bonen ons, de kilo, exclusief BTW?
Rwanda G : € 5,00
Ethiopia Y : € 5,10
Brazil IP : € 4,60
Tanzania M : € 6,50
Guatemala FBA : € 4,40
(deze prijzen kunnen schommelen naargelang periode en volume en transportkost)

De kilo verkoopprijs in bulkemmer (8kg) = € 13,21
Per kilo verpakt = € 13,68
(Particulieren betalen €16,80 de kilo, BTW inclusief)

Wat zijn onze verdere kosten :
- Handenarbeid
- Huur branderij ruimte
- Voorraad, vooral duur bij Direct Trade, gezien de voorfinanciering vd voorraad
- Energiekosten (gas, electriciteit, ...)
- Verlies door krimp (vochtverlies tot 15%!) en waiste
- Verpakking
- Vervoer
- Stadstaksen
- Afvalverwerking
- Afschrijving machines
- Onderhoud machines
- Opleiding Barista's
- Boekhouding
- ....

Ik ga per lijntje niet in de details treden, maar alles bij elkaar opgeteld komen we op een lichte winst, als de klant tijdig betaald, dewelke dan weer opgesoupeerd wordt door onderzoek, coffee traveling en persoonlijke opleidingen.

3) Deze House Blend, evenals andere koffie's, zijn niet zomaar bruine bonen natuurlijk.
Eerst en vooral werken we SEASONAL. Momenteel bijvoorbeeld lopen de Brazils en Rwandas op hun laatste beentjes en worden deze vervangen door extra Guatemala, Ethiopië en Peru - verse oogst.
Door zorgvuldig alle onderdelen te blijven 'cuppen' en in correcte verhoudingen te melangeren kunnen we constant een evenwichtige blend garanderen.

Heel belangrijk voor ons is de manier van BLENDEN. Daar waar bij bijna alle andere blends op de markt, de onderdelen tesamen de brander in gaan, verzekeren wij dat elke boon een APARTE, aangepaste branding krijgt. Dit niet alleen om een hoger definitie te bekomen, maar het is simpelweg ook niet mogelijk om verschillende screenings (grotes) en hardheden op dezelfde manier te branden.

De BRANDKLEUR bij Caffenation is ook lichtelijk anders dan wat je elders in de markt terug vindt. De moment dat de gebrande boon olie vertoont - meestal vanaf dag 3 na de branding - wilt dit zeggen dat al heel veel van zijn smaak in de branderij door de schoorsteen is verdwenen.
Door een beheerste en mogelijk kortere branding garanderen wij dat bijna alle smaken nog in de boon aanwezig zijn en niet de alom heersende donkere brandsmaak die buiten chocolade en hazelnoot (niks mis mee), vooral teer, jutte en rubber (veel mis mee) als smaakcomponenten bezit.

Dit geweten zijnde hoop ik dat iedereen vervolgens let op de laatste halve minuut alvorens de kop klaar is.
Een espresso uit de boekjes is tussen de 2,5 en 3cl groot, heeft een looptijd van 22à30 seconden en toont een donkerbruine cremalaag.
Beste resultaten haal je met een dubbele portafilter en een 18à20 grams vulling - voor 2 espresso's dus.

Houdt er rekenschap mee dat een te hete temperatuur veel van de smaken vermoordt, alsmede de aciditeit verhoogt. Tussen de 91 en 94, al naargelang de machine, lijkt ons een prima starttemperatuur.

Veel succes met onze koffie.

ps : Voor geïnteresseerden, zowel particulier als professioneel kan je ons altijd mailen of bezoeken te Mechelsesteenweg 16, Antwerpen.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Nomads on the Roll

Active since a couple of months and now totally on the roll is this brilliant project from Chris and Agnieszka called Nomads.

While being air stewards, they bought this old Renault van one year ago.

They adressed themselves to me for assistance and training.
Bit by bit they started to train themselves and pimp the bus.

The first time I saw the espresso-bus-van at the De Coninckplein I couldn't believe my eyes. This was the most beautiful mobile bar ever! Painted mat black, finished off with polished wood and with La Marzocco and Anfim gear inside they made a statement!

Now they start their engines part time for all your parties and coffee happenings.

On their Facebook page you can see photos of the whole story and contact number or mail.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Espresso Bar Run : Clouds in my Coffee (Dutch)

Dampoort Gent is een buurt die ik nog ken uit een vorig professioneel leven. Het is een grauwe buurt waar je je auto liefst zo snel mogelijk doorstuurt, richting klant of snelweg.

Zo was ik ook wel enigszins verbaasd toen Veva me vroeg om koffie te leveren voor een project in deze buurt.
Toen ik de (vroegere) burelen van Object - hun bedrijf - bezocht had ik echter al snel in de gaten dat deze mensen niet over 1 nacht ijs gaan en keek ik met veel goesting vooruit op dit leuke project.

In een oude school aan de Dendermondsesteenweg (104) werd er een woon-werkproject opgezet die een prima voorbeeld is van stadsvernieuwing. Verschillende huizen, appartementen, lofts, het Object bureel en aan de straatkant een espresso bar resto die aanverwante zielen uit de buurt richting kop en bord zou moeten krijgen.

Begin juli was het eindelijk zo ver dat de deuren open konden. En dat heeft men in Gent geweten. Vanaf dag één waren er veel geïnteresseerden in een House Blend espresso of wat ander drinken of eten.
En met reden. De Dendermondsesteenweg lijkt wel in een ander land gelegen, maar eens je de zaak indraait dan kom je ogen en oren te kort om alles op te slaan. Het interieur is echt verbluffend en de verwelkoming hartelijk. De klanten verschillend qua pluimage en de algemene sfeer kan een breed publiek bekoren.

Qua koffie dan...? De E61 Faema machine staat te blinken in het midden van de bar. Ik heb een haat-liefdeverhouding met deze klassieker. Tuurlijk is ie mooi en ook heb ik er al vele lekkere espresso's uitgekregen, maar soms haat ik ook zijn (Italiaanse) bokkesprongen en onergonomische stoompijpen. Maar de staff heeft de E61 al vrij goed getemd en de zware Faeme en blinkende Simonelli MDX molens malen de House Blend heel precies en vers.

Nu lijkt Gent, na de feesten, bij momenten een spookstad, maar straks, als iedereen terug toestroomt lijkt Clouds In My Coffee me verplichte kost. Om te kijken en te proeven. Geniet voorlopig alvast van deze foto's.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Coffee Adventures in the North

North = The Netherlands.

I've been driving my car through a lot of provinces in The Netherlands this year.

Like last month when I needed to pick 2 old sample roasters. I was hoping Wilfred Giesen - the Dutch master Coffee Roaster designer - was able to repair these old monsters. And he was, but the work load was so serious, the price to pay would be too high. Meanwhile I found my friend Wouter prepared to give it a look. Together with another Probat Sample Roaster that I aquired last week, we sure can mix and match all the parts into 1 mean sample roasting machine.
Tomorrow drop off in his working space in Eindhoven and then towards Designhuis, Stadhuisplein 3, where I may spot his ES2 machine pulling some bad ass LGB shots.

This machine is something unique. The technique in his own words at the bottom of this post.

In Nijmegen at Caffeina, at the big square in the centre of town, they know how a good espresso should taste like.
They opened 2 years ago. The styling is a bit 'middle of the road', but the espresso and cappuccino are top notch. And their main roaster Single Estate is not over roasting the beans, in revanche to most of the Dutch coffee roasters.
I tasted a yellow bourbon Pereira estate shot and was surprised, so late into the season, how fresh it tasted. Sweet, good texture, nice after taste. Go Cynthia and Erwin.

My first visit ever to the city of Arnhem was an instant succes.
Since Maaike Van Den Berg started her mobile bar True Barista and Lauré Van Houten picked up our coffees for her bar Let's Coffee, we are proud to be serving our best roasts to coffee lovers in Arnhem.

Maaike had a maiden showcase last week at the 8Bahn area festival. Look at this 'van' and Barista Maaike in action. Woeha!

At Let's coffee there's still some work to be done, but this street (Nieuwstad 9), bar and lovely Barista girls do certainly have a big future ahead of them. 

Next Wednesday i'm heading to Groningen (again) to deliver the first buckets for Black & Bloom. Good old Gerben is working his ass off right now to prep this beautiful shop in the centre of Groningen.

 At such a nice location, with his barista skills, great gear and freshly roasted Caffenation black, I'm a 100% sure this place is gonna rock.

The same a little bit in Amsterdam where Koko found a spot. Caroline and Karlijn are die hards. It was a long and windy road, but they finally found the budget and a lovely place in the centre of town to fullfill their (and mine) dream. Hopefully more about the opening soon.  Go girls!!


With the ES2 you can pressure profile and temperature surf as much as you like. The manual hand lever lets you control the flow. The temperature of the water is easely adjustable but while extracting in can be very stable.

Brew Water

Cold water can be poured in the copper funnel on top, it will subsequently heat up. A manual probe can be attached for on-the-spot measurement. Once the water reached the set brew temperature, the machine will stabilize.

Brew Group

The extraction chamber supports up to 70 cc of water to extract in one pull. Under the group fit various baskets sizes, 7 grams, 14 grams and 18 grams.
The Design of the group allows for a very subtle pre infusion. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Green Course August (Dutch)

Google afbeeldingen 'Green Course' en je krijgt wat de foto toont; een golfterrein.
Bij Caffenation is de 'Green Course' een van de Cursussen die we geven en handelt over het parcours dat de koffieboon aflegt tussen het planten van het zaadje en de branding.
De 2de Caffenation Green Course van 2012 vindt plaats zondagavond 5 augustus om 19u.
Ondergetekende gaat aan de hand van infoborden, foto's en een uitgebreide koffiecupping alle weetje tentoonspreiden, en zoekt nog een publiek.
De prijs is €10 voor een klas van 2u (of langer) en inschrijven doe je in onze shop. 
(toegankelijk voor zowel Professionelen als Liefhebbers)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Iced Coffee : Where we're at?

Last Sunday our theme at the trimestrial Home Brewing Session was 'Iced Coffee'.

Not the Frapuccino's or any other milky drinks, but the pure uncut black cold stuff, iced and iced.

I did some tests in the past.
Almost day to day 5 years ago I posted this.

Meanwhile i didn't taste anything spectacular anymore. I heard about a hundred of recipes, but was very sceptical about all of them.
Main problems are ; 1, starting at 90 degrees or more and bringing the coffee later on to iced temperature, a lot of 'negative' tastes come peeping in your cup/glass.
If you cool it quickly : There's a chance at some acidulation (or is it rancidification?) that's really not pleasant.
If you cool it slowly : There's some harshness that's really not pleasant.

2, the original flavors of your bean start drifting away over time. The longer you cool the coffee the stranger it's tasting.

3, if you start with espresso's as your base, you need too much ice or water to get a serious drink.

So, here we are at Caffenation testing some of the iced coffee's I prepared.

I had a Kenia and a (medium roasted) Espresso blend brewed on a batch brewer (Bunn ICB) that was cooled down to room temperature and the cooled in the fridge over night.
The Kenia didn't do it for us. Drinkable, but too sour and harsh.
The Espresso cold coffee was discusting all the way.

We had a filter brew on 85degrees and cooled that one over ice. Too light. Clean, but boring. It's true that a higher ratio helps for a better balanced cup, but up to today I never had one to my liking.

We had a slow cold brew (on a Hario Slow Brewer) that we cooled a bit and that one was not bad at all.

But then we also had a cold brew Kenia, prepared with a V60 the day before and chilled over night, and then served. Yes sir, the winner.
I remember my best iced drink from a couple of years ago was close to this one. I admit the main problem is that we miss a lot of flavors we find back when extracting the coffee at a higher temperature. This saying we won the Aeropress championship brewing the coffee at 78 degrees, which is almost in between very hot water and 'our' temperature. 
The cold brew I'm making is with 40 degrees 'cold' water.
I admit it's lacking some acidity, but gets very sweet and once it's cooled over night in the fridge it gives a very good mouthfeel and bourbon-liquor taste.
When picking a coffee that's clean and has enough acidity from origin, this method is very interesting.

Yesterday and today we decided not brewing the cold brew with a V60, but with a Hario slow dripper.
It's a nice demonstration tool, brews by itself and is lot of fun to use.
The Barista on duty may have it running a couple of times a day -it mostly runs 1 and a half hour per brew-, and you bet our clients do find it a very interesting to look at.
Later on it's poured in a ceramic pot and chilled in the fridge.

So, drop in one of the days for a look at this wonderful tool. And when it's not running ; maybe ask for a demo.

Writing this and meanwhile doing some research I see James H wrote about it as well last month -LINK. Interesting, but here as well we read the result is often a bit too weak and tea-like.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Caffenation Cappuccino's in Nederland (Dutch)

Nog eens een Nederlandstalig artikel. Relax.

Het is intussen 5 jaar geleden dat ik Addie Rovers ontmoette. Hij was destijds Inspire Coffee aan het opstarten en vroeg mijn eventuele medewerking.
Dit zou het begin worden van onze Nederlandse tak.

Niet dat ik er nooit aan gedacht had om de grens over te trekken met mijn koffie's, maar een plan had ik zeker niet.
En dat bleef zo, niettegenstaande het grote succes van Inspire Breda, tot begin 2011. De installatie van Crusio was net afgerond en The Village stond voor de deur, en ik riep (in de douche weliswaar) dat ik in elke serieuse Nederlandse stad een LGB dealer wilde.
En daar voegde ik een dag later nog aan toe dat ik ook onze koffie in de sterrenrestaurants binnen wilde.
Over dat laatste gaan we het een andere keer nog eens over hebben, maar wel over onze koffie's in vele goede Nederlandse espressobars.
Daar lijkt het nog lang niet op, maar we zijn onderweg.

De eerste 3 vernoemde zaken zijn nu al een tijdje onderweg met onze koffie's en ik ben ontzettend blij met zowel hun stijl als hun kwaliteit en omzetten. De communicatie verloopt ontzettend vlot.
Ik kan mijn opmerkingen kwijt en zij de hunne en zo bouwen we samen aan een betere koffietoekomst.

Mijn basisidee vroeger was dat alles rond de espresso draaide, maar daar ben ik al een paar jaar vanaf gestapt. Ik geloof nu echt dat alles rond de cappuccino draait. Die bar met de beste sfeer en cappuccino's heeft het meeste succes.
Een 'perfecte' cappuccino voor mij is tussen de 16 en 18 cl groot en smaakt romig en zoet, zonder dat er room of suiker in moet. De espresso wordt alle eer aan gedaan, alsook de melk. Maar vooral het huwelijk tussen beiden is van cruciaal belang. Daarvoor dient men net genoeg lucht in de melk te trekken en de temperatuur van de melk juist goed te krijgen. Gaat men te heet dan is er te weinig binding in de kop en zal de melk ook minder romig en zoet smaken. Ik reken tussen de 59 en 63 graden als perfect.
Neem om te testen een slok in de mond en je voelt meteen of de smaak, textuur en mengeling goed zit. Textuur is eigenlijk zelfs even belangrijk als de smaak zelf!

En daar willen we dus ook met onze cappuccino's in Nederland naar toe.
Onze hoofdblend LGB, alsook onze, iets conservatievere, House Blend zijn geconcipieerd richting deze doelstelling. Natuurlijk kan je met die koffie's veel meer dan dat, maar met melk geven ze dat tikkeltje extra om ze te onderscheiden van andere blends op de markt. Het feit dat we 2 tot 4 bonen gaan inmengen maakt ze iets makkelijker om mee te werken en stabieler over tijd.
De brandingen zijn zeer beheerst en daar wringt, vind ik, bij de meeste andere koffie's het schoentje. Het is dikwijls eenheidsworst omdat de brandingen te donker zijn en in de cappuccino's komen dikwijls te veel bitters boven drijven, zeker in de Flat White's (makkelijk gezegd; een sterkere cappuccino).

Intussen zijn we halverwege 2012 en zien we onze cappuccino's her en der oppoppen. De Espressobus, Let's Coffee, True Barista, Sterk Water, Oud Sluis (2 doelstellingen in 1 hier!) en periodiek in andere. Met ook toekomstige installatie's in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Groningen e.a. op de planning lijken we meer en meer op weg om een vaste waarde te worden in de Nederlandse Specialty Coffee scene.

Maar natuurlijk is ook er nog Rotterdam, Haarlem, Maastricht, Heerlen, Venlo, Tilburg, Zwolle, Den Haag en weet ik veel welke andere steden die bediend moeten worden.
Wij zijn er evenwel klaar voor; nu zij/jullie nog.

(binnenkort nog een post over Nederland en zijn koffie ; een roadverslag door midden Nederland)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Kenya Mukurwe

Our new Kenya Man is called : Mukurwe.

What to know about this bean :

Process: Timely and selective hand picking is carried out
in Mukurwe wet mill. Cherry is delivered to wet
mill the same day it is picked. Cherry sorting is
carried out at the wet mill prior to the pulping.
Red ripe cheries are separated from underipes,
overipes and foreign matter. Processing utilizes
clean river water (wet processing) that is
recirculated before disposal into seepage pits.
Sun drying is done before delivery of the coffee
to the dry mill for secondary processing. 
  Varieties:  SL 28 and SL34 
  Flowering: Main crop- October/November, Light crop-

 Average Rainfall: 1000 -1400 mm per year. The rains are in two
seasons , short and long rains. Main crop
depends on long rains that come between  April
and May . Light crop receives adequate rain
between October and November.
  Altitude: 1600 Metres Above Sea Level
  Temperature Range: 18 – 25 Degree Celsius
  Soils: Deep red volcanic soils

Come test for free this brilliant coffee at our Filter Bar (in the shop at Mechelsesteenweg 16).

Monday, June 25, 2012

Espresso Soda

Working on this idea since a while.
Who has any experience with this type of beverage?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Raul Rodas is the new Champ

For those who have been to London 2 years ago, knew Raul was top class and this years win is not a surprise at all.

I didn't see 1 espresso or cappuccino, certainly not a signature drink on stage this year. Compared to last year the fair and other competitions were so exciting that I didn't see any of the competitors of the Barista Comp.

Here's a link with a review of his performance. 

More of this years comp at

The cuptasting competition was as thrilling as ever, with an Antwerp fella in the last round. Kim Ossenblok by accident stumbled into Caffenation on a Saturday morning (i think) 7 years ago. I had my doubts by this man, who seemed to come straight from a café, but a couple of months later he does a few Barista assistant shifts in the bar.
The love for coffee was obvious and one year later he becomes Spains number 1 Barista Trainer.

Living in Barcelona he starts competing at the Spanish Championships and with the win in the cup tasting competition this meant he was here in Vienna to find the 'strange' cup in the triangle cupping competition.
Here a link with the rules.

The German competitor didn't eat for 3 days and this seemed to be the way to go. 8 out of 8 in the finals!!!
Greece became second and Kim captured the 3rd spot, out of 40 or something competitors. Truly amazing and well deserved!!

Our Kenia Chomo coffee was in hands of Brew Master Robert Gruber. He is owner of POC, a fantastic coffee hang out place at Schlosselgasse in Vienna.
He won the Austrian title with our Kenia Kirea Ini at the end of last year.

This years Kenia Chomo was a different coffee all together, but really pleased the jugdes with beautiful Tropical Topsoil aroma's and citrus/pineapple flavors, so he made it to the finals, together with the UK, USA, Greece (again), Australia and Canada. All big powerful country's with ton loads of competition experience. For new commer Robert (a rookie Barista, since last year September) an impossible task to win the comp, but a very well deserved 6th place is a great way to enter a competition that seems to have a wonderful future ahead.
Wouldn't surprise me if this competition is going to have more competitors world wide as the Barista competition. In Poland for example there were 20 competitors in this years clash. In Belgium unfortunately we didn't have it. Was it a lack of sponsors or interest? Hopefully it's going to be on the 2013 list. I promise to have at least one Caffenation brewer at the starting line.

The fair was the best ever and the work shops endless and with many enthousiastic participants.

I gave 2 classes.
In the first 'How to open a Specialty Coffee Bar' there were more English speaking 'students'.

In the 'How to open a Specialty Coffee Roastery' there were more people from the surrounding area's present.
The picking of Vienna for this happening was a very wise one. The location, right in the middle of the new Europe, made us all come together.
And the city on itself seemed to be the perfect ground for all coffee lovers around the world to come together and share.

Next year we have a European part in Nice and the WBC in Melbourne.
I think i'm going to take a sabbatical in 2013, but hopefully there will be plenty of other bloggers at the line.

Monday, June 11, 2012

No more Predictions

I have been doing predictions for the Barista competition as long i'm blogging, but i won't do so this year. I lost interest in this kind of competitions. I don't want to say any negative things and i do definitely support some competitors, but the fun for me is over. When Jeff told me yesterday who this years American champ is, i realized i simply forgot to follow the USBC, which is worlds strongest competition. Yes, even higher then the WBC. I hope she is performing well, cause i met her once in Atlanta and i really like her. Also like the Belgian and Dutch champs. I witnessed those finals and i will go to Vienna to some competition as well, but it's with a changed mentality. So good luck to all of them, but no predictions from my side anymore. If someone else wants to comment with his or her favourits; they're welcome.
Maybe see you in Vienna. Still anxious to visit the fair and meet all people.
Best of luck to friends Kim and Lex and Frans and Coen and Louis and all the others. And for those visiting Vienna : go have a Caffenation shot at POC, Schlosselgasse 3, or with Strietman at the village.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Caffenation Federal Reserve : One Month

We're one month in our new house and it's time for a first evaluation.

This one month felt longer and more special then a full year at Hopland. I've been working my ass off (sorry for my French) to get the act together, on time in full. That was very heavy but also very satisfying now. 

The opening days were veeeery busy! It looked like the whole of Antwerp was interested in this new project and after 9 succesful years at Hopland people expected a lot.

The reactions on the new bar were very positive, although we see that a lot of regulars don't come back after their first visit. This is understandable. There were a lot of reasons why someone likes a certain bar and if the main reason why you like something dissapears I can fully understand you become unsattisfied.
The opposite, luckily for us, is happening as well ; the last couple of years with had dozens of complaints a week about the fact the 80 square meters at Hopland were way too small to fit all this machinery, coffee, staff and (mainly) clients. This problem is solved now. Even having 60 people on the floor, we still don't feel rushed or packed.

At Hopland there was actually just one big group and atmostphere. I've always been very enthousiastic about it. The basic idea 9 years ago was to offer people a cosy relaxed place to spend some quality time with quality coffee. Over the years though it became more and more a café-like bar where the walls were buzzing. I always thought that was more unique and special then the feeling we had the first couple of years, but of course I also felt sorrow for those who didn't find a seat or didn't like this busy character that much.

Now at the Mechelsesteenweg we have more options. Yes we miss some cosyness, although there still is, but we have now a lot of options and you can be yourself and pick the corner or bar you like most. Feel like a chat with the Barista? Want to read a book at ease? You need to have a meeting? Feel the busy Antwerp city life at the upstairs windows? Have a romantic moment in the lounge or you just want to 'talk coffee' in the shop?
My ambition was to group all this under one roof. Up to you to decide if you like it or not, sure thing is that our line : "Specialty Coffee Roaster" is very prominent.
With all due respect to Caffenation in the early years and the Starbuckses of this world but big lattes with syrup, chocolate drinks with whipped cream, lungo's or milkshakes are not "Specialty" at all.

The focus on black coffee, stronger milk-based drinks and the more prominent coffee bags and brewers are the way we want to go.
'The future of coffee is black' was printed on our bags since we opened our own Roastery, and that's what we want to spread.

Meanwhile don't forget the Take Out Nation at Hopland. With 8 square meters the smallest bar in Antwerp, but worth a visit for sure.
4 weeks ago I was surprized we had less take away coffee then in the original bar, but now we're way ahead. It's a formula that has been picked up and sees a nice future ahead.

So, 1 month after the move we can say to be happy where we are. In the figures we count less students but more non-students. Yes we miss those youngsters, but it's never too late to get back together.

And to all our clients : thank you very much for all support we had during the tough change and together we're looking at a bright future and a lot of (black or white) coffee, tea, soda's, choconation, etc...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


What's this?
Grace is teaching again. Hmmm.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

LGB 2.2 with Guatemala Organico


A little change in our main blend.
The Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is a popular coffee and the mixture with our Direct Trade Colombian worked fine, but as it happened before there were small hick-ups in the shipment from origin and it takes a little while before new bags will hit the Antwerp Harbour. Therefor we needed a replacement.

It's May and so our attention was quickly going into the direction of Guatemala. We tested 3 or 4 that were available and in the price range and finally picked an Organic one. The Guatemala Finca Buenos Aires Los Marias Organico is a coffee with fine acidity - not so common upon Guatemala's - and good body - typical. As a SOE (single origin espresso) we think it has its limitations, but blended with the Colombia Tolima El Meridiano we have a taste that makes us dream. Full power, very good mouthfeel and body, chocolate and liquorice!
 Our 2.1 was totally to my liking as a double ristretto (3cl), but lacking something as doppio espresso (5cl). On this last department we made some progress I think.

A bit more about the bean :
ORIGIN : Guatemala , department Santa Rosa, mainly Barbarena. ( South of Guatemala City)
BOTANICAL VARIETY : Arabica , “ Bourbon “ & “ Typica”.
PRODUCTION AREA: production on 1600/1700 meters altitude.
SIZE : screen 16 up ( diameter in mm : +6.35)
CUP : good body, medium to good acidity.
TASTE : clean cup.
COLOUR : greenish/ blueish

The Federation Fedecocagua which has been shipping the coffee is relatively new to us, but not to the traders here in Antwerp as 25% of their export goes to Belgium.

FEDECOCAGUA is a second-level co-operative founded in 1969 to improve the position of small-scale coffee growers. It is the umbrella organisation for 19,354 coffee farmers belonging to 37 affiliated farmers’ organisations. FEDECOCAGUA provides a range of services including access to a credit scheme, technical support, transport, warehousing, and the purchase, processing and export of members’ coffee beans. This commercialisation of coffee production means the farmers receive higher prices than when they had to sell to middlemen. An organic conversion programme has also been established.

FEDECOCAGUA members, 70% of whom are indigenous people, are spread over different regions of Guatemala including Huehuetenango, Cobán, Verapaces, Retalhuleu, San Marcos, and Zacapa.. These rural areas are characterised by difficult economic conditions and poor infrastructure, particularly roads, electricity, communication, health, and education.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

KeepCup Morning

Beautiful vid. These Keep Cups are now for sale at our Take Out Nation on Hopland. €10 for the 8oz and €12 for the 11oz, first drink for free.

Friday, May 11, 2012


At Caffenation Hopland we had to stop the wireless internet because more and more people were occupying tables for hours and hours. On itself not the biggest of problems as long as the 'regular' and 'not-so-slow' clients still had a seat to sit on.
But once you end up in situations were your Barista's don't have a job while they want to serve someone a cup of coffee, but can't because there's no seating - the internet surfers are taking those, remember....?

Today at 'This is London' an interesting read on this subject.
Click this.

Today at our new bar - Nationale Bank - we have, again, more seats to sit on and the WIFI is on the to-do list. At least the internet company has this planned, but is very sloooooooow.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pick Your Filter (Dutch)

Pick your Filter :
Al jaren droomde ik er van om mensen die Filter/Press koffie komen kopen of drinken, deze eerst te laten proeven alvorens ze tot een beslissing over gaan.
En in onze bar bij de Nationale bank hebben we dit nu voor mekaar gekregen.
De Bunn ICB is een schitterende machine die heel stabiel uiterst smakelijke koffie's brouwt.
Deze worden dan in super isolerende aftapcontainers gedaan en staan in de shop klaar om door u gebruikt te worden.
Vanzelfsprekend helpen wij graag een handje, maar voel je vrij om zelf een mok in de hand te nemen en de proef op de som te nemen.

Caffenation filterkoffie - er is keuze uit 3 smaken - is een quality-time-drink waar je minstens een kwartier van kunt genieten.
Een kop van 25 cl kost €2,5 en een refill slechts €1,5!

Pakjes van 250 gram bonen kosten tussen de €4 en €6,5.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Federal Reserve Caffenation

Yes we moved. Well, not totally. The small room on the right hand side of the entrance at Hopland 46 is still ours. We call it Take Out Nation and it's the smallest espresso bar in town.
Opening hours : weekdays 8.30 till 17h. Saturday 9 till 17h.

The main bar is now located along the Federal Reserve on the Mechelsesteenweg number 16!
It's now our head quarters and the biggest specialty coffee bar in town.
Opening hours : weekday 8.30 till 18.30h. Saturday 9 till 19h. Closed on Sundays and bank holidays.

The first days were a blast. Very busy and lots of positive reactions.
We welcome you to test the latest filter roasts. All for free at the shop on the ground level.
Or see what our new espresso machine, the La Marzocco Mistral is brewing for you.

Monday, April 16, 2012

LGB 2.1

We have a new Top Blend.

This Little Green Bag is the first new one for the quarter and therefor called 2.1.

It's two equal parts of the Colombia El Meridiano and Ethiopia Yirgacheffe.

Every year we do a lot of Yirgacheffe. It's for sure our most popular coffee region ever.

The first containers of the new season from Ethiopia, actually its for most origins, are sometimes a bit shaky. Very often they want to speed this up at origin and therefor we don't receive the best selection/screening of beans. Mostly 2nd or 3rd container is better, but of course you always have to test first, before drawing conclusions.
So, we ordered a couple bags of the new crop Yirg and were curiously waiting for the first roasts of this holy bean.
That day Jeff and I brewed, immidiately after the cooling down, an aeropress with the Yirgacheffe filter roast and discovered an insane sweet green jasmin tea flavor. Partially this had to do with the freshness, but anyhow, we knew for the first second on this was a stellar roast.

Now a couple weeks later we had it as an espresso and filter of the week and with such a succes we decided to blend it in already.

Probably this blend is going to last for a couple of months.
The Colombia is very creamy and stable.
And the Ethiopian always a good blender.
Both coffee are sweet, low on acidity and bitters and with a medium body. The espresso's are very complex and mild. The milk based drinks better then ever.
Also on filter we have great results with this blend.

Good luck to anybody.
Don't hesitate to review this LGB 2.1 and comment.

Aeropress Recept Jonas (Dutch)

Jonas :

"Mijn techniek is vrij simpel :

Eerst verwarm ik de aeropress en filter.
daarna giet ik 70° warm water op de 18 gram op 5.4 gemalen koffie tot ik iets onder de helft zit met genoeg turbulentie.

Ik start de timer zodra het water de koffie raakt en tel zo met opgieten en bloom zo een 20 seconden.
Na deze 20 seconden Bloomen giet ik de aeropress vol en zet hem vacuum en wacht even tot ik 50 seconden ver zit.
Daarna duw ik 30 seconden lang et voila."

En 2de plaats was een feit.
Good luck voor degenen die het thuis (of op de werkvloer) proberen willen.