Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Future of Coffee

This probably is going to be a long one, because its my imagined future of both slow and express.
And this in bars, not at home.

The future of coffee is black. Our slogan on the espresso of the week bags is for real.
But of course its not only black coffee that's changing.
All over the world the Flat White is on the rise. There are a lot of different recipes and stories about this drink, but all around i see the double ristretto based cappuccino, size approximately 18cl-6oz, becoming the favourite drink of the new generation.
The 1 oz espressoshot became a double ristretto, very strong, high on acidity and very siropy. The milk is fresh and steamed at +/-60 degrees. The mugs mostly brown or white and from Italian origin. The equipment is somewhat more flexible. For grinders its mostly Mazzer, by preference the Robur, and left or right an Anfim Super Caimano. For machines La Marzocco is king, but Synesso, Slayer, KVDW and the upcoming Nueva Simonelli do have a bright future.

No special espresso stuff at the horizon?
Not really. The flavored lattes are mainstream but not supported very well in the 3rd wave bars.
The nice sig drink ingredients from championships are left behind on stages or in training rooms.
And the cold coffees are no longer espresso but slow & cold brew based.
And as someone who commented on the 'lungo post', why not promoting Americanos/ Long Blacks? Even when you tune them in perfectly and promote them all the time, they hardly become very popular. They lack the mouthfeel of the espressos and aren't as aromatic as the filters. I stopped putting my energy in this beverage.

This brings us to the other side of black; filter/press coffee or the slow menu.

The history in bars is very short, so it's hard to tell how the future is gonna look like.
Just as Marco rep David Walsh cited before; the quality of manual pour over is very shaky. This knowing; the most popular drippers in the espresso bar, the Hario V60 and the Chemex, are the most shaky of all.
Besides of this they are very time consuming and time is money, certainly in Belgium.
These 2 problems is the reason i advice most starting espresso bars to go with the Abid Clever dripper. It's faster and more stable. And cheap.
The Aeropress is another possibilty. The main advantage : it's hard to screw up. The main disadvantage : it's hard to excell. If you compare our 2 (winning) recipes, one with a Yirg and the other with a Kenya, on 2 consecutive World championships and you see they are night and day.

What about the good old French Press?
Bit by bit we notice in slow coffee a change in flavors. Where in espresso we notice much more stronger&explicit tastes, the filter coffees turn more subtle and cleaner. And it's on the last part the French press is failing. And that's because of sediment we find back in the brews.
Of course you can, as we did with the Trifeca, filter the 'pressed' coffee again after the brew, but then again time and cost are not on our side. Temperature stability neither.
Trifecta is very expensive as well and the machine seems to be not as sturdy as an espressomachine or big filter machine.

What's the future now?
World wide i don't have a clue, but right now and here, I have a couple of interesting slow bar projects in the pipe line though.

One is a large pour over bar with the Grindripper drippers. Weird enough these dripper demand less skilled pouring. I pour in to bloom and then i fill up the dripper, with a rinsed Hario size 1 bleached filter, 2 or 3 times, depending on the volume. I use in between 10 to 15 grams.
The result is stunning and i'll show you all once it is installed.

Another project i want to install in a couple of bars is with the help of the Bunn ICB brewer. This programmable flat bed brewer is the best machine i know for quick top class coffee. With more top class containers you can give all who are interested samples. Probably soon at your favourite bar.
I keep you guys informed.

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