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 Sprudge.com.http://sprudge.com/

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...