Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Best Caffenation Coffees in 2013

Top 5 Filter Coffees of the year :

1. Costa Rica Tarrazu Finca El Licho Natural Villa Sarchi

2. Kenya Thika Karatu AB SL 28/34

3. Ethiopia Sidamo Organic Sidama Union

4. Kenya Nyeri Gakuyuini PB

5. Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Konga Grade 1

Top 5 Espresso Coffees of the year :

1. Mexico Kassandra Pacamara

2. Panama Bouquete Lerida Estate Lot 5 Caturra/Catuai

3. Ecuador Vilcabamba Estate Caturra/Typica

4. Kenya Aberdares Mountains Kagumoini AB SL 28/34

5. Guatemala Huehuetenango Finca La Bolsa

You want more information on these coffee?
Surf to our Filtercoffeesblog.

LGB 4.3 : Colombia Las Mercedes Gallineta, Burundi Kigobe 2318, Kenya Zahabu AB

LGB 4.3. (December 2013-February 2014)
• 1/3 Colombia Las Mercedes Lote Gallineta
• 1/3 Burundi Kigobe Lot 2318
• 1/3 Kenya Zahabu AB
The Colombia Gallineta lot is, due to its low acidity and great mouthfeel, the best suited for espresso and since the new LGB needed new components we started with this bean.

Finca Las Mercedes is a great example of Colombian producers that are reshaping their coffee production. The lots where the coffee is grown are now subdivided into separate lots. This particular coffee was grown on the plateau of lot 10, called La Gallineta. The estate works together with a smaller cooperative, Cooperativa Caficultores de Andes, to export their coffee. This makes it easier to keep different lots separated and to trace the coffee back to where it was grown.

Second part is a Burundi. The Kigobe is one the the seven washing stations that were recently bought by Mrs Angele Ciza. She employs about 100 women at this washing station, located in the province of Kirundo, in north eastern Burundi.
The 10-hectare coffee plantation in the northern has some 26000 trees production fine Arabica coffee.
This Kigobe is a full flavored and sweet bean that blends easily.

Final part was present in our 3.1 blend as well. This late harvest pick is from one of my all time fav coffee regions in the world; The Nyeri region is situated in the Central Highlands of Kenya, and has been inhabited by Europeans since 1902. The indigenous tribe is part of the country's largest ethnic group, the Kikuyu, who had been growing coffee for generations – remember 'Out Of Africa' – before the arrival of the settlers. The region quickly became one of the most successful agricultural production regions in Africa, with an important role for the production of coffee. The nickname of this coffee is “Zahabu”, meaning “Gold” in Swahili.
We love to blend in these type of Kenyan coffees for its acidity and fruity tones.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ethiopian Cooperatives

Nice link : is interesting for those who wants to know more about Ethiopian coffee.
We did this year coffee from the Hafursa, Konga and Michele coop. Nice stuff.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Allegra Symposium Talk

The future Specialty Coffee Roasting in Belgium and Europe

10 years ago Caffenation was a small espresso bar in the heart of Antwerp. After some good and bad experiences in a previous professional life it felt like important to start low cost and all alone.

Nevertheless the low budget and the solo performance i managed to do 1000 kilos of coffee (machine use or over the counter sales) in the first year. I doubled the figures (in sales and staff) the year after and never looked back again.

Around 2006 my coffee life changed seriously when i started to compete at Barista Championships.
At once your look on coffee and on the coffee world changes quickly, but i had to stand strong against the conservative outer world. It felt like i was standing on 1 side of a table, with 130 roasters and as much coffee sales people on the other side of the table, looking at me like i was a fool.

Why you ask me?
Well, lets say that the average coffee in Belgium 10, or 20 years ago, and it still is in a lot of places up to today, was a lungo, or a tall 15cl coffee made on a very hot and not well maintained espresso machine.
In those days i still offered lungo's myself, but the focus was on espresso and espresso based coffees and a coffee approach that we called the 3rd coffee wave soon after.

The basic philosophy at the other side of the table was that you have to give the people what they ask for.
And the espresso? That was prepped with the lungo grinder (mostly a Santos one), 7 grams of relatively coarse coffee and a 5" extraction.
The milk? A UHT milk steamed as mad men up to 95 degrees- boiling hot- while using 1 pitcher, without rinsing, for a full day.
If that's what the people asking for?
Maybe, but it's not what i like, so i won't serve it.

In 2010 we became a bit frustrated with the beans coming in from our roaster and started to roast our selves, looking at most things from a different angle and quality perception.
To my knowledge I was the first experienced Barista in Belgium or the Netherlands to start up a serious roasting plant. All 200 other roasters were roasting without Barista back ground and looked at things totally different.
For me the weakest link in the chain, from seed to cup, is the making; the last 30". On this domain was, and still is the biggest progress possible.

Now we are 2013 and working very hard and focused for a full decade and see the future of coffee roasting and bar managing the following way :

5 Things we focus on regarding Roasting and coffee sales :
1) We need to bring more information on the coffee. The wine model is a good way to go. You want to buy a bottle that's says : Red Wine, or you want a certain grape from a certain terroir from a certain cuvee?
2) Roasting and Blending : it seems logical to most of people, but roasting dark is the past.  Blending : blend post roast, not pre. And stick to 2 or 3 beans.
3) Be as transparent as possible. Competition is weak on this. And it keeps you Sharp and honest.
4) Seasonality : rotation gives you freshness, a good story and the big advantage towards the bigger roasteries.
5) Buying : cup (blind) till you drop.

5 Things we focus on regarding Bar and Barista Management :
1) Go Slow : promote filter coffee. It's a sleeping giant. Competition is weak on slow coffee. At Caffenation we started to sell specially roasted filter coffee only 5 years ago. Today we sell 5 times more filter then espresso (in retail). 
2) Brewing Advise : the more the better.
 Bags. : Bean
Roasting date
Classes. Blogs. Shop sales. Most competition is week on brewing advise. Remember the fact that we are Baristas from origin and they aren't. Make your clients smart and they will spread your message around.
3) Do competition. You learn more and faster then behind the bar.
4) Change flavors. Espresso and Filter Week. We do 40+ coffees a year!
5) Travel and follow the trends. Also flavor wise. Taste filter and espresso on 2013 and you'll noticed it's dramatically different compared to 5 years ago

Paris is on the right track.
Rob Berghmans

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Filter Coffees Info Paradise

The blog with the Vertigo feel is moving fast.

Meanwhile already 60 coffees on my latest blog.

Interested in tasting them?


And we send them straight away to all adresses in Belgium.

For the Netherlands or England you can always mail us for more shipping information.

At your service,

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

New Menu with Chocolate Coffees

For the first time ever our Black Coffee list is longer then the one with milk.
At least if we look at the warm drinks. (Still a lot of iced latte stuff on the back of the menu)

We offer 2 espresso's. All served as a (double) 4cl shot. This is classic.
First one is the one we pull from our main blend, the Little Green Bag. It's the base for most of our milk drinks as well. In the past we had our problems to achieve the highest level as a clean shot, but this year the blend rocks without milk as well!

Second espresso is the weekly one. Mostly 'Single Estate' coffees with a story. It's not our goal to offer the best coffee. That's not possible, since everybody has different opinions and taste buds. Our ambition is to offer coffees from around the globe with specific tastes. That's fun and it also helps people to understand where the coffee comes from and what complexity it has.

Then we have 3 espresso's with chocolate.
It's Single Origin Chocolade. For me this type of chocolate comes, from all food and drinks on earth, closest to the complexity and flavours of single origin espresso.
We have 1 from Ecuador on which we add some cinnamon.
Then we have Madagascar chocolate with wild pepper from the same isle. Stunning.
And the 3rd one is Milk Chocolate with fleur de sel and coconut blossom sugar, tasting a bit like caramel.

Of course we still serve our filters : One from Kenya and a second one as Filter of the week.

Friday, October 25, 2013

What's the best Espresso Cup?

Those who follow me on twitter
noticed my enthousiasm on an espresso served at Panorama, Gent, last week.

It was a 4cl shot. Made with a 20 grams of LGB espresso. Running time appr 27 seconds. (didn't weight it wet).
Chris used the naked portafilter on a classic Linea machine at 91,5 degrees (i guess) and an Anfim Super Caimano grinder.

Back behind our Linea PB Saturday I tried to copy the flavor and noticed too many sours.

After thinking back at all the variables I decided to change cups.
We usually use these cups :

A doppio espresso cup I would call them.
Looks good, tastes good.

6 months ago Chris and I were able to buy in a big load of Nuova Point tulips. He already used them, but I never gave them a real chance, upto now.
Oh my god! Gone was the metalic start and thin body. Welcome moderate acidity, siropy mouthfeel and full lingering body. And an after taste never to forget.

I knew after 10 years in the business that there was still a lot to learn, but a change in flavor between two solid made cups, being so enormous.....

Of course it's not only with the small tulips the espresso tastes this good.
The Verona espresso cups from D'Ancap were great as well, but then the more open and wider cap cups again didn't work out.

We keep on  using the doppio cups for macchiato's, so everyone who wants to taste the difference in between the two may walk in and test the two cups side by side.
C u at the bar.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise

Maybe a good idea for Halloween?

Saturday, October 5, 2013

LGB 4.1 : Ethiopia Sidamo, Panama Bouquete Lerida, Costa Rica Tarrazu Monte Canet

New LGB blend for the last quarter of 2013 :

• 50% Ethiopia Sidamo Organic Sidama Union
• 25% Panama Bouquete Lerida Estate Lot #5
• 25% Costa Rica Tarrazu Monte Canet Estate
After a succesfull 3.1, with 50% Yirgacheffe Organic, we stay with 
the same kind of recipe. 
The Ethiopian part is an organic Sidamo from the Sidama Union. 
Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (SCFCU) was founded 
in 2001 to represent coffee producing cooperatives located 
throughout the Sidama Zone of southern Ethiopia. Originally, the 
Union consisted of 39 cooperatives which represented over 
70,000 farmers.
Today, SCFCU has grown to represent 46 cooperatives and 
over 80,000 farmers (small holders) making SCFCU the second 
largest coffee producing cooperative union in Ethiopia. Nearly all 
coffee produced by our member cooperatives is shade grown in 
low densities under the canopies of indigenous trees and enset 
(false banana), a staple food crop. Expect tea like aromas, citrus 
and fruit.

Mixing in a Panama is not the easiest of tasks, but those beans from 
the Lerida estate have such a smooth and buttery mouthfeel, we 
blend them without problems.
This Lerida mix is a typical clean Bouquete coffee from 10 different 
lots thate were mixed at origin. We also have a microlot in 
the warehouse, but this one is just fine with the Costa Rica. Maybe 
we blend Lot 5 in the next LGB version. 
The bean is a Caturra-Catuai combination and gives the blend a 
floral and wild touch.

Last but not least we have the Caffenation classic, Costa Rica 
Monte Canet, for body and roughness.

Caturra and Catuai beans again, but also a bit of geisha!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

All Caffenation Coffees from 1 year Online Shop

I'll note them by Origin :

Ethiopia :
Limu Grade 2 (crop 11/12)
Limu Grade 2 (crop 12/13)
Yirgacheffe Negele organic
Yirgacheffe Hafursa organic
Yirgacheffe Grade 2 (crop 11/12)
Yirgacheffe Grade 2 (crop 12/13)
Yirgacheffe Kochere Natural processed
Yirgacheffe Q-Grade
Yirgacheffe Konga Natural processed
Yirgacheffe Boginda Natural processed
Sidamo Grade 2 (crop 12/13)
Sidamo Oromio Coop organic
Sidamo Amaro Gayo Grade 3 organic
Mokka Harrar Longberrry Grade 4

Kenya :
Chomo AA
Mukurwe AB
Karagota PB
Zahabu AA
Zahabu PB
Guama AA Top
Mihuti AA+

Rwanda :

Panama :
Lerida Estate
Don Pepe Estate

Three Africans Blend : Kenya Karimukui, Burundi Ruhande, Ethiopia Boginda

Three Africans Blend : Kenya Zahabu, Ethiopia Kochere, Ethiopia Hafursa

Mexico :
Finca Corral de Pidra, Coe Lot #5
Finca Lagunilla

Costa Rica :
San Rafael
Lomas Al Rio Fully Washed
Lomas Al Rio Honey Processed
El Beneficio
Finca Licho Natural processed
Monte Canet Estate
Candelilla Estate Honey Processed

Nicaragua :
Los Placeres Pacamara

Malawi :
Pamwamba AAA

Tanzania :
Utengule AA

Zimbabwe :

Papua New Guinea :
Kimel Estate

Colombia :
Armenia Medellin
Tolima Planadas
Tolima Corderilla Central
Huila Villa Esperanza

Burundi :

Guatemala :
Hueheutenango Finca Isnul
El Platanillo Egipto

Ecuador :
Vilcabamba Estate

Enough to your liking.

Some were (just) conventional coffees, but most Specialty.
For the next year we'll upgrade some more and want to focus on 86+ and even 90+coffees. This means exceptional clean cup Single Origin coffees with a story.
Probably we'll have some returning, but still for sure over 40 different coffees on a yearly basis!

Interesting in tasting them?
It's very simple :
Caffenation Online Shop (for Belgian adresses only)

For the Dutch market you can still adress yourself to our dealer : Beanoteca.

(other countrys and professional can always mail us on
and we'll deal with it straight away)

Friday, September 20, 2013

New Kenya (Mihuti AA+)

Every 2 or 3 months we launch a new Kenyan coffee.

For this one and all other coffees; only 1 adresse :

The Kenyan discription is underneath this link.

Living in Belgium and interested in having some of these coffees at home :
visit our online shop :

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Decaf or not Decaf ....

Liquid CO2 decaffeination

In 1989, the Hermsen Company in Germany obtained a patent describing a decaffeination process with liquid CO2. The moisture content of the green beans has to be 45% to 55% and the CO2 has to be saturated with water, then decaffeination can be realised at very low temperatures (20-25°C) and at pressures between 65 and 70 bar. The separation of caffeine takes place by decompression below 60 bar in a separator; the caffeine-water mixture is reported to be very clean. The extraction time is about 60 hours, but due to the extremely low temperature the quality of the decaffeinated beans is said to be close to that of non-treated coffee. Practically all sugar inversions, Maillard and thermal decomposition reactions are avoided, particularly if careful low temperature moisturization and drying conditions complete the scheme.

The decaffeination of roasted ground coffee with liquid CO2 has been published in a patent from HAG. Moistened roast coffee is put in a pressure vessel which is connected in a cycle with another pressure vessel filled with a strong acid ion exchanger. To minimize the extraction of coffee aroma components, the temperature of the circulation CO2 is kept between 15 and 30°C and the pressure between 50 and 80 bar. After 2 to 3 hours the decaffeination is completed; the caffeine is almost selectively absorbed in the ion exchanger. Cleaning of the ion exchanger and recovery of the caffeine can be achieved by a desorption step with supercritical CO2. Remaining roast coffee components in the CO2 steam can be separated at the end by CO2 evaporation and aroma adsorption on the roasted coffee. The perceived quality of the coffee decaffeinated in such a manner is said to be equivalent to non-treated coffee in terms of flavour and aroma.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Forget the Barista

It's all automatic these days. ;-)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

1000 .... and counting.

Probably over 1000 blog post already.

While some were deleted, most of them are still online.

For years this blog was my way of telling my coffee story and it has always been an extra push in the back to do some more research.
Bit by bit though i sense that twitter and facebook took over the internet and that reading blog posts was too slow or boring for most of people.
For myself : I still have a lot of thoughts and good stories in my head, but writing about this seems to be a bridge too far. No, I won't stop blogging, but yes, it's slowing down.

I have a post in mind about the Flat White, my current bar menu, my future bar menu, our bottled iced black program and the current launch Iced Coffee Pops.

So soon back on the track, soon.... hopefully.

Friday, July 19, 2013

LGB 3.1 Ethiopia Hafursa/Costa Rica Lomas/Kenya Zahabu

We're July and high season for the big coffees.

Stellar Kenyan, Ethiopian and most of all Costa Rican coffees are 'minutes' away from shipping and roasting.
These type of 86+ and even some 90+ beans have been in the warehouse before, but never at these big quantities and divers varieties.

We're also very psyched about the new Little Green Bag blend currently bagged/bucketed and (almost) ready for shipment.

Where we, over the last 12 months, totally changed the content every 2 months; now we have the LGB components shifting.
From Colombia Esperanza/Ethiopia Sidamo, we went to Esperanza/Zahabu (25%)/Hafursa(25%) en now we go :
Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Hafursa Organic FT (50%)
Kenya Zahabu Peaberry (25%)
Costa Rica El Rio Lomas Estate (25%)

The Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is picked out of 15 or 20 different Ethiopians we cupped and has nice mouthfeel, decent body but only a little bit of acidity (this year) and so we were looking for 1 or 2 good companions.
The Kenya is a very clean, fruity and powerful coffee but too acidic for high percentages, so we combined it with this Costa Rica Lomas.
Costa Rica is very often too bright on espresso, but with this roasting profile - thouroughly tested at a big food event in Gent at the beginning of july - we get a very balanced cup with notes of juniper berry and chocolate.

The overall impression is an excellent fruity blend, dead clean, with enhanced acidity which results in the best caps ever.
It's a nice coffee for all you 'iced coffee' recipes and very suitable for filter brewing as well.

Because of the relatively high average price tag we end up with a slightly higher price.

FYI : Our buying prices (high volumes) : Hafursa €6,1/kg - Zahabu €5,5/kg - Lomas (it's the fully washed blended with some honeys) €6,2/kg.

(on our blog
you can find some more information on the coffees listed above)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Cupping coffee guide

Try it at home.
Or easier; just drop in at Caffenation from time to time. We cup on a regular basis - always open to everybody interested. Very often on Saturday mornings. (by the way : it's free)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Joke vraagt het aan .... Toon Craen

Joke vraagt het aan Toon Craen. Een van de be-bretelde broers.

1. Hoe werd je gebeten door de koffie-bug?

Ik denk eerder dat het een lieveheersbeestje was dat me ooit beet…

2. Wat maakt barista zijn zo’n topjob?

De geur van koffie kruipt in je kleding en haren; een onweerstaanbaar parfum!

3. Voor wie zou jij wel eens een koffie willen maken?

Voor Thom Yorke en Scarlet Johanson op hetzelfde moment.

4. Wat was de beste koffiebar die je reeds bezocht? (world wide)

The Coffee Collective, Jaegersborggade, Kopenhagen.

5. Heb je een favoriete koffie-zetwijze?

Naked doppio ristretto.

6. Wat was de beste kop koffie die je OOIT hebt gedronken?

Een flat white in de voormalige branderij van Lomi in Parijs.

8. Bestaat er een ideale koffie-soundtrack?

JJ Cale live, passert regelmatig de revue…

9. Welke ‘koffie-creatie’ weiger je te maken?

Een piccolo met sojamelk. Dat gaat gewoonweg niet.

10. Wat is je tweede passie na koffie?

Restaurants frequenteren.

12. Wat mist Antwerpen nog op vlak van koffie?

Een bar die heel vroeg open is, eentje die heel laat open is, en eentje die rond rijdt door de stad.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Iced Coffee : The Sequel

Like almost every year at the start of the summer we start discussing Iced (black) Coffee again.

Last year we made a huge step into the right direction and poured in hundreds of Iced Blacks over the summer.
Here the article from last year's experimenting and final recipe.

Again, the main problem to my experience is the very long bridge we have to go from very hot to very cold.

With the slow/cold brew from last year we started half way at 40 degrees.
After dripping 2 hours the coffee was 20 degrees and then cooled over night in the fridge towards 4.

Today we have a different recipe and do not start half way, but stop half way.

For having the opportunity to make the iced coffee 'a la minute' we experimented again with brewing and pouring over ice. We noticed way better acidity/freshness and a cleaner cup.
And why not using a great Bunn brewer if you have one....

This is the recipe (for the moment) :
We grind a double dose of light roasted Kenyan coffee. Caffenation Zahabu AA.  240 grams.
Then we brew on our Bunn ICB batch brewer 2,2 liters in a container that contains 500 grams of fresh (and hard) ice cubes, no sugar!

I guess this coffee is now approximately 44 degrees Celsius.

Serving and diluting happens at the end.
We take a big glass (32cl content) and fill it up with ice cubes, pour in the coffee and finish off with a slice of lemon - no sugar!

Once the ice melts we have a cold black coffee that's refreshing, delicate, tea-ish and very addictive.
I think we touched home base with this one. :-)

Joke vraagt het aan ..... Karolien Van Baelen

Joke vraagt het aan Karolien Van Baelen die sinds een maand haar eigen taarten-en-koffie-bar Baked uitbaat. Allen naar de Paleisstraat voor een overheerlijke sugarrush of een lekker bakkie troost!

1. Hoe werd je gebeten door de koffie-bug?
    Ik heb echt koffie moeten léren drinken. Tijdens mijn eerste jaren aan de universiteit moest ik vaak nachtje doorblokken, redbull en al die dingen vond ik walgelijk, dus begon ik met koffie. Zwarte koffie met goed veel chocolade in. Geleidelijk aan ben ik dan toch verslingerd geraakt aan de smaak en na een jaartje had ik mijn eerste koffiemachinetje staan, jawel met senseopadjes. Pas toen ik in Antwerpen kwam wonen en Caffènation ontdekte, heb ik geleerd wat echt goeie koffie.

2. Wat maakt barista zijn zo’n topjob?
    De reacties van de mensen wanneer je ze een cappuccino voorschotelt vind ik fantastisch. Mijn latte art is zéér basic, het beperkt zich tot een bloemetjes en met veel geluk af en toe een hartje, maar dan nog kunnen mensen zo verbaasd reageren. Fantastisch. Daarnaast ook gewoon het sociale aspect. Wanneer ik zelf koffie ga drinken, doe ik dit het liefst alleen. En dan gewoon aan de toog gaan hangen. Je geraakt ALTIJD aan de praat met anderen. Is het niet de barista van dienst, dan zijn het wel andere tooghangers. Ik vind het tof dat ik nu voor anderen ook die "sociale" rol kan vervullen

3. Voor wie zou jij wel eens een koffie willen maken?
    Voor Warre Borghmans, en terwijl hij zijn kopje koffie drinkt, mag ie een verhaal vertellen. Geweldig.

4. Wat was de beste koffiebar die je reeds bezocht? (world wide)
    Eerlijk is eerlijk, ik heb nog véél te ontdekken in de koffiewereld. Maar Caffènation is voorlopig een zeer duidelijke nummer één voor mij.

5. Heb je een favoriete koffie-zetwijze?
    Thuis zet ik elke ochtend een clever dripper, met caffènation boontjes die ik op de moment zelf maal. Gemakkelijk, weinig werk en toch zalige koffie. Geen betere manier om de dag te beginnen!

6. Wat was de beste kop koffie die je OOIT hebt gedronken?
    Een filterkoffie-blend waarvan één van de boontjes een Ethiopië was, stomme is dat ik de exacte combinatie niet meer weet.

7. Wat is voor jou de ultieme latte-art-uitdaging?
    Bert heeft ooit een varkentje getekend in mijn cappuccino, ik zie het als een persoonlijke uitdaging om dat ook ooit gedaan te krijgen. Nog wel veel werk aan de winkel...

8. Bestaat er een ideale koffie-soundtrack?
    Mijn koffie smaakt altijd een beetje beter wanneer Admiral Freebee opstaat. De ochtend zo beginnen is garantie voor een topdag.

10. Wat is je tweede passie na koffie?
      Bakken. Bakken bakken bakken. Taartjes, koekjes, cake, ... Gebak en koffie zijn nu eenmaal de perfecte combo!

11. Heb je een koffie-ambitie?
      Ik wil mezelf elke dag blijven uitdagen op koffievlak. Ik heb op korte tijd al héél véél bijgeleerd over koffie, ik was echt een leek toen ik er aan begon. Er is dan ook nog heel veel bij te leren. Misschien word ik ooit wel zo goed dat ik blind kan proeven welke espresso een paar seconden te lang heeft gelopen? Maar geef me eerst nog maar 30 jaar tijd om daar op te oefenen...

12. Wat mist Antwerpen nog op vlak van koffie?

      Antwerpen zou nog toffer zijn moesten er nog meer echte specialtycoffeebars komen. Vaak heb je een zaak waar je superlekker kan eten, maar de koffie is minder. Of de koffie is fantastisch, maar het eten is niet dat. Waarom niet overal geweldige koffie met fantastisch eten serveren?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Joke vraagt het aan .... Tom 'de koffiepaus' Kuyken

Joke vraagt het aan DE koffiepaus alias Tom Kuyken die met zijn mobiele
koffiebar geregeld op Antwerpse bodem te vinden is.

1. Hoe werd je gebeten door de koffie-bug?

In Antwerpen bij Bar Choq, Caffenation en Zwart.

2. Wat maakt barista zijn zo’n topjob?

Ik hou enormvan het contact met de klanten, en koffie is een product dat boeiend blijft, ik kan er mijn kennis constant over blijven uitbreiden. (EN je wordt
er niet dronken van)

3. Voor wie zou jij wel eens een koffie willen maken?

James Hoffmann van Square Mile.

4. Wat was de beste koffiebar die je reeds bezocht? (world wide)

‘Prufrock’ en ‘Protein by Dunne Frankowski’ beiden in Londen  en Chapter ! in Berlijn.

5. Heb je een favoriete koffie-zetwijze?

Thuis aeropress. Anders ristretto’s uit de strada bij Normo.

6. Wat was de beste kop koffie die je OOIT hebt gedronken?

Een  espresso gebrand en gezet door Isabelle bij Zwart. Alleen heb ik geen idee meer dewelke dat was  :)

7. Wat is voor jou de ultieme latte-art-uitdaging?

Een battle met de latte-art-kampioen van Zweden (al ben ik daar nog lang niet klaar voor!)

8. Bestaat er een ideale koffie-soundtrack?

Iets Funky: Prince, Chromeo, Jackson 5,…

9. Welke ‘koffie-creatie’ weiger je te maken?


10. Wat is je tweede passie na koffie?

Ik heb veel kleine en grote passie’s zoals eten, lezen, reizen, Prince, horeca, fietsen, design, politiek, vrienden en (vooral) mijn lief!

11. Heb je een koffie-ambitie?

Mensen bekeren tot filterkoffie.

12. Wat mist Antwerpen nog op vlak van koffie?

Een Intelligentsia-achtige koffiebar die de nadruk legt op filterkoffie en slowcoffee, die zo het ‘fancy’ imago dat espresso heeft ook aan slow-coffie kan geven.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Antwerp Port : Coffee Port

Very interesting read (from Thomas at 32 cup) about the port of Antwerp and it's importance on the international coffee trade.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Mission Statement Caffenation

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 stay more flexible for Ethiopian, Kenyan or Vac Packed beans)

'City+ or Full City 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, 82+ points coffees (cupped on a 100 points scale).

'Coffee with a Story' : we guarantee some info about the bean, origin, country and taste.

'Correct Brewing' : on the bag, envelop or at the blog or later on our specialized 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 specialized dealers.

'Local' : the roasted coffee comes from Antwerp. 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 (finished product) at a time. We believe this small scale roasting gives us deeper flavors. Yes, we are small, artisan, and focused on quality.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Why We Bought a Nuova Simonelli Espresso Machine....

Of course I knew the history of Nuova Simonelli.
It started 70 years ago and for very long the machines were very Sci Fi looking.

They started to build in advanced technology in very early stages and the one i bought second hands was also very special for its days of fabrication.

The machine did never work properly, but this way I was getting in touch with the Belgian importer CDS. They were very professional and aware of the needs of the market.

When the WBC decided to go for Nuova Simonelli Aurelia as their machine of preference, i started to dig into this machine.
The soft infusion system sounded a bit suspicious to me, although the ease of handling, quality build and fantastic steaming made me enthousiastic after all.

The problem for us was more into the looks. When the WBC Aurelia was launched we were pulling our shots on a La Marzocco Linea and compared to this machine the Simonelli looked a little bit too shiny and plastic and neon.

After drinking great espresso on several Aurelia's we had an installment of the basic Aurelia at Vinyl and Coffee in Antwerp.
Very convincing and also reasonable in price and service.

2 years later and we already installed 5 Appia machines. These were very easy to steer, not very expensive and gave very good results in the cup, with fantastic steaming on top.

Deciding on a new machine for our main bar at the Federal Reserve we were at first not very reluctant to install a Simonelli though.
Two other machines grabbed our attention.
First one was the Kees Van der Westen Spirit.

Yes, this one looks very similar to our Mistral. Reason is simple. Kees is the original designer of the Mistral, but sold the project to La Marzocco.
A brilliant piece of equipment!!!
Why not the Spirit?
Still looking for decent follow up on the technical front, it felt a bit too early to get us going with Kees.

Second option was the newest babe from La Marzocco, the Linea PB.
We've always been big fans of La Marzocco, the people behind it, the Belgian distributor and most of all the community surrounding it.
La Marzocco Italy was very enthousiastic to launch their newest piece of technology at Caffenation, but there wasn't a way to get it in before the end of September, and therefor we decided to make a short stop with the Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II T3.

Yes, a different look and actually a different machine all together.
A couple of things :
PID : This innovative digital pressure switch is a very accurate tool determing the precise temperature. The Barista can control and program it directly from the display.
SIS : A Soft Infusion System which guarantees a soft infusion able to make more stable brews, It compensates errors in dosing and tamping.
And this works; Sunday night I made two consecutive double shots the last 20 minutes of the Level 1 class. Mostly they run different because of old ground coffee in the grinder, colder discs and a machine that did not run for 2 hours, but not the T3. 2 times 27" exactly!!! Very impressive.

And some extra new features like cool touch steam wands, milk lights and a reverse mirror (stolen from Slayer) to have a good look at your shots when using the naked portafilter.

It is a 2-group. Normally not big enough, but when it goes down for training and later on to a client we think a 2-group is the logical choice.
Plus, machines with such a steaming power, big cup tray and steered with 380v electricity can easily handle a 2000 kilo's of coffee on a yearly base.

So, don't hesitate and come have a peek at the newest of the newest, at Caffenation.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Joke vraagt het aan ..... Roel Craen

Joke vraagt het aan Roel Craen, 1 van de 4 Bretel Broeders.

1. Hoe werd je gebeten door de koffie-bug?

    In een ontbijtbar in Chiapas, Mexico, waar ik mijn ontbijt amper nog kon zien
omdat er in diezelfde ruimte ook koffie werd geroosterd, zonder afzuigkap!

3. Voor wie zou jij wel eens een koffie willen maken?

    Tom Waits en Iggy Pop. Met sigaretten.

4. Wat was de beste koffiebar die je reeds bezocht? (world wide)

    Bonanza (Berlijn)

5. Heb je een favoriete koffie-zetwijze?

   Troebele Ethiopier uit een French press.

6. Wat was de beste kop koffie die je OOIT hebt gedronken?

    Dronken, bij Bonanza in Berlijn.

7. Wat is voor jou de ultieme latte-art-uitdaging?

    De snor van frank Zappa.

8. Bestaat er een ideale koffie-soundtrack?

    Pianosonates van Ludwig van Beethoven.

9. Welke ‘koffie-creatie’ weiger je te maken?

    Café amaretto.

10. Wat is je tweede passie na koffie?

      Italiaanse charcuterie.

12. Wat mist Antwerpen nog op vlak van koffie?


Heart Roasters video

Friday, May 24, 2013

Joke vraagt het aan .... Jeff Verellen

of aan .... werelds beste Aeropresser.
Na een eerdere zilveren en gouden plek op het wereldkampioenschap Aeropress veroverde Jeff vandaag opnieuw de titel.
Eerder deze maand deed hij het niet minder met deze antwoorden op de vragen van Joke.

Oh ja, voor diegenen die Jeff nog niet kennen.
Sinds de start van de Caffenation Roastery is hij onze head roaster en in zijn vrije tijd trouwens een begenadigd Barista.

1.Hoe werd je gebeten door de koffie-bug?
   Dat gebeurde in Bar Mexico op Piazza Guiseppe Garibaldi te Napoli.
2. Wat maakt barista zijn zo’n topjob?
    Ik ben zelf geen barista, maar ik zie koffie als een internationale taal; je kan er evengoed aan de andere kant van de wereld mee gaan werken.

3. Voor wie zou jij wel eens een koffie willen maken?
    Roeland Lenaerts.

4. Wat was de beste koffiebar die je reeds bezocht? (world wide)
    Tijdens het BBC in New York: Marlon + Sons.

5. Heb je een favoriete koffie-zetwijze?
    Aeropress of dubbele ristretto op de espressomachine.

6. Wat was de beste kop koffie die je OOIT hebt gedronken?
    Thunguri AA uit Kenia.

7. Wat is voor jou de ultieme latte-art-uitdaging?
    Overextractie is een paradox :)
8. Bestaat er een ideale koffie-soundtrack?
    Mike Mareen: Love spy (live in Russia 2005) 
    Al die Jazz-muziek vind ik te treurig… 

10. Wat is je tweede passie na koffie?
      Nog eens koffie.

11. Heb je een koffie-ambitie?
      nOg meer koffie proeven, drinken en branden!

12. Wat mist Antwerpen nog op vlak van koffie?

      Een nieuwe Linea met soft-pre-infusion bij Caffenation.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

LGB 2.2 : Colombia Villa Esperanza/Ethiopia Sidamo Gr 2

Most of the coffee grown in Colombia is approved by the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC). Since 1927 its members have worked together to deliver social and environmental programmes and to ensure Colombian coffees meet a certain quality standard.
The thing is, that standard is good, but not always incredible. 
And at Caffenation, we're on the lookout for the spectacular. So we asked ton loads of samples and finally came up with this coffee from the Huila area. 
And a FNC coffee, from the Villa Esperanza Association. 
Villa Esperanza earned Rainforest Alliance certification in 2005, and in the years since the group has grown to include 22 small holders. 
At Villa Esperanza, not only do growers take an active role in environmental matter (for example, the group has spearheaded the construction of water treatment facilities), but they also get involved in how the coffee tastes. 
For proof, look no further than the local cupping lab. 
This coffee is as sweet as butter scotch and has great velvety mouthfeel. It is comparable with another Virmax (the exporter) coffee we bought last year; El Meridiano, but less spicy and sweeter. 

Yes, we are not talking about spices and acidity.
That's why we start blending and did go after a good companion for this jewel.
And concluded this years Grade 2 Sidamo from Bagersh (our steady exporter of Ethiopian coffee) was just what we needed.
This early lot got a nice smoked flavour with a nutty side, nice body and spices like toasted sesame seed. 

Very proud about the result.

Mostly it's not the most difficult task to blend a new great seasonal blend. The most difficult part is to have a blend that stays fresh, complex and interesting over a longer period. 3 months should be the goal, but very often we have to change the line up after 2 months already.

Not be afraid though, cause new stuff is arriving fast these days. We're in the middle of a ton load of fresh crops and sublime Kenya Peaberry, Washed Organic Yirgacheffe and bright Guatemala coffees are ready to take over by the end of June, beginning of July. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Falcon Green Coffee Buyer Mike Riley

An interesting view on the coffee trade by Mike Riley from Falcon, Specialty Green Coffee Importers.
(This is the company we bought this great Colombia Villa Esperanza from) :

The market is reaching low levels so this is a great time to buy coffee as cheaply as possible and to increase margins. Happy days... unless you’re a coffee farmer.
At the time of writing this blog the Arabica market has closed at 135.65 cents per lb. These are seriously low levels for coffee farmers since, for many, it means they will be selling their coffee below the cost of production.
During my recent trip to Mexico, El Salvador and Costa Rica I asked the various farmers we work with to tell me their cost of production. The range I was given was around 150 to 180 cents per lb. Of course top quality coffees command a quality differential above New York, but in El Salvador for example this stands at around 20 cents a lb. So breakeven is absolutely border-line for many farmers and those who farm below SHG altitude will certainly be facing tough times unless things improve soon. Of course this is before we even factor Roya (leaf rust) into the equation for our friends in Central America and with yields falling those costs of production are going to rise by 20 to 40% or even higher in some cases. Unhappy, uncertain days!
Through experience, we recognise the incredible difficulty, stress and suffering that marginal and low prices bring about and as such, all our commercial activities are focused on creating business models that help our partners negate this risk. While we will always pay well above the cost of production, we are also aware that buying even 50% of someone’s crop does not guarantee their survival unless those farmers are working with other like-minded buyers.
The coffee crisis, a period of depressed prices between 1999 and 2005, was responsible for human suffering on a massive scale across the coffee producing world. It brought about malnutrition, the abandonment and loss of farms, mass illegal immigration, the increase in illicit drug production and countless other untold stories of hardship.
At Falcon Speciality we believe that farmers must always be paid a price that covers his/her cost of production and we do this by several means:
  •   We pay outright prices fixed at a level above the cost of production and inclusive of a healthy margin for the farmer.
  •   We will utilise our futures book on behalf of the farmer if the market level is favourable for them.
  •   If the quality is high enough we will buy Fair Trade coffees which protects farmers from a falling market by
    guaranteeing them a minimum price aligned to the cost of production and an additional social premium.
  •   Whilst always seeking out speciality coffees of great quality, we believe that certifications such as Rainforest Alliance, Utz and Fair Trade have principles embedded in International Labour Law (ILO) and as such the coffee workers’ rights are respected. Such certifications also include environmental standards
    designed for sustainability of agricultural land and its natural eco systems.
  •   We support community projects and NGOs that are committed to quality improvement and consequently
    price improvements for coffee farmers TechnoServe being one such example.
  •   As a qualified social auditor with 5 years of auditing experience on coffee farms around the world I will
    visit and audit farms where necessary to ensure they meet our ethical standards.
Roasters who buy our coffees will benefit from all of the above points in order to meet their own ethical criteria. Our aim is to create positive social impact through all of our business transactions. Indeed each of our coffees has its own story please feel free to engage with us to discuss any of these issues and how they relate to the coffees you buy from us.
We believe that there should be no losers in the coffee chain especially the farmers and their staff - without them, there is no future in coffee. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Joke vraagt het aan .... Charlotte Briers

Jarenlang was Charlotte een van onze meest gevierde klanten te Hopland.
Nu ben ik telkens weer een gelukkig man als ik een versie portie 'beans' in de Vinyl (zo heet dat in de volksmond) kan gaan droppen en 'ons' Charlotte haar Barista shift heeft.

Na vele jaren voor de bar, blijkt ze nu echter ook achter de bar, en de mooie Simonelli bij Lars, de juiste persoon op de juiste plaats. 
Kom het zelf checken in de Volksstraat te Coffee&Vinyl. 

Hier haar antwoorden op Joke haar vragen :

1. Hoe werd je gebeten door de koffie-bug?
    Uit noodzaak om s’nachts door te kunnen studeren wegens uitstelgedrag.

2. Wat maakt barista zijn zo’n topjob?
    Je kan wanneer je maar wil een zak of ton koffiebonen openen en de zAlige geur opsnuiven!

3. Voor wie zou jij wel eens een koffie willen maken?
    Tom Waits.

4. Wat was de beste koffiebar die je reeds bezocht? (world wide)
    De ‘oude’ Caffenation in Hopland.

5. Heb je een favoriete koffie-zetwijze?
    Op een zondagmiddag met een plaat van Miles Davis.

6. Wat was de beste kop koffie die je OOIT hebt gedronken?
    Afroman in Caffenation.

7. Wat is voor jou de ultieme latte-art-uitdaging?
    Een beer. En dat eerder kunnen dan Kobe van Kolonel Koffie.

8. Bestaat er een ideale koffie-soundtrack?
    Mike Pecidin: Burnt Toast and Black Coffee (in loop)
9. Welke ‘koffie-creatie’ weiger je te maken?
    Een deca soy latte met slagroom.

10. Wat is je tweede passie na koffie?

12. Wat mist Antwerpen nog op vlak van koffie?
      Een koffiebar die 24 op 24 uur open is.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Joke vraagt het aan .... Koen Bleuze

Joke vraagt het aan Koen Bleuze. Hij werkte voorheen als barista bij
Barnini en heeft nu zijn eigen koffiebranderij onder de naam Cordon

1. Hoe werd je gebeten door de koffie-bug?
Op het Belgische Barista kampioenschap, als toeschouwer.

2. Wat maakt barista zijn zo’n topjob?
Het is een zeer sociale job, en de maker van het drankje is rechtstreeks ook
verbonden aan het drankje zelf. Uniek.

3. Voor wie zou jij wel eens een koffie willen maken?
Voor iedereen.

4. Wat was de beste koffiebar die je reeds bezocht? (world wide)
Normo, Antwerpen.

5. Heb je een favoriete koffie-zetwijze?
V60 of espresso.

6. Wat was de beste kop koffie die je OOIT hebt gedronken?
Mexico COE bij Kolonel Koffie op de filter.

7. Wat is voor jou de ultieme latte-art-uitdaging?
Geen latte-art, en dan toch fier kijken :)

9. Welke ‘koffie-creatie’ weiger je te maken?

10. Wat is je tweede passie na koffie?
Zeveren. Met mate.

11. Heb je een koffie-ambitie?
Een relevante visie hebben op het fair- en directtrade en ook op het
biologisch/organische luik in de koffie-industrie.

12. Wat mist Antwerpen nog op vlak van koffie?
Een eigen benadering van koffie los van de international trends.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Red Roast (Espresso Blend)

After almost 10 years of House Blend we are happy and proud to introduce you the new 'house' blend : Red Roast.

Don't dig too deep into the words. Yes, we see Antwerp as 'Red', and Caffenation, and the color continuation on 'Little Green Bag' and 'The Future of Coffee is Black', but most of all it just sounds good.

For those who have a hard time to understand what the position or purpose of this blend is, I write you this post.

When I - yes, this time I use 'I', cause those days I was all by myself - started Caffenation we had 3 blends : House Blend, Italian Roast and Master Blend.

House Blend was a people pleaser with ingredients I can't remember. I don't even think my roaster told me properly. Most probably a lot of Brasil and a bit of Robusta. And medium priced.

The Italian Roast was a dark roasted coffee that contained the cheaper shit and more Robusta.

The Master Blend was based on the all mighty Yirgacheffe.

Half way of our existence I understood that roasting dark was the past and I took the Italian Roast off the grinder. We were still selling it to some amateurs till 2010, but only roasted it once ourself and then understood that was not where we wanted to go.

Then instead of putting all our money on the Master Blend I stopped this one and improved the House Blend. No more robusta and a lighter roast.
It was for years a blend with conventional coffees, mostly Brazils, Ethiopians and Centrals. Very good value for the money and also correct for the average cafe or restaurant serving both lungo's and espresso's.

Two months after we started roasting ourself, by October 2010, we thought it was time to launch us a premium blend.
As a top class blend, cappuccino king and exclusive to espresso bars.
This blend we named Little Green Bag, after a great organic blend (Harar, Colombia, Dom Republic) used at Roeland his Barista Championship.

Now 2 and a half years later we sense it's time to reshuffle this set up a bit.

Our company tactics are the following :

Filter coffee : we focus on single origin/estate coffees, no blends. And mostly Africans. Our goal is to offer every week a different one, so 50 different ones a year.

Espresso coffee : we offer a lot of SOE (Single Origin Espresso), but think we need 2 blends to work more stable. It's also easier for the average Barista to get full flavor shots out of a blend then a single bean.

Red Roast :
Basic recipe : here we use 4 seasonal beans + 1 left over from our SOE program.
3 out of 4 should be the better conventional or real specialty coffee washed beans. Ethiopia remains strong favorite to use all year round. A good Guatemala (or Colombia) in the summer and a full Peru or East African in the winter should be number 2.
3rd bean depends on what's available. Today we talk Burundi. Tomorrow most probably Colombia.
4th bean we prefer to have something natural or half washed. Brazils now, but tomorrow a clean Indonesian or Papua New Guinea could do the job as well.
5th bean (don't beat me i we use less or more different beans) is a last filler. It's an easy way to finish up left overs. No, this is not inferior stuff, most probably it is even more expensive, but last batches of a Single Origin coffee we use for our SOE/Filter Week program.

This blend is changing almost all the time in components and percentages, but only a minimum in taste.
The beans are all separately Full City Roasted and then blended.
All around flavor should be full bodied, low in acidity, full of character, nutty, spicy, little bit earthy maybe, but still clean and suitable for both black coffee as cappuccino/latte/iced coffees.

Current components :
Tanzania Utengule AA (price € 3,80)
Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Grade 2 (price € 4,50)
Burundi Kirimiro Bourbon Mix (price € 4,20)
Brazil Pulped Natural Sul De Minas, Pereira Estate (price € 3,90)
Colombia Tolima Planadas (price € 7,20)
(prices are ours, a kilo, exclusive VAT, inclusive transport and taxes)

Little Green Bag :
Basic recipe : 2 (washed) specialty coffee beans.
This is a seasonal blend. We try to pick the best possible coffees available on that moment of the year. Our experience is to change every 2 months, so 6 full blends on a yearly base.

It happens we use 1 bean over 2 blends, like the Colombia El Meridiano last year.

All around purpose is to go for a cappuccino killer blend. A City + roast that give more acidity and fruitiness and blends well with fresh milk.
The cleaner the beans the better. This blend is for the real afficionado; for those who are looking for new coffee experiences over and over again.
Since the roast is on the medium side we see this blend as a very popular coffee for the home filter brewing as well.

Current components :
Ethiopia Sidamo Grade 2 (price € 3,90)
Colombia Villa Esperanza (price € 5,90)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Joke vraag het aan ..... Peter Hernou

Joke vraagt het aan Peter Hernou

Deze Antwerpse (Independant Free Lance) Barista heeft meer titels dan de letters van zijn voornaam. Opvallend zelfs evenveel internationale dan nationale!
WK Latte Art, Trainer WK Coffee in Good Spirit en zelfs Best in the World Coffee Book.
Sinds een tijdje kan je elke zaterdag in de Citta bijlage bij de Gazet Van Antwerpen trouwens zijn speurtocht naar de betere koffie in het Antwerpse volgen. Een aanrader.

1. Hoe werd je gebeten door de koffie-bug?
Het is eerder een inzicht in een prachtig product dan een microbe. Het besef dat het een prachtig product is met ongekende mogelijkheden dat wereldwijd genoten wordt.

2. Wat maakt barista zijn zo’n topjob?
De dagelijkse mogelijkheden met het product, de contacten en de huidige ontwikkelingen naar de toekomst

3. Voor wie zou jij wel eens een koffie willen maken?
Iedereen die van lekkere en goed klaargemaakte koffie kan genieten, niet gelovers in het meest

4. Wat was de beste koffiebar die je reeds bezocht? (worldwide)
Een hele kleine knappe koffiebar in Tokyo, Japan. Omotesando Koffee. Echte liefde voor het product.

5. Heb je een favoriete koffie-zetwijze?
Neen, dit is in functie van de gewenste drank op het moment van drinken

6. Wat was de beste kop koffie die je OOIT hebt gedronken?
Cupping: een Blue mountain
Latte: die van mijn WK

7. Wat is voor jou de ultieme latte-art-uitdaging?
Betere smaak, lekkerdere textuur en mooiere latte art; in die volgorde

9. Welke ‘koffie-creatie’ weiger je te maken?

11. Heb je een koffie-ambitie?
Kennis overdragen en meer ontdekken en leren

12. Wat mist Antwerpen nog op vlak van koffie?
Overal lekkere koffie in de zogenaamde specialty bars

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Vincent 2nd at Belgian Barista Championship 2013

5 years ago i posted every week something about Barista Championships.
Because of a couple of unpleasant experiences and other hobbies I'm not so fanatic anymore, but we're still hanging in there with Caffenation and we try to send our rookie Barista's every year to the Belgian version of the biggest coffee competition on earth.
Very simply because i want them to become a better Barista. To understand how complex it all is, but also how fun it can be. They learn to tame a grinder, to improve on consistency, start tasting better and improve self confidence.

This year it was Vincent's turn to get his ass on stage.
His trainer was good old, warrior at many battle fields, Simon.

In the qualifications he ended 4th which was just good enough for the finals.

But yesterday at the finals he was blistering and took a well deserves 2nd spot!!!, behind Louis, owner of Donko's. 3rd was Jelle (Drop coffee) and 4th Valentine (Café Labath).

A little bit extra info from behind the curtains:

Vincent his coffee : Papua New Guinea Kimel Peaberry.
When this coffee came in 2,5 months ago i didn't like the first batch of espresso roast. It didn't feel balanced and I shared the opinion of Sander, who sourced this one for us, that it was more a filter coffee.
Simon thought different, pushed on and after some experiments on both Roaster side- Jeff is unstoppable - and on espresso machine at Broer Bretel - Toon is a prime Barista - i noticed this bean DID have a lot of potential on espresso.

That was 2 months ago and we ordered a whole more of Kimel.
Toon kept on pushing the coffee in his bar and we used it for the Aeropress Championship because of its polyvalent character.
By the time the Aeropress championship, the First of April, came closer we sensed some difficulties. It showed some woodyness left and right and the Baristas that day had a tough time taming it.

Last week it did drop some more, Toon threw it off the grinder and at the last rehearsals I wasn't happy anymore, but it was too late to change.
Changing your coffee the last week before a championship is the stupidest thing to do.

The cappuccino didn't suffer and neither did the signature drink, although we knew this part of the presentation wasn't our strongest one.

When we look back a the scoring sheet it showed.
It was more because of Vincents brilliance on scene, and Simons guidance, that he finished 2nd.

Picking the right bean for a championship always sounds easy, but once you get closer to the championship it all seems to change.
Most beans are just not clean and strong and complex enough to use for 3 different preparations. A solution can be to use more than 1 bean, but this puts a whole lot more pressure on the Barista and roaster.

Most important reason to struggle this years championship was the period (end of April) and the fact the WBC comes only 1 month after the Belgian heat.
Valentine, who also works with our coffee, had - with reason - big ambitions for this finals and picked a coffee that gave the opportunity to continue working with till the eventual finals in Melbourne in 4 weeks.
The Good central coffees only arrive around these weeks. The same for Ethiopia. And for Kenya and Costa Rica it even takes longer.
Most Brazils are in but mostly not the most impressive competition coffees and so we ended up with fresh Burundi and PNG....

Louis used a Mexico. Mexico always has a later pick then the coffees from Central America and his coffee was still fresh enough to give it a go.
I remember this cupping we did together and I also remembered there were a couple of nice clean Mexicans on that table that day, but you can't buy them all. But credit who deserves it ; he ordered the bean, tested it and decided to use it. And the result : numero uno!
Last year I couldn't believe there was such a big gap in points between his coffee and this one of Roeland, but this year I truly believe he smashed the competition and took the title in a glorious way.

Hopefully he finds enough time and a good supporting cast to prep himself for Melbourne and make all Belgians proud. Good luck out there Louis.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Joke vraagt het aan ..... Simon Boone

Joke vraagt het aan… Simon Boone die met zijn toepasselijke achternaam
en zijn 14 jaren barista-ervaring werkt bij Caffenation, en sinds kort ook
vrolijk twitter onder de naam @simonboone77.
Waarom Simon deze week?
Omdat volgende week alle aandacht gaat naar 2 van zijn pupillen, die vechten voor de titel van 's lands beste Barista, vind ik dat Barista Trainer
Simon deze week ook wel wat aandacht en appreciatie verdient.

1. Hoe werd je gebeten door de koffie-bug?
In 1999 in Australie, Sidney, Bondi Beach.

2. Wat maakt barista zijn zo’n topjob?
Werken met een supermooi product en interactie met schoon volk.

3. Voor wie zou jij wel eens een koffie willen maken?
Voor iedereen.

5. Heb je een favoriete koffie-zetwijze?
Elke wijze is goed. zeker met de juiste ‘Boon’ ;)

6. Wat was de beste kop koffie die je OOIT hebt gedronken?
Toen ik 6 jaar oud was dronk ik bij mijn bomma filterkoffie van
D.E.Masterblenders met veel suiker. Onvergetelijk.

7. Wat is voor jou de ultieme latte-art-uitdaging?
Een wedstrijd tegen latte-art-champ Peter Hernou.

9. Welke ‘koffie-creatie’ weiger je te maken?
Ik probeer niets te weigeren: iedereen drinkt koffie op zijn/haar manier. Over
smaak valt niet te twisten.

10. Wat is je tweede passie na koffie?
Nog meer koffie!! En mooie mensen.

12. Wat mist Antwerpen nog op vlak van koffie?
Een koffiebar die al om 7u open gaat.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Joke vraagt het aan .... Tim Jensen

Joke De Coninck gaat naar het plein dat haar naam draagt en vraagt het aan Tim Jensen, uitbater en Barista van Viggo’s Coffeebar.

1. Hoe werd je gebeten door de koffie-bug?
Na een reisje naar Italie raakte ik, terug in Belgie, erg teleurgesteld van
cappuccino’s met slagroom …

2. Wat maakt barista zijn zo’n topjob?
De smile op het gezicht van de klant na het drinken van een lekkere kop koffie,
door mij gezet.

3. Voor wie zou jij wel eens een koffie willen maken?
Internationale artiesten waar ik vroeger voor werkte.

4. Wat was de beste koffiebar die je reeds bezocht? (world wide)
Normo, Antwerpen. Maar er zijn er nog veel die ik moet ontdekken denk ik.

5. Heb je een favoriete koffie-zetwijze?
Definitely V60!

6. Wat was de beste kop koffie die je OOIT hebt gedronken?
Een dubbele ristretto van Rwanda Huye Mountain, Drop coffee, Zweden.

7. Wat is voor jou de ultieme latte-art-uitdaging?
Een draak.

9. Welke ‘koffie-creatie’ weiger je te maken?
Een Lungo, elke koffie op basis van deca en een cappuccino met slagroom.

10. Wat is je tweede passie na koffie?

12. Wat mist Antwerpen nog op vlak van koffie?
Een koffiemuseum, met de uitleg van koffieboon tot kopje koffie en

Friday, April 5, 2013

Joke vraagt het aan ..... Kobe Van Gaveren

Joke vraagt het aan Kobe Van Gaveren, eigenaar en barista bij Kolonel

1. Hoe werd je gebeten door de koffie-bug?
Te hard! Ergens in Australie.

2. Wat maakt barista zijn zo’n topjob?
Dit is de meest stress-loze en meest sociale job die ik ooit gehad heb.

3. Voor wie zou jij wel eens een koffie willen maken?
Audrey Tautou.

4. Wat was de beste koffiebar die je reeds bezocht? (world wide)
‘Hush’ in Fremantle (in de buurt van Perth, Australie)

5. Heb je een favoriete koffie-zetwijze?
Dubbele ristretto op een LaMarzocco FB 80.

6. Wat was de beste kop koffie die je OOIT hebt gedronken?
Dubbele ristretto van toasted espresso met de AA7-blend (Auckland,

8. Bestaat er een ideale koffie-soundtrack?
Django Reinhardt: Minor Swing.

9. Welke ‘koffie-creatie’ weiger je te maken?
Espresso met slagroom.

10. Wat is je tweede passie na koffie?

12. Wat mist Antwerpen nog op vlak van koffie?
Een tweede Kolonel Koffie tiens! J

Thursday, April 4, 2013

LGB 1.2 : Papua New Guinea Kimel/ Burundi Mahonda

On the grinder since a week or 2, but too busy with other things, instead of writing the necessary blog post about it. Finally the newest version of our seasonal blend, the LGB 1.2.

We know our Rwanda's and Burundi's have been given us some potato head aches now and then, but believe me when i'm tellin' ya these beans are all Cup Of Excellence level, dead clean and very stable over time.

The Mahonda Washing Station has already successfully participated in plenty of competitions, and is renowned for its specialty coffee. The cherries are a collection from the Mahonda, Bugega, Maza Mugano, Gitaramuka, Buraza, Bibate, Musebeyi, Gicumbi, Nyamisure and Gisura Mountains. Mahonda participated in the Cup of Excellence 2012 with several lots, ending up at ninth (87,33) and third (90,53) place in the ranking. This Washing Station was one of the eye-catchers of the tournament, and is building up a nice Fully Washed coffee that will be able to compete on an international level.

The newest Burundi bean is from the highest slopes of the Gitega province, and a combination of Jackson, Bourbon, Iron19 varieties. 

In the cup we taste medium acidity, lots of fruit and present Vanilla.

This coffee combines very well with the Papua New Guinea Kimel Peaberry (link - Dutch). This coffee is actually complex and full enough to take all the work on the shoulders all by itself, but in combo with the Mahonda we have more stable results. 

We maybe lack some body in the 1.2 LGB, but well dosed it cuts nicely through the milk and is a perfect opposite of the new upcoming Red Roast. 
My idea is presenting a LGB as most seasonal blend, with clean fully washed AA coffees, focused on 'fraicheur', fruit to become the cappuccino king. 
The (new) Red Roast is the improved House Blend with some unwashed coffees in it. A tad darker in roast and more versatile and forgiving. We dare to say "Harder, Stronger, Faster, Caffenation". :-)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

BAC 2013 : Results&Techniques

Another year, another champ. Jazzy Jeff Verellen was 2 against 1 at Unibet and kept high to his reputation with another victorious performance.

The 3rd (already) Belgian Aeropress Championships were a big hit. More participants, more fans, better coffee! Couldn't believe my eyes. This thing is really getting huge!

18 Belgian Aeropress experts were pressing the best possible coffee out of their Aeropress.
A trio of judges for The Netherlands flew to Antwerp to taste (blind) the best coffee from our funky Papua New Guinea Kimel peaberry bean.

These 3 persons made it to the finals :
(from left to right) :
Sofie Nys : part time Barista at Viggo's
Simon Boone : a man with two nationalities and current Dutch Aeropress Champ, he's Barista, Barista trainer & Roaster for Caffenation.
Jeff Verellen : head roaster at Caffenation and former Vice and World Champion.

Simon used very unusual elements and a technique hard to explain. In the finals he slipped on his grinding though and had to content with a 3rd spot.

Sofie was 3 rounds in a row very precise. A clean, bright cup with great acidity and sweetness!
her recipe :
15,60 grams of medium to coarsely grind coffee, with fines filtered out
And with the inverted techique (yes, it still exists!) 210 grams of water 78 degrees.
Stir for 10 seconds.
Steep for 40 seconds.
Plunge for 30 seconds.
Simple and fast. Very well done. And an easy technique for you at home.

Jeff his technique was similar to the one used in Milan at the WAC 2011. This original recipe didn't do the trick though, so he added ' small details that give the cup a cleaner and more balanced taste.
1) bean picking : out the lightest beans and inn the smallest and heaviest.
2) relative coarse grind. 6,75 on the Mahlkonig Tanzania Uber Grinder.
3) most important extra : blooming on 83 degrees. 45". Then pour on at 76 degrees, very slowly. and also a very slow press. Total brewing and pressing 2'10"
4) making the coffee fast and not too many, so it's served a the right (low) temperature.

Good luck everybody with the recipes and see you next year at the 4th BAC on Easter Monday!!