Sunday, March 31, 2013

Coffee Cupping in 2013

I have the ambition of cupping 500 coffees this year.

And at least 365 different ones. A coffee a day keeps the doctor away.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Joke vraagt het aan .... Alex Bos

Joke vraagt het aan … Alex Bos.
Na bergen ervaring vorige week, nu een ‘rookie’ Barista, vanaf 1 juni te Caffenation achter ipv voor de bar te bewonderen.

1. Hoe werd je gebeten door de koffie-bug?
Nog niet zo heel lang geleden door Rob; hij kwam langs
Farine(waar ik werk) om wat meer uit te leggen over koffie.

2. Wat maakt barista zijn zo’n topjob?
De mogelijkheid mensen gelukkig te maken door je passie, EN er is altijd
ruimte voor ‘improvement’, elke koffie blijft een uitdaging.

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

4. Wat was de beste koffiebar die je reeds bezocht? (worldwide)
Ik ben nog maar net begonnen met goeie koffie te ontdekken, dus ik heb nog
heel wat koffiebars te bezoeken voordat ik hierop kan antwoorden!

5. Heb je een favoriete koffie-zetwijze?
Simpele espresso’s of pour over drip met mijn Grindripper handmolen.

6. Wat was de beste kop koffie die je OOIT hebt gedronken?
Tot hiertoe; de flat white bij Caffenation en de dubbele ristretto van Jens bij

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

8. Bestaat er een ideale koffie-soundtrack?
Dat wordt bij mij eerder bepaald door de sfeer en het gezelschap.

9. Welke ‘koffie-creatie’ weiger je te maken?
Latte of cappuccino op basis van een soort van lungo ipv een espresso. (foute
verhoudingen dus)

10. Wat is je tweede passie na koffie?

11. Heb je een koffie-ambitie?
Op een constante manier lekkere (en mooie) cappuccino’s kunnen maken.
En ik wil ook graag koffie leren branden.

12. Wat mist Antwerpen nog op vlak van koffie?
Antwerpen staat duidelijk nog achter t.o.v. andere wereldsteden op vlak van
koffie. Hier moeten nog veel mensen leren wat goede koffie is!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Coffee for the Office

More and more offices start to see the light.
Giving the employees better coffee should create a better working environment.

But what's 'better coffee'?

The 'older generation' thinks Filter Coffee is old skool and start to invest in full automatic espresso machinery.
And when Caffenation thinks Filter Coffee is the new black ; we start to have a complicated situation; a lot of people want to have Caffenation in their company and start buying our espresso beans.

Listen; we don't have anything against espresso, but maybe we better start first with explaining what espresso is all about.

Wikipedia :
"Espresso is a concentraded beverage brewed by forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans"
"The size can be a single, double or more, which corresponds roughly to a 1, 2 or more US fluid ounce (approximately 3, 6 or more cl) standard shot'

And Caffenation style : 
"Third Wave Coffee aspires to the highest form of culinary appreciation of coffee, so that one may appreciate subtleties of flavor, bean variental, and growing region - similar to other complex culinary products such as wine, tea and chocolate. 
Distinctive features of Third Wave Coffee include direct trade coffee, high-quality beans (see specialty coffee for scale), single-origin coffee (as opposed to blends), lighter roasts of the beans, and latte art. 
It also sometime includes naked portafilters, and revivals of alternative methods of coffee preparation such a French Press and individual drip/filter brew. 

I notice the coffee people in Belgian offices want to drink are not espresso's, but longer drinks, say lungo's - approx. 5 fluid ounces (15cl). 
And that's understandable cause they are used to it and when working you can keep on drinking a lungo for 10 minutes in stead of a quick espresso shot. 

And it's also understandable a lot of people go for full automatic machines, style Saeco or Jura, for the ease. It's basically a one-push-button machine that every person individually may use. 

But what about quality?

The coffee bean is an incredible fruit with lots of flavors trapped inside. 

Coffee Farmers all over the world are working very hard to get this product the way we desire it. 
And when we start cupping/testing this 1% that's called specialty coffee, all the rest is conventional coffee for the big industrial roasteries, we want to bring these initial flavors in the cup. 
Therefor we need to roast very carefully, but most of all we need to brew the coffee the best way possible. If not we lose what we need and that's the nice fruit, refreshing acidity, subtle flavors and creamy mouthfeel.

And, sorry guys, but non of these are present in the average lungo.

Espresso is espresso (see explanation above) and a lungo is a lungo. Using an espresso machine to make lungo's is like using a motorcycle to bike or a chef's knife to spread sandwiches. 
Stretching the volume of the coffee coming out of the espresso machine creates lots of bitter, metallic tastes and way too less of the good stuff.
And pulling espresso's on office or home equipment doesn't seem to be the solution, cause they run 10 or 15 seconds max and that makes no sense either. 

An average full automatic office machine costs easily €1500 and needs big maintenance and changed every 5 years on average.

When we focus on filter coffee, say a Techivorm Mocca Master coupled with a Baratza filter grinder costs €300, doesn't ask for a lot of maintenance and lasts probably much longer. 

And this system delivers the right flavors and gives you big cups for 15+ minutes satisfaction. 

Of course no good coffee without the right bean. 

Never buy old coffee. (look for a roasting date on the bag - the fresher the better)
Never buy factory coffee when you have the possibility to get the fresh stuff. 
Try to buy fresh crop coffee (ask for it and when they don't know; buy somewhere else)
Try to stick to beans without oil. Oily beans don't give coffee but roast flavors. 
Search for a traceable coffee. Often they are fair trade and quality beans. 
Don't pay more than €10 for a bag of 250 grams, unless you want to show off. 

I truly think fresh filter coffee is tastier, healthier and cheaper than coffee out of a full automatic espresso office machine. Why settle for less? 

And the work load?

You want to eat every day a factory Inox microwave dish? 
You want to drink a whiskey cola from a can?
You want to eat Aldi Sandwiches?
You prefer pre canned Spaghetti?
Me neither. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Joke vraag het aan ..... Rob Berghmans (Dutch)

Een nieuwe serie die 'onze' Antwerp Barista's op de kaart moet zetten.
Het zal dan Vlaanderen en Nederland worden en niet de wereldkaart want de vragen en antwoorden zijn meestal in het Nederlands.

Iedere Barista krijgt 12 vragen voorgeschoteld en mag (indien gewenst) 2 x passen.

Joke voelt 52 weken lang Antwerpse Barista's aan de tand en ik bijt, om het goede voorbeeld te tonen, de spits af. :-)

1. Hoe werd je gebeten door de koffie-bug?
Heel lang geleden, in a past century, in a galaxy far away from home.

2. Wat maakt barista zijn zo’n topjob?
De sociale kant van de job, en het feit dat je zoveel mensen elke dag kan plezieren met je vakmanschap

4. Wat was de beste koffiebar die je reeds bezocht? (worldwide)
Courier Coffee, Portland Oregon

5. Heb je een favoriete koffie-zetwijze?
Naked Portafilter double ristretto op een KVDW Spirit machine

6. Wat was de beste kop koffie die je OOIT hebt gedronken?
Een French Press vd Ethiopia Idido Mistey Valley te Octane, Atlanta

7. Wat is voor jou de ultieme latte-art-uitdaging?
Linkshandig winnen van Esther Maasdam

8. Bestaat er een ideale koffie-soundtrack?
Jacques Dutronc (uit 1966)

9. Welke ‘koffie-creatie’ weiger je te maken?
Lungo on the rocks

10. Wat is je tweede passie na koffie?

11. Heb je een koffie-ambitie?
De lungo ('lange' koffie uit een espressomachine) uitroeien

12. Wat mist Antwerpen nog op vlak van koffie?
Een Slow Coffee bar op een toplocatie

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

New Caffenation Filter Coffee Blog

Check out
for the latest info on the coffees we send to our online members.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

BAC 2013 : Coffee and Rules&Regulations

Rules & Regulations :

The rules are fairly straight forward, 3 International judges will evaluate (blind), purely based on taste, the best filter style brew from the Aeropress. We want the competition to be as transparent as possible, with the intention of fine tuning the hugely varied technique used to brew on the Aeropress.

General Rules : everyone will use the same coffee, graciously donated by Caffenation Specialty Coffee Roasters.
The coffee will be preroasted one month before the championship. One 210 grams bag of this coffee will be send to all competitors.
At the championships we will have the same coffee, 7 day old.

The required volume of the drink is 2dl, which has to be served in the supplied cupping cup. It is up to the competitor what kind of water is used, no added ingredients are allowed. All competitors will have a 8 minutes comp time. Failure to serve the drink in that time will mean disqualification. The technique used by the competitor must be in writing and given to the judges this will not be considered in judging.

Equipment : The supplied equipment will be all grinders and boilers at Caffenation. Competitors are welcome to bring their own grinder.
We will have 1 Big Ditting and 1 Mahlkonig Tanzania grinder.
You can bring your own, but there are Aeropresses available for those interested.
Any modifications to the actual Aeropress will need to be authorised by the Head Judge and if need by the organisation.

Water - Everpure filtered Antwerp tap water will be used via the Bravilor boiler, set at 93°c. You are allowed to use your own water, and your own water boiler of choice.

Rounds : There will be 6 round with 3 participants. The winner advances to the semi finals.
In de Semi Finals we have knock out round one against one.
So we end up with 3 competitors in the Finals.

After each round, competitors must use the judging time to clear their station ready for the next round of competitors.

Competitors must have the Belgian nationality or must live in Belgium since 1 year.

BAC 2013 Koffie : Papua New Guinea Kimel Estate (Dutch)

Heel lang geleden dat we nog eens een koffie uit Papua New Guinea vinden die ons aanstaat. En dan nog een Peaberry, of zo'n rond boontje. De meeste koffiebessen bevatten 2 boontjes die tegen mekaar aan gedrukt zijn en daarom een platte kant hebben. De Peaberry of Caricoli daarentegen zit alleen in de bes en heeft dus geen platte kant.
Meestal vindt dit natuurkundig fenomeen plaats in de besjes op het einde van de tak. Hier is er minder waterdoorvoer en daardoor zijn de boontjes meestal klein. Deze Peaberry echter is van gemiddelde grootte, screen size 15-17.

De Kimel Estate is een redelijk grote plantage, oorspronkelijk opgestart door Australiërs, maar nu in bezit en uitgebaat door lokale inboorlingen die de traditionele eigendommen van de streek opeisen.
Het is gelegen in de Wahgi vallei, nabij Mount Hagen in de Western Highlands Province.

Opvallende aciditeit voor een koffie uit dit werelddeel. Doet me denken aan aciditeit van een Riesling wijn, inclusief het florale aspect.
Verder medium body en naar het einde toe veel chocolade en zelfs Meditteraanse kruiden. Een zeer complexe en levendige kop dus.
Hier kan je veel verschillende profielen uithalen.

Waar gaan we mee spelen?
Temperatuur water. Meestal betekent hoger, meer aciditeit en lager, meer sweetness.
Maling : Probeer eens wat groffer te malen om minder bitters in je kop te krijgen.
Ratio : Basisratio is 60 gram koffie op 1000 gram water, maar meer of minder kan altijd.
Extractietijd : Deze lichte brandingen kunnen soms wat extra body krijgen dankzij langere extracties….
Turbulentie : Reversed techniek of extra roeren kan extra smaak en kortere extractietijd betekenen…

Veel succes met alle research en breng je recept mee de 1ste april. Publicatie volgt later.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Milk Steaming Pitchers

Long ago we've been talking about this subject.

These days we have a couple of new pitchers coming in for sale.
We've been testing them and have up and down experiences.

For ages these classic pitchers were doing the job just fine.

And they still are used by most of the Barista champs.
I see very often company pushing the Motta Milk pitchers (the one above, but in stainless steel version). They tell the 'new' Barista's about the superior quality, but believe me ; if you can't do the job with the 'classic' ones, you won't be able to do it with the Motta's.
This saying; most of Caffenation Barista's do prefer the Motta pitchers, but they don't have to pay for it of course. :-) They are easily 3 times more expensive and for a 100% sure not 3 times better.

I like working with both of them and mostly just take the pitcher that has the right size. It's hard to judge what the size of a pitcher is when you read the factory guidelines. Mostly the smallest classic is 350 ml and the small Motta is about 450 ml. The most popular classic is 600 and the most used Motta 750.

The new black and white Mottas do look fantastic, I have to admit, but there is more on the market these days.

Rattleware and an unknown company that gave us a sample last week have a pitcher without a handle, but instead a rubber around the body.
Sorry to say guys, but that's worthless. Maybe someone is going to improve that one in the future, but for the time of being we're going to stay away from this type of pitcher.

Then we had a couple of years ago some nice colored teflon pitchers.
Nevertheless the price was very steep we loved them. I was like the classic pitcher but in blue, bright yellow, green and red (teflon).
Unfortunately the teflon coating came off after a couple of months, so that was not the best buy ever.

Then at the beginning of Jan we received these grey teflon pitchers from Espressogear.

Great look and feel and easy to clean, but most of all the spout is an extra plus with this one. It's just a little more angulated - extra pronounced (or how should I state this?). And that's a wonderful extra for all you latte art lovers out there.
And for so far we've been testing them, way stronger teflon than those colored ones before.

So, overal good news from the pitcher front and for sale in our shop very soon.