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. 

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