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)