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)

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