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