Monday, December 29, 2014

CD 2014 Top 10

Honestly, i like writing this post more then the TOP 10 Coffee list.

2014 was a remarkable year on the music front. I felt like we made a 180 degrees turn at the bar.
Where Bert and I were always driving forces behind the cd and ipod players, we saw Emiel, Joke And Yannick take over the steering wheels.
Where i'm still stuck with my feet in the late 60's-early 70's mud, these youngsters focus more on contemporary stuff.

And this you can already see in the Top 10.
And; always we had real CD's in the list, but that changed with the number 1; only played fully digitally, from download on.

1) The War on Drugs :  Lost in the dream. This CD won dozens of prices this year, and with reason. It reminds us at the young Springsteen and a bit of Pink Floyd and goes on where Muchacho left us with Phosphorecense in 2013.
Addictive rhythms, mysterious voices, brilliant composing, good lyrics. Lost in the Dream had it all.

Here a link to the album

2) Disco not Disco : Post Punk, Electro & Leftfield Disco Classics 1974-1986 on Strut.
Strut albums cover these charts every year. This year with Disco not Disco compilation that should be on every espresso bars' playlist!
"Can i lick the crunch of your biscuit?"
Hypnotic and funny, and vibes that bring me back to my youth when i liked this kind of 'white boy punk/funk/disco'.

Listen yourself.

3) Black Sabbath : Sanctuary : Greatest Hits :
I know this band my whole life but never went any further then their Paranoid chapter. This CD is totally different from the other metal bands from the past.
Or as i read it in their biography :
The group took the blues-rock sound of late '60s acts like Cream, Blue Cheer, and Vanilla Fudge to its logical conclusion, slowing the tempo, accentuating the bass, and emphasizing screaming guitar solos and howled vocals full of lyrics expressing mental anguish and macabre fantasies. If their predecessors clearly came out of an electrified blues tradition.

For €5 you have a CD in your bar that can be played daily. A must buy.
Check

4) Kavinsky : Drive original Movie Soundtrack.
Dark & Wicked.

5) Bombino : Nomad
Desert guitar punk boom.

6) Funky Chicken : Belgian Grooves from the 70's
Two Belgian CD's in 1 list!!! As funky as it goes. Brilliant.

7) Intergalactic Lovers : Little Heavy Burdens
What a voice.

8) Coeur de Pirat : Coeur de Pirat
Subtle French stuff for the morning cups.

9) The Pioneers : Long Shot.
Bring on the good mood.

10) Jack White : Lazaretto
Head Banging Psycho shit for the dark evenings.





Monday, December 8, 2014

The Lido 2 Grinder Review (by Bart)

The Lido 2 grinder review

As I told you last time, I have been reviewing two new grinders for Caffenation. In my previous review you can read about my motivation to getting a new grinder and my experience with the Rhino, a very decent portable grinder. Now it's time for something completely different: the Lido 2 grinder.

If you compare just the two boxes of the grinders, you will notice the Lido 2 comes from a different league. The box is very large and heavy compared to the small Rhino box. It contains the Lido 2 grinder itself, a stand to fit the grinder, a brush to clean it, the manual and a ball driver to deconstruct the Lido for thorough cleaning.
Certainly most striking is the design and the size of the Lido: this grinder is big and made of sturdy glass and metal. At first I was afraid that this glass design might make the Lido fragile, but actually it feels strong and reliable. 
Surprisingly for this price range the Lido does not come with a pouch. This confirms my suspicion on how I would use this grinder. This cool tool is not made for a quick cup on the road, it's made for a slow and perfectly tuned cup at home or even better at a competition.

As you would expect from a top range grinder, operation is more difficult. Fortunately after a short read you can easily use this grinder without having to refer to the manual continuously. Inserting beans in the grinder is simple: there is no lid on top, just pour your favorite beans in the grinder and you are ready to go. To collect your ground beans a glass jar is screwed under the Lido 2. At first this jar looks like a good old fashioned marmalade jar, but it feels more sturdy and reliable.

Adjusting your grind is much more flexible than with the Rhino, the Lido 2 gives you a much larger range of settings because it is infinitely adjustable. Because of this, I expect to see this grinder turning up at local Aeropress championships, where a perfectly tuned grind can make a large difference. The grind is adjusted with two rings, a larger ring determines how coarse or fine you want your ground coffee and a smaller ring locks the larger ring in place. The manual explains in detail how this works, including suggestions for different settings. The makers of the Lido 2 claim this grinder can grind your beans for espresso and I believe them, it will work. However, for daily espresso shots or in an espresso bar I would not recommend this grinder. Then you should look for a large volume machine.

This is an impressive tool, so what are the bad points? Weight and size certainly are not optimal for usage on the road, this is not a grinder you toss in your backpack when you go camping. Also important to note is that you will face a learning curve with the ring operation. The manual admits this, you will have to learn how to control this system to properly use it for perfect grinds. Finally, this is a professional grinder, which comes with a professional price tag. I believe it's worth its price and I seriously consider buying this one for perfect drip grinds at home. If you are a serious coffee amateur looking for a better grinder this is a good candidate.

To summarize, the Lido 2 is an impressive and high quality grinder, which is very powerful and flexible. It's not portable or cheap, but very powerful. I expect this grinder to show up at future coffee competitions or in the hands of passionate amateurs. If you want to invest in gear to get the best flavors from your beans, this grinder is for you.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Rhino Hand Grinder Review (by Bart B)


The Rhino Hand grinder review

Since a couple of years, at work I have only been drinking filter coffee. Before I had to drink pod coffee. I disliked it, and decided to completely switch to freshly brewed filter coffee. Caffenation filter coffee, of course.
Until recently, I used the Grindripper to freshly brew my coffees. It's not a bad tool to start manual brews, absolutely not. However, especially the grinder from the Grindripper was showing its limits with very intensive usage, with grinds being unevenly. The grinder itself was also hard to tune finely, which caused some frustrations in the morning.
Time for an upgrade! I got a Clever dripper with Filtropa filters. The only thing left to improve my morning coffees was a new manual grinder, which can handle my morning coffees.

When Rob asked me to test two grinders, I happily agreed to do so. 
In this post I will highlight my experience with the first grinder, the Rhinoware manual grinder, aka the Rhino.
As you can see from the photos below, the design of this grinder is attractive but nothing too spectacular. The metal finish looks good and avoids the typically more fragile plastic parts. A black, sturdy rubber ring helps you hold the grinder while grinding without dropping your morning coffees. The Rhino comes with a black pouch, a nice extra touch. 

Operation is quite simple, take the top lid off and fill with beans. Put the handle on top of the Rhino and start doing your thing. The grinding itself can be controlled in the bottom compartment which gathers your ground coffee. You can adjust the grinding by turning a screw which clicks into place. Compared to the Grindripper screw which always seemed to come loose this feels much better.
Then for the grinding itself, how does this thing perform? Quite well actually, especially given the price. As you can see from the pictures, my grinds were even and perfectly suitable for filter coffee. I do not believe you can use a Rhino for espresso grinds, but few if any manual grinders are up to this task anyway.

So are there no bad points to the Rhino then? Of course there are. One thing which might bother you is the rubber band. It can shift during grinding, depending on your enthusiasm. Nothing too bad, but it might irritate you. Another issue, which is more serious, is the sealing of the different compartments. Sometimes to lower compartment tends to come loose slightly. I never noticed it coming loose completely, so it's not that serious. However, it is a weak point.

To conclude, I really like this Rhino grinder, both its design and its performance are really attractive. It has some minor issues but it's not expensive at all, which means this is a perfectly affordable solution for manual filter coffee grinding.

After this review we were informed about new improvements the builder did on this Rhino :
"On the next one which you will receive we have made the outer burr tighter on the chamber and now it doesn’t move, we have tested and this improves grind. It doesn’t completely eliminate the bigger chunks but goes from around 15% big chunks to around 8-9% which is better."

That's what we want to hear. 
The Rhino Hand Coffee Grinder sells in our Caffenation shop for €39. 

And is included in our magnificent Ultimate X-Mas Gift Box Set : Aeropress, Rhino grinder, Caffenation mug and a bag of coffee to your choice for only €70. Already on the shelf!

Next up: a completely different grinder, as you will notice from its looks. The Lido. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Roastery Practises


Starting up a coffee roastery is easy when you buy a home roasting device, put it in the corner of your espresso bar and start roasting small batches.

It IS a totally different ball game if you upscale.
From 15kg on, the home roaster becomes an industrial machine. It need to be placed in a separate space and you have all sorts of safety, health and environment rules and regulations.
Summing them up would get me way to far, but briefly you need to have a good trace and track system, separate spaces for the greens or roasted coffee, Rento kill help, staff regulations, clean workspace, and so on, and so on.
On the photo you see our green storage space.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ethiopia Sidamo Suke Quto Late Harvest Pick


This coffee was already on our menu this year, but we are happy to present to you the Suke Quto Late Harvest Pick.
First time actually we buy the same coffee twice with a 6 months interval.

The Suke Quto is an organic coffee from the Oromia Region, and neighbour of our Sidamo Guji.
The farm was established in 2005 with the idea to implement environment-friendly coffee farming practices under the shade of the natural forest canopy. The original farm, around 1950 masl, was only 5 hectares big but has grown to over 221 hectares now. When a bushfire distroyed most of the forest surrounding the farm, many locals started to grown corn and teff on the land (which leads to soil erosion and will leave the land barren after a few years). Tesfaye, the owner of the farm, came with the idea to distribute coffee – and shade-tree-seedlings. Over 150 outgrowers are now replanting the forest and bringing organic coffee to the Suke Quto farm for processing.


After drying and sorting, beans are bagged in Grain Pro bags. These bags conserve the coffee's flavors way better than the old fashioned jute bags only.

Expect great florals and green tea notes. Clean cup. Superb mouthfeel. Awesome! 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Caffenation Amsterdam

After 10 years of working together it's time to get married.

Bert and I worked 10 years our ass off to get Specialty Coffee as a Quality standard in Antwerp and surroundings. But also our professional clients were grateful to use our techniques and learn from our experiences throughout the years.
Of course all for the love of coffee, but, oh boy, what a fun ride that was.
Like this Saturday, back in 2008.
Every week, dozens of stories, and thousands of coffees.

But times roll on and 4,5 years ago Bert falls in love with a Dutch girl.
Things became more serious over the years and 2 years ago i advice Bert to follow that girl, where ever that would lead him. He agrees.
Apparently it became Amsterdam, cause that's the city Esther lives now.

So, we decided to end our relationship.
And marry in stead.
In Amsterdam.
Theophile de Bockstraat is the street, 37 the number.
December 1st the date, if all goes well.

Caffenation Amsterdam is born. You can meet me over there on Saturday mornings. The other days, except for Monday, Bert is running the joint. He's the real owner, but of course we guarantee the good old Caffenation vibe and coffees.

Some photo's of the works and address plates : and hope to see you soon...
Rob






Friday, November 14, 2014

New Mr LGB Autumn

60% Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Adado Grade 1
40% Nicaragua La Divina Providencia Red Caturra


-2 great fully washed Specialty Coffees
-Clean, bright cup
-Loves Milk


Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Adado Grade 1 :
The Adado Cooperative washing station in the southeastern Ethiopian highlands is one of the best in the country.


The people, living in the Gedeo Zone, south of the capital Addis Ababa, are considered to be a culturally and linguistically distinct group. They are bordered by the Sidama in the East, the Alaba in the North, the Burji in the West and the Guji in the South. All of these groups belong tot the Eastern Cushitic speaking poeple, who traditionally occupied the upper reaches of the Rift Valley escarpment in northern Sidamo. Today the Gedo Zone is one of the most densely populated parts of Ethiopia and the main production area for the world famous Yirgacheffe and Sidamo coffees.

I have to admit we beat you almost to death with another Ethiopian, but isn't it so this year, they are all clean, fruity and very long lasting? This you won't find anywhere else than in the bird cage of coffee, Ethiopia!
Grade 1 stands for the cleanest pick. Less defects give better and more stable coffee!

Nicaragua La Divina Providencia Red Caturra :


The most special about this bean is its flavor of course, although there's something special about the variety as well; Red Caturra.
It is a derivative of the C. Arabica found in Brzail in 1950 and sent to country's like Hawaï, El Salvador and Nicaragua and is similar to the Red Catuai and Pink Bourbon.

The processing of this bean is Fully Washed.

The farmer's name is Misael Sauceda; As the history of many farms goes, Misael Sauceda Olivera and his brothers each inherited a part of the land of their father, Porfirio Sauceda. Misael, however, was lucky enough to be the only brother with a passion for coffee, so he was able to buy the lands from his brothers and gradually expand his own land. In the twelve years that the Cup of Excellence program has been running in Nicaragua, Misael’s La Divina Providencia made it to the international selection five times, ranking second in 2012. With the money he received from these successes, he has been able to greatly improve his farm and buy a new farm, Santa Maria de Guadalupe.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

New Rules on the Aeropress Championships

Ensuring your national Aeropress competition runs smoothy and successfully now means fulfilling the below guidelines. It is important that you are still able to stamp your own personality on the competition by interpreting the rules as you see fit, however it is equally important that there is a level of uniformity to the national competitions.
New to 2015
1. A lead time of 6 weeks is required. 
Venue, dates, times, poster and entrance information is required to be submitted to WAC headquarters to ensure sufficient time is given to willing competitors and that enough exposure if given to the event.
2. Poster
A poster must be produced which must include the logos of the global sponsors, the official WAC circuit logo and local sponsors. A high definition version must be submitted to WAC headquarters.
3. Partnering with local distributor
Engagement with the local Aeropress distributor is required, nothing is expected from the relationship apart from allowing the opportunity for the local distributor to be involved - the level of involvement is up to the organiser. The local distributor should looked to as a possible financial supporter of the event.
4. Fulfilling global sponsor requirements
Depending on your country and the relevance of the global sponsors in your region, certain conditions need to be met. Specifics of this will be released soon. It may include ensuring the grinder sponsors grinder is available or the cup sponsors cup is used throughout the competition.
5. The winner of the national competition must be flown to the WACs
Funds must be collected to ensure the winner of the national competition is able to travel to the WACs - this year the WACs will be held in Seattle during the SCAA in April, 2015. This is the responsibility of the local organiser.
6. Reporting & documentation of the event
A thorough report of the event must be completed. This should include a review of the events itself, the top 3 recipes must be submitted, a collection of photography (and video if possible) must be submitted, the names and workplaces of all competitors must be submitted. There will be an online form created to be submitted on completion of the national competition.
7. Agreement 
Signing the agreement form must be completed before the competition organisation begins. This is now in place as multiple local organisers have simultaneously approached WAC headquarters to run the event. To ensure a successful event is carried out - the above conditions need to be agreed to being met.
The above guidelines are in place to ensure a straight-forward and cohesive operation of all national competitions, as well as ensuring the provision of appropriate support to national winners. Our aim is not to be unduly strict, but to encourage and support interested parties to put on a great event. If you feel that your country has exceptional circumstances, please get in touch to discuss the potential for tailored conditions.
Details on the other rules and regulations for the competition can be found here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

New Quarter Kilo bags





Our new coffee bags!!
What were we looking after?

More clarity on the type of roast. (espresso - filter)
More direct information on the type of flavor. (strong - fruity - ....)
More help with brewing advise
More Caffenation brand up front (always same original logo and company colors)
Better conservation of the coffee (with alu foil inside)
Funkier (than a mosquito's tweeter) bags (color - funny fonts - ...)

You want to know how that last bit sounds?
Click here

One thing we didn't do is the valve. I know there's been a lot of discussion on this matter, but we tested it and did not notice the need within the first month of use.
And since most people order every week or every two weeks we didn't want to invest in this extra valve. Now we can sell the bags to professionals for 18ct a bag; with valve it would have been double.

Another thing on the choice for this bag :
In general i don't like the coffee bags i see on the market right now;
I don't like the plastic ones - too plastic. Doesn't feel nice and doesn't look nice. Plus, plastic and food is not my fav combo.
I don't like to stick with Kraft bags. Touch and feel is right and it even looks good, but it's so average and boring.
And i don't like all those glossy stickers on bags.
And, i think there's not enough color in the specialty coffee world.

Am i too critical? Maybe, but we wanted to change the game a bit.
On the other hand i see a lot of bars/roasters who invest ton loads in the nice design of their bar and tools and clothing and then got cheap looking and boring bags. I don't want to bring in any examples though.

Not only did we rebrand, but also all legal (Belgian) info has been written on the bags.
This is something missing entirely in today's Specialty Coffee market, but in Belgium they are very strict on this;
Grammage
Company name and address
Lot number (to trace the coffee up to the roastery)
Conservation date (and eventual info conservation practices)

We need it all to put the bag legally on the shelf.

Hope you like em?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Natural Processed Coffees



El Salvador El Molina Jasal
Ethiopia Kochere Grade 1
Ethiopia Yirgacheffe microlot Red Cherry Superior Grade 1

but also the mega funky and 'natural flavored' Pacamara Kassandra from Mexico are in the house.

Enough sweet funky stuff to fill a lot of cups till the new year!!!


The first time i tasted a Dry Processed coffee from Ethiopia i was blown away.
It was August 2007 when Kees Van der Westen brought along 2 bags from Stumptown. He passed them on to Sietse and he gave us a sample.
One of them was the all mighty Misty Valley from Ethiopia and this was our impression :
http://caffenation.blogspot.be/2007/08/two-bags-of-stumptown.html

Since that first encounter i cupped hundreds of 'naturals', with mixed results. It's typical to be very surprised the first time. The coffee is sweeter, much fruitier and has more body.
The down side is the barn yard smell and flavors. It's a thing we also notice a lot with natural wines and mostly you love it or you hate it.

Over the years it became a new kind of fashion to bring this type of coffees and we also sold a lot of them.
But always with a warning: "Be aware, this is a natural coffee and maybe not what you are looking for..."

I think it's good to serve them, but not when you don't have something 'regular' on offer. Sometimes bars offer just one filter or espresso and then is such a natural processed coffee not very smart.

For Ethiopian Naturals we tend to go towards the Grade 1 picks. These are way cleaner then the Grade 3 or 4. Less earthy, less barn yard and more towards sweet and body. Once cooled down it almost tastes like fruit juice with tea and coffee.

For Centrals we see a lot of experimenting going on. Sometimes for the good, sometimes for the worse.
When done properly we find them less funky, but as good as the Ethiopians. So, we like to offer both of them.

Now waiting when the first Kenyan naturals are coming to town. Or would that be too much of a 'killer'?

Here some more interesting info about 'Natural Processing" :
http://stumptowncoffee.com/processing/natural-process/

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Oromia Coop Ethiopia


Our newest Ethiopian coffee for our main blend Mr LGB is called Layo Teraga. And again it's a coffee brought to us by Oromia.
For years this Cooperative is bringing very nice, sustainable coffees.
Although active in all Ethiopian coffee regions, we tend to stick to their Sidamo offers.
Here some more information about the organization and their beans :

Oromia is the region where coffee first originated and it is by the Oromo people that the usage of coffee as a food started in the beginning of the 5th century. Oromia is approximately located between 3 degree and 15 degree North latitude and 33 degree and 40 degree longitude. The region is known for its unique native vegetation as well as for being the center of diversity for many different species of plant. The region is the birth place of coffee. The Oromo’s use coffee as food, drink, trade, spiritual nourishment and as a tool for peace-keeping.
Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (OCFCU) is a small farmers owned cooperative union which have members from all coffee growing region in Oromia regional state. OCFCU was established in 1999 to facilitate the direct export of coffee produced by small farmers organized in cooperatives. OCFCU works exclusively in Oromia Regional State, which accounts for more than 65 % of the country’s total coffee growing land
OCFCU exports traceable fair trade and organic certified coffees. The fair trade premium and support from roasters are invested in social projects like schools , health posts , clean water , bridge etc
By the fair trade premiums and support from different roasters above 224 different projects has been completed and provided to the farmers. Some of the project completed photo is posted in our website gallery.
OCFCU pays 70% of its net profit back to the cooperatives and the cooperatives also pay 70% of their profit to the member farmers. This shows that farmers are benefited by being paid three times in one coffee season. This has enabled OCFCU to grow from 34 primary cooperatives representing 22,691 household farmers to 274 primary cooperatives representing 254,052 household farmers. The life of farmers has improved and has also got social service in their village.
OCFCU now have a cupping lab for quality control located at its office and have massive central facility for technical, financial, administrative and also high tech processing facility with capacity of 5 – 7 tones per hour. The processing facility has created a job for more than 1,200 Seasonal employees.
OCFCU have recently created its own members bank which is one of the greatest benefits to its own members for the much needed pre-harvest financing. They also provide their farmers with insurance options to cover coffee against loss.

Sidamo coffee information :
  • Washed and Sun dried
  • Altitude: 1550-2200m(5080-7210ft)
  • Cup: Bright acidity, medium body with spicy and citrus flavors
  • Harvest: October to January
  • Shipment: October to January

Monday, September 1, 2014

Roast ED : New Bags, New Talk



ROAST ED ESPRESSO BLEND

Full city Roast - Strong - Nutty - Medium to Low Acidity

"Espresso blend with a lot of Character". What does this mean?
This coffee is a crowd pleaser. With mixed washed and unwashed (natural processed) beans, this coffee is more easy going and less acidic then most of our other coffees.
The roasting is a tad darker, but still light enough to keep all flavors trapped inside the bean.
The ingredients (mostly 4 different beans) change over time, although the general taste of the blend will stay stable. Our favorite origins for this blend are Ethiopia, Colombia and Brazil.

It fits very well for small or large espresso's and the Bialetti/Mokka Pot.

Our average buying price - green/unroasted coffee - for the ED is €4,7 a kilo.

We have special prices for professionals in Belgium or abroad. Mail us for conditions.

Friday, August 29, 2014

LGB Summer1 testing lab, by Big G

Blackjack (on Hydra Synesso)

Extraction Yield18.9 %
TDS8.0 %
Dose Weight16.1 g
Brew Water Weight54.4 g
Beverage Weight38.1 g
Measured EXT
Measured TDS
Measured BEV
Score8
Liquid Retained Ratio1.20
Moisture0.0 %
CO20.0 %

Shot Details
Temperature92.3 °C
Pressure9.0 Bars
Time30 secs
Pre-InfusionON
Roaster NameCaffenation
Roast StyleMedium - Dark
Farm/FarmerBlend
GrinderAnfim Supercaimano
Grind SettingFine
Roast Date20 aug. 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Iced Coffee is the new Gold


I've been posting a lot on iced coffee brewing the last couple of years. And when I look into the coffee market's future, i guess this is just the beginning of a new coffee era, with Iced Coffee as the corner stone of business.

We've been starting to sell Cold Brew iced coffee last year. We knew how it worked, but it was just the first summer we had it on the menu. Of course we always had our frappaccino's and iced americano's, but black and pure and iced was something new.

This year we changed the recipe and started to bottle it. We don't do Cold Brew anymore, but prefer to brew on ice. This way we have a 'less-flat' taste.

The succes of all iced coffee, with or without milk is unstoppable. This very long but interesting article on The Atlanctic website is a must read.

We are bit by bit convinced this 'iced coffee movement' could be major for us as well and we are in full prep to elarge our quantity's and distribution platform for 2015.
There's even a possibility we are going to serve all our iced coffees with the same base. This means a Iced Mochaccino (frappé) will be prepped with the brewed iced black as well.

Also the Soft Drink menu will be reviewed and tuned with iced black inspired drinks.

Yes, it feels like this episode is solid enough to get us going for while.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014

Mr LGB Summer of 14


Mr LGB Summer of 14

1/3 Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Kochere Gr1
1/3 Costa Rica Tarrazu Monte Canet Estate
1/3 Kenya Kirinyaga Zahabu Peaberry
Mr LGB Summer is our Summer Espresso Blend for those who are looking for something clean, fruity or excellent with milk.
The first part is, again, a Yirgacheffe. This Kochere is picked southwest of the town of Yirga Cheffe and near a little village of Ch'elelek'tu in the Gedeo zone.
The plantation is situated around 2000 masl!
It's from various Heirloom Varientals.
Our volume on Kochere is relatively low, so possibly we will have another Ethiopian bean taking over by the end of August.

The second component is a yearly classic. And we're so fond of it that we bought the full European lot this year.
The coffee comes out of Costa Ricas' most famous region Tarrazu, more precisely San Marcos. The man running the farm is called Mario Solis.
This bean grows at an 1650 meter altitude and the variety is a mix of Caturra, Catuai and Geisha(!).
This coffee is a real espresso championship coffee; very well balanced, powerful, nice body and super clean.
Last washed bean is one from Kenya. First 2 beans are relatively low in acidity and therefor we needed something with more fruitiness and acidity to help cut through the milk.
We chose this Peaberry coffee from Cooperative Societies, Nyeri - Kirinyaga.
A very well balanced bean (SL 28/34) that makes the blend also suitable for filter brewing.

Don't hesitate to tell us what you think about this unique Seasonal Specialty Coffee Blend.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Velodrome at Krakow Poland


11 years Caffenation and now 4 year Specialty Coffee Roasters as well. It gave us a lot of stories and some great professional challenges as well.
And the latest is Krakow, Poland.

International our ball started to roll 6 years ago with Inspire Breda. 
After that a fist full of Dutch cities followed, but also Vienna, Paris and recently Norwich England. We shipped stuff to Barcelona, Milan, Helsinki, Barcelona, Berlin, London, Lucca and Lille, but the latest shipment was a big box of goodies into the direction of Krakow where we found our latest dealer.

When David and Agate spoke me one year ago about their ambitions, i was very hungry to help them to fulfill their dream, which was the start up of a specialized espresso bar.

Meanwhile month after month passed by and finally Velodrome Krakow is a fact.

'Bikes and Coffee' has been a winning formula a lot of times before and also David thinks this is the right fit for him and his wife, although at Velodrome it's more decoration and a show off of his passion.

The bar is located at Berka Joselewicza 12, one of the green and cosy side streets of the Kazimierz quarter, a neighborhood is full blossom.


Their La Marzocco Linea PB is the very first one in Krakow and coupled to a Mazzer Kony, Anfim Caimano and a state of the art Bunn Water Tower. Great!
They'll give you the choice between a blend, a single origin espresso or a couple of filter coffees. Also they use fresh milk and offer a while selectoin of iced coffees and teas.

Lots of luck David and Agate with this great project. You'll have a lot of work in front of you, but i am sure every one who reads this article will pass by your door the day they visit the gorgeous city of Krakow. Very much recommended!


Friday, June 20, 2014

Awesome Japanese TV commercial "BOSS" coffee with Tommy Lee Jones



Not only the Japanese can prepare worlds best coffee, they also make funny coffee commercials. Tommy does beter than George for sure.

Monday, June 16, 2014

WAC and WBC 2014 : Jeff finishing 3rd.


4 times our head roaster Jeff Verellen was able to defend the colors of our country at the World Aeropress Championships and 4 times he's going home with a medal.

After bronze in London and gold in Milan and Melbourne he became 3rd again in this years finals.

A fine result after a fine day.

Report :

While Bert and I were still on our way from Bologna to our apartment in Riccione, Rimini, our 2 roasters Jeff and Simon were moving towards the fiera to see Charlene De Buysere doing her thing at the Barista World Championships.
First WBC ever for Charlene. Never easy and no semi finals for her.
Curious to know the final results I went surfing on the World Wide Web, but can't find any info, except for the finals. Unbelievable.

I have the feeling all these competitions are losing interest. A pity, but a bit understandable cause it's a bit boring to watch if you are not competing yourself or a fan of one of the champs.
The rules get more complicated by the year and there's still no chance to taste what the Barista's are prepping on stage.
If one of my Barista's want to compete next year I'll be more than happy - it's a great stage to show your skills and a lot learn - but if nobody's in, we won't be sad about it.

Luckily there's still the Aeropress Championships!! More popular every year thanks to the relaxed settings and easy rules.
This year the setting of the WAC was the best ever ; on the Rimini beach.

La Marzocco organized this event together with Tim Varney. What a splendid job. The Barista's were performing barefoot in the sand of Rimini while the sun was omni present and even showing a fantastic sun set around the finals. Brilliant!!

Simon Boone represented The Netherlands and Jeff Verellen Belgium. Both were favorites in their series. Lots of expectations on Simon's shoulders when his recipe works wonderfully at the rehearsals a couple of hours prior to the comp.
Jeff was, because of the heat in Rimini, still struggling with temperatures and the (relatively dark) coffee; a splendid Ecuador by Cafe Imports. 

Mélodie from France was another side favorite, just as Lara from Spain and Dylan from Australia.

27 competitors. That means 9 rounds of 3.
While Mélodie, Jeff and Lara advance, Simon falls off with a lightly under extracted cup. Ooooh.

The comp goes on and on and judges Tim Styles, James Hoffmann and Tim Wendelboe keep on cupping. Finally we see the Japanese Presser Shuichi Sasaki wins the finals, after uber Judge Tim Varney had to cup through all 3 cups because the judges were undecided on what the best cup was.

More info, photo's and recipes here.

Every year we see more and more country's organizing an Aeropress Championship. Mostly in a bar with the crowd side by side with the competing Barista's. Beer, coffee and friendship go hand in hand and people can taste the recipes after the judges decide on the heats' winner.
The design of the posters and T-shirts are becoming an event on itself and we expect this competition to grow every year.
Is this the future of coffee championships? Partly, yes!

Oh yes, Japan also won the Barista Title this year.
My friend Coen van Sprang 7th! Respect!



Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Filtropa #4 Coffee Filters


We did use a lot of white Melitta number 4 filter in the past. We needed them in our bar at Hopland to go into our Clever Drippers. And in the Mocca Master brewers.

Very often we were cursing though, when - once again - they busted and so we started putting 2 in after a while. 
Very expensive at the end of the line and more work as well.

These Filtropa filters seem to be much stronger and still not expensive at all. 
Since this week we have them available in our shop at Caffenation. 
First we have to finish the small boxes of 40 pieces (at €1,40), but later on the normal sized boxes with 100 will be available at €2,45/box. 

Here a small discription on the Filtropa's by Sweet Maria's, who's selling them since a while : 
"The Filtropa are my favorite cone-type filters. They don't impart much paper taste and are very sturdy. I think they are far superior to the flimsy Melitta filters that have busted at the seams while I have brewed my coffee on many occasions. The filter is bonded without the use of any glues or chemicals, and the paper stock is certified dioxin-free. Filtropa uses an oxygen-based whitening process which produces a totally chlorine free paper."

Thursday, May 29, 2014

El Salvador COE Cupping 2014


Onze eerste Cup Of Excellence koffie kwam uit El Salvador. We spreken 2010 en sindsdien zijn er vele COE Coffees gevolgd.
Nu maandag 2 juni organiseren wij, in samenwerking met 32cup, een Cupping (koffieproeverij zeg maar) met de 33 (!) winnaars van de COE El Salvador 2014. 
Vanaf 15u bent u in de bar uitgenodigd om (gratis) te proeven wat er zo magisch is aan El Salvadoriaanse Specialty Coffee.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Back to the Moka Pot. Or not?

Company Coffee in Belgium


It couldn't be a coincidence that a journalist from 'De Tijd', our highly rated daily business news paper in Flanders, called me to talk about Company Coffee. And more in particular why it's always that bad.

Well, those were his words.
I don't have so much experience on this domain, but it's true that we get almost every day someone complaining about the coffee in his or her company.

After some thinking i wrote this post last year.

One year later and after a few interesting experiences, i know better what we need to do to help people who fancy something more up level at the office or work floor.

3 things i want to say :

1) In the post from last year you can read about my hatred for lungo's. Something has changed here. I certainly need to do some more research on this one, but one thing that struck me a while ago was that the lungo (say the 15cl 'regular' cup of Joe) coming out of a full automatic machine is way better than when we prep it on a big espresso machine we use in bars or restaurants. Strange enough it is less bitter, less astringentcy and a nice fruity touch (at least with our beans).
I think it different for Italian machines, but Swiss and Dutch machines give a better lungo.

Don't go espresso on those office machines cause that's not working. The machines and grinders aren't heavy enough.

2) Meanwhile we see companies now manufacturing automatic filter machines. I need to do more testing, but this could be a winner. It goes relatively fast, it's cleaner, more people 'go black' and it saves money to the company.
The day i have more info on these type of machines, i'll let you know

3) Caffenation wants to start changing the ball game. We changed the espresso bar experience in Antwerp and surroundings by offering specialty stuff, real espresso's, fresh in season beans, lighter roasts, more service and more information on the coffee. If feel like it's time to hit the company coffee market as well.
Working now on the team and machine park and soon you hear more.  


(Dutch) Article from 'De Tijd'

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

BBC 2014 : Best Barista is Charlene De Buysere

Quick word on the Belgian Barista Championships this year.
Finally we have a winner that's doing this for a living : Charlène De Buysere.
Working behind the bar at Or, she is almost a veteran and a girl that's going to be capable of finishing within the first 20 at the WBC, why not semi finals?

With a Belgian Aeropress and Brewers Cup title and a World Aeropress title already in the pocket, she adds a 4th title on her sleeve.
Well done and good luck in Rimini Charlene.

Those who never saw her : here's a action vid from her, winning the Belgian title at the first BAC. Click it.

Oh yes Marriane (also Or) was 2nd and Jade 3rd. Congrats to all.

Again on the Direct Trade Track

Here you see me and Cocariva Export Manager Wellington Pereira in their local warehouse/factory at Carmo de Minas, Brazil. From this place we just bought 800 kilos of Yellow Catuai coffee beans.

Never been against Direct Trade. It's just so hard to keep up with it.

In the past we've been have a couple of Direct Trade coffees. These beans arrive at our roastery, and our roastery alone.
But not a 100% direct, cause there's always a trader in between helping us with the paper work and logistics. Or a local Co Operative dealing with this.
When the trader comes in, we pay for their help of course, but mostly they pay the invoice at origin. Easy peasy. It costs a little, but your ass is save.

Working via a Co Op we have to pre finance the coffees. And there's always a risk the goods aren't coming, or too late, or the wrong beans were send off.

But, because it's important to have great beans, and exclusivity, and a nice price, these kind of Direct Trade coffees grow in popularity. We are April and our 3rd DT (First 2 Colombia's and now a Natural Brazil) is on the shelf already. Counting for 15% of our total coffee volume this year.
The Brazil one is a special story. Read more here.

Even more gain there is for the coffee farmers! The average price they are getting is way higher than the Fair trade price. And this way they stay more motivated to improve their harvesting and processing methods. So, everybody wins.

By the end of the week we'll have this exceptional Brazilian coffees on our grinders.
And also blended in the all famous Roast ED espresso blend. Enjoy. Rob

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Belgium Aeropress Championship 2014 : Results and Recipes

Oh yes, yet again the comp was a bit hit. The 4th BAC was a lot of coffee fun.

18 Aeropressers at the starting line. A great coffee. And lots of spectators.

The judges from a country North of Belgium were a the top of their toes and picked these 6 semi finalists :
Sofie from 32 cup : Vice champ last year : she went for a strong full bodied cup with nice acidity. For sure the most extreme drill of the year.
Alex from Caffenation : Light cup, sweet, well balanced. And the only one using the company's competition water. Most contestants prefered Spa blauw or (Sofie) Lidl water.
Charlene from Or : Improved version of Alex her recipe and close by her world championship recipe of 2012 in Portland.
Jeff from Caffenation : Very compact flavors. Sweet. Perfect mouthfeel. The first time you drink this your mouth falls open.
Bert from Caffenation : Comparable cup, but a tad stronger. Clean mean, but just not good enough for the finals.
Isabelle from Coffeelabs : Stellar cup! For me the sexiest cup of the day. Sweet, clean, but with an extra twang - spices, sours. She was also the only one analyzing her first brew and then redialing it the second round. Still waiting for her recipe though.

TOP 3 :
1. Jeff Verellen. Multiple and Reigning World & Belgian Champ : The king is still on his throne
2. Isabelle Verschraegen. Reigning UK Champ and ready to take over next year.
3. Sofie Nijs. Second podium in a row. What a gifted girl.

With 4 out of 6, the women were omni present this year.
No amateurs in the semis this year.
Price for bad luck goes to the 2012 champ Vincent. 2 years in a row it felt to me that he had the best coffee of all losing first rounders. Keep it up 'boyke'; you still got it.

Jeff's recipe (in his own words) :
Aeropress in regular mode

Cooled almost iced container to brew on.

Rinse the filter with boiling water to open up the paper and clean it. 

Water: 
Spa blue

Grind: 
Picking out lights, quakers, ears anything weird.
Setting 7.6 on EK-43 grinder running.
Don't "twack" the grinder.
Sieving with sowden filter: only very small fines removed. Also using static on the filter to remove chaff and nerves. 
Use 17.3 grams of the sieved coffee.

Water at 83-82c to bloom, nicely wet everything, 40 grams or so.

Wait about 30 seconds.

Use a dash of cool water to get the kettle water to 76c

Very slowly pour in the middle of the aeropress to get to about 285 grams total on the scale, take about a minute for this.

30 second plunge.

Leave 1/5 of the brew in the press and discard. 

Are you salivating yet?

This recipe sounds easy, but actually it is (to use WAC host TC Varneys words) : a fiddly one to nail.

Isabelle's Recipe :

• pick out about 20g of beans of a similar (small) size - discard quakers and defects
• rinse the paper filter thoroughly with very hot water
• grind your coffee, medium coarse (I started with 7.2 on the EK but switched to 6.8 after to get a slightly stronger cup) and discard whatever's left in the grinder's chute (these are fines and chaff we do not want)
• transfer the grinds into different cups/tins so as to use static to discard more fines. you can also slightly shake and blow over the grounds to let the chaff fly (thanks to Simon for the trick)
• press into a cold server
• weigh 17.5g of coffee into your aeropress
• use soft water… I used Spa Blue. It has a TDS of about 30ppm and pH of 6.
• heat the water till 84°C, and take the lid off the kettle immediately. Leave open
• slowly pour about 265g of water, making sure to evenly wet all the coffee
• stir once in the NSEW direction
• leave dripping for about 20sec
• press very gently for about 1minute , until the slurry reaches number 1 on your aeropress (so you leave quite a lot of liquid in your device)
• pour slowly into cup
• stir with spoon until coffee reaches temperature of 55ºC

Sofie's recipe :
16,5 gr - fines out - medium to coarse grind
inverted
240 ml water at 84°
pour, stir for 10 seconds
steep for 40 seconds
flip
plunge for 30 seconds

For next year maybe already a good new idea.
If we would have 27 competitors in the first round, 9 in the second and 3 in the finals.... Possible.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

La Serrania is the new Decaf (Dutch)


Bijna geen enkele van de espresso bars die we beleveren heeft interesse in onze decaf koffie. Begrijpelijk want het publiek in deze plaatsen vraagt er ook niet naar. 1 van de redenen is omdat onze koffie's veelal weinig cafeïne bevatten. Een andere is de jonge leeftijd van vele bezoekers. Dit maakt dat ze nog goed de cafeïne verdragen en dikwijls ook niet zo vroeg willen gaan slapen. (dit is inderdaad ook een halve grap)

Te Caffenation hebben we altijd de ambitie gehad om alle koffieliefhebbers gelukkig te stemmen en dus ook diegenen die gevoelig zijn aan cafeïne.
En met de La Serrania gaan we hen zeker gelukkig maken, maar niet alleen de cafeïnehaters. Deze koffie is echt top en moet zeker niet onderdoen voor een andere boon. Deze week verstuurden we zelfs 50 zakjes naar online abonnees, als filter van de week. En met rede. Mooie balans, fruitige toetsen, lekker zuurtje en zeker clean genoeg om eenieder blij te maken.

Hier de info die onze online abonnees toe kregen. (voor diegenen die interesse hebben om ook elke week, of om de andere week, een pakje genot in de bus te krijgen : click hier.

Colombia Huila La Serrania Decaf
Roast Date : March 25, 2014.
• Nootjes
• Blauwe lichtjes rijpe druiven
• Beetje bloemig en een mooie balans
Ja, je leest het goed; de filterkoffie van deze week bevat geen cafeïne.
Misschien een beetje verrassend en voor sommige met angst om het hart, maar je zal zien, na je eerste kopje, dat ook cafeïnevrije koffie heel lekker smaken kan.

Mensen iets bijleren over koffie en koffiegeschiedenis schrijven zijn altijd doelen voor ons geweest. En deze weekkoffie is er eentje die uniek is in ons Belgenland. Bijna al de aangeboden decafs zijn heel goedkope bonen die in een speciaal bedrijf met benzeen van cafeïne ontdaan worden. Het resultaat is meestal ondrinkbaar.
Ofwel gaat men grondiger te werk en neemt met een bepaalde boon en decafeïneert via de Zwitserse watermethode. Dit hebben we de voorbije 3,5 jaar gedaan, en dit was wel drinkbaar.
De La Serrania is een zorgvuldig uitgekozen blend van koffie's van verschillende boeren in Huila. Onze locale partner Virmax zendt dan deze bonen naar Manizales waar ze met bergwater en natuurlijk bekomen ethylacetaat (zoals bij wijnen) gedecafeïneerd worden.
Zo blijven de karakteristieke smaken bewaard en resulteert het vandaag in een clean cup die tijdens bepaalde blindproeverijen zelfs de tafel kon winnen tegenover vele andere dure Specialty Coffees!!
De donkerdere kleur heeft geen smaakinvloed.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Colombia on the Rise


Back in 2011, Colombia was my 3rd trip to origin.
Together with my main man Bert I visited the El Roble Farm in Santander. We participated at an extensive cupping organized by Virmax. Click this link.

During the same trip we visited the WBC in Bogota and cupped a lot of damn good coffees. It must have been since those days that Colombia became one of my favorite coffee regions.

Before this trip I wasn't used to drink top quality Colombian coffees. Although Colombia is one of the largest coffee producing country's (12% of the total market comes from Colombia) in the world and Antwerp the biggest coffee harbor, I never cupped something better than average. In Belgium they talk a lot about Supremo, Excelso and Popoyan. This is a fantasy name given to a certain kind of Colombian commercial graded coffees. Origin is not specified, although most the Popoyan seems to come from the Cauca area.
Supremo is the highest grade, extra second. The two are often combined into a more comprehensive grade called Excelso. With these you are almost certainly contemplating a standard Colombia from the Colombia Federation of Coffee Growers. Nevertheless, these standard Colombians will not all taste the same. Some  lots will display much more quality and character than others, and skillful coffee buyers will find them for their customers.
However, if a Colombia coffee is identified by a regional or estate name, rather than grade name, it may be either a private mill coffee or one of a group of specialty coffees developed by the Colombia Federation of Coffee Growers. It mostly displays more character and a cleaner cup than standard lots of Colombia, although there is a lot of difference between all the different regions.

Most of the cup character is medium bodied, vibrant acidity but not overbearing, and the cup lively and nuanced by understated fruit tones. Certainly the Huila and Southern picked beans are sweeter, the more Northern ones more spicy and lower in acidity.

Two years ago we bought a lot from Virmax called El Meridiano.
Last year Villa Esperanza. Dutch link.

In between we bought a lot of Colombians, but not always to our liking. The most problems we discovered, had to do with freshness.
Freshly picked, processed and shipped Colombian coffees do taste very good. Unfortunately we mostly saw a big decline over time. Where Ethiopian coffee stays fresh over a very long period (up to 2 years sometimes) and most Central Americans can be very tasty upto six months after arrival, we notice most Colombians fade seriously after the first 3-4 months.
So our politics are relatively easy ; we buy often, but lower quantity's.
Not so difficult cause one of the biggest advantages of Colombian coffees is the fact the shipments keeps on coming. There's almost no other origin that has such an ongoing stream of freshly picked beans.

With over half a million farms it is relatively rare to buy single estate coffees in Colombia, although we managed to do so from the Las Mercedes farm. 3 different lots already this year. And very happy with the cup result, but the best ones are just landed at our Roastery.
El Tesoro (San Agustin) : a honey with a lot of depth and clarity.
Los Idolos (Huila) : a super balanced and clean cup
El Serriano (Huila) : best decaf ever

So, together with a conventional Huila, we blended in the Roast ED during this winter, we talk about 7 different Colombians since December.
Yes, that's why we call it 'on the rise'.