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. 

Spa blue

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
240 ml water at 84°
pour, stir for 10 seconds
steep for 40 seconds
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!!
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