Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Kenya X-Mas Blend

Kenya X-MAS Blend
• Gitura AA
• Gakuyuni AB
• Munani PB
• in equal parts on City Roast (filter)
Kenyan coffee deserves its own category in the coffee world. There is good reason why many of the most experienced coffee fanatics in the industry call Kenya their favorite: It’s a unique and flat-out spectacular coffee!
Why is it so great? A near-perfect synergy of altitude, latitude, botany and processing tradition is the most logical answer.
This coffees come from fields around the famous Mount Kenya, where most of Kenya's top coffees grow in volcanic soils.
The variety is mainly SL28 and SL34, with a little bit of Ruiri and Batian.
The Screening is a mix of AA, AB and PB (peaberry).
The blending makes sure this coffee is well balanced, with good sweetness, subtle acidity and an endless and clean after taste. We believe this could be you ideal starter of the mornings these last days of the year or the perfect finish after a great Christmas meal.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

What Greens have we been buying in 2015?

40 different coffees. But more kilo's of the same.
A couple of them never reached any sunlight, cause only for blending, but most were published on my other blog :


In total we are talking between 45 and 50 tons of coffee, divided in the following percentages : 

KENYA : 12%

Probably this is not fully correct, but it gives an idea.

Ethiopia is classic. Other years it even goes up to 35%, but we had a hard time finding interesting Yirgacheffe lots this year. More good Sidamo's popped up though. 

Colombia we use a lot for blending. Not the most spectacular filter beans, but a good solid espresso base.

Guatemala made a big come back this year after some troubles previous to 2015. Good mouthfeel, spices and excellent blenders.

Kenya in getting more and more important. It became our favorite country and even on espresso we saw some mind blowing results. Super year!

Burundi was in trouble before, but the newest crop 15/16 is better than ever. So expect more to come next year. Value wise the best stuff around at this moment. 

Costa Rica is a classic favorite here. I think we didn't find out lots that were really jumping out, but over all a decent year and moderate prices. 

Brazil is the biggest coffee producer in the world, but not the greatest. Lots of earthy unwashed coffee's, but left and right we found a couple of gems for espresso roasting.

Nicaragua is every year on the list, but mostly for 1 or 2 %. This year we discovered one fantastic blender and bought lots of it. 

Indonesia is never high on the list, but we found 2 nice beans, especially for espresso roasting. 

Rwanda is also on the rise, but we did not blend this one in yet. New great Rwanda lots on our radar though.

Panama. Only one small lot this year. More interesting lots passed by, but in general over priced. 

El Salvador is very often one of our fav country's in Central America, but one way or another we did not roast more than 1 pacamara. Probably more next year, again. 

What have we been missing? 
Honduras - i don't remember i even tried some this year
Papua New Guinea - currently on the cupping table 
Peru - nothing fancy this year
Mexico - mostly we buy the Kassandra, but up to now no other samples of Mexico in sight. weird.
India - too earthy and woody
Ecuador - a down fall here, less and less specialty's around
Malawi and Zimbabwe - nothing cupped unfortunately
Congo - first samples left and right, but not good enough or too expensive
Tanzania - we cup em, but problems with transportation - sloooow - and storage ruin a lot

Friday, December 4, 2015

Home Brewing News

Last Sunday we had a Home Brewing Class at Caffenation. And yesterday i did a lecture, demonstration and competition around the theme at the Kitchen Aid Convention in Antwerp.

It was 2,5 years ago we did a session like this at Caffenation, which is damn too little and too late. But the problem was that we did not have a good platform to announce the classes, too little teachers and not enough interest from the public.

All these 3 things changed now and so we are hopefully ready to get these classes back on track.

Those who were not there; 'bad luck for you', cause there's always a lot to learn when you start experimenting with all tools and with 10 enthusiastic coffee lovers around you.

Of course there's still the blog and here a little bit of the new stuff we discovered or confirmed.

On the theoretical side there's not so much to say, but once at the testing table this quickly changed.

We did a test on the Clever Dripper.

(Between brackets :
Coffee, as for all tests, was the Chelbessa, a one week old filter roast of this washed Yirgacheffe grade 1.
The water : 94 degrees hot filtered water - 100 PPM -, probably 90 degrees C in the kettle)

We gave it a 18 (grams of coffee) to 300 (grams of water) ratio.
And went for a 1, 2, 3 and 4 minute extraction before placing the Clever Dripper on a (room temperature) mug.
These results were a bit predictable. 1 minute gave underextraction, 4 minutes overextraction.

We did a test on the V60. 

Same ratio.
Glass dripper with brown (washed) filter, Glass dripper with white (washed) filter and Ceramic dripper with white (washed) filter.
The Brown filter was as always disgusting. If you have a clean bean on a light or medium roast; always go for white filter paper. If you think it is not environmentally friendly? Go Filtropa!

The, both pre heated, Glass dripper versus the Ceramic V60 dripper :
The Glass gave a faster drip.
And a more detailed, exciting flavor.
What could have been the reason? I guess it's the absorption of heat. While the glass dripper absorbs less of the heat, the water is a tad hotter and runs through faster. Certainly for this years Ethiopians this is a big plus.
A faster run doesn't always end up in extra and more detailed flavors, but this time it worked. We had a 2,5 minutes run for the glass and almost 3 minutes for the ceramic. This is serious of course.

Later on we tested the V60 Glass dripper decanter. The poor was a bit firmer at the start and we kept the coffee bed a bit lower, with continuous pouring. Stop after 2,5 minutes. Fantastic performance by one of our guests Roeland and a supreme cups of coffee!!

One of the challenges at the session is to give the students a chance to test something. Nik wanted to brew a 3-cup Chemex.
The result was very good. Almost the same extraction time, but a heavier coffee. A tiny little bit forced in flavors maybe, but very fruity and a lot of body!

We tested Aeropresses. Our famous Classic Recipe (made to perfection before by Simon, Jeff and Charlene) had a cleaner cup then the inversed. And another student his Press showed much more dirtyness when pressing it too far. Once you hear the hissing sound of air escaping via those tiny holes at the bottom, your cup is ruined.

We tested the pour over Kitchen Aid coffee machine and that surprised everybody. As crisp and clean as any other cup on the table.

The new Kitchen Aid French Press didn't perform well though.

So i was curious yesterday at this Kitchen Aid convention how it would be when 6 groups of 6 people would take on the challenge to make the best possible coffee with this tool - the newly French Press with build in scale and timer.

We used the same coffee as last Sunday and Spa Blauw/Reine water.

And the results were .... better.
Difficult to follow what went wrong last Sunday and better when these Kitchen Aid staffers took control.
First of all the Spa water has always helped to brew this perfect cup of coffee, but also i advised the people to keep the temperature high enough.
Of course no boiling water, but in general you need to give warmer water to 'immersion brews' then to 'drip brews'.
In general for Aeropress we take 80 to 82 degrees warm water.
For Clever and V60 it is 86 to 90 degrees.
Our big batch brewer 88 degrees.
And the Kitchen Aid Brewer is 92, the Mocca Master 93 and the Wilfa 94 degrees Celcius.
For Cupping and French Press we tap off 96 degrees, so expect it a tad lower once poured, but still something like 92. And this works better. Certainly with those (relatively) 'flat' Ethiopians.

Last note on the Automatic Brewers listed above. I've been experimenting a lot with these 3 brewers and like the Kitchen Aid most, before Mocca Master. The Wilfa was better after a couple of months, cause in the beginning the plastic tubes gave off some chemical flavors.
And it also helped when i poured on a bit of cold water at the grounds before the hot water came on....

That's it for today. So see you all at the next class for some more experimenting.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Mr LGB Winter 15/16

Upcoming Seasonal Espresso Blend Mr LGB is going to be on our shelfs by the second week of December.

For the winter we go back to Africa, with new crop Burundi, combined with a fresh Cauca Coffee.

New coffee crops, 15/16, are landing, and the first classic country's on the list, for washed coffees, are Burundi and Colombia.
In Burundi we encountered a small delay in delivery because of political troubles, but quality and freshness is still guaranteed. And the 'potato disease' which gave a lot of troublesome defects a couple of years ago, seems to be gone.
This Manhonda Lot (Bourbon variety) is almost the same coffee as the one in our Winter Blend of 2013 and has a very buttery mouthfeel!

The Colombia Finca Los Naranjos (mainly Castillo variety) is located in the Cauca region. It is a region known for volcanic soils and high altitude farms, so expect a very hard bean with good sweetness.
We think this combination works really well with fresh full milk. Try to keep your shots restricted; this way your caps and flats will come out way better. Good luck

Monday, November 23, 2015

EK 43 Espresso's on the Menu

Finally, - since the 5th of November -, after 5 months of testing, we have the new menu running.

2 weeks later we may say it is a big hit.

Getting the EK (as we call the grinder) in the line up for all clean espresso shots - we mean as a coffee to drink pure - is the biggest change in our bar for the last 3 or 4 years.

A small look on the history of espresso making at Caffenation, or elsewhere.

2003 We start at Caffenation with an old Gaggia machines and 2 Santos grinders.
We didn't know much about how espresso should taste like.

In the years 2004-2008 we get our game plan enrolled along as how a Barista pulls his/her shots in a competition :
Cleaning of the portafilters shot after shot.
Flushing of the group heads every time again
Clean machines and work stations
Grinding on demand
Tamping the grounds
and (not in Championships) Using Teflon Portafilters

Every step was a big step forward. And every step again my Barista's were wondering what the gain was. I have to admit that it wasn't always so easy to measure. Also because our coffee's in those days were not as clean as they are today, and for sure roasted a whole lot darker.

In November 2008 we bought our first La Marzocco. Finally we paired our technique to a supreme coffee machine and with the newly bought Anfim on demand grinders we were heading bit by bit to coffee nirvana.
In 2010 we started roasting ourself. We roasted lighter, brought the water temperature lower and started to experiment more and more with naked portafilters.

In May 2012 we moved our main bar to the current location - Mechelsesteenweg - and changed the coffee menu seriously.
Before this we made 2,5 to 3 cl espresso and had a separate grinder for ristretto's.

At the Mechelsesteenweg we only served 4cl doubles made with a naked portafilter.
When we had combined orders of a ristretto, espresso and a doppio espresso, we served 3 times the same drink, as discribed above.
Most espresso lovers understood the system and bit by bit we even reduced them towards 3-3,5cl or appr 33grams of weight espresso - crema included. This was sometimes very complex and even a bit too ristricted for espresso but surely gave better 'milk drinks'.

And here's where the problem is situated in most of the bars. There's a grinder and a machine for espresso making, but it needs to grind and extracts for two different type of beverages - the black ones and the ones with milk.
Of course it's possible some type of espresso is perfect for both goals - drinking clean or with milk, but most often it's a stradlle we can't make.

When reading about the EK 43 experiments and with particular enthusiasm about the higher TDS compared to traditional coffee grinders, which resulted in a higher and better tasting extraction yield, we started to research this for ourself.
Here an interesting post about this subject. (m perger)
And here. (m colonna)

The whole idea : You can extract more, without getting over-extracted flavours when using a Mahlkonig EK 43 grinder. 
In total it took 3 different versions with all different burrs and settings and in total 2,5 years (with intervals of course) of research.
In a later post we talk more about settings and techniques
Today our menu and the new way of serving espresso.

Since 8,5 years we serve single origin espresso's, but always as some kind of back up for the main blend(s).
We respected early adaptors of the concept with only SOE coffee a lot - think, for Belgium, Kolonel Koffie, Broer Bretel, Viggo's, Superette, etc - but not all of them succeeded. Sometimes it didn't work for the milk drinks or sometimes the clients did not understand the concept. But now in 2015 i guess people are more and more aware that it is much more interesting to drink a single origin espresso in stead of a blend. See it as a Single Malt Whisky vs a Blended/Normal Whisky. Or a bottle of specific wine from a specific farm vs a 'table wine'. Or a single origin chocolate vs a plain chocolate bar. If you give people the choice between something specific with a story or something generic; people prefer the first one.
In the 3 comparisons above you can argue that the single is much more expensive than the blend, but in coffee it doesn't have to be like that. Or at least it should't make a big difference.
We sell singles a bit more expensive, but that's because we do 40+ different onces a year and there's a lot of work involved in the finding, investing, stocking, roasting and then communications and techniques to get all the flavours out. Plus we push hard to get our hands on exclusive specialty lots, which isn't always easy.

Briefly we changed the menu and when you come in and ask for an espresso or a double espresso we serve you the single origin coffee of the moment. And that one is prepared - this is the whole point of this post - with a Mahlkonig EK 43 grinder.
For best results we increased the volume towards 45 grams for a double and serve it in an open (cappuccino) cup. There's a lot of drinking here, but where i had problems finishing a double ristretto pulled with a naked portafilter, i have no problems finishing this one.
The mouthfeel is smoother, we taste more details and the cooling down is a whole lot better.
And most of all we have way less problems with these typical 'metalic' tastes you sometimes encounter when making espresso's with light roasted beans.

Of course this way of making coffee is showing all nuances so perfectly that a less clean coffee is sacked very quickly. So high cupped clean cut beans needed.

The Limu Burka Gudina we have on the grinder since today is such a coffee. It sometimes takes a while to dial in the grinder (and machine) when a new coffee has landed, but once we found the recipe - 2 barista's start 15' earlier every day to focus on this - we can't believe why it took so long to make these changes.

Oh yes, to finish of i want to tell the fans of our Mr LGB blend (or Roast ED) that they don't have to panic. We use them for our caps and flat whites, so when politely asked we still serve you this great cup of joe, no worries. It's not that there's something wrong with these kind of coffee's, we just think those new 'EK shots' are something more tasty and spectacular.

ps : don't confuse these type of espresso's with coffee shots. These last type of coffees is something different and probably on our summer menu of 2016.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

90+ Coffees

One post a month is not enough, i know.
But maybe that coffee book i'm writing is a good excuse....

A little word on coffee cupping now.
Coffee cupping is not only a funny thing to do, it is the corner stone of our business and it should be so for every coffee roaster and even every barista. Here's where you learn a lot about your bean and the best way to sharpen your taste buds.

The scoring we give is a big controversial item though.
What cupping sheet are you using?
And are you trained to really understand this sheet and do you have enough reference coffees in mind to give it a proper score?

We, as a company, do not want to give cupping scores on paper. Every roast, brew is different and the coffee is changing over time as well. What is worth a cupping score for a coffee that came in 4 months ago? For example; maybe there's a hot summer in between which influenced the green coffee quality drastically....

We do give cupping scores in our head all the time though and the magical figure we all want to score is 90+.
A 90+ coffee is not just a coffee anymore, it's a gem. A truly clean cup that makes a lot of bells ringing in our head.
I cup 600+ coffees every year, and buy around 35 of them. Another 5 i buy blind; sometimes you have to act fast and take risks to get your hands on some small lots and highly wanted coffees - of course there's always someone who cupped these for us and recommended them, like a coffee trader you're familiar with.
For these 40 coffees we buy every year, almost all of them can be called Specialty Coffee, but only a couple are scoring 90+.
Some people who are start roasting think it's easy to buy these high scoring coffees, but there are a lot of 'buts' in this story.

First of all are some of these coffees very expensive. And are they worth the price? We are not the type of company to pay double the price for one point more on a cupping scale, no thanks.

Then the high scoring coffees are very wanted. The bigger roastery's have more money and are able to buy the full lot. They are often longer in business and have better contacts, up to origin.

Imagine you finally are able to buy them, then you need to be able to roast them and help people to brew them so you can get all the flavors out of it. A little over or under roasting and a bit sloppy on the executing at the bar, bad water or unclean tools and your coffee drops 5 points in a flash...

The end this story i have to warn people that cupping is the best tool to evaluate coffee samples and it is the best tool to test your roasts, but it's always light roast coffees we cup. When roasting the same coffee darker, for espresso, and later pull shots we have at once a different coffee.
Think very clean, subtle and bright tasting beans; they do not translate very well on espresso. Like those zesty Kenyan coffees that give so much acidity in your espresso that you think someone added lemon juice to you cup.
Saying this we notice in 2015 more and more of this type of beans that, once roasting carefully and brewed with the right equipement and skills are bringing gold in our cups. Very interesting times if you ask me.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Ethiopia 2015

Yes, i'm back.
Due to hard work and the fact i put all my writing energy in my coffee book, - should be written by the end of next week...- i didn't do some blogging for a while.

There was a lot to talk about though and one day i will.

But today we stick to Ethiopia.

As you all know, we are big Ethiopia coffee lovers. About 35 to 40 procent of our annual coffees come from the birth land of arabica.
But not so this year.

Why not?
Well, because of 2 reasons.
The first one is the price. For years Ethiopian coffee has been price way below the value. Last year we were able to buy top notch Ethiopians (cupping 86-88 points!) for 5/6 euro's a kilo. This year we pay 8 for the same quality. On our total volume this means easily 40000 euro's of extra costs if we would stick with the same type of coffees and prices. Seen the fact some of the Ethiopian coffees goes into blends on which we have less margin, we had to replace them with some with more conventional Ethiopia or other origins.

Second reason is very simply, because of the quality.
It isn't difficult to find a good Ethiopian, but very difficult to find a superb one.
Main reason is the lack of acidity (and floral touch) in the cup this crop year.
For espresso roasting it's a relatively easy affair. We need less acidity. And so we bought a good amount of Sidamo's this year - Guji, Conventional, ...
But almost no Yirgacheffe.

We are in September and finally we have a couple of very nice Ethiopian coffees entering the warehouse. Hunkute, Biftu Gudina, Suke Quto Pulped Natural.
Again no Yirgs, but quality it is. Although very expensive. 11 tot 13 euro's a kilo. This almost sounds like Cup Of Excellence coffee prices.

Probably the Specialty Scene finally found the tasty stuff and this raised price.

Hoping for a better crop and more Yirgacheffe's next year.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Blogging News

Never been blogging less then this month.
But there are good reasons for this.
First of all i've been bloggin about all our new singles on this blog :

And secondly I'am writing a coffee book.
Sorry for the English minded, cause i'm writing it in my mother language, Dutch.

When and what will be known soon. :-)

Any news for now?

Yes of course.

We think Guatemala is the nicest origin for this summer.

We are working hard to get our EK43 ready for pulling our clean espresso shots soon. It is sooooo different and our machine doesn't have the newest software yet, so it'll need a while before we can give it a go.

New staff at Caffenation that needs to be introduced.

New art at our walls soon. By Ana Jaren.

New Caffenation Dealers. I need to update our site. 7 real dealers ready by August. That's a lot!

An article in the pipeline about the incredible Pullman Tampers - unbeatable!!

And some info on other new gear...

See you soon. Nice Holiday's.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Mister LGB Summer 2015

We have equal parts of 
Ethiopia Sidamo Guji grade 1
Guatemala Huehuetenango Finca Isnul
Costa Rica Tarrazu Monte Canet Estate

All 3 washed coffees and each one of them specially picked for a good reason:

The first part is from our favourite coffee origin Ethiopia and a super clean grade 1 pick. This Sidamo grown coffee has low acidity and an excellent mouthfeel. The Guji came in First place in our Top 5 Espresso ranking 2014!
The Costa Rica Monte Canet is another Caffenation classic and it's 4th year already. The coffee has lighter body, but more brightness and fruity tones.

The Finca Isnul was is the Mr LGB Spring2 already and well appreciated for its spices, body and low acidity. This bean binds the two other coffees to ensure stability in the cup.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Chemex : Where it started and where I am now

More than 8 years ago this post was my 5th ever.
Meanwhile a lot of things happened and both coffee and Caffenation are now in a totally different phase.
But the Chemex is still there. What happened with it after all those year though?

8 years ago the Chemexes i bought were probably unique in Belgium.
And i started to make my coffees with this brewer time after time, to end up ... frustrated. I could not understand what to like about the Chemex, except for its look.
Of course in those days, (filter) coffee brewing was a new experience, and a totally different texture and taste than the espresso, lungo or americano we were used to drink.

When in 2009 Scott Rao launched his book with a big chapter on extraction ratio's, we were all quickly understanding this would change our view on coffee dramatically.
And at the same time he was so negative about the Chemex, the whole 3rd wave coffee change was shaking on its feet.
Read this very interesting discussion on, between Rao, Thompsen, Hoffmann, Piccolo and others.

After my negative experiences prior to this discussion i gave my Chemex to a friend. I was on the side of the non-believers.

Bit by bit the Chemex became more popular - see this photo underneath from a popular Horeca shop, Hanos, that stocks the Chemexes today, to my surprize - and bit by bit i was ready to restart experimenting with the brewer again.

And here is when it all starts to become more interesting. Most striking in this whole story and discussion is that we did not specify enough what type of Chemex we used. When checking out the 6 and 8-cup Chemexes i noticed an enormous difference between these big ones and the 3-cup Chemex, i started with in 2007.
If you would use approximately the same pour over technique on both models - stating both the 6 and 8 cup are seen as the big model - the outcome is very different.
The Small Chemex is extracting shorter and give way less body and bitters and more acidity.
The Big Chemex is slower, with more body, sweetness and less acidity.

In general i found the brews from small ones very often under extracted and the big ones over extracted.
As most people i forgot about the small ones and started training on the bigger version.
Very often the problem was that it started of really well the first 2 minutes or so, but then we had 2 problems to fight with. One was the fact the Chemex is sucking itself vacuum too fast. Having the triple layer of filter on the pouring side was helping a bit.
Second and biggest problem is the fact - and here Scott Rao is right - that too much of the coffee grounds got squeezed in to the bottom part of the filter and this is not capable of letting the water through fast enough. All the coffee and water is sitting there and with some bad luck your extraction quickly goes up to 5, 6 minutes or more.

Best tips to avoid over extraction is to grind coarser but most of all not using this brewer for large brews. I know it looks like you can make 0,6 up to 1 liter of coffee with the Chemex, but don't go there. To my opinion it is not capable of brewing stable when you go over the 0,5 liter mark.
But even staying low is not always helping and way too often my Chemex brews are unstable. Over the years i have been cursing so often at it, i started to loose my trust in them.

When a couple of years ago Hario launched a similar type of brewer, the V60 Dripper Decanter, i had, on my first usage, the cup right where i wanted it. That was the day i gave my 6-cup Chemex to a friend.

With no Chemexes in the house and less Chemexes around it felt like we could bury the discussions we were in for over 7 years.

In 2014 we were called in by the famous and one of a kind restaurant In De Wulf in Dranouter Belgium to have a look at their filter coffee.
I was deeply impressed by the chef's cooking skills and we helped him with his coffee at his Superette resto project in Gent. But the filter coffee i had at In De Wulf 2 years prior was not to my liking. Old coffee, dark roasted and a brew that lost all of its freshness by keeping it too long in the pot.
Now they were ready to serve 3-cup Chemex, with fresh roasts from Mok and/or Caffenation.

Ok, so Jens from Mok, Valentine from Superette - who organized this project! - and me were testing some coffees in Small and Big Chemex brews.
And i was pleasantly surprised by the small Chemex brews. It had less dept and body, but great refinement and freshness.
I  noticed at Caffenation, and we follow a bit the world wide trend on this, we make our espresso's stronger and more complex and our filter coffees lighter and more refined, over the last couple of years. I don't want to judge too hard on other desires or preferences, this is just how it feels right to us; it is a personal thing.

Now we are 1 year into brewing Chemex at this great restaurant and we have the 3-cup back on the shelf in our shop and on my own kitchen work table.

So almost 8 years it took to finally embrace this awkward looking coffee brewer with funky filters.

I feel that there's still a lot to experiment, but this is the way i work with the 3-cup now :

Folding the filter is still the same way as i always did it, although i put more pressure when folding it.
Then you have to brew with a minimum of 300 grams and a maximum of 360 grams of water, of which appr 15 grams stays in the grounds at the end of the brewing cycle.
I heat up the water to 90 degrees in a kettle with a fine spout.

Of course i rinse the filter paper first, meanwhile heating up the vessel/brewer.
Then i bloom with 10% of my water and leave it for 15" blooming.
Then i pour half of the water slowly in circles in the middle of the filter.
When it lowers a bit i tend to slowly add the rest of my water. I always stay in the middle.

This morning i had a total brewing time of 2 minutes and 30".

Conclusion : The Chemex is very nicely designed coffee brewer that can be the perfect tool for your coffee at home, work or in a professional environment, but it's a tricky one.
Your grind, water temperature, ratio and pouring technique need to be just right, to get the all the nice things in your cup and the bad out of it.
First train your taste buds, then your brewing skills and this could work out just fine.

If you feel it's too much of a hassle and complicated, you better go immediately to a Hario V60, Kalita flat bed, Aeropress or even Clever dripper.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Inspirational vid

With good old Jean and a sparkling Isabelle. Next stop : Gothenburg.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Flat White 2015

This is what i wrote 3 years ago :

All over the world the Flat White is on the rise. There are a lot of different recipes and stories about this drink, but all around i see the double ristretto based cappuccino, size approximately 18cl-6oz, becoming the favourite drink of the new generation.
The 1 oz espressoshot became a double ristretto, very strong, high on acidity and very siropy. The milk is fresh and steamed at +/-60 degrees. The mugs mostly brown or white and from Italian origin. The equipment is somewhat more flexible

And what do we see now april 2015 : The Flat White is (almost) the most dominant drink in the Specialty Bar in the big cities in Western Europe.

The figures are up. We prep 5 times more FW's than 3 years ago and it's closing in on our number 1 drink 'the cappuccino'.
We still use 20cl cups - Nuova Point.
The milk is super fresh milk from a local farm - Hollebeeckhoeve.
And the coffee - mostly a tad too acidic to drink clean - more concentrated (we use 3,2 cl double shots). This gives us a way better mouthfeel. Water and milk are enemies and the less water we use, the better the marriage between both. And an improved mouthfeel.
Also we get a darker coffee which gives us more contrast in the Latte Art. Yes!

Wanneer je groene koffie te kopen? (Dutch)

Het is vrij moeilijk om te zeggen welke koffie wanneer op zijn best is.
Een oogst kan wat vroeger of later uitvallen.
De koffie kan minder goed bewerkt of verpakt of bewaard zijn. 

Bijvoorbeeld in de winter blijven onze 'groene' bonen (dus ongebrand) langer op smaak dan in de zomer. 

Maar het belangrijkste is toch de origine.

Wanneer je start met een boon waar meer smaken in zitten is het logisch dat er ook meer over blijft. 
En sommige origines houden gewoon langer hun smaken - meestal komt dit door betere processing.
Ons grootste nadeel is dat we starten met heel clean cups die we ook licht branden en dan subtiel zetten. Dit betekent een koffie die een pak zuiverdere smaak heeft dan we in de markt gewoon zijn, maar waar je ook de fouten snel in terug vindt, en dat kan bv de veroudering zijn. 
Wanneer dit gebeurd spreken we van 'woody' flavors. 

Kenya en Ethiopia kan je meestal tot 1 jaar bewaren nadat ze verpakt zijn. 
In Latijns of Zuid Amerika blijven Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala en soms Mexico lang goed.
Brazilië - veruit de grootste producent ter wereld met 40% aandeel - is middelmatig. 
Colombia en Indonesië bewaart, uit mijn eigen ervaring, het slechtste. De te snelle en slordige processing ter plaatse lijkt de voornaamste oorzaak voor dit fenomeen....

Hier een overzicht wanneer we welke origine kopen, over een jaar gezien :

Eerste kwartaal vh jaar (dus januari, februari, maart) : 
Ethiopia en Kenya van hun Late Harvest/Fly crop van het vorige seizoen.
Rwanda en Burundi zijn dan heel vers.
Brazilië Late Harvest. 
Panama lukt ook nog en meestal krijgen we ook een prima Indonesische koffie binnen. 
Colombia piekt nu. 
Tanzania kan ook werken als ze ginder weer niet te traag zijn. Deze origine wordt ook snel woody.

Tweede kwartaal :
Feest met de komst van verse oogsten uit Ethiopië en Kenya!!
Vanaf mei komt ook Costa Rica en Guatemala binnen.
Colombia blijft interessant omdat ze het hele jaar door oogsten. En nu nog grote volumes. 
In juni komt nieuwe topoogst Indonesië toe, maar specialty volgt later pas. 

Derde kwartaal : 
Ethiopia en Kenya op volle kracht.
De rest uit Latijns Amerika komt toe : El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, ....
Makkelijkste kwart vh jaar.

Vierde kwartaal : 
Nieuwe oogsten Peru en Brazilië landen. Maar niet makkelijk om daar tasty koffie's te kopen. Om verschillende redenen.
Panama blijft heel interessant.
Nieuwe oogsten Burundi en Rwanda komen mogelijk al toe tegen einde jaar. 
Mexico wordt het laatste geoogst en kan prima in vierde kwart.
Heel cleane en goed verpakte Latijns Amerikaanse koffie's kunnen nog zeker.
Ethiopië blijft scoren en de laatste jaren kochten we onze beste Kenya's het laatste kwart. 
Ook alternatieven uit Zuidelijker gelegen Afrikaanse landen kan nu : Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Cold Brew Goes Nitro

No, this is not a stout. This is a fresh Stumptown Cold Brew Nitro.

We are on it as well, of course. :-)
But What Stumptown does now looks fantastic.

Click here for their website and the funny clip to launch their Nitro cans.

And here for the story.

Soon, i hope to test it myself. Curious.

Monday, April 27, 2015

2 years La Marzocco Linea PB

Not exactly 2 years, but we are not so far off.

We can say after 2 years it's the most rock solid and precise espresso machine we ever had.

General settings :
1 second pre infusion
2 seconds hold
260 units water (for a double shot - naked porta filter)
91 degrees PID

In 2 years we installed the same machine at Beanoteca, Livingstone, The Village, Fanny's en De Superette. And everybody happy so far.
Maybe it's lacking the possibilities of the Strada, but with 8 different Barista's rocking 'the boat', i prefer this one for sure.

What did we change?
We have a GS3 steam tip on the left.
A triple Vortex knife tip on the right.
The newest LM shower screens.

and now we want the new soft ware on it (easier to copy recipes).

Thanks Piero Bambi.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Brand New Roaster : Giesen W30A

When Jeff and I first moved to Wilfred to test this new machine of him, and that was exactly 1 year ago, we were really impressed.

The W30A is not just a step up from the 15 kg roaster we first had, no it's a totally different ball game all together.
Where the 6 and 15 are shop roasters, this one is an industrial roaster.

With much heaver elements, but also a much stronger engine, a double exhaust and a turbo cooler that sounds like it's going to give the machine some wings and fly up.
More information on the machine here.

We had some issues with the gas the first 2 weeks, but besides of that we get an improved result in flavor already.
The basic materials are much heavier of course, but relatively the same as it always was. More advanced it gets when you take a look at the Control Tower. You can adjust almost everything into the smallest detail. The electronic boards inside look more like it needs to steer an electrical plant than a coffee roaster.

Luckily the roasting itself it not that complicated, although we are still in research how to handle it exactly and how many kilo's we can roast at a time.

Soon more photo's of the roaster and for those who want to see the machine can always let us know and drop by for a visit.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Belgian Aeropress Championship 2015 : Results

A crazy crown, wonderful coffees and Jeff who won the cup; that is basically the story of the championships .... for the last 3 years.

We had a record high 25 aeropressers on the roster! Barista's, home or professional, from all over the country traveled to Antwerp last Sunday to compete for the prestigious price of becoming Belgium's best Aeropresser.
Knowing that the Belgian competitor made it to the World final each of the last 5 World championship - with 3 wins, it means a lot of top class coffee masters at work.

The coffee was the Rwanda Gakenke Muyongwe, gracefully donated by 32cup and roasted in Antwerp at the Caffenation Roastery.

The judges were imported from Amsterdam and Paris and were very pleased by what they cupped.
And the best cup was, once again, made by Jeff Verellen.
Of course he was the man everyone expected, but still a big hand for how consistent he works his way through the heats and semi final, to press his best cup in the finals.
It tasted like a perfect candy and maybe the best coffee we ever had in this competition.

Here the recipes from 3rd Place, Roeland Rypens, a non-professional who made it all the way up to the bronze aeropress!. 2nd Yf Feller, working as Barista and Roaster for Labath, Gent. And 1st Jeff Verellen, Head Roaster at Caffenation and representing Belgium at the WAC in Seattle, USA.

Roeland, 3rd :
Sort out coffee beans (discard pales, damaged beans,...)
Fill Bonavita kettle with 500gr of filtered water in from Bunn ( 93°) leave lid off), filter by Brita PPM 150
Load paper filter in cap and rinse thoroughly
Grind 24 gr Coffee ( Grind 5 on Mahlkonig EK43)
catch grinds with paper cup and transfer them into other paper cup ( fines & chaff sticks to walls)
Add 23 gr coffee beans in the Aeropress in inverted position
Pour 10 sec until 45 grams.
Let beans bloom for 28 seconds
Pour 15 seconds until 235 grams of water weight.
Stir twice
Screw cap into place
Let coffee settle for 80 seconds
Clean the Cupping bowl
Flip aeropress carefully
Press slowly 35 seconds
Stop pressing when air makes the grinds visible
Avoid pressing air & oils through
Make sure no particles have landed in the cupping bowl.
Ready to serve!

Yf, 2nd :
Grind 17,75 grams 'cupping grind' - relatively course
Bang the fines out with a Espro filter
Take a double paper filter and pre wet with very hot water and level it
Get some Spa Blue up to 78 degrees
Bloom 50 ml for 30", in a 'cold' aeropress
Pour 30", while breaking the crust, up to 250 ml total
Keep the aeropress positioned on a 'cold' glass server
Put the plunger in and pull it slightly back up to prevent dripping
Then press 30" til the 'crema' is just above the grounds
Serve in a non-heated cupping bowl

Jeff, 1st :
-Picking out odd beans, sours, damaged, chipped, lights.
-Charge a pvc tube of about a meter with static, wear a lot of wool or rub a scarf on it, wear rubber soles.
-After grinding I sent the grinds trough the PVC tube, see that you don't lose your static. (Removes chaff and some ultra light particles)
-Sieve, I still use a Sowden mesh. Try to only sieve the ultra fines (dust) this removes bitterness, makes the bloom a lot easier(!).

Spa water with about 50 milligram of added magnesium.

Core recipe:
Aeropress in regular mode.
A cold receptacle, a dash of cold water in it //20 grams.
18 grams grounds prepared coffee (see above)
Bloom at 84c for 30 seconds or till wet grounds just hardened up. //40 grams of water
Get water at 80c pour and re-wet slowly (about 20 seconds) all the grinds //100 grams
Top up with water at 76c, just pour in the middle, no agitation, as slow as possible (about 40 seconds) //130 grams
Plunge very slow, here is where you can calibrate your grinder, about 3,5 to 4 kg max should you press, anything above that and I would grind coarser.
Don't push too far - it may not make any 'hissing' sound

thanks wouter for the photo's

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Mister LGB Spring (2015)

50% Ethiopia Sidamo Shilcho, 25% Kenya Nyeri Mihuti PB, 25% Colombia Narino Piedra Blanca

The new Colombian crop is pleasing us and this Narino coffee is a super clean Castillo variety bean, but we miss some acidity and sweetness.
That’s why we are heading back to Africa. The Sidamo Shilcho is the basis of this Spring blend. Mild & Sweet, great mouthfeel and this typical Ethiopian touch.
The Kenya brings brightness and acidity into play. It’s a clean Nyeri Peaberry bean - SL28&34 mix - that blends well with the other components.
General brewing advise : keep the machine relatively low in temp (plus minus 91°c), don’t grind too fine and push extraction towards the 30”.
And, oh yes, this coffee loves fresh and nicely textured milk like no other.

Friday, March 6, 2015

COE 2015 : Burundi Kayanza Nemba Lot 11

Yes, Cup Of Excellence is back in town.
This year we have one from Burundi, now on the shelf as our Filter of the Week!!

Click it here for more info.

Friday, February 27, 2015

BAC Poster and Competitors

Here the 27 competitors at BAC 5 :

Jurgen Desmet (independent)
Paul Chambers (independent)
Isabelle Verschraegen (Independent -Vice champ in 2014)
Joke Deconinck (Caffenation)
Emiel Rymenans (Caffenation)
Yara Hidskens (Caffenation)
Charlene De Buysere (Or - BAC champ 2011)
Jeff Verellen (Caffenation - defending champ)
Sofie Nys (32 cup - Bronze in 2014)
Tom Kuyken (Labath)
Yf Feller (Labath)
Brett Broothaers (Labath)
Elke Vandeper (independent)
Mango (Cuperus)
Valentine Wanders (De Superette)
Chloe Kremer (Verocaffé)
Kris Van Guyse (Noir)
Tim Willems (Kofica)
Tim Jensen (Viggo's)
Jens Crabbé (Mok)
Michel Stegen (Mok)
Laurent Lefevre (CDS)
Danny Calders (Kofica)
Vincent Bruyninckx (independent - BAC champ 2012)
Roeland Ruypens (independent)
Loic Installé (independent)
Francois Lafontaine (Café du sablon)

Judges :
Kim Staelman (SCAE)
Jonatan Scheeper (Head First Roasters)
Boaz Bosboom (Trabocca)

Sponsors :
32 Cup

Monday, February 9, 2015

Mr LGB Winter2

Same type of melange as the last time. We’re in the coldest months of the year and waiting for new crop coffees to arrive. 
And as always Colombia with early arrivals! This Finca Las Mercedes is a real fat bodied cup with smooth mouthfeel and nice spices.
See it as an improved Pulped Natural Yellow Bourbon.
The Korate is a Sidamo and again a Grade 1 picking. Less defects means cleaner cups and that’s what you may expect. So overall more of the same as Winter 1, but less acidity and a bit more body. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Coffee Reviews

There are dozens of places where they review coffees, but the worlds best known is

Except for a rare exception we talk of course about Single Origin Coffees.

They review a lot of coffees, but only US roasted stuff.
I also think their scores are a tad too high to be true, but it gives already an idea about the beans.

And countries.

If you look at their Top 30 of last year we notice Ethiopia and Kenya with 7 entries each. Duh! Just what we expect, and for European roasters who get their hands easier and faster on those African 'gems' we would percentage wise probably see even more of them.
Panama, Nicaragua and Colombia scored well last year, and this could be right. We noticed great crops in these country's, while Costa Rica, Honduras, Peru, Mexico, Guatemala and others had not their best year.

Nice to see one Brazil in there, Fazenda Rainha, exactly the one Brazilian Fazenda we liked most this year. Their Pulped Naturals are rated very highly by us, although this one was a natural!!

Here a link to our fav coffees of last year.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Belgian Aeropress Championship is celebration it's 5th anniversary!!!

And this on March 15. That's a Sunday.

And we'll do a day full of coffee fun.

We open the joint around 10 for all competitors (27) to start training.

At 11 we have a meeting with judges and competitors about the rules and the planning of the event.

At noon we start competing :
9 legs of 3 pressers.

Then 3 semi finals of 3 pressers.

Then 1 final with 3 pressers.

The end should be around 16h.

We'll have black coffees and beers and some food.

The competitors pay a €20 entrance fee. This guarantees them of a price.

There are serious prizes for top 3 participants.
With a Seattle flight for the winner, if this person is willing to represent the country at the next World Championships in this city at the beginning of April. (in between 9 & 12).

Sponsors of this years event are Limarc Coffee Hardware, 32 Coffee Merchants, Coffee Hit online shop, Aerobee.

3 judges will come down all the way from The Netherlands.

On this moment there are still a couple of spots available for those interested....
mail me

Later on we'll announce the coffee, rules and names of competitors

CU there.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Mr LGB Winter 2015

The idea of our Mr LGB blend is having 2 (or 3) fully washed coffees, for clean and bright cups.
This Winter version is very well balanced, cause it has a nice creamy mouthfeel on top. 
And it loves milk!!

Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Konga Sedie (60%):
The small farmers that live in the Konga area bring their coffee to the Sedie station. On average, each farmer owns 2 hectares of land. Besides growing coffee, all of them have some additional subsistence crops. Some of them raise cattle as well. Acacia, Podocarpes and Cordial Africana trees are also grown on the land to provide shade for the coffee plants. All the picked cherries are processed at the Sedie station and then stored in a local warehouse before they are transported to Addis Ababa.

Colombia Huila Iquira Castillo (40%):

Iquira is a municipality located in the Huila Department in Colombia in the center West of the country. This part of the country has been difficult to travel to over the last ten years and is still a little dicey and pretty remote. Coffees from here, when done right, are very spectacular though.
Farmers in this region have slightly larger farms than most in the south, sometimes 10-15 hectares of land. They pick, pulp, ferment and dry their coffee on raised beds with parabolic covers. They tend to work similar varietals, some old, some relatively old and some new but the style is pretty much the same.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Top 5 Coffees of 2014

Yearly we list the best coffees we roasted and brewed.
It was a great year with 40 different Single Origin Coffees!!! We are proud we serve this wide variety of beans and flavors. We don't like to eat the same food all the time, or drink the same wines every week; change keeps the appetite high we think.

It's not always easy to keep the quality high though, with such a diversity, but after lots of years of practicing we get it in our fingers. And the help of all those hard working Ethiopians. In 2013 we only bought 1 grade 1 screening, now we had plenty and this you can taste.

Ton loads of fantastic Ethiopian this year!!! 12 in total, with 11 from the 13/14 crop. That's one a month and totally deserved. Even more, we don't understand why other roasting company's buy a lot of more expensive, but average, 'Centrals' in stead of a washed Yirgacheffe or Sidamo coffees. Even conventional labeled Yirgacheffes cupped higher than some award winning Central or South American coffees!
And Kenya on filter of course. Nothing beats the bright fruity cups from Nyeri or Kirinyaga.

For the upcoming year we heard a lot of good on the Ethiopia and Kenya crop, so expect to get us going into the same direction.
This year Rwanda and Burundi beans seem to suffer less from potato disease, and the latest Brazils and Colombian look very promising.

FILTER TOP 5 OF 2014 :
1) Kenya Nyeri Gikirima : Super clean, tomato acidity, melon and of course sweet sweet sweet.
2) Ethiopia Sidamo Guji Grade 1 : Silky, caramel, chocolate, prunes, what a coffee!
3) Kenya Kirinyaga Kiangoi : Sweet citrus, mandarin, raw sugar with a touch of vanilla
4) Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Adado grade 1 : Perfectly balanced cup with florals and chocolate notes
5) El Salvador Ilamatepec Finca Fatima : A sweet crowd pleaser

1) Ethiopia Sidamo Guji Grade 1 : coffee of the year.
2) Indonesia Tana Toraja Washed PB : Sesame, prune, hazelnut, plenty of body and spices.
3) Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Microlot Moplaca Natural : body and sweetness, butter and honey. Fruity
4) Colombia Huila Iquira Castillo : Very creamy and clean cup. Now in our Mr LGB Winter!
5) Costa Rica Tarrazu Monte Canet Estate : Full bodied clean cup with notes of marsepan.
split with El Salvador Finca La Alpina Pacamara : mighty big bean with smoked accent and a chocolate undertone

Who want to read more about all of these coffees, best click here to discover more about most of our coffees from the last 26 months.

And to keep you at the front end of your seat :
Next upcoming Ethiopian coffee and base for Mr LGB Winter 2 :
Ethiopia Sidamo Korate Grade 1  : pipe tobacco, subtle acidity, waffles and mild

and again a Burundi Cup Of Excellence coffee, yes!