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