Yet again Josefin and I are going to work for Paul Pratt and cafelat, we are looking forward to seeing everyone in London and have already started counting down the days!
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Friday, November 20, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
The city of Rome is simply amazing! Rich cultural experiences are truly overwhelming; history, architecture, art, food and of course coffee … The Romans claim that their coffee is among the best in Italy and are very proud of their long espresso history. With such high statements I had to put the Italians to the test and discover the coffee for myself.
Looking from the “new wave” of espresso brewing, I would describe espresso in Rome rather old fashioned due to lack of care. Baristas don’t strive to perfect the coffee, it is made with speed and lack of attention hence the word “espresso”. Simple steps like wiping the basket, flushing the machine, cleaning the steam wand and so on - seem to be the thing of the future?!?!?! Having said that, the experience from my visit is unforgettably rewarding, so here are my picks …
This is a brand new pasticeria and espresso bar offering a large variety of designer pastries and gelati. At the back of the shop they have a brand new la marzocco linea, this was the only la marzocco machine that we have come across so were very eager to try the coffee, to my surprise this was the best espresso I’ve had in Rome. Our barista knew a little bit about the coffee and had told us that they actually have 2 locations and do their own roasting on sight, he strongly emphasised that the coffee used was 100% arabica beans. The coffee was fantastic and I strongly recommend making this trip.
We accidently stumbled across this shop and you have to have your eyes open to find it as there are no signs outside, its tucked away on one of the roads close to Circo Massimo and is fairly easy to find if you map it out. Be sure to try their fresh ricotta cannoli it is superb! Their machine plays a big role in espresso quality, as suppose to other espresso bars that use extremely old and worn out machines as part of the overall charm.
Caffe Tazza D'Oro, (Via Degli Orfani 84. (Pantheon))
This is a historic espresso bar that been established in 1946. The walls are filled with various photographs and different coffee bags. This is one of the places that has an active probat coffee roaster. This drum roaster is very old and could well be from the 60’s, they roast in-house few times a week but early in the mornings, so be sure to make it down there early if you want to catch them doing it. There is hardly any ventilation so all the emitted smoke escapes into the room filling the whole place. They have a large selection of coffees in glass silos. The house blend is 100% South American arabica coffees. The place certainly has its charm with a lot of things to see. Standing at the bar and drinking espresso opens up a different espresso culture that is truly unforgettable.
This typical Italian espresso bar is an absolute must to visit for that cultural coffee experience, but don’t get your hopes up about the coffee.
Sant Eustachio Il Caffe, (Piazza Di S. Eustachio)
This espresso bar is mentioned in every coffee guide of the city for its outstanding secret recipe espresso. Sant Eustachio Il is one of the oldest cafes established in 1955 does something different that others don’t do. When you get your espresso the crema is extremely thick and you could stand your spoon in it. This had me guessing for a while what it actually is that they do to the espresso. It is impossible to see as the machines are shielded with screens. Well I worked it out and I am going to blow their secret out into the public.
As soon as the espresso comes out of the machine they add some lightly carbonated water and vigorously whisk it, as a result of that the crema becomes thick. You can try this at home to see the reaction of crema with carbonated water. I suggest to use lightly carbonated water like ferrarelle.
The taste of the espresso is changed also. Espresso itself becomes smoother as it is watered down but the overpowering taste of minerals is not pleasant at all.
I recommend going here and checking this place out. I forgot to mention that their coffee is roasted in a wood oven, don’t really know how they go about doing it as everything seems to be top secret in that place.
Illy Caffe, (Termini Station)
Inside the grand central station we came across a very small illy cafe that was pretty good. Extremely quick service, with a nice breakfast and lunch selection, made this espresso bar our morning pit-stop as we were staying close by. The familiar illy taste didn’t disappoint, smooth and sweet. To my surprise the espresso here tasted much better than many historical espresso bars around town, if you are in the area I suggest to go there, but otherwise its a very good example of standard illy espresso that might not be worth a trip if you are familiar with the taste already.
Caffe Greco, (Via Condotti, 86)
A very famous italian cafe for its inspiration to many poets and artists, its in a top notch location, right by the Spanish Steps so be careful not to sit down otherwise they will charge you 6 EUR for service. The bar is rather tacky with velvet walls and old grandma interior. I didn’t find it charming and the coffee wasn't good at all, pop in if you are in the area, espresso at the bar is 1 EUR.
Gran Caffe la Caffettiera, (Piazza di Pietra)
Old piston machines, was mentioned in few guides so we went there. Its more of a lunch cafe than an espresso bar. Really nothing special, not worth a trip.
Friday, July 17, 2009
So what’s the story behind this olive oil? I have been told that this specific oil comes from an olive grove close to the La Marzocco factory in Florence, Tuscany. Unfortunately I don't really know any more specific details about the olives but I do know that it tastes absolutely delicious. I am not an olive oil specialist by all means, but here are my little tasting notes ...
Visually the oil is quiet murky and dark in colour as it’s not filtered. This olive oil is extremely aromatic with hints of fresh grass and floral senses. The taste strongly reflects in its smell with distinct fruity and herbal like notes. Slight tints of green and zestiness add to the overall balance.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Friday, September 5, 2008
There are 2 different types of ripple tampers, c-ripple and flat ripple. I am playing around with the flat ripple base. For me, the biggest interest in this design was to see if the ripples create any form of channelling, resulting in inconsistent or uneven extractions. As the ripples are perfectly spaced apart the surface after tamping is very much cohesive and even, so as the puck expands onto the showerscreen evenly. Unlike the curved tampers the expansion is almost resemblant to that of a flat base. As I explained in my previous evaluations, curved tampers play a big advantage in my style of tamping and I much rather prefer them.
The pros of this surface is definitely its look, after tamping the puck looks fantastic with awesome wavy patterns, however apart from its look it acts no different to a flat tamper. I would imagine that the c-ripple would be similar to c-flat tamper.
I have found that the more you use the tamper the likelier the chance of coffee getting stuck in the ripples, so I end up wiping the tamper almost every time on my apron to avoid the clogging. It has happened on few occasions especially in the middle of the base.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Congratulations to David Haugaard for winning the first ever AeroPress competition, his claims his success was hidden in the amazing water imported from Wales. David made me a cup of his amazing misty valley coffee that I felt in love with there and then, just superb!
I would love to congratulate everyone at J&N for putting on a great show. For me it was a great time to see all the people that I’ve met at exhibitions and trade shows. I was very surprised and delighted to see Conal from espresso warehouse, everyone had a great time drinking together and shaking it on the dancefloor.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
The changes to the WBC Rules & Regulations, WBC Score Sheets, and WBC scoring system were proposed by, discussed among, and agreed upon by members of all of the WBC committees as well as the WBC Board of Directors. The changes have incorporated feedback from competitors and judges around the world. The changes can be characterized as providing competition baristas with more options and creating less stringent guidelines for WBC requirements in performances, with a greater emphasis on coffee presentation and coffee quality, while continuing to advance the craft of baristas and specialty coffee.
No change has been made to the grinder rule. Competitors retain the option to use the provided WBC sponsor grinder or bring their own grinder.
Previous Version (2007/2008)
New Version (2009)
TECHNICAL SCORE SHEET
Shot times within 20-30 seconds range
Shot times within 3-second variance.
Competitor earns point if extraction times are within 3.0 seconds of each other.
(Shot times of 20-30 seconds is still recommended.)
Tech judges visually evaluated espresso for cappuccino and signature beverage.
Tech judges do not visually evaluate shots. Item removed from score sheets.
Score 0-6 points
Score 0-6 points
Tech judges award points based on competitorʼs workflow during performance including management of station, equipment (grinder, espresso machtools and movement around station.
SENSORY SCORE SHEET
Sugar required as an accessory.
Sugar no longer part of service.
All 4 beverages served simultaneously.
Simultaneous service of beverages no longer required. Competitor may serve beverages to judges when ready. Judges will evaluate beverages when served.
(All four beverages within drink category must be served before moving on to next category.)
SENSORY SCORE SHEET (continued)
Total score calculated by averaging tech scores and adding tech score to each sensory score sheet.
Total points possible: 1012.
Tech points: 356 points (35%)
Sensory points: 656 points (65%)
Scores from each of the six judges are simply added together. Sensory scores weigh more heavily towards total score.
Total points possible: 870.
Tech points: 154 points (18%)
Sensory points: 716 points (82%)
In the event of a tie score, competitor with the most number of 6ʼs on score sheets (sensory and tech) wins tie. If no 6ʼs, then 5ʼs, etc.
In the event of a tie score, competitor with the highest total sensory score for espresso evaluation wins tie. If still tied, moves to cappuccino score, then signature beverage.
- Sensory judges will follow a new protocol for evaluating espresso and cappuccino. (These procedures are detailed in the Judgeʼs section of the WBC Rules & Regulations document).
- Additional language has been added to the Judgeʼs section about “Presentation: Professionalism/Dedication/Passion,” encouraging competitors to create a more engaging presentation with a focus on coffee information.
- Competitors may not use the space below the workstation for storage of wares used during the competition.
- No liquids, of any kind (water, ingredients, etc.) may be placed on top of the espresso machine.
Monday, August 18, 2008
The sugar is no longer needs to be served at the judges table
2.2.1 - H "Espressos must be served to the judges with a spoon, napkin and water."
There is no specific time in which the shots "should" be extracted.
2.2.1 - E "Extraction time is recommended to be between 20 to 30 seconds; however not mandatory."
"Competitors may override the evaluation criteria by giving the judges specific instructions ..."
Score sheets are now added up in one lump sum, rather than average scores
Extraction of both partafilters at the same time is still allowed, so as Stephen did last year you can grind the first one and sit it aside for as long as you want.