Friday, December 7, 2007

Copenhagen Espresso Run

visited 29/11/07
I have spent the most amazing days in København. I’ve been treated to an incredible welcome by Klaus and Troels. They told me all the worthy places to visit in town so in my spare time I ran around doing my espresso runs. Here is my take …

The Coffee Collective (Jægersborggade 10) [edited 29/06/08] Is one of the leading and most progressive espresso bars in the world.

Without a question Estate Coffee (Gammel Kongevej 1) is the best espresso bar for quality coffee. They are the only bar in Copenhagen that has a clover. A vast selection of premium single origins is an outstanding way to try something different every day of the week. The clover is tuned nicely, giving maximum flavours into the cup. The espresso was outstanding also, very complex with light acidic and sweet notes and great mouthfeel.

There is much to love about this place especially the coffee, the atmosphere inside is not very welcoming, the staff have been a little distant on few occasions, but if you walk in on the right day you might find your overall experience complete. An absolute must to visit!

Café Europa (Amagertorv 1) stood out also, this café is more about the feel. Old rich heritage of this place really reflects in the interior. The food was fantastic, we had a massive antipasto breakfast with just about everything you could think of on the plate. The coffee was great also and really completed the overall picture. These guys have a very strict theme and are much more serious and professional than Estate. The location is very central so you can't miss it, highly recommend going here. These guys raised 3 out of 4 world barista champions. They are very proud of that fact and display all the trophies above the bar. If you end up going to Europa try their brunch it is outstanding!

Here is a place that deserves a lot of credit for its espresso … Kaffe & Vinyl (Skydebanegade 4) is a cool vintage record shop with a coffee machine. They use estate coffee and pull a double shot every time. The espresso was outstanding. You must make a trip over to them, trust me you will like it.

Risteriet (Studiestræde 36) is a well worthy bar also, they roast their own coffee. The espresso wasn’t all that great unfortunately. Inside the shop you will find the whole range of reg barber tampers so if you are in the market for one, this is the place to see them.

Riccos (Studiestræde 24) – just next door to Risteriet this underground espresso bar doesn’t really offer anything unique but a cool place to go and see, do not have a high expectation to get a decent espresso shot.

Copenhagen espresso run has bee a lot of fun, it is good to see a very high standard of coffee from some of the shops. This is the city that always moves forward and never moves back, it is outstanding to see coffee collective entering the scene, it’s the matter of time before they sign on experienced clients. Unfortunately at this stage there are not many cafes that offer their espresso blend, but like I said its just a matter of time.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Denmark - Country of Barista Champions

As many of you know Denmark has had 4 world barista champions, this factor alone immediately indicates a very high standard of coffee quality. I would like to talk about certain barista champions and what they are up to these days ..

It is really good to see that all past barista champions from Denmark are still involved in the coffee industry.

Martin Hildebrandt (Miami, 2001), I had the opportunity to meet one of the pioneers in barista competition world. He is currently busy managing Europa café, which is located in the heart of Copenhagen. An outstanding espresso bar that raised three World Barista Champions.

Fritz Storm (Oslo, 2002) – I didn’t have the opportunity to catch up with Fritz this time, as he doesn’t live in Copenhagen, he is very busy and involved with lots of trade shows and general barista education.

Troels Poulsen (Seattle, 2005) – Very much involved with Kontra coffee today, Troels is in charge of barista education at Kontra coffee. Troels gave me a very detailed tour of europa café, we got to catch up and talk a lot about coffee. I cannot express how genuinely nice he is. After our little europa experience we ended up at Kontra rostery. I must say that the space that they have is amazing. They occupy 2 levels of space. On the first level you will find anything from domestic single group espresso machines to the most professional toys in the coffee business. On that same level; a big probat roster with a nice cupping room at the back of the facility. Downstairs is mostly education with a nice room with a projector screen and seating as well as few different espresso machines (da la corte and la marzocco). Further down the hall you will find a spacious storage facility with spare parts and miscellaneous wares. This rostery is backed by the owners of europa, a very successful roastery. The roastmaster is Michael a very knowledgeable roaster, on top of things a great gentlemen.

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting kontra coffee rostery, it is good to see that Troels is heavily involved in the coffee industry and doing to great things in barista education and marketing for Kontra . Kontra it is also a shop; you can easily visit their roasting facility without booking an appointment.

Klaus Thomsen (Berne, 2006) – now part owner of coffee collective coffee rosting company. Him and 3 other guys have joined forces to open a pioneer rostery in copnhagen. They all came from estate coffee so have a very high standard in anything and everything. I can without a doubt say that they are one of leading rosters in the industry. These guys are perfectionists in just about everything that they do, very involved in research. I couldn’t help to compare their philosophies to what Tim Wendelboe’s doing in Oslo. The coffee is fantastic, they are not getting ahead of themselves, they only roast few different coffees and absolutely perfect each and every one! You can see their selection on the website. The other great thing is that they try to use direct trade. They are very active in traveling the world in search of best plantations and keep a blog about their ventures, you must check it out. I received very generous welcome from Klaus and the crew. If you are in town in the neat future, you must check this place out as it offers an unforgettable and rewarding experience. As you know we did water cupping at the rostery, feel free to check out my previous post

This blog turned into my experiences at Coffee Collective and Kontra, unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to go to Estate Coffee rostery, but I do hear amazing things about it so if you have time I strongly recommend visiting them too.

Malmö – Sweden Espresso Run

visited 29/11/07

Having spent a lovely afternoon in Helsingborg I was on my way to Malmö which is way south of Sweden. It is roughly 40 minutes away from Copenhagen and the train is connected via a long bridge. Mr Dan Stenqvist was expecting my visit and had already planed out our espresso run for the evening. We went to all worthy espresso bars around town and finished off with a little coffee jam at Solde kaffebar where Dan works. So here is my take on Malmö.

Solde Kaffebar (Regementsgatan 2) was my favourite out of the bunch, we went there last. They employ a very fun, casual approach. Inside there is plenty of space to move around however they keep seating limited, a real traditional corner bar design with high stools. This café changes their house blend once a month. In a way that is a great way to keep regular customers coming back and giving them the opportunity to try different espresso blends and educate their palate. They are very open towards different coffee and do occasionally get traditional Italian blends with robusta portions. The coffee still needs to pass the owners quality examination, so they don’t end up serving complete rubbish for a whole month. I think that this system takes a lot away from the overall consistency of the shop throughout the year, but I will let you make your own mind up. At the end of they year the customers get to vote on which coffee they liked best. Last year David Haugaards blend was the winner, I think they even sent him a trophy.

Right now they are using J&N FTO espresso blend, I am very much familiar with this blend as I got to play around with it few times in Stockholm. I must saw that shots in Malmö tasted completely different; nowhere as good as Stockholm. They are aware of this fact and blame the water I think they need to look into few different filtration systems, perhaps “Water + More” filter would work well.

At the end of the day we had some time to have a little coffee jam and pull some shots, we tried the KOPPI espresso blend that I brought along from Helsingborg. Once again the shots were vastly different. The complex acidity that was very distinct in Helsingbord was hardly noticeable. Again, water is an easy target to blame here.

Lilla Kafferosteriet (Baltzarsgatan 24a) – a very interesting concept espresso bar with a micro-rostery. They are the only espresso bar with a 3 group synesso machine in the whole of Sweden. They also have a very dirty probat roaster, you could see that the cooling trey isn’t cleaned properly as well as various other unclean elements. I want to give theses guys credit for doing what they do as they offer a nice selection of premium single origins and 2 espresso blends. The shots that Dan and I got were extremely hot and burnt my tongue. That machine needs proper temperature tuning! There is absolutely no point having a synesso running at such high temperature. The shots were too hot so that might have been one of the main factors that took away from the overall taste. I found the espresso blend very boring without any striking features.

Te & kaffehuset ( Fersens väg 16) is a domestic equipment shop with a large selection of different coffees. Their primary market is in selling packed coffee. They also have a GB 5 machine that they use for their café part. A very experimental shop using different extraction methods with different coffee beans. Well worth visiting and having a chat with Mattias Sjöbäck , very enthusiastic and knowledgeable owner.

Nesta (Södergatan 22) – a very well designed espresso bar in a stellar location. This place has a very nice vibe about it. They have the best coffee equipment, however the coffee is very much lacking in just about everything. It has a very heavy dose of robusta. The coffee is imported from Italy so freshness could be an issue also. This is the kinda place where you go with your friends to just sit down and chill, not for the coffee unfortunately.

Malmö is a very interesting town with plenty of quality espresso bars that are very capable of pulling good coffee however at the end of the day espresso part of things didn’t really strike me. The main issue here would have to be the water, I think they have to start looking into water science a little further. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dan for his kind hospitality … thanks man!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Visit to Helsingborg – Sweden

Visited: 28.11.07

Located on the south-west coastline of Sweden this small town has something extremely special to offer. As from few months ago this remarkable espresso bar / rostery opened under the name Koppi.

Located in the center part of town this micro rostery is mind-blowing. The space that they have is just remarkable, the design is very simple yet extremely effective. Massive open space with large windows really light the place. Clean working spaces with lots of room to move around and the best toys in coffee business. The roaster and the bar are on different split-levels, making the roaster superimposed from the bar with big glass panels separating the two. The whole place is extremely visual and everything is eye catching.

Brand new 3 group la marzocco linnea along side 3 phase mazzer robour, diedrich roaster are the main features in this barista heaven. Their coffee is extremely good, a well balanced, clean espresso. It was very lively and full of complex flavours. Pleasant mellow acidity, a very aromatic cup with great finish and long aftertaste.

I also had a quick second to visit a small espresso bar called kräm, they use koppi coffee and do a damn good job! They have an elektra coffee machine along side a mazzer major grinder. They know how to treat the machine properly and pull a very decent shot indeed. I recommend visiting kräm!

I cannot tell you how impressed I am about Koppi. It is possibly the best designed espresso bar I have EVER seen. I strongly recommend going to Helsingborg just to visit Koppi and chat with Charles and Anne.

Water Testing with Coffee Collective Crew

This week I had the opportunity to do water cupping with coffee collective crew down at the newly established roastery in Copenhagen.

We had 3 different sources of water and ran a blind cupping session, with 2 different coffees (Kariaini and Finca Vista Hermosa) . We had reverse osmosis filtered water that has been totally purified, bottled Eden spring water and “water + more” tap filtered water which Klaus was particularly interested to test out.

This filter has a four-step filtration system, standard water purity filter, carbon filter (removes odor and bacteria), ion filter (removes calcium) and an extra fine 10 micron purity filter. You can also regulate the bypass. As well as a one-way valve, making it extremely easy to change without having to shut off the main water system. Mind you - this filtration system was especially designed for coffee.

As it was blind cupping we didn’t know which water was which. The difference between the cups was remarkable. The two standouts ended up being the spring water and the “water + more” filtered water. The pure water was simply too boring. Filtered tap water had a little feel of slightly carbonated water with a little bit of mineral sparkle which retained the natural acidity and perhaps enhanced it on the palate. Spring water was outstanding also bringing a lot of natural profiles out of the coffee.

The most remarkable thing about this filter is that it will produce the same results no matter there you are in the world (with proper tuning) providing that well-needed consistency through out clientele that many roasters would like.

We had the opportunity to try unfiltered tap water along side “water + more” filtered water. It is most certainly not drinking water; it almost tastes like flat mineral water due to a high content of CO2. It wasn’t very pleasant to drink but it works fantastic with coffee.

The guys from coffee collective were very happy with this system and are going to introduce it to all their customers, so there is consistency in water quality throughout. Klaus wrote his thoughts about this filter on his blog also, so be sure to check it out.

This cupping session was a real eye opener for me, the water is undoubtedly the most important aspect in quality, and so it is absolutely critical to install the right filtration system to get optimum results.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Copenhagen Visit

Hey Everyone,

Sorry for not being very active. At the moment i am in Copenhagen spending time exploring the city and hanging out with Coffee Collective peeps :) Had some interesting days already, so i will blog all about it in the near future.

Once again sorry for being idol without notice.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunbeam Cafe Series Commercial

Here it is ladies and gentlemen … I give you the cafe series short commercial that will air in Australia very soon.

I will give away a little secret, for this commercial guys at cafe series used 100% robusta beans, its visually much more pleasant!


Friday, November 16, 2007

Meth Coffee

Many people often tell me that I am addicted to coffee, my response to that statement has always been the same: - “I am addicted to the taste of good coffee and the process of making it, not the caffeine content.” I very much stand by that statement. If I don’t have access to quality coffee I can go fine without drinking any odd coffee for the sake of drinking caffeine.

This week I got to try Meth Coffee, the hype behind this coffee is that it gives you a more powerful effect. The blend consists of 100% arabica beans, from what I got told it has 3 different bean varieties: Honduras, Brazil and Guatemala. The guy that I bought the coffee from told me that “The Roaster” wouldn’t give away the actual breakdown. Meth coffee company are very secretive about who is roasting the coffee. They only have an e-shop so it is only possible to order it online.

The company is trying to present this product as if it were a drug. The packaging looks like a home-made laboratory bag with big METH writing on the front. The whole presentation and obscure text on the back of the label didn’t appeal to me at all. The video on the website clearly has drug reference, showing the man going through withdrawals.

Despite the name Meth there are no methamphetamines in this coffee so it doesn’t make you hallucinate or trip out. The only other addition is "Yerba mate" which is a herb from the holly family it contains mateine (psychoactive stimulant) also found in guarana, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.

The espresso itself tasted really revolting! Pale crema absolutely no body. Very unpleasant bitter, sour tangy thin liquid closely resemblant to dirty dish water. As I finished 2 shots of it with my eyes closed I waited for 20 minutes for the extra buzz to kick in. To my huge disappointment I didn’t feel any extra side effects what so ever, just the usual caffeine rush, if anything it made me a little fatigued?!?!?!

I don’t believe that anyone who called themselves a speciality coffee roaster should tamper with coffee this way. The end product should be the taste of origins not the amount of “buzz” your body generates.
I don’t recommend this to any quality coffee drinker.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Coffee of the week: Rwanda Gatsinga

This week I’ve been enjoying fine espresso named after Emmy Gatsinga from Rwanda. It is really something special and very unique in character, like no other coffee from Rwanda.

You will have hard time finding anything about this coffee or Emmy Gatsinga in particular. The only reference I can give you in on David Haugaards blog and it is in Swedish.

Espresso notes:
The roast profile is on the lighter side.
This espresso smelt exactly like piped tobacco, and flavoured apple smoke.
This coffee is all about sweetness and distinct acidity, the main character is lemongrass and straw.
A very clean round finish, long and lingering.

Outstanding in form of espresso, very complex in delicate acidic flavours, for serious coffee drinkers that appreciate single origin coffees.

For limited time you can also enjoy this fine espresso at Raptis Ahlgren in Old Town in Stockholm. Discard the picture on the internet, their cappuccino is much better, you can have my word on it.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Paris Espresso Run

Visited: 6/10/07
Paris has never had a good espresso reputation nor it should! A little bit like Barcelona, everyone is drinking espresso however, generally speaking, it is not at all drinkable. It is impossible to stumble across good espresso unless you know exactly where to go. After doing some research I was left with a very short list.

Soluna Cafés (52, rue de l’Hotel de Ville). This coffee shop and rostery offers a very rewarding experience. Undoubtedly the best place for coffee in Paris, they roast different single estate coffees in small batches daily. The selection is rather vast, a whole wall of choice, a very good selection of South American coffees. The shop owner Gloria has been involved with coffee for a very long time and is very knowledgeable in the field, more so on sensory and enzymatic. Frequently she runs education classes for her customers, which is an amazing cause especially in Paris. All the coffees are coming directly from estates, so they do not use a middle man and do pay the plantation owners a good price.

They are very big on appellation, so they take a “premium wine” approach.

Plantation – Estate – Region – Country … Always emphasising the plantation and estate first. A great approach that every quality roaster should take.

They only offer espresso through their LaMarzocco FB80. I believe that they are one of few places in Paris that uses LaMarzocco I mostly saw cimbali machines. As they roast so many different varieties they do not have a freshness system as such. They pre grind the coffee into a container every hour and measure out the right dose on order. I had a chance to go behind the machine and pull some shots, I must say the Guatemala coffee that I was using was outstanding. Their roast profile is always under the 2nd crack so the beans retain their oils. The beans are always cooked right through on a longer roast time, which is great to see.

I must give credit to Gloria and her team for doing what they do, it is really special inside that shop. The passion, commitment and dedication is most certainly there. You get a whole experience from the plantation all the way to the cup, indeed a very rewarding experience. This place is an absolute must to visit and I hope to make it there again one day soon.

Bodum (103 rue Rambuteau) This shop you will not find in any guides at all. This is a huge bodum shop that sells everything and anything ever made by bodum. I accidentally bumped into it whilst exploring tourist sights. Inside you will find a LaMarzocco Linea with a bodum badge over the top of the logo. Rather funny yet offensive at the same time. The coffee was half decent, you could certainly drink it. This shop is worth going as they have all the vac pots, even the vintage ones that are rare to find. They also have a new line of thermal cups as well as interesting plungers and various kitchen ware.

Cafe Verlet (256, rue Ste Honore) This shop is worth mentioning as they have a very cosy atmosphere and very stylish interior. Using a faema e61 legend the coffee is nothing special at all, a very long, bitter and overextracted shot is not at all pleasant. The presentation is their main priority. They serve their coffee in a leaf shaped saucer with a cube of dark chocolate, they might as well, because the coffee is 2.70 EURO. This shop is conveniently located near the Louvre so if you have some money to burn you can check it out.

I loved Paris, for its beauty and rich history. I was very glad to find Soluna Cafés, they truly offer an unforgettable experience that you will not find anywhere else in Paris. Make this espresso bar a must on your list. I recommend doing your espresso run on Tuesday – Saturday as many places are closed on Sunday and Monday.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Café Series Commercial

Café Series is a new branch of Sunbeam Australia. This video is part of the commercial campaign that will air on public television in November, so if you are in Australia keep your eyes out as Café Series commercials will include various items like blender, toaster … and of cause the espresso machine.

These videos first débuted at the HOST exhibition in Milano and I must say blew everyone away! The captions were shot with a super slow motion camera rolling at 1000 frames per second … I would describe it as coffee heaven, especially with Barry White’s music playing in the background. I hope that this extremely effective commercial champaign will bring a lot of success to Café Series crew.

The machine had fluctuation of only 1C, which no other machine (in that price bracket) in the world has. You will be paying under 600AUD for these piece of excellence. Not bad for a fully PIDed domestic machine. In my opinion this machine will pull a much better shot than a stock Rancilio Silvia.

Indulge in the video!!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The titanium GS3

This machine was displayed over at the La Marzocco stand as part of their 80th anniversary. It was bought by Magnus in Sweden and then sold to someone else in Sweden. I spoke to Lars from expressivo, he told me who the lucky owner was but I did not remember the name.

As you can see on the picture the whole machine is see-through with 2 titanium boilers. Apart from its cool looks the machine is noticeably lighter and in a way more portable, too bad it didn’t fit into my bag haha. They didn’t let anyone use it for obvious reasons. It really added on to the LM stand and was centre of attention.

[edit]: The lucky owner is Jens Brine from impod

Swiss Milk

For past months I’ve been taking interest in fresh milk in different countries. Last weekend I stayed at a friend’s house among lots of cow farms in beautiful Swiss Alps. There was a small store in the village where they sold fresh local products such as milk and cheese. I must say that I have never had such good milk, not even in Sweden. As you can see on the picture the milk carton is very generic and has no branding. The milk is 3.5% fat and is rich and smooth. It is also organic as the cows have a large space to walk around, and get pristine care from their farmers. The cheeses were outstanding also.

This milk would be just perfect for coffee, Swiss people are very fortunate to have nice daery products, it is a real shame that there is no quality coffee to compliment the milk.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Milano Fiera RHO 2007

I finally get a little break to blog about my Milano experience, as many of you already know I’ve been traveling around Switzerland. Living in the beautiful alps and enjoying amazing Swiss nature. I don’t think I can put a scale to this exhibition, it is HUGE. In order to understand the size of it you will definitely have to go there. Anything from ice machines pavilions, pizza makers, gelati machines ... it is just ridiculously big. The coffee sections was 2 pavilions full of various “stuff” and a ton of generic machines and grinders and bits and pieces. Only 5% of the exhibition is worth seeing and mentioning, as the rest is just various junk.

Day 1
The exhibition started slow on Friday but never the less a very good amount of people came for the first day. Lots of networking and socialising with good friends and industry related people. It was great to finally meet baristas like, James, Troels, Storm, Anna ... . A bunch of outstanding people whom I had lots of time to hang out with and talk coffee. Visits from Adelaide were very overwhelming: Tony from Rio Coffee dropped by, it was great to catch up with him as I haven’t seen him for almost a year. As well as Maria from CIBO, old friends that gave me my first push into the coffee world, people that I very much respect and care about. Got to catch up with Paul Bassett over at the café series stand, it is really amazing what the guys are doing with domestic espresso machines, I give them real credit!

I was given a position to work on the Clover machine over at the MAHLKÖNIG stand, got to play around with lots of nice single origin coffees that I had. Trying and drinking all day, I think Christian from MAHLKÖNIG and I were buzzing all day from lots of fine coffee.

The standout coffee from the clover was Rwanda Peabery that David Haugaard from Stockholm kindly donated. This coffee was full-bodied, very round and well balanced, as it cooled it picked up light citric notes, as well as some earthiness. On the smell a distinct hint of spice and cumin.

That following night we went to La Marzocco cocktail party, some more networking and socialising, great times drinking with Guido he is genuinely a very nice person. Anastasia from Clover was there also so between the drinking we had a chance to chat about coffee. That same evening the whole espresso warehouse crew went to a very nice restaurant near out hotel, James and Annette came along too, it was very inspiring to chat with James about coffee.

Day 2
Despite the headache the exhibition the next morning (Saturday) went smooth, perhaps the busiest day at the show. The clover got a real work out, it was good to work with Anastasia as we shared the stand and took breaks. I got to play around with the show Linea machine that La Marzocco had at their stand. I pushed through Haugaard's mellqvist blend and also Coffee Collective that Klaus sent over. Both espresso blends were outstanding, Klaus’s blend was on the acidic side where David’s was sweeter and more full bodies. A good example of good quality difference. It is a little hard to remember the fine notes as I was dosed up on coffee that day, but I remember them being both outstanding and everyone at LM were highly impressed, possibly the best espresso served at the exhibition.

The highlight of the day however was the latte art throwdown organised by espresso warehouse. We had a great turnout, few surprise entries included Jack Hanna (current latte art champion) Troels, Chiara (Spanish barista champion), some veterans of the industry overall about 7 competitors. There were some close calls but the trophy went to Chris Baca from ritual, a well deserved victory. Spectators and competitors enjoyed the show raising over 150 euro for CoffeeKids.

That following night we went to the Hyatt for drinks and then to a nice typical Italian restaurant, after that I went to the pub to celebrate THE LOSS of English team in the rugby world cup final.

Day 3
Sunday was a great day, not too busy so I got a chance to pull some espresso with Paul Bassett over at the café series stand. Paul pushed through Tim Wendelboe’s new espresso blend through sunbeam domestic machine. I must say that I was highly impressed with this little machine. It has fluctuation of only 1C, it is really amazing to see what the guys at café series are doing, they are really pushing home espresso to the next level. Tims coffee came out great, long infusion time made very it interesting. The infusion time was roughly about 13 seconds and extraction 4 seconds. A well balanced espresso in the cup, with slight acidity, round, well balanced. Paul and I both enjoyed drinking it.

That following night we went to URNEX party, this was the best party ever! The food was great and the bar was open, so we were drinking grappa all evening. Skip was calling rounds of grappa every 10 minutes, we got really wasted.

Day 4
Monday morning I could hardly stand from previous nights of drinking, good thing I had lots of coffee left over to keep me going. The exhibition has started to loose its buzz with lots of people leaving. We had some spare time to full around and waste milk, Chris was pouring latte art into a massive cup, which made its way around the exhibition hall.

That following evening we had a nice relaxing dinner in this very nice restaurant. A time to relax and go to bed at a reasonable hour was well needed needed.

Day 5
On Tuesday morning I took some time off to go around Duomo during sunlight. It was really fascinating both inside and outside. A quick stop at the exhibition in the afternoon to collect presents and say final goodbyes wrapped up my Milano experience.

I would like to thank espresso warehouse crew for giving me the opportunity to be there. It was great to meet so many interesting people, you guys know who you are so forgive me for not naming everyone. Hope to see you all again some time very soon.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Quick update

Hi Everyone,

Sorry for being underground, just letting you know that I am well and still alive. Here are the pictures from Milan Fiera RHO, I will write about it when I get some time.

At the moment I am at my friends mountain home in Switzerland, still travelling going to Paris on the 2nd … any ideas for quality espresso in Paris??


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Swedish Dairy

I would really love to talk about milk, this topic has been on my mind for quiet some time now. Ever since I lived in Sweden I’ve been fascinated by vast amounts of dairy products available in the supermarket. The shelves are filled with all sorts of yogurts, fermented milk drinks in all shapes sizes and fat content. The hardest part is to actually choose exactly what you want.

Let me run you down through all the milk that is available. I am going to talk about one brand in particular “Arla” they hold the monopoly here in Stockholm, they sell to every supermarket and convenient store in town.

Here is a picture of all the available choices; the design on the packet is simple the fatter the stripe on the packet the fatter the milk.

The red packet with fattest stripes has 3% of fat and is very consistent throughout the year. Almost all the coffee shops use this milk for its great taste and its consistency. I’ve used this milk on many occasions. As well as its amazing taste this milk textures extremely well; it’s a very nice milk to work with and it is reasonably cheap 5SEK for 1L thats about $0.7USD if you buy in bulk.

I would like to talk about other milk that Arla makes, but in particular their organic range, so here is the picture. Just for reference the barista milk is not organic.

Lately I’ve been playing around with the organic milk (ecological) that Arla release, it is the one on the far right (oldstyle milk), this milk has more fat 3.8% - 4.5% so compared to the regular milk it is not very consistent through out the year. This milk is not processed and fat levels vary throughout the seasons. Never the less this milk is amazing, it textures even better and tastes fantastic.

The other milk I would like to talk to you is the barista milk, I personally think that this is a marketing scheme, this milk has less fat but more protein (3.8g vs 3.3g). They stress that issue claiming that the milk will texture better. Although it textures just as good it doesn’t taste better by all means. More fat more flavour ,so I favour the organic milk.

In my conclusion I must say that I admire dairy products here in Sweden. The coffee industry is very fortunate to have companies like Arla, they deserve the recognition for doing what they do best. My favourite milk to work with is deffinately the oldstyle milk, for its richness and taste. I believe that guys in Norway are struggling with their milk and Tim Wendelboe has been putting together a partition to import organic milk into the coffee scene in Oslo, I wish him all the best and if you can join forces with him, please do!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Reg Barber Tamper Bases - The Conclusion

After about 2 month of experimenting with my new tamps, it is now time to wrap up to my conclusions.

Here is a quick summary of all the posts:

1. Reg Barber Tamper Bases (Metal Evaluation - First look)
2. Tarnish looks
3. Base Durability
4. Tamper base diameter test
[edit: 10/09/08]
5. Reg Barber Ripple Tamper Evaluation

The right choice here depends on various factors but mostly your personal technique and preference.

If you want a heavy tamper then I will recommend getting an aluminium handle and either brass, copper or stainless steel base. If you prefer a lighter tamper then I would suggest a wooden handle with an aluminium base. The aluminium base is by far the lightest.

If you are going for a specific look suited to your likings or theme than I suggest going on Reg Barber website and having a look at different coloured handles and matching the base to your preferred handle.

Durability is very important, you should choose the right tamper according to level of use. If you are going to use it in a busy café than be sure to get stainless steel base as it is by far the strongest metal and it will not tarnish. If it is a specific base look that you are after for home use or your competition, perhaps other metals will do the trick. Keep in mind that if you drop your precious brass, aluminium or copper tamper on the floor it will dent, so take good care of it.

If you are going for an all round tamper that will last you a long time and will not tarnish, then your best choice is getting one with the stainless steel base. It looks and feels fantastic.

The curve choice is mostly a personal preference based on your technique. I found that for my technique, American curve and c-flat extract a nicer shot than euro or flat. Once again it all depends on your tamping technique.

The diameter is perhaps the most important factor to perfection, so the right size should be picked according to your technique. If you think that your technique might change over the years, or simply want an all-round base to work with different filterbaskets I would recommend 58.0mm.

I would like to thank Reg Barber for his great tampers, they really do an outstanding job both in the industry and home use. I could comfortably stay that this tamper is every professionals choice one way or another.

I hope that this summary was of help to you in choosing your future tamp.