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!!!