Thursday, May 22, 2008

Esmeralda Special 2008 Ends

As expected the early harvest batches have sold for a very high price. Batch 2 got extra attention from the bidders selling for $105.25 USD per pound. The winner with the most ambitions was Stumptown. As a matter of fact they ended up buying first tree batches including 6 bags of peaberry. All together they spent $135,372 USD for 680 kg of coffee.

I question if this great coffee worth all this money, it probably isn’t! For Stumptown it is a gesture to show off in the market and flash their cash among the public and competitors. Is that doing any good in the speciality coffee industry? I certainly don’t think so. I am glad that Intelligentsia didn’t bid big, they certainly have the money and have no need to be buying reputation points. They only got 6 bags of Jaramillo and pulled out of the peaberry auction. I guess this coffee will be treated for pure pleasure, it is certainly not enough to go around Midwest.

Enhancing the spice

This week I’m concentrating on enhancing certain elements and aspects in the espresso. Apart from the most obvious characteristics such as sweetness and acidity which are found in many full-bodied coffees; I often get hints of spice that linger at the back of the throat. In many ways you could associate spice as aftertaste as it is a lingering sensation, so I wanted it to come through as more distinctive initial taste.

First thing that came to mind was pepper sauce, so without hesitation I dropped few drops of Tabasco in to the cup. NOT A GOOD IDEA! After drinking this combination my thought was on fire, the sauce itself is pure vinegar and this combo doesn’t work at all.

Using freshly ground pepper seemed to do a trick. You will find that black peppercorns are a little too overpowering, but white peppercorns are just right. The idea is to freshly grind a little dash of white peppercorn into the espresso cup and run the extraction over the top. The most important thing is to mix it really well to achieve the balance. I encourage you to try this and report back.

I will further continue with spice tests perhaps roasted garlic is the next big thing, I guess we just wait and see … :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Best of Panama 2008 Ends

As expected Café Granja La Esperanza got the highest bid going for $47 USD per pound. That makes one bag worth $2,350 USD (which still is a pretty good price for what they get) ... making 5 bags worth $11,750 USD. The lucky winner was 49th parallel coffee roasters.

you can see the final results here

As you can remember last year Hacienda La Esmeralda sold for $130 per pound, that still remains to be the record.

Esmeralda Special 2008 auctions are on tomorrow, so all eyes peeled on that one. I am tipping Intelligentsia taking out most of the batches.

Best of Panama 2008 Auction

As the auction opens the bids are starting to slowly float in! This is one of the highly regarded auctions as previously green sold for a lot of green ... interesting to see who will flash the most cash this year ... wouldn't surprise me if we see bags sold at over $600

The eyes are on: Café Granja La Esperanza from Jaramillo Arriba which was voted the best geisha and scored 93.16 in the cupping.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Australian Barista Comps 2008

As many of you know, I competed in Open Heats for the Australian Barista Competition in Melbourne just past weekend. I placed 7th out of 18 people and am pretty pleased with my result.

The open heat was extremely competitive with big guns blazing for the title. In the end Con Haralambopoulos took the title, although few things went wrong and he ended up going a little over time. I am not going to cover the event in full detail as guys from cafe grindel blog have covered it in full detail but I will give some reference to the pics from the open heats.

and great photography by Sydney Law

On Day 2 we had a new Australian Barista Champion, David Makin. His routine was something out of a move, simply flawless and amazing. I congratulate Dave on winning and will be cheering for him in Copenhagen. Here are some pictures from day 2.

Having seen Australia’s best in action makes you realize how much level of attention and attenuation goes into 15 minutes of competition time. I am not too sure when I will be completion next but I will be more confident and more aware of what to expect. Cant wait to watch worlds best baristas battle it out in Copenhagen.