Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Varietal Language of Coffee

I grew up with the same coffee that many of you did. Somewhere between something that was mountain grown, and the local cup of Joe that could have been substituted for paint thinner. This was the time when coffee mumbled. Unintelligible mutterings that continue to linger in many dank holes today... but let us go back....

There was this generic coffee flavor that we linked with all coffee. Aromatic, yet bitter, deep, but unremarkable, character, yet sameness. Whether it be the standard Colombian or something exotic like Kenya... it pretty much all tasted the same. And when it was different, we tried to mirror that sameness by matching the preconceived coffee flavor in the dark recesses of our mind by flattening out the bitters, sharp tones, and burnt staleness by a glob of sugar and a plop of milk. As we created some artificial semblance of coffee like flavor, we were satisfied that we could take something that was unpalatable and make it... well, recognizably average.

There are a growing number of farmers, roasters, and coffee professionals that hear the bean speaking to them. At first, it was some coded language, but it was the farmers who first understood that although the beans shared a common history, they had all developed their own language. Coffee speaks to us, but not in words, or sounds, or symbols. Coffee speaks to us in flavors.

As we listen to what the bean is telling us, we can learn, through cupping, and by maintaining a varietal roast what stories they have to share. The history of the cultivar, the feeling of the land, the heart of the farmer, the care of the millers and the sorters, the science and skill of the roaster, and the love and passion of the barista all combine to tell the story of each coffee to the world.

Each cup we serve speaks volumes, and like a pristine first edition, we savor every word as it linguistically flavors our tongue. So when you have a moment to savor the unspoken word of coffee, educate yourself by the cup and pass on your knowledge to others by sharing a taste of the varietal language of coffee.

Friday, November 07, 2008


Hairy white mountain
love dancing from four warm paws
hugging with her smile.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Siphon Bar

We are just finishing our second week with the siphon bar at caffe d'bolla and the results are starting to come in.

The Siphon Bar has created a lot of new conversation about the coffee and the brewing method. I believe that this is the best way for extracting the dynamic varietal flavors out of the coffee.

Clean and dynamic
brewed above shimmering light
coffee perfection.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Heart of the Forest Espresso - A Great Start!

On our caffe blog, I tell about our exclusive espresso blend for Tony Caputo's Market and Deli.

I stopped in to see Matt and Tony this afternoon, and as a brand new offering, the coffee and espresso is selling well. I'm roasting new coffee early this week, and it looks like it will be a great relationship.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ethiopia Koratie DP -- in the Siphon


This coffee was roasted to a dark city, almost full city roast... but I would do it at a lighter City roast next time to highlight the sweeter flavors.

In the cup the initial sips are blueberry up top and peach on the bottom. Midway through the cup a tiny hint of melon flavors begin to come through, though still surrounded by the blueberry.... and a bit of bitter cocoa in the background.

Blueberry and cocoa begin to dominate as you finish the cup. It finishes with a blueberry bittersweetness. I believe that the sweeter fruits would be more prominent and balanced at a lighter roast. I will report on that next time.

Total brew time on the siphon: 45 seconds - 35 brewing up, 10 to descend.

If you're average and you know it...

... Clap your hands!

There are a relative handful of coffee shops that deliver a quality product and continue to push the envelope. They have knowledgeable and well-trained barista, they roast very good to phenomenal coffees or offer exquisite coffees from a top notch roaster/roasters.

Each of these shops continues to improve their craft and exhibits an eagerness to learn from the top down. These shops make it known that this is what they do, they stand behind it, and more often than not, they deliver in the cup. (Hey, nobody's perfect all of the time, it's the ability to learn and improve that separates the talkers from the doers. )

Now there are thousands upon thousands of coffee shops that confuse, dismantle, and lower the bar with every cup they serve. They source coffee based on price alone. They over roast or buy stale coffees from roasters selling at a discount. Each of these shops takes interest in trying to look cool while having no relevant information to pass to their customers, and their lack of skill and dismissive attitude at the craft of coffee is displayed from the top down.

I wonder? If so many coffeeshops work and train hard at being average and mediocre, why don't they profess it to the world? There seems to be a place in the market for these kinds of shops, so come clean and let the world know. If you're average and you know it, say it proud!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Thoughts on Roast Profiling

I've been working with some new roast profiles this past week. There are three camps on this issue:

The first is that the progression of roast via the roast curve makes a difference with respect to each bean. The second is that there is an optimum roast curve based on the chemical processes happening within the bean, and it is the knowledge of when to drop your beans that matters. The third camp would say that there is a generally acceptable "Point A" and a generally acceptable "Point B", and if you go from A to B quickly, and then it's a matter of leveling off and progressing the roast from there... it really didn't matter HOW you got from A to B, as long as you didn't stall the roast... in the cup, wouldn't matter. And you can be sure there are countless variations of all three.

The simple question is: Does profiling matter?

I would place myself somewhere amongst the first and second camps. I think that as a practical solution, there may be an optimum profile for various types of beans, and while there may be a perfect profile for every bean, I have neither the time nor the beans to waste to find out. I think that there is a profile for most SHB (strictly hard beans), and as Willem Boot proposed, a profile for the larger beans, such as the Margogype, and/or the more delicate beans such as the Gesha. Because of their size and density, I believe there is a profile that is best suited for peaberry, although I haven't found one I am 100% satisfied with. And it may be there needs to be a more
gentle progression the latter stages of the roast because any endothermic heat built up has a greater influence inside such a small bean. ... I'm still working on that.

I've spent a fair amount of time profiling in previous years, and my roaster has the ability to take profiling to an insane level, and from my hands-on experience, I will say that the degree to which profiling matters is directly correlated to the complexity, or quality, of the beans. If I get a generic Brazil Cerrado and tweak the profiles, there isn't much noticeable change in the cup. However, if I roast a Brazil Cachoeira Estate, a Brazil Daterra Santa Columba, or especially the Brazil Fazenda Esperanca, the more flavor nuances there are, the more critical the roast progression is into highlighting the "middle" complexities of these coffees.

Internally, there is a slight difference in the nature of the bean, because I can see it when I grind. For example, do you increase by 30 degrees a minute, 40 degrees a minute, or something greater? Is it a straight progression to first crack? Is it a graduated progression? Or does it progress faster as time goes on? I am finding that a gradual progression after reaching first crack seems to produces a little more
sweetness and distinctive flavors, while another curve may produce an amalgamation of those flavors, but they may not be as precise. Sort of the difference between what many find in espresso from a Robur vs. a Super Jolly.

Suffice to say, profiling is interesting, and I think that we are just scratching the surface. There are some theories that are complete b.s., and others that I've found out to be true, but what I am certain of is that the more the bean has to offer, the more profiling matters.

At least that's what I think.

Friday, July 25, 2008

New Coffees at the caffe

New Coffees at caffe d'bolla!

*Costa Rica El Puente "Caturra Miel"
* Panama Golden Peaberry
* Guatemala Finca San Jose
* Sumatra "Blue Batak" Tabarita Peaberry
* Ethiopia Koratie DP Organic
*Columbia Antioquia - Jardin Cerulean Warbler

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The "Incident" - An Observation

Some of you may be in the dark regarding the "Incident" at Murky Coffee in D.C.

There has been literally thousands of comments across the blogosphere regarding this tiff, and it brings some important issues to light:

This is not your father's coffeeshop.
Coffee has progressed incredibly over the past twenty-years, from the farmer cupping their lots, testing various drying methods, utilizing the science of cultivation--which can create a higher quality bean, to the artisan barista who spends countless hours understanding dosing, leveling, and extraction techniques... and who has to master the nuances of each espresso just as a concert pianist masters various pieces of classical music.

Several coffeeshops across North America have raised their standard of coffee and espresso quality to be greater than the food quality of most high end restaurants. It is the average shop, where over-roasted bitterness is the norm, that continues the thought that coffee is a method of caffeine injection, rather than a culinary experience. For these handful of shops that treat coffee as a culinary experience AND deliver it, a higher standard of respect should be given by their customers, as well as a higher level of decorum should be present in the barista.

This begs the question,

"Can we serve an exceptional product while maintaining a casual atmosphere and expect a high level of respect from the customer?"
There is a casual elegance you can find in many restaurants. Take a look at some of the seafood restaurants in San Fran as an example. Shorts, nice shirt, maybe even sandals... dinner for two, $400+
Is it a product of the atmosphere? Of the pricing? Is it a matter of revamping the entire atmosphere to elicit a different response, a different expectation from the customer?

These are questions I have been thinking about for a few years now and while I have a few solutions in mind... it is the implementation that is hardest. But I do believe you can raise the standard by raising the expectation through better presentation and consumer coffee education.

But the customer wants...

When you get a McFish from the Golden Arches it is entirely different from ordering the Seared Ahi Tuna loin at Charlie Trotter's; the same holds true for coffee.

Quality isn't for the Everyman, and rather than try to appeal to everyone, customers are given the best service by a continual raising of standards along with continued pursuit of excellence in our craft. All of this translates to an exceptional cup, and that is the greatest reward we can give.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Brazil Fazenda Esperanca: a few days later

I've enjoyed several more cups of this coffee in the past two days, and as time has progressed, the flavor nuances have become a little more defined, and the caramel-citrus finish is a bit longer.

I can't quite put my finger on some of the flavors I am getting in the middle of the cup. I'll have to give it a go again, but in a few words, it's good, really good.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

More to come!

Our 3000 pound shipment from overseas has arrived!

Siphon brewers and accessories, and wonderful new teas will be available soon!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Espresso timing vs. flow

Observations of the day.

Most of us are familiar with the "Golden Rule" when making espresso -- 3/4 to 1 ounce of espresso in 25-30 seconds, or roughly double that volume for a double shot. When pulling a shot of espresso, how concerned should you be with the timing? How concerned should you be with the flow?

Obviously a combination of both must factor into play, but without going into the myriad permutations you can have of this or that, you come down to the main questions..

Too fast or too slow, which is worse?

There is always an ideal range you want to fall in, but between the two, you would rather have a thirty-five second or greater pour than a sub twenty second pour.

This is because espresso, in layman's terms, is about extracting the optimum amount of flavorful oils from the grounds. But how do we determine if this has happened?

I use timing as a 'rule of thumb' guide and then primarily watch flow and inspect the portafilter to see if it is clean. If the portafilter is clean, and the timing fell in the optimal range, we can assume that the oils were extracted perfectly, and made it into the demitasse. If there are dark oil stains on the inside of the portafilter, this is usually an indication of overextraction... or poor distribution, but that's a topic for another time.

If we underextract, as many places do, and get that eleven second pour, there are virtually no flavorful oils being extracted, and unflavorful piss-like espresso will usually be the result. I can opt for intense at times, but unflavorful, weak espresso is a far worse crime.

How important is the flow?

Flow is important because it gives one a good indication of the color and density of the crema. While the existence of crema is not the end all be all of espresso, it is most certainly one of the most important factors. Crema is important because of all of the body, texture, flavor, and aroma it gives to the espresso.

It's never a simple process, but evaluating espresso by taste is the ultimate way to judge, so whether there are dark oil stains in the portafilter or it was a thirty-eight second pour, we have to use our palate as the ultimate judge. Of course, in my opinion, a great tasting espresso with indicators that it is somehow flawed can only mean there is more improvement ahead.

While this is not intended to be anywhere near a deep exploration of the subject, I hope it will at least get your brain churning.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Rapid Brewing with the Finca El Injerto

Today I tested a fresh (roasted 10p last night) batch of Guatemala Finca El injerto on the siphon.

Grind 3 notches from 'espresso' on Mazzer Mini.
Brew time 20 seconds.
Rapid stir.

The taste? sweet nut, floral, light caramel and a bit of cocoa.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mountain Mambo Espresso

While the main components of this blend remain the same, I often alter percentages and experiment with different pre and post blending methods as well as different roast levels. This way, I can discover flavors I may have missed or lost with some other combination.

This current batch as espresso is peach, mango, light bittersweet almond and hints of honey and chocolate. In cappuccino, it tastes like a peach/apricot creamsicle up front with the almond taking on a lighter, but sweeter role. Not recommended for drinks above 12 ounces.

This espresso is not for the choco choco dark caramel and wood crowd.
But for those looking for a bright, lively, multi-dimensional espresso--this is it.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Kenya AA Nyeri Kiamaina *Tasting Notes*

John Says...

Today I tested a batch of the new Kenya AA Nyeri Kiamaina.

This batch was roasted to a City Roast at 9:00 AM this morning.
Testing was done at 6:00 PM.

I brewed several batches in the Siphon brewer, and even on day one, the flavors are coming through. Peach and maybe a hint of floral apricot in the aroma. Peach and lemon up front, with the peach dominating as the cup cools. A sweet and balanced finish of peach and honey.

I found this coffee to be exceptionally clean, even by my radical standards. It's truly a magnificent coffee and creates a cup you will long remember.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Pursuing Perfection with Panama: Siphon Techniques

John says...

Today I am testing the Panama Carmen Estate
This coffee was roasted 9 days ago at a City roast.

Test 1:
Grind at 4 notches above espresso grind on Mazzer Mini.
9 grams coffee, 5 ounces water.
Coffee in. Water Boil and up. Stir to saturate grounds and distribute heat evenly.
Brew 40 seconds.
Heat off.
Stir Rapidly.
Cool and drink.

Test 2:
Grind at 2 notches above espresso grind on Mazzer Mini.
9 grams coffee, 5 ounces water.
Coffee in. Water Boil and up. Stir to saturate grounds and distribute heat evenly.
Brew 40 seconds.
Heat off.
Stir Rapidly.
Cool and drink.


This coffee being roasted a hair lighter, my suspicions were found to be true.

Test 1 was a balanced peach/vanilla with very subtle, yet sweet citrus notes.
As the cup progressed the citrus became more defined, but surrounded by an essence of vanilla.

Test 2 had more separation up front in the cup. Strong Peach notes with a bright citrus aftertaste. As the cup cooled, the vanilla came out and began to mingle with the peach.

The finish in Test 1 was sweet light citrus.
The finish in Test 2 was a bright citrus with the slightest hint of vanilla.

What does this tell me?

It's obvious that even with a small adjustment, there is a direct correlation between roast level and grind. And it is the balancing of the sweet, citrus, and more rounded, or even spice notes that are where the technique comes into play.

Tomorrow I will use the same method on the Papua New Guinea Peaberry, which has a lot of spice and tea notes.

more to come...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Revisiting Rwanda - Siphon techniques

Today I am testing the Rwanda Kinunu.
This coffee was roasted 6 days ago at a City+ roast.

Test 1:
Grind at 4 notches above espresso grind on Mazzer Mini.
9 grams coffee, 5 ounces water.
Coffee in. Water Boil and up. Stir to saturate grounds and distribute heat evenly.
Brew 40 seconds.
Heat off.
Stir Rapidly.
Cool and drink.

Test 2:
Grind at 2 notches above espresso grind on Mazzer Mini.
9 grams coffee, 5 ounces water.
Coffee in. Water Boil and up. Stir to saturate grounds and distribute heat evenly.
Brew 40 seconds.
Heat off.
Stir Rapidly.
Cool and drink.


Both the aromatics and coffee on Test 1 were slightly sweeter. A little more fruit and citrus note.

In the middle of the cup, Test 2 tasted more complex. It was a collection of flavors coming together vs. a layered effect of lighter and brighter vs. wood and nut/spice.

The finish in Test 1 was superior.

Preliminary Conclusion:
Do same test on Panama Carmen Estate and see if the results are similar, or is the method entirely coffee dependant?

Stay tuned...

Monday, June 09, 2008

Espresso: IN YOUR FACE

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've been experimenting with some radical blends.
I have finished the degassing on a blend of eighty percent Kenya Ruiru Peaberry and tw Guatemala Finca El Injerto SHB. I roasted the Kenya at two different roast levels. 25 percent was roasted at a very light city roast, and the rest of the Kenyan and the Guatemala were roasted at a City + roast... just between first and second crack.

Pulled as a ristretto, 16.5 g @ 198 degrees, BRIGHT orange citrus, almond, hint of dark chocolate in the finish.

In cappuccino, lightly sweet orange and almond.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Aches and Pains of Customer Coffee Transition

Most coffee and espresso served is the United States is bitter, stale, over-roasted, unflavorful dreck. In order to make this bitter, unflavorful swill palatable, you need to add sugar to it, but this presents a problem for the growing number of quality oriented shops.

Adding sugar to the latte, or God forbid a cappuccino or macchiatto upsets the flavor balance of the espresso and the drink. Each roaster logs many hours of sourcing the proper beans, blending, roasting and tasting in order to create an espresso that works wonderfully alone, with milk, or both. Tweaking the roast to pull out the proper amount of sweetness, or wonderfully flavored acidity, which becomes smooth and sweet in milk... these all become corrupted, and honestly become over-sweetened if marred with sugar. And this all goes back to the habitual pour and stir, as a defense mechanism of the bitter brew consumed at most caffe.

Taste, drink, enjoy the subtleties of flavor that dance across your tongue and linger quizzically in your mouth. Do not treat such fine brew as the commoner's beverage. Rejoice at the coffee splendor you are about to partake.

Honestly, it is an offense to everyone in the chain. So for the thousands of coffee shops that serve horrendous bitter swill or under-extracted, over-roasted, old and stale espresso; please tell your customers, "it isn't this bad everywhere."

Come. Taste. Enjoy.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Three New Beans at caffe d'bolla

Three new coffees in!

Brazil Fazenda Esperanca:
This wonderful coffee was #1 at Brazil's Cup of Excellence in 2007. It has previously placed 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th. This Yellow Bourbon, grown at 1500 meters, is a rare gem in Brazilian coffee. Sweet floral and caramel aroma, tangerine and honey in the cup.

Kenya AA Nyeri - Kiamaina:

A fantastic coffee from the Nyeri district in Kenya. Crystalline clear flavors permeate this wondrous brew. Peach nectar throughout the cup with hints of warm honey, lemon and spice in the finish.

Nicaragua Limoncillo Java Longberry:

This coffee, from the Limoncillo Estate, is 100% Java.
Sweet smokey nut flavors with soft hints of lemon cookies in the cup.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


I roasted a new batch of Panama Carmen Estate to a light City roast.
Floral, tangerine/peach and vanilla as it cools.

Experimenting with a radical espresso blend of Panama Carmen Estate and an excellent Kenyan from the Nyeri district.
So far the results are promising.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Corny Story

A girl came into our caffe this afternoon.
"I want the siphon coffee... the Guatemala."
I hadn't seen her before, so I asked if someone had sent her.
She says "yes" and she's read about us online.

After finishing her coffee she stops to thank me for the cup, and starts talking about the flavors and how she could taste them in the different parts of her mouth. She starts to ask me about which espresso I would recommend, and says, "Yea, I'm in from Iowa and my friend said I had to come here and have the siphon and bring back some espresso." Apparently he's a CoffeeGeek Podcast listener and is always looking for great coffee.

So "friend in Iowa", I hope you enjoy the espresso,
and Thanks.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

New Syphon (siphon, Vac Pot...)

I received a package from overseas yesterday.
I am testing some new coffee syphon, a 3 cup and the awesome 2 cup.
So far they are working well. I am looking for exclusivity, so I'm being fairly rough with them. I will run some more rigorous tests, but it looks like we may have a winner.

Monday, March 31, 2008

SHOP caffe d'bolla -- online store

Our online store is up and running!

There may be a few minor bugs here and there. Please be patient as we continue to update more products and merchandise. The coffee and tea selections may change often depending on current stock, and what crop is coming in.

As of now all payments are secure through PayPal, and Credit Card processing will be added in the very near future.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Saddle Up!

This afternoon a GEN-U-INE cowboy complete with chaps, grizzled weathered skin, authentic hat, and good-natured, if not a bit rough, charm.

He was in from Montana on a visit to the hospital at the University. He had black coffee written all over his worn boots. Well... I was wrong he had "twelve ounce latte with an extra shot" written all over his dark sunglasses.

He was hanging outside to wait for his friend who had "wandered up to the Subway to grab him a sandwich". He comes back in and says, "That was some damn fine coffee. I'll have another."

His friend, looking too much like Mad Jack from Grizzly Adams, showed up and they proceeded to ask about our mugs for sale. Well the Cowboy's eyes lit up when he spotted his prize. "I've looked all over Billings and Great Falls and couldn't find one of these." He brought his demitasse up to the counter and said, "now I have a proper espresso cup."


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Jesus Principle, Coffee, and the Truth of Recession

No, not the mythical religious icon....

Jesus, as is (hey-soos) [real name unknown] is a former veteran who's lost most touch with reality and is a semi-transient artist who has been coming to our caffe off and on since our opening year.

Much can be learned about the truth of recession and how it relates to discretionary, or luxury, spending when you examine Jesus.

Jesus does not have a lot of discretionary income, in fact, he has little income at all. He receives a monthly check from the government, but most of his time is spent walking about talking complete nonsense and occasionally selling hand drawn artwork at the park for about three to ten bucks a drawing.

Compare Jesus to the overspending Yuppie or general young idiot. You have someone with a livable income who has spent well outside their means. Luxury items to them may not be a big deal, but the house they couldn't afford is, as well as their other mis-management of money habits.

Jesus has a usual routine: He quietly mumbles his order, an Americano--16 ounce, and sometimes gets two while he sits out on the patio and draws, mumbles about people chasing him with electric griddles (I kid you not!), or both.

He could walk anywhere and get a cup for a buck fifty or less, but with his limited resources he comes here. And as someone else was standing in line asking about the Americano, he brazenly mumbled, "best coffee in the city".

Those who have less, spend it more thoughtfully, and actually they increase the luxury, but decrease the frequency. Recession. Bullshit. For those who have little money, spend wisely, like Jesus.

Testing Rwanda Kinunu Bourbon

I roasted a new coffee for the siphon coffee this morning. It's a 100% Bourbon from Rwanda. I haven't had Rwandan coffee before, but this is very good. It has some Kenyan elements coupled with African spice notes, somewhere between a good Sidamo and a Ugandan coffee.

At a City roast, this particular coffee has some really nice light sweet citrus flavors, and some lingering --- {side note, the cappuccino I'm having right now is fan-fucking-tastic}-- clove and sweet spice notes.

Testing new coffees is great.

Monday, March 24, 2008

I'm looking over...

...too many posts about Clover.

I see the whole Clover flap as "much ado about nothing". For those who consider themselves Third Wave or artisan or just about the coffee...
We've all positioned ourselves ahead of Starbucks of this world and it's a shame that some believe we need to "rediscover" our coffee roots. Isn't daily discovery and exploration of coffee what we preach. Whether you brew with press or Chemex or siphon or Melitta or even Clover...just keep doing what you're doing. And if you haven't been doing it, what are you waiting for?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Online Store

While our website for the caffe is being rebuilt from the ground up, I have created an ebay store for the online purchase of our coffees. In the future we will have a seamless integration between website and e-commerce.

Just head to our website and click on the "SHOP caffe d'bolla"

Conventional Bulk Auto Drip or Americano: Why?

The question has been posed on the Specialty Coffee forums about whether to only offer Americanos or to offer brewed coffee.

For most operators, the term "brewed coffee" refers to conventional bulk auto drip coffee. And to this question I said that only "you" can decide. But is it necessary? The answer would be a definitive "no."

In an earlier post I commented on stealing a customer by offering our Americano as an improvement, not as a replacement.

Coffee is great, but conventional auto drip is not warranted for the best of coffees and is not the best method for highlighting the dynamic flavors of the coffee. Brewing methods such as Chemex, press pot, siphon, hand drip (Melitta)... are better methods -if done correctly- for coffee brewing because they require more attention to detail and the attention and focus translates more "love" into the cup.

We saw everyone doing "drip" and everywhere, and I mean everywhere we went it was from "not bad" to "yuck!". Nothing was excellent. Caffe Vivace in Seattle was the standard bearer for "we only do espresso" and that is the model used for the first year and a half until we began to offer Single Origin press to order coffee and now, Single Origin siphon brewed coffee.

The properly brewed Americano is superior in flavor and body to conventional drip. It's really not even a close contest, but because of the poor espresso of the vast majority of shops, their Americano will follow suit. It's not the drink, it's the quality of the beans and the barista, or PBTC, preparing it.

So if you're looking for a replacement for conventional drip, I don't know what to tell you. But if you're looking for something superior, try a fresh ground, fresh brewed Americano.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Killer B espresso

I've been toying with the idea for another espresso, and I decided to be traditionally untraditional. I've selected three excellent Brazilian coffees from the Cerrado Region, and roasted each separately at different levels, and then combined post roast.

Lots of smooth body. Complex chocolate, nut and spice notes, with a hint of cherry and pulped fruit.

Great in cappuccino.

Available in pound or half pound.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Hand-Roasted. Perfect Brewed. By the Cup.

After returning from an eight day trip of fun and exploration in Japan, once again, I am amazed by the level of quality in the independent shop hiding in the streets of Japan. For many shops, "hand-roasted" coffee is the norm, and although only a few shops have an offering list that goes beyond the norm, what they do with their coffee produces fantastic results.

My wife, Yiching, spent many hours searching out and locating good coffee houses for us to try and while there were not any outright disappointments, there were some revelations and quite a few winners. And they were winners for the same reason quality shops here are: Quality fresh roasted coffee, and an understanding and control of the brewing process.

I will make a longer post later regarding the various shops, but the winner of the trip was a small coffee bar called "Rivage" in Osaka. Fresh Roasted coffee, weighed and fresh ground for each cup, fresh brewed with precise timing and flame control using siphon (vacuum) brewers. Yiching and I had four cups between us, all were excellent. The thing that stuck out the most for me was the weighing of beans, and after tasting the cup (in comparison to other shops) knowing that the barista understood the proper grind to bring out the flavor, rather than just having a grinder and tossing the beans in and returning a poor result due to an incorrect grind. The more control over the cup, from bean to barista, the better the cup... and it's proved accurate everywhere I've been.

I'm looking forward to the upcoming changes in the caffe, and the continued challenge of making each cup better than the last.