Archive for May, 2011

Guest espresso in! New season filters soon!

May 29, 2011

At the cafe: Our Guest’s here!! After due resting, on Friday evening, I started the week or two of coffee from guest roasters, Origin Coffee in Cornwall. We will be serving their current ‘seasonal collection’ espresso blend (consisting of Brazilian Fazenda Lambari, Idonesian Aceh Tackengon, and Bolivian Alberto Poma estate 50/20/30), and, somewhere inbetween, for about three days next week, the Alberto Poma (Quiuchaca Taypiplaya Bolivia) will be on as a single estate espresso by itself. Setting up the blend the other evening, the heavy, date, molasses and grape notes were emerging nicely, with more playing around with it to come over the next week! Origin’s coffee comes with a ‘roasted on’ date, which is really useful, their packaging’s contemporary and attractive, and their marketing and promotional material is impressive; a very polished yet sincere appraisal of what they’re about – which all does their products good justice. Great fun, and interesting, to try new things and different styles! After this, we can then also look forward to the return to the Completo Brazilian seasonal blend from JGC!

I thought that was exciting enough (I know, I need to get out more!), but then out of the blue, a hoard of wonderful new season samples land from Peter J as well!! I now have the horrific task of tasting all these at my leisure :(! Some of these will appear very briefly (generally outside of service – but you might just catch some!) as espresso at the cafe next week …some of which will return for a proper visit no doubt! The others are filter profiles, some of which will probably be making their way onto a new seasonal coffees for cafetière menu (V2 2011) for the cafe, which I’ll be finalising over the next few weeks. Cupped blind yesterday, a Tanzanian, and surprisingly, a Sumatran (Wahana) estate both really stood out for me!

Wow – is it really nearly the WBC 2011?! Very best of luck to John Gordon who will be representing the UK for us again, this time in Bogota, Colombia, this coming week!! (Livestream)

17th May 2011

May 17, 2011

Hi! Just a quick update on what I’ll be serving at the cafe over the next few weeks, as it’s quite (even more?!) exciting, and less usual than, well, usual.

Over these next few weeks I’ll be serving not one, but FOUR different coffees for espresso from no less than TWO top roasters (these won’t be all at the same time, of course, but one at a time, as the espresso ‘of-the-day’). Two single estates, and two seasonal blends.

I returned after a long weekend today to start this process off by putting Fazenda Solum back in the grinder – the 3rd appearance at the cafe for this single estate Brazilian espresso. Its walnut/cookies seemed to be showing a little more today than the plum …but its on again tomorrow and maybe for a while on Thursday too for more playing with the flavours! Then it’s back onto the wonderful Completo seasonal blend from JGC over the weekend. Then just to mix things up a bit, towards the back-end of next week, I’ll be having a week of coffee from a guest roasters: Origin Coffee Co in Cornwall – back in the house again! We will be trying both their current seasonal espresso blend (which I understand to be a syrupy, sweetness, cherry and black grape affair), AND one of its components separately as a single estate – Alberto Poma from Bolivia! It is a slight juggle to get this to align properly so that everything espresso remains as FRESH as it should be, but its worth it in order to both sample, and present, new things wherever possible! 

After that, we will be back with James’s Gourmet Coffee again, naturally …with more new coffees on the horizon there too!

Ooo! And, a lovely mention about the coffee this week too, in The Guardian Cardiff. Many thanks to Michael for the continued props in his article Cardiff Food Heroes there! It’s comforting to know there are people out there with their ear to the ground, making the effort to seek out and reveal things that are produced with integrity and a sincere passion for the product and the service …which can emerge in all manner of guises!

1st May 2011

May 1, 2011

I’m still serving the new Brazilian seasonal espresso from JGC at the cafe continuously for the moment, as it’s just so good, and it’s also almost as interesting to try to observe the subtle changes and nuances within just one blend over time, as it is to constantly try new coffees. It also means my coffee intake is in a happier place! There have been lots of positive comments about this one, centering around its completeness, distinctiveness, and (relatively) low acidity. One customer actually complained that they found it too sweet for their liking!?! Which I thought about the least offensive criticism there could be! But in the end, I think we established that some actual sugar had found its way into their coffee. I do love its balance, the red fruits, the texture, the hints of Fazendas Passeio and Solum that often shine through …and the nuttiness …it’s all there. Really great to be using a blend that I’ve had the chance to experiment with the components of separately first – I almost had a brew guide in place before I even tried it. Still, I have been playing this last week or so with some flushing on our +4U for this blend, which seems odd, as our machine is PID’d…

It’ll be on for at least another week or so solidly, maybe with some Solum for a day or too on its own as well! Then, I plan to have about a week of Origin Coffee’s current in-season espresso as a guest, just to mix things up a bit. And then, who knows!

It may be approaching the end of its season, and fast disappearing for EVER, but I am still a massive fan of Operation Cherry Red’s Adado Misty Valley Washed Yirgacheffe via JGC on my days at home. I have been brewing this mainly as a V60, but was wowed by it through the french press yesterday as well. One of our staff wisely ordered some to use at their parents’ royal wedding party, and I was just re-checking out the basic brew guide I’d made for them: Large cafetière, Pre-heated, Brew on scales, 42g grounds, Zero scales, 700g water 30-40 seconds off boil, Depress filter screen 1cm into crust, Brew 4 minutes, plunge, serve. I found a start temp (in the press) of 93.2C, and an end temp (in press) of 88.7C. So good, I felt it had beaten the V60, for this coffee. But, dissatisfied with some previous V60s of this, feeling they were a little over-cooked, I tweaked my V60 2 cup a tad today, a touch looser on the grind, and pulling back on the brew time from almost 4 mins to about 3 mins 30 secs, using 36g grounds, 600g added water, 20-30 secs off boil and transferred to preheated pouring kettle (with a near continuous pour, all grounds continuously in contact with the brew until the very final seconds, an untrendy, old-fashioned agitation only with the stream of the water, and a near full drain from the cone included in the brew). This yielded some really wonderful results, clean, delicate, softer citrus, wonderful clarity of and emphasis on the florals. Way better than the FP! 😉 So decisive. But maybe I just prefer slightly lower levels of extraction later in the day…

And, I’m now also The Bean Vagrant.co.uk. But why?! It is completely unnecessary. Partly just because! Partly because it’s just a more concise snapshot of what I do, whereas the blog can often be pretty clunky and outdated in parts. And also partly because I think any bits of info out there that might help to get the message across to a wider audience about what people are doing within the speciality coffee community can be useful.