Einträge zum Thema Kaffee

Donnerstag, 16. Februar 2012

Roastery: Grand Opening

Hi everybody, I don't know wether somebody still reads this, but if you do, consider yourself invited to the grand opening of our roastery this saturday:

Unbelievable. We did it.

Samstag, 12. November 2011

Enjoying the fruits ...

This is a first for me: enjoying the fruits of my very own labour as a professional coffee roaster. A bit long in the making, but finally there:

Sure, that Kenyan I'm sipping right now. What else!

Want some? Only within our advent calendar, for now. Watch our Blog (there might be a post about my roasting experiences or so in the next few days, plus Jessica writes about designing the calendar) and subscribe to our newsletter to be notified for updates.,

Sorry for the commercial break, back to normal mode now. I'm just being a little proud here!

Freitag, 16. September 2011

Sneak peak!

This (sorry, german only) is a sneak peak into my future profession. Expect details tomorroy. Stay tuned!

Dienstag, 16. August 2011


This was a long time in the making, and it's becoming more real every day now and I really positively absolutly cannot hold this back any longer: I'm going to be a professional coffee roaster, or 'Head Roaster' in the very near future.

There, it's out of the box - I've annoyed only my friends with this long enough now, time to annoy the readers (are there?) of this blog as well! I really am so happy about it that I just can't find the proper words to describe it.

It's fulfilling a dream I've had ever since I seriously got into coffee, which must have been around 2004-something.

So what does this mean to me?

Firstly, I'll do professionally what I do in private anyway - roast coffee, cup, enjoy, brew. Well, and then selling it as well, that'd be new! It's just not the 200g-batch roaster anymore, but likely a 12Kg batch roaster. There'll be loads of learning for sure roasting 12Kg batches, just as there was with the last few hundred roasts of 200g batches. In the end, I want to produce (And consume! And sell!) really good coffee, and being able to do this in a commercial scale in a microroastery is really exciting! Though I fear that screwing up a 12Kg roast will be much more costly and more people will be mad at me than screwing up a 200g roast, where it's just me and my SO ;)

Secondly, I am not so sure wether I can split my personality between coffee-blogging-and-forum-posting-me and coffee-blogging-and-forum-posting-commercial-roaster-me - I just don't see there being much of a difference. I still like to promote manual brewing, good coffee and everything that belongs to it. We'll see how that works out, so for now just keep in mind that I'm also going to sell you coffee if you don't look too carefully. If it gets too annoying, feel free to slap me for it!

I'll talk about the details of how, when, what, where and why in future posts on here, on TMC or the german Kaffee-netz. If you follow my twitter stream, you might already have an idea about the direction this all takes. For the moment, we struggle with the german beaurocracy and would have been up and running already if I hadn't been so naive as to believe we'd pull this without month-long formal propositions to the city administration and stuff like that.

Early september, we'll hopefully receive a pre-decree telling us either to go away (nay!) or to proceed with the real request (yay!) for the permit to open a roastery at that specific place. And this already is the simplified variant of requesting such things, the 80's must have been horrible for opening a coffee roastery!

So, all in all not such a big difference to what I do anyway, except the formal stuff (city administration) and having a much bigger lab than just the kitchen to play with.

Now that will be an interesting ride!

Very excited to work with a few new and old friends together on all this!

Mittwoch, 9. März 2011

The Quest M3

This is a repost of my description of the Quest M3 on toomuchcoffee.com.

I've had it a little over three months now and have done somewhere inbetween 75 to 150 roasts with it (I didn't log every roast in the beginning), so I feel quite confident handling it right now. First some pics:

The Quest M3

As you might have guessed if you saw previous pictures from me, it was not me who took them, but a good friend who's having as much fun taking pictures as I have roasting with the Quest. It's a nifty little machine, consists mainly of stainless steel and weighs about 12kg. It is rated with 1050W at 220V, and with our ~230V in the house it will happily draw 1200W if I'm not cautious with the knob. Specs also say it can handle 100g-300g loads of coffee, I've only tried 150g-250g for the moment and have been very successful with it. The controls are slightly steampunky:

Quest's controls

From top left to bottom right: Amperemeter, main switch (which happens to be a 45-minute kitchen clock), regulator for the power to the heating elements, regulator for the fan.

Be careful!

To make it crystal clear: this roaster has no safety device built in whatsoever besides the main switch, which can be set to 45 minutes max, and a circuit breaker. If you manually prolong the timer (by e.g. giving it another 45 minutes shortly before it runs out), you can easily set your house on fire or something like that. A thing to keep in mind while operating this^Wany roaster.

Even with a 250g load, my Quest seldomly needs more power than 1000W (which would be around the 4.33A mark on the meter). Throughout a 200g roast, the power it draws for me is around the 750-800W mark, so imagine what would happen if you give it the full 1200W and go away during the roast! Remember, no safety device?

The threads on home-barista were a tremendious help for me in quickly learning how to operate this roaster. I've had my share of undrinkable batches, but all in all I threw away less than 2 KG.

Here's a picture mid-roast (near the end):

Nearing the end of the roast

And dumping the beans:

Dumping the beans

The result:

tasty beans

And the Quest's ingenious effortless cooling mechanism, which gets the temperature of the beans down to room-temperature within three minutes with 250g batches, even if they were into 2nd crack:

Quest cooling

Does this read like an advertisement this far? Sorry, I just like my Quest! Might also have to do with myself having to justify the amount of cash sent over to Taiwan for it. But there are some downsides as well.


You need to clean it. This is how the space around the drum looks like after four roasts with less chaffy beans:

Clean that stuff!

Guess how the burned chaff smells? I once forgot my allen key somewhere (all user-servicable parts are allen screws, and the Quest came delivered with a matching allen key for them) and did 15 roasts without cleaning this space. I'm quite happy that it didn't suddenly explode besides me! Surprised

Cleaning 2:

Gunked up fan

This was how the Quests exhaust looked after my first three months of using it. Maybe I should have cleaned this part earlier! To get to the exhaust, you need a slightly smaller allen key which didn't came with the Quest, so I suspect this is the not-user-serviceable area. You need to clean it every ~100 roasts, anyway, or it will gunk up.

Okay okay, this is probably not a downside at all - I guess you have to do regular maintenance on every other roaster too. I just didn't realize how much gunk would build up everywhere until I opened the case! With my stove-top roaster, the gunk would simply fly around the kitchen, ready for the vacuum cleaner to fetch.

Now for the worst part.


If you're an electrician, you probably do not want to see this. I am not, so I don't really know, but it looks quite ... not so CE-worthy to me:

internal Quest wiring frightens me

The round plates are the backsides of the two knobs.

the motor

Though unisolated, the electricts are quite immovable within the case plus it's earthed, so I don't fear immediate death. I'm just quite happy that I didn't know this before the purchase, as it might have put me off! Comments from electronics-savy people would be very much appreciated here.

The Good

Enough of the bad and back to the good:

This is a Rwandan bean (don't know the specifics, but asides from the occasional potatoy-bag it's very smooth and tasty), roasted just until the end of 1st crack:

Rwandan roast

Thanks to the thermocouples supplied by the Quests' manufacturer and a not-so-cheapish datalogger and the Artisan project, I can record the profiles:

datalogging with Artisan

The upper red line is the temperature measured between the outer casing and the drum, so it should approximate the amount of energy being applied from the heating elements. Minus the airflow - it would be really helpful to automate logging of changes to the airflow and heating power, as airflow changes have a direct impact on the measured temperature outside the drum. The blue line is the temperature of the bean mass probe, first crack happened during the yellow marked area. I haven't tasted this specific roast before, but I know that the bean tastes very good.

We also did a little animation, taking a photo through the sightglass ca. every 30 seconds. Watch the slideshow in full-hd here - It's an OGG Theora video, so it should theoretically work with Firefox and Chrome, but probably not in Safari and IE.

The tryer

Oh and have you noticed the tryer? It's so cute! Depending on the bean size, it catches 3-7 beans when you pull it out. I'll probably make a new handle for it, as it's a little thick and brings the fingers dangerously close the very hot exhaust in front of the front plate!

The cute tryer

Oh and did I mention the best thing of all? Even though it's batch capacity is somewhere around 200-250g for me, you can roast back-to-back. My longest roast session was 10 roasts in a row, took me a little over two and a half hours and left me quite caffeinated/hyperventilating, as I do not have such a nice exhaust hood as Bruce has. Roasting indoors is fun, but with only the windows open it gets cold and smokey after 2-3 roasts.

Samstag, 4. Juli 2009

What a year.

So far, this year has proven incredibly exciting and challenging. And different. You didn't hear from me due several reasons - I like to say the most important are my current workload of two jobs plus a little freelancing plus studying and living in the new house with this incredibly big garden that needs so much attention. But that's only part of the truth.

When my workload started to rise late last year, I realized that in order to pursue my coffee related activities, I'd need way more money than I'd possibly possess before I receive my diploma and way more time than I'd possibly have spare before I receive my diploma. So I began to pull my head out of coffee-related activities, especially the ones my conscience reminded me that what I wanted was quality and education, not smiling faces and oh-ahs for a little latte-art with a rubb(er)ish coffee base. With that pull-out, the constant challenge of my own tastes diminished a little, and the perception of what I consumed slowly faded.

I stopped participating in coffee forums, stopped blogging about it, and after a very teaching experience at the last cuptasting competition in February I even stopped worrying about competitions in general (I do worry about the state of specialty coffee in germany, but that's a whole different story. The very ambitiuos and knowledgeable three guys over at Radical Coffee are trying hard to change that though and I sincerly hope they succeed with their approach and get the response that they deserve in the professional barista and coffee scene).

It took all but a single cup of brewed coffee to change that for a moment. Here I am, browsing coffee blogs again when I actually should get some work done, catching up on what I missed the past half-year or so, enjoying every single sip of that cup like I haven't done in quite some time (it's a Nicaraguan, Limoncillio from hasbean.co.uk by the way) and realize that I still have it in me. The passion is still there, and so are my plans for the future. When time and money permit, I'll be back. In the meantime, I'll be a systems administrator and programmer and student and drink the occasional exceptional cup of coffee. Perhaps I might even get to fix my espresso machine though that's unlikely for the near future.

That's all for today. And might be so for the next few months or even a year or two on this blog. But watch this space. Apologies for all that expected me at different venues the last year or just didn't hear a word from me.

Sonntag, 19. April 2009

Gwilym Davies of UK and Colin Harmon of Ireland in the WBC '09 finals

This is giving me goosebumps, seriously. Sorry for being silent so long, new home, more study and less coffee are the causes - that will go on for quite a while, too. But seeing both Gwylim and Colin (also both members of TMC) in the finales in Atlanta makes me go all crazy and reenergizes the littel coffee freak in me. Congratulations!

Sonntag, 11. Januar 2009

Godshot in Berlin

Besides the Bonanza Coffee Heroes, Berlin now has a new coffee experience: Godshot - The Future Urban Coffee Klub. I haven't paid them a visit yet (Berlin is just too far away for me at the moment, more mentally so than physically), but judging from what I've read and seen both on their Blog and on Kaffee-Netz, they have a very ambitous project and tick all the right boxes for me:

The one thing that does not work for me is the logo, but I don't have to taste it so it should be ok. Hopefully I'll be visiting them both sometime this year, and I also hope they'll keep it up! It's a real relief to slowly see germany getting some high-profile coffee bars. Raise the bar for the rest of them, I'm all for it!

Mittwoch, 7. Januar 2009

Cupping coffee

I love cupping coffee. I love the in-your-face tastes and aromas that this method of drinking (or analyzing) coffee gives you, the overwhelming sensations you get when slurping, and if you forget to spit, the overcaffeinated funkyness afterwards. The totally obvious difference from coffee to coffee or roast to roast, as well as the very subtle similarities. The pure pleasure every sip gives you. Yet at the same time, I have major difficulties in describing what I taste, what I smell and what I see. I find it very hard to exactly point out what is it I taste in a specific coffee, and how it develops during cooling. As a bonus, I still (after all the years) haven't really grasped what the term 'chocolate' means in a coffee. There are so many different tastes in chocolate that I find it hard to say 'this espresso was especially chocolaty'. It's more than possible that I just don't get it, but it can't be that important as my palate seems to be working well enough - in last years cuptasting I had 6 out of the 8 triples right. Not too bad considering the cup tasting competition was the only 'real' cupping I've had during that year! Let's see what this year brings for me. Especially with my shiney new totally awesome cupping spoon ...

For more information on how to cup and evaluate, read Hasbean Steve's article and/or Marc Prince's introduction to cupping. Also, Wolfredo has an excellent series of german articles about cupping, so if you speak german and interested in this they're a must read ("Cupping Grundlagen" and "Kaffee verkosten, Schritte und Termini").

The only thing that can teach me describe coffee better is, I believe (and you guessed), more cupping. So a few days before christmas, I roasted three batches of IACs Yirgacheffe with slightly different profiles to different roast degrees - just before second crack, to start of second crack and a few seconds before rolling second. It was the first time I actually made three roasts in a row with an eye on keeping them as similar as possible, to just different roast degrees. Turned out not as complicated as imagined - Using a good scale, a (hopefully quit exact) thermocouple and nearly-full gas cartidges, it worked quite well. The whole flat smelled funny for a few hours, though, as my batches are 450g and each produces a lot of smoke. A real roaster would make this so much easier (at least I hope) and reproducable ...

So, here are my totally unscientific tasting notes (I tried using the Cupping Database from greenbean, but I as of yet fail miserably in quantifying my notes so I just kept writing)! The three batches are labelled #1 (before second crack), #2 (beginning of second) and #3 (before rolling second). I had two cuppings - the first only about 5 hours after roasting, the second two days after roasting. I think I'll never cup so early after roast again, as it was really, really misleading - after the first I had #1 written of as a misroast, but it developed really well afterwards.

First Cupping:

Cupping three Yirgacheffes

Second cupping:

And at day 10 after roast, #3 turned out to be a really tasty espresso. Very lovely, very berry, very satisying. I was quite sad after all the coffee was used up (some of it had to go as christmas presents, so I ran out quickly!).

So, that was my christmas coffee cupping, and I'll try to do more in the future. Perhaps I'll even write about them, but don't hold me responsible if I'm not! Oh and by the way: Happy new year 2009!

Freitag, 5. September 2008

Judging for the 2. Hannoversche Barista Battle

Edzard did it again: he organized what could be summarized as a barista jam, latte art throwdown and preparation for competition event. Together with the good people, the vegetarian food, a coffee cart outside and too much alcohol in the evening - what a nice day!

Quite a shame that I only get around writing about it half a year after the actual event took place. But better late than never, and since I get a surprising amount of friendly nags from people who actually read what I write I feel the urge to at least finish this post that sat in the pipeline for three months!

So, back to the event: The second (now hopefully annual) Hannovesche Barista Battle, taken place on August 31st at Edzards DerMuffinMann, Rehbockstr. 2 in Hannover. As I was fully aware that I'd not be as good as last year, and at the same time the others would've become better and better, I tried being smart for a change: to get on the judges panel instead of competing and making myself look like a complete idiot! Luckily, Edzard agreed, and I got to do my very first (though not 'SCAE official') judging. A very strange and good feeling: not being the one to be judged is a real relief. Takes the pressure off it. But at the same time arises responsibility: you want to be fair. To everyone. That cappu, is that 7 or 8 out of 10 points? And how to justify that decision if not by gut feeling? If the last was 7 then is this one 5 or 6? Not so easy as it turned out!

Judging also showed me that I often had a different opinion than the others, which initially confused me quite a lot. But since I could communicate my point more often than not, that confusion went away and I quickly grew more confident in my own tasting and judging. That was quite a day! Unfortunatly, I didn't take any camera with me and so far didn't catch any pics online. I'm sure the pictures captured the feeling from that day very well, and if they pop up I'll link them here. Edzard even promised some videos, let's see how that one turnes out!

Really look forward to the next episode of the Barista Battle, and I try to write about it rather sooner than about this one, but I don't make any promise here as the next year is already planned to be a dense one!

All the best, merry christmas and a happy new year to my few lovely readers!

Freitag, 5. September 2008

Panama Hacienda La Esmeralda Especial Batch 5

It took me that long to write up something on that special coffee. No apologies for that, as was quite busy (and still am) at the moment, and this sat long enough in the pipeline to be ready now.

So. What a name for a coffee. But it's good to be precise on this one - it allows poeple to identify the exact batch of coffee I'm talking about. That doesn't happen too often even in the special specialty coffee world, where direct trade models are being established, importers buy based on quality and building long-term relations with the farmers, roasters roast to perfection with each bean and blend having it's own roasting profile. So this is the batch I received from Walter's Kaffeespezialität, and I finally decided to write what I think about it after a friendly nag from a friend (I wrote this quite a while ago but only now managed to find the time to overlook and publish it).

The setting of this tasting was quite a thing for me. At Squaremilecoffee, roasted by Anette Moldvaer, together with a good friend that I've made through toomuchcoffee.com, side by side with a Cup of Excellence from Costa Rica, El Portillo if I remember correctly, and an unnamed Rwandan sample if memory servers me right.

It was a blind cupping, that means Anette arranged the coffees for us, three cups of each, without us knowing what was what. But to be frank, it was outright clear from the first sip which coffee was the Esmeralda, just because it was so different from what I was used to. (Now this is the point where I stopped writing some two months ago. Great.)

I could grasp why people are paying so much money for coffee from this farm. It's different. It's one of these showcase coffees that Steve talked about in the latest common grind podcast. But it's more than that: it is actually very, very, very, very, oh yes very enjoyable. The mouthfeel was more tee-y than any coffee I'd encountered before, light on body in a good way, the smell was very peachy as was the taste. Very sweet, too. Somehow, the taste reminded me of that lovely peach iced tea I used to drink ten years ago. Thouroughly enjoyable. It's a shame that I didn't make more notes back then, but I will have the chance to cup it again, as I still have around a hundred gram left that really need to be roasted soon. I just don't know yet how, as always!

In the eternal department of new toys my newest addition: Bestest of cupping spoons ever invented (not that I'd know ...) Thank you Dr. Schwarz, it's a blessing and such a lovely tool!

Samstag, 16. August 2008

Square Mile Coffee

So I had the pleasure (and a pleasure it was!) to visit Anette, Stephen and James at Squaremilecoffee two times during my stay in England. They are located a little outside of central London towards Hackney, in a small road alongside car repair shops, car painting shops and a glazier's workshop if I remember correctly. It's basically in a garage. That's what surprised me the most: they are a small small shop, having one room at the moment plus upstairs, and all their stuff packed in that tiny (or so it seems, it's packed full of coffee stuff: roasters, bags of greens, tins (with valve) of roasted, a myriad of coffee brewing devices including their Synesso) garage! I'd have taken photos, but that would have kind of ruined the atmosphere for me if you know what I mean. Most of the time I sat there staring around, being impressed and unable to speak much. I wasn't able to attend the cupping on the first day since I had to catch my coach towards Bristol, but I left them the small bag of the Esmeralda for Anette to roast so that we could cup it the week after. About being challenged in established views: James made a little french press of their Muchoki Peaberry: grind really coarse (with their Ditting grinder), poured, steep time 4 minutes, afterwards spooning away of the top 1-2cm of foam/grounds/coffee (I first thought 'wtf?!', but proof was in the cup!), press, wait, pour into cups. Contrary, what I'm used to: grind way finer, but still coarser than for filtere (with my Major), wet the grounds and stir to get them all wet, wait a few seconds, pour the rest, steep time 3 minutes, press, pour into cups. Result: a completely different flavour profile in the cup. That french press he made was about the cleanest and cup I've had from a french press, nearly no sludge, no perceived body because of the fines, very nice mouthfeel, very aromatic (well thanks to the Muchoki). The roast was quite light, but in that french press it worked damn well. While trying to replicate this profile at home, I found that my Major just isn't up to the task of grinding coarse, consistently. I can get about half as coarse as James with the Ditting (quality of grinds are so hard to compare verbally!), and with his method it leads to a very nice cup, but it's still far away from the clean, overly aromatic cup I've had at their place. One day I'll get one of those Ditting or Mahlkönig bag grinders just for my morning french press pleasure!

Okay, I somehow hesitate to write about the Esmeralda. Why? It's a really, and I mean it, special coffee for me. I fear that trying too much to describe the taste and aroma might do no good to my memories of it. I'll let a few more days pass and decide later wether I'll describe it or not. A small regret that I left the rest of the roasted Esmeralda with Anette and took the rest of the greens with me - it should've been the other way round. No chance I can roast the rest anywhere near as good as Anette did with the first half, and I suppose the greens would have been more useful for her as they're to me right now. I realized that on the plane next morning. Gah.

Samstag, 16. August 2008

2. Hannoversches Barista Battle

2. Hannoversche Barista Battle

See you on August 31 in Hannover!

Sonntag, 10. August 2008

Coffee in London

Last week, I've been to England and visited London for two days. When I'd been there last year, I just hated that city. Now I know that this was mostly due to lack of planning and most definitly lack of good coffee. When I woke up at Toast's place we had a quick chat and a quick coffee. Believe me, waking up in a totally foreign city, being with a friend and having a good espresso is priceless. Equipped with a map and the address of places I'd liked to visit, my small journey started: on to flat white, where I had some really unexpected coffee. Dwayne (is that spelling correct?) pulled an incredibly rich, thick, dense, chocolaty fruit bomb short black (or double ristretto as I'd call it) from their new Square Mile Coffee blend. That shot was totally unusual for me, as when I watched him prepare it I just thought "oh my don't be so cruel and put so much coffee and aargh you're tamping way too hard"! But boy was I wrong. So that's the antipodean style of coffee then. Brilliant. I was so impressed that I came back later to try some of their milk drinks, and man, was I impressed. Again. Just about perfect. Never seen that kind of microfoam - at all - before. So well balanced. If you ever get there, the piccollo latte is about the perfectest balance of coffee and milk as it can get. We are so middle-age in germany! Okay enough praising of flat white. Went to Monmouth as well for a cup of filtered coffee, and it was quite nice - well filtered, good coffee, although just a tad bit overextracted for me. A gram more in the filter would have done wonders to the taste balance, but that's not to say it wasn't good. Better than most if not any other place where you get filtered I've been to yet. Next on the list (on day two) was Fernandez & Wells (thanks Cakeboy for the recommendation!). They have two locations in the same block that are funnily intertwined, one is a Café, the other I'd call a Bistro. Had a very nice chat to the three guys operating the Bistro and some delicious breakfast! At the Café, the shot I've had was very nice (they use the Monmouth espresso blend), but I've really never seen a barista working so incredibly messy on the grinder. They must waste about double the coffee they actually use! Very interesting style, but hey the coffee was good so I don't complain. Highly recommended, and just around the corner of flat white.


Expect a short writeup about my visit to Square Mile Coffee and the tasting of the Esmeralda, me being challenged in my established views of brewing coffee again (don't you just love that!) and that mysterical pressure profiling device that didn't work quite as well under 232 bars of pressure but James said that 132 bars was just about perfect. Oh and a sighting of the GS/3 in a small café at Hackney road which at that time to me was like an oasis!

Samstag, 26. Juli 2008

Rwanda Nyamagabe

I can't help but just lean back and enjoy this coffee. Every single cup.

More description would ruine the experience. Love!

Montag, 21. Juli 2008

Kenya Gethumbwini Peaberry

I'm sorry to pollute you with my tasting notes, I feel the urgent need to get some more training on developing my taste descriptions and what's the best place for it if not here?

The Gethumbwini was on my wish-list for the most part of the last year, but I never really got around ordering and roasting it. That moment finally came last week and I'm now sipping a cup of nicely brewed Gethumbwini Peaberry, roasted three days ago on my lovely stovetop roaster, possibly a tad bit too dark but still before the first pops of second crack.

This coffee tastes in many ways as I expected it to, which is a nice suprise and means I can start to really trust in my own senses and sensuary memory (I've had the non-peaberry over a year ago and still remember clearly how it tasted to me back then).

Brewed in a Melitta porcelain filter (I really need to rinse the paper filter for longer beforehand), this cup is so bold and so clean at the same time. It has a very blackcurrantlike zing to it and high, pleasantly high acidity. That berry taste is a bit like the Fortaleza which has that notes more in the aroma, whereas the Gethumbwini has it in-your-face in the cup and in the nose. The aroma of the fortaleza I'd describe as more wildberry like, whereas the Gethumbwini is really more blackcurrant than anything else. The body is as bold as you can get through a paper filter, very distinct and not overwhelming at the same time.

Through altering the roast profile I could possibly bring out the blackcurrant a bit smoother and mute the acidity just a little little bit, but I fear that's out of my possibilities with the stovetop thing and reserved for times having a proper roaster. Curious how this will taste in the vacpot!

Update: sipping through my second cup, of which I thought I wrecked up the brewing. But holy cow this is liquid blackcurrant juice, or wait, more like blackcurrent fruit tea. wow.

Dienstag, 15. Juli 2008

Fresh Coffee

A while ago, I wrote about the freshness of coffee. The last two days, friends were coming to taste some of Walter's coffees I told them so much about - the Fortaleza and a blend of Rwanda Nyamagabe and the Guatemala El Bosque (guess where the idea originated from). The coffees were roasted on July 3rd (the blend) and July 7th (the Fortaleza), that makes them 8 and 12 days "old". I won't go into the tasting details today (other than we all got the berry berry berry aroma of the Fortaleza (which I still can't really believe) and a very interesting ... mix of the fruity plus liqourice plus great mouthfeel from the blend), but there's one thing both of my friends said:

"So this is how fresh coffee tastes!"

Both were stunned (at least that's what I interpret into their facial expression). One of them a home barista, one a professional.

Hell yes, this is how fresh coffee tastes and I have to admit that my writings of April last year don't take into account just how crazily good fresh great coffee tastes.

Montag, 14. Juli 2008

Fazenda Fortaleza

Incredible coffee.

Brazil Fazanda Fortaleza (sorry for the poor quality picture, Jessica is in Bristol with all her nice'n'shiney cameras doing amazing things so I only have the webcam to make pictures)

I've had this before, but never with my shiney new old La San Marco. And I certainly would have remembered if it tasted like this one now: it has dark, ripe berries all over from the smell of the grounds to the armoa to the cup - the aroma is incredible, it reminds me of childhood times when my mother made concentrated juice of dark berries and the whole kitchen smelled of it. What a backflash. I was quite surprised initially as I've had this berry aroma before though not as concentrated - in a brewed cup of Kenyan coffee (I don't remember which one, perhaps the Gethumbwini), but never in a brazilian! That berry aroma translated well in the cup, which had a concentrated juice-y mouthfeel and was sweeeet. I'll report back when I'm over that berry taste and try to describe the taste a bit better, but for now it's all berries to me.

Freitag, 11. Juli 2008

Panama Esmeralda Special

On TMC and the Kaffee-Netz I expressed that I'd love to taste some of the Panama Hacienda Esmeralda Special Batch 5 (see the auction result). You can guess my puzzled face when I opened a parcel from Austria that was eagerly awaited: my latest shipment from Walter that not only contained my order, but also this little gem:

Panama Hacienda Esmeralda Special Batch 5 sample

Yes, Walter really sent me one of his last samples of the Batch 5! I can't wait to get my hands on a sample roaster and finally try it out. Thank you so much Walter, you made my day (and probably the days of the next weeks also. And after that the next months, until I can actually order that coffee from you, when you'll make my days again!)! Oh and by the way, your 'special blend' tastes damn fine (I'll get back to that once I had a few more shots of it)!

I'm stunned. This is just awesome!

Freitag, 13. Juni 2008

Life update

A short list of coffee-things I've been up to lately:

Donnerstag, 20. März 2008

Starbucks to buy the Coffee Equipment Company

Starbucks bought the Coffee Equipment Company, renown for it's Clover single-cup semi-automatic coffee brewer.

Clover T-Shirt

I'm shocked. But this is also way cool at the same time. A very smart PR move from Starbucks, and I bet a very smart business move from the Clover guys. There are interesting and insightful threads on toomuchcoffee.com and coffeed.com and probably many more sites, and also probably many more people have blogged this and as such have helped Starbucks in gaining more PR. But credit where credit is due. This move is very smart, and it will raise the bar for quality in Starbucks (if they manage to back off their dark roast a bit) and highlight good coffees. Who knows, in the end the Clover might even cost less than the $11,000 where it's now? Or some smart people invent an even newer and better method for extracting better coffee?

But one thing's for sure: this is a little earthquake in the industry. At least it feels as such. Until yesterday, Clover was the tiny, independent flagship of quality coffee. I just hope Mr. Schulz and the Clover people are doing things right.

Dienstag, 18. März 2008

Rossi needs intarnet

For future reference: the address of Cem Selek's S.Rossi in Hannover is

Weidestraße 6 Limmer 30453 Hannover

He seriously needs some sort of presence in the web. Hard to find this beautiful and passionate little Café is!

Sonntag, 16. März 2008

New York C-market prices

There is a very interesting discussion about the 'traditional' coffee market/futures trade/current price raise on coffeed.com. I don't know nothing about commodity coffee trade and find that thread highly interesting.

Montag, 18. Februar 2008


During the cuptasting competition, I started to have doubts about my passion for coffee. There was the table, eight sets of three coffees, sixteen different coffees, and I started slurping away. I did the same mistake as nearly everybody else did: I trusted my first impression on the first set of three - and pushed the wrong cup away. Everybody did that. Next time I won't!

But the further I got along the sets, I kept thinking to myself 'Well, this is a very nice boring coffee. A little bit of fruit in there maybe ...' and 'that's another boring coffee, ah, a bit more body' and 'oh yes, boring again, a little more spicey than the others'. On that whole table of sixteen different coffees, most of them were just plain boring with only slight differences in the cup profile (ok, I guess that's quite the point of such a competition, but nevertheless ...). There was a Kenyan which I thought spiced the table up a bit, but it was not very distinct.

And near the end of the table, I had one cup that blew my mind. I immediatly thought Hell Yes, that's one of the coffees and one of the reasons I do all that for. One of the reasons for me messing with coffee the last couple of years. It had more taste sensations than all the other coffees on the table together (at least it felt like that in contrast to the others). Very sweet, very very rich in flavour and aroma, a nice background chocolate, utterly intense, though smooth and very complete. Every sip I took was satisfying. I'd love to taste this one in an espresso.

After the competition (did I already mention that I placed eight, with guessing six of the eight sets correct? Yes? Oh, I'll mention it again anyway ;)), they lined up the thermos flasks for collective coffee drinking pleasure, and it was pretty obvious which coffee was it that blew my mind: the flask was labled 'Best of Brazil', and I enjoyed it until after the fair all the way back to my little brother, who very kindly lend us a pillow while we were there.

Why oh why don't we have more of coffees like that here in germany?

Or better: where oh where do I find more coffees like that in germany? For the time being, I'll order from Walter, because that's the kind of coffee he has.

Freitag, 15. Februar 2008

German Competitions 2008

The championships are over, and I've had a little bit of time to face reality again (though sleeping in my own bed only for one night in over a week doesn't help there). Bad news first: I placed 14th. Which is not too bad considering the amount of training I've done.

The good news next: I placed 8th. Of 18. In the cuptasting competition. I'm pretty proud of that. Not familiar with this type of competition? It's actually quite simple: you're given eight sets of three cups, of which two contain the same coffee and the third a different one. You're given a cupping spoon (thanks IAC, the spoons were great!). Spot the odd and push the cup away. If you're lucky it has a red dot beneath. This year, I spotted 6 of the 8 sets right - the winner spotted 7, so I'm quite in the ballpark I believe! At the competition in 2006, I only did 3 cups right, though you can't really compare the numbers because the coffee of course is quite different through the years, this looks like quite an improvement to me.

Barista competition.

Jule is always blazingly fast Jule Runge of the Coffee Store in Bielefeld placed second (and first in the latteart competition!), and Thomas Schiessl of freelance-barista.com won the competition. Congratulations for both and all the best for Copenhagen!

Walter of kaffeespezialitaet.at roasted the coffee for me, and he and I both put quite some work into finding the right coffees. He listened to my suggestions about how I'd like the roast to be (a little bit on the light side), and he took a great effort to get this coffee to me in time. My blend was two thirds of Costa Rica coop. Libano CoE and one third of Dominican Republic Montaña Verde, roasted just into the first pops of second crack, rested about a week - it had a very appealing fruity acidity kick to a balanced smooth round body type with some edges and odds in the cup but very satisfying (if pulled right), or just in-your-face acidity (if pulled wrong). Walter told me it's a risk, and in retrospective I believe he was right. Not quite the italian taste of espresso that this years jury seemed to have been so fond of. I do like this blend this way, because I think when taking it a little darker it really loses what makes it shine, it gets a little rounder but also quite a bit more boring for me.

The other coffee I used for my signature drink was a Yemen Matari Mokha, a blend of two roast degrees: ca. 75% taken into second crack and 25% taken into rolling second. I wrote about this coffee before and it's stunning, different from everything else alas somehow a real archetype of a coffee. It's earthy, spicey, heavy, thick, and has very cool notes of wood and toasted wood that I really can't describe any better (Jan tastes blueberrys in there. I whish I had his tastebuds!). The second part of my signature 'drink' was a bit of chocolate - a Domori Puertomar, which is a single-estate single-varietal chocolate from Venezuela (if I read the description right - I don't know nothing when it's not about coffee) that had some really crazy fruitiness going on. So first chocolate, then the Matari, should set some cool fireworks of taste in your mouth - certainly did in mine!

I talked quite a bit I think I really messed that one up. For the signature drink to really work, you must have the chocolate about a minute before the coffee. So I told the judges they should have a bite while I prepared the shots - and then I had to redo a couple of shots because I messed up dosing, and it appearantly took ages for my mind to make itself up wether or not I should repull and whatnot. So they had the chocolate, waited, waited, and waited, and around twenty gazillion hours later had the espressos. Damnit.

So, the most important thing I learned last weekend: training. If I want to compete ever again, I need to get myself the time and possibility of constant training, especially the months before the competition. Four evenings on a two group are not enough. I may have the passion, but I don't have a two group nor the other ressources needed for training!

The same goes for cuptasting: If I ever want to win that competition (and I will! There, I said it!), I have to become much faster. Seven minutes for 'only' six right won't get me into the finals, whereas five minutes would have. Feels good.

Dienstag, 12. Februar 2008

Pleasure again

It's so good to pull shots just for my very own pleasure again. Thank you Walter, your Coffee is still awesome.

That's all for today but I expect to have a review online by the end of this week.

(this was Latte Art Champion and Barista Vice Champion Jule Runge preparing for the final round)

Donnerstag, 7. Februar 2008

... I'm nervous ...

Walter's Coffee nearly all I need for saturday

... but I'm prepared!

(well, nearly. I know there's some stuff still missing, but I'll have it all in Frankfurt, I promise!)

Freitag, 25. Januar 2008

Competition Blend

Finally! If Walter gives his ok and doesn't say I'm totally off with my idea, I have my blend. Yay for today! I'm not yet sure wether I disclose now or after the competition. We'll see. I like it. Really!

I thought I'd just include my entry for the home-latte-art-contest right on here, thanks to Jessica who got me to familiarise myself with this damn flash thingy. See yourself:

Click here to see the video and make sure to have the Flash Player installed.

We'll see if I can pour a cappuccino like that on stage. I just hope I don't make a complete fool of myself!

Dienstag, 15. Januar 2008

prepare to compete

The competition is now three weeks ahead and I'm getting nervous. Last friday, David and I had a little training evening at Edzard's MuffinMann. He impressed me with his stunning and well-thought-of signature beverage. With a few small changes it'll be really great!

That evening also tought me that I'm too unprepared yet. No concept, only ideas floating around - at least I do have a working (though very risky) signature beverage! The next three weeks will be weeks of intense training (as intense as I can do at home).

I am very glad that Kaffeespezialität's Dr. Walter Charzewski is willing to roast the coffee for me. One of the two coffees I'll use is already set - if you know me, you'll have no real difficulties to guess what's it. For the other, I'll expect a pack of samples within a few days for me to experiment with - I have a general idea, but not made up my mind yet.

If you don't know where to order your next batch from, you really should try Walter's coffee. If you know already, heck, do so regardless ;), as he is one of the very few roasters I know that stock real quality coffee, and from what I taste in the cup he does put real effort and care into getting the best out of the bean.

Matari again

I talked about the Yemen Matari before. Three days ago, did another batch - after talking to Walter about my homeroasting methods - and it turns out to be much much better than on my last try. I still can taste it after finishing the cup half an hour ago, and it sit's really nice there on the back of my tongue. I get very nice wooden notes from it, though I do like the roasted wood that I got from Walter's roast more. My homeroast is still not as good as Walter's (of course!), but the race is getting closer (as in - only 100 miles behind, not 1000). Stunning coffee.

Am I a pro barista?

On sunday, I did my first video shooting and cutting (well Jessica shoot, I cut) - see here (or here for the bigger flash variant). This was for a german 'home-latte-art-contest', where you can win a trip to Costa Rica. It's not for people working in gastronomy, but home users, so called amateurs (whom I believe most of are better at producing good coffee than many so-called pros are - but that's an entirely different thing). So here's the question:

What am I?

I didn't work in gastronomy since August '07, and my work in the Café was a side job for nearly two years. Can I call myself a Pro Barista only because of having had a side job in a Café? Or because I competed last year in the german Baristachampionships and placed 11th?

Can I call myself an Amateur Barista because I read TMC all day long, have nifty (though not pricey!) equipment at home, roast for my pleasure and love what I'm doing at home? All I do coffee-wise happens in my kitchen currently, as you can see on the video. And it happens mostly for my own pleasure. And I pay retail prices, not bulk.

It'll be interesting to see what comes out of this home-latte-art-contest. Currently, I'm the only entrant. I hope that changes, though, but I do of course also hope I won't be disqualified and win the journey. I mean - hey come on - a trip to Costa Rica! :)

Samstag, 5. Januar 2008

Recent coffees

I've been digging more into homeroasting the past few weeks and am amazed that I constantly learn new things, new tastes and surprising facts. For example the El Salvador Finca La Fany: I've had it quite a while ago when I was still using the old Gaggia Coffee and MDF grinder, and I was totally unable to pour a shot from it that was at least drinkable. Medium dark roasted back then, all I got was citric acid on my tongue (that's how it felt like). Based on the taste descriptions, I ordered some again and roasted it myself (into 2nd crack, with heavy ventilating to get the smoke off the beans, roast time around 19 minutes (a tad too long I believe)). And this proved to be another of these wow-coffees on my LaCimbali: Very tasty, creamy with a great mouthfeel, a little citrus (I tried it a bit too early after the roast) and very sweet. Yummy. A very welcome change to the Yemen Matari I've had very much of - the Matari is such a heavy coffee that you get tired of it very soon (at least for the late-afternoon drinks).

On a completely unrelated note, I love this picture my dad took on what would have been the most beautiful day of the year in decembre 2007: winter

I've also got a bag of my last years competition blend and I must say I still quite like it (when it's a few weeks old that is - too fresh, as it was during competition, it's way tough stuff, too old it's just boring). Not the kind of coffee I'd drink every day (it's a tad bit tough and unbalanced for that), though in milk drink it shines for me.

Before christmas I had the wonderful opportunity to roast a batch of Costa Rica CoE Libano (from Walter) on a Probat sample roaster - Thanks Mario! - but I wasn't very satisfied with the results in the cup. Probably it roasted too long (there seems to be a pattern here with me), although just into 2nd crack (another pattern?). I put the rest of the batch in the grinder and lucky as I am hit the grind spot-on for a very very very lovely espresso. I'd love to experiment more with this bean, there seems to be a lot of potential for great coffee and espresso, though I fear with my home-roasting device all I can experiment is a trial-and-error kind of thing - I can't really speak of reproduceability right now. Maybe that will change in the future - who knows? ;)

If you've got this far - thanks for reading! I'd love to know who actually reads my blog. Please, leave a comment!

Dienstag, 11. Dezember 2007

MuffinMann Barista Battle


Edzard the MuffinMann called for Hannover's first Barista Battle on the 1st of decembre, and even though I'm not really local to Hannover I couldn't stand back from having a nice day there and meeting a bunch of nice people!

I was mighty impressed with Edzard's small café. He is a master confectioner, and his muffin range is phenomenal. Their taste is too. And they are so big that you can't eat more than one, if one at all, while at the same time you just have to try them all!

MuffinMann Jury

As for the coffee, they use the LaMarzocco single basket which I found quite interesting (I thought that wouldn't work in a commercial environment), and the shot I had was definitly one of the best pulls I had in a café as of yet. The coffee I had was a blend I forgot the name of, but it was quite good, though a little boring (I guess having sporadic access to Cup of Excellence coffees and other wonderful single estate/origins is leaving it's marks on my taste preferences...).

We had plenty of time to chat and hang around before the actual competition started and it was really good to put faces to some names and talk about coffee and passion and all that. It's good to know there are passionate people out there!

Second photo on the right is the jury.

The competition was straightforward: do four cappuccinos, do them with good latte art and work efficiently. Plus, Edzard wanted to find out whose of his baristas David or Martin will enter the next german barista championship, so this was added pressure on both of them. There were two rounds of competition: first round open for everybody, second round only for the two competing MuffinMann baristas. I won the first round and couldn't really believe the scores, as you can see I was quite puzzled when they announced them.

me looking numb

Plus three 10's for clean & efficient working. Wow. Guess where I learnt that? Right.

The second and third round were most intense: both David and Martin were really good at their latte art, and both scored the same. In the end they needed a third round where the quest was a double rosetta, which David finally won. Sure you can question whether latte art is a measure for competition (it's not), but it was fun and the people there (not only the contestants, the shop was rammed full!) had got some glimpse into the coffee world, and for this latte art is nearly as good as a well prepared shot or cappu. Congratulations to David and hopefully we'll meet in Frankfurt!

Well, I for one had a great day, and I believe the others had too. So thanks a lot Edzard! I look forward to the second Hannoveraner Barista Battle next year :)

Samstag, 24. November 2007

Yemen Matari Homeroast

The bag of Matari was just finished too fast (as always). Everybody liked it, it's a stunning coffee, especially if it's roasted just so well. So there I went roasting up a batch on my own: I hadn't done much roasting in the last weeks (mainly because I had no greens left) so this was my first batch in quite a while, and I was a bit ubercautios. The roast went nicely (as always :)), possibly a bit slow with first crack starting at 16'40 and second around 19'33. I panicked a little as I didn't want to ruin the roast so I stopped it at 19'55. Quite a bit lighter than I'd imagined and than Walter did it.

The taste was ok, though: the Matari was still there, the roasted wood turned a bit down to normal wood, acidity was higher (a little unpleasant; but brewing hotter helped a bit) and generally the taste was muted compared to the real thing (pictured here; the colors are way off but you can see the spots of oil on the bean surface). One advantage the lighter roast had, though: the coffee was now drinkable as normal brewed coffee.

Lesson learned: I need to do more roasts. And I need a proper roaster, but that's a completely different thing ... hooray that I now have a stash of 7kg in the kitchen and a batch of Yirgacheffe roasted that looks just like I wanted it to look!

Mittwoch, 21. November 2007

Yemen Matari

A few days ago I had a small surprise in the post - Walter kindly sent me some of his Yemen Matari Mokka - both roasted and unroasted. Thank you Walter, this is so kind and I still can't believe it.

Before my machine was up to temperature I couldn't wait and aeropress'd a cup of it: don't do that at home kids, this coffee is purely for your espresso machine. Really.

The bag is nearly finished now and I fear I can't replicate these intense nice tastes when I roast it on my own: It makes a very thick syrupy espresso, dense body and a very intensive mouthfeel. Tastes of (don't laugh) toasted wood in syrup-shape, with a nice acidity lingering on the tongue. And it's sweetness reminds me of liquorice - a little weird and very surprising taste experience. Thick, dense, sweet and full of body. It works best for me dosing low, grinding fine and doing a ristretto-type extraction. I can't say much about the aroma (catched a cold and can't really smell, I'm glad that I still can taste).

This coffee is just plain different from everything I've had before and seeing the greens, I see why Steve (and Walter probably too) have problems sourcing a good Yemen - they look a bit ugly and chaffy and not really consistent. But the taste is overwhelming and this Yemen really is fantastic.

Samstag, 17. November 2007

A Clover in the news

Wow. Just found this via Baristamagazine's Pasteboard: The Economist writes about the Clover. They seem to be impressed. Would that mean that the Clover is becoming mainstream? Oh dear I'd hope so! I'd really love to have one in the neighbourhood. Given that the coffee that's fed into it is up to equally high standards, though.

Montag, 12. November 2007

Two Months and Grinders

The last post was two months ago, and a blog without posts and without comments seems a bit boring. Anyway, what am I up to currently?

Edit: Comments work again, and spamprevention should now keep away most spammers.

Mahlkönig Original Favorite

Well, I stopped working as a barista. The last two years have been really interesting and full of ups and downs and I came around quite a bit (I really miss meeting the people even more than I miss travelling) - but I couldn't really get university on the one and being a barista on the other hand to work together well, so I had to make this decision sooner or later (People who know me know that I absolutly hate to admit this: I need to earn money more efficiently. So back to computers and networks for now). But this has lead to some interesting side effects: since I no longer have access to the two-group Reneka at work, I really had to start working with my old LaCimbali Junior at home. And it is an old, picky beast. During the last few weeks however, with the help of the naked portafilter and Bruce's LaCimbali grinder, my shots got better and better. I learnt dosing from the doser with the typical thwack-thwack-thwack, and I now can dose quite repeatedly the same amount of grounds without a timer or scale and without waste. I learnt distributing the grounds so as my machine doesn't spit the coffee out anymore, and I learnt getting shots from blends I haven't mastered before and I'm quite proud of that ;) I'm not saying my techniques were rubbish before (they weren't, I went through a hard school during the last years), but new, commercial and well-looked-after equipment is just so much more forgiving than old, not-quite-looked-after, semi-commercial machines. I learnt being a home-barista, and I'm loving it. Only if it weren't so damn expensive! And at the same time, I'm confident that my dull-machin-mastering-skills will be of use in a professional environment, too.

Mahlkönig Brasilia

At the end of the week, I expect a delivery of 7kg of Walter's finest (as green) and I really look forward to it - promises to be much fun in roasting, cupping and generally enjoying mighty fine coffee. Maybe even a competition coffee? Who knows!

Oh, and as you see, I got completly mad on the grinder front last month (but don't ask about my bank account, please).

Mittwoch, 12. September 2007

All you need in a drawer

This is basically the most important drawer I have in my kitchen ...

Actually, this post is just an excuse to announce that I have removed all comments on this blog because of massive spam abuse ... but nevertheless the picture speaks for itself :)

Freitag, 3. August 2007

James' Performance at the WBC

And just to spread it even wider: James' final performance in this years World Barista Championship!

He just seemed to be - well - really enjoying it. Well done, again!

Donnerstag, 2. August 2007

James Hoffmann is World Barista Champion!

He made it!

More at Zachary and Katies!

Dienstag, 31. Juli 2007


They're crazy!

Have a look at ZacharyZachary. They're videoblogging the whole event and try to put up every single competitor. I didn't see all but my personal highlight of today is the Swedish national champion, I really like his extraordinary style of pulling shots! Watch out tomorrow morning (in Tokyo local time, whenever that will be here) for James Hoffmann aka Jimseven, he'll be competing first in the morning representing the UK. Last year, he placed fifth in Bern, and I wish him all the best for place three, two or even one this year! And at 3pm Tokyo time, watch the german Barista Champion Matthias Linke to his presentation ... let's see how he'll make it!

Montag, 30. Juli 2007

World Barista Championship '07

Tomorrow, the world barista championship starts off in Tokyo. I'm feeling dizzy and totally puzzled just by reading and watching ZacharyZachary.com, Jim's blog and others. It's thousands of kilometers away but I wish I could be there!

Rock on James and show them how to make a cup of real good coffee :) I'm really looking forward to see the results and the presentations of the competitors.

Mittwoch, 25. April 2007

About coffee freshness

Again there was some discussion about coffee freshness on TMC, and I thought I'd share my two pence.

Under normal circumstances, I wholeheartedly agree that coffee gets incredibly stale, unpleasant and unbearable within two to three weeks after roasting. This is also the mantra that get's repeated by the people "in-the-know" over and over. Taste fresh coffee and know that you had black, bitter and hot water all your life before! Freshness is the key in having a good cup of coffee (or espresso).

But (there has to be a "but"!) this two to three week period applies to coffee beans that are exposed to air during that time (I'm sure there are other factors to it, but I don't know them).

If the coffee is left alone for two or three months in a sealed, air-tight bag with a one-way valve (ie without a steady supply of fresh air to breathe), you open the bag and make a coffee right away - I doubt that you would taste a big difference compared to coffee from a bag that was just a few days old. Been there, done that and hell was I surprised :)

After opening that bag, ie letting the air get to the coffee, it still goes wreck within a week or two (of course. It even seems to me that it goes stale faster than "real" fresh coffee goes). But in my experience coffee can be kept quite fresh for a while! Some say six months, I don't know - but I know that even two to three months old coffee can taste really good. If it was stored appropriatly that is. And if it was good anyway and all the other factors were ok, too.

Update: Steve and Cakey appearently disagree. I change camps every now and then, but I do give much about Steve's judgment when it comes to everything coffee. My own experience as stated above tought me that coffee can still be quite fresh after a while, but it could as well have been the low expectations I had when opening the old bags ;). I guess I just need more time to think about this "problem" and evaluate ...

Sonntag, 15. April 2007

Oh shameless plug

Have a look here!

Freitag, 13. Oktober 2006

Dublin writeups

James Hoffman and Stephen Morrisey already made writeups of the SCAE Coffee Team Challenge in Dublin. I'll be doing one too in the next weeks, but first I need to get all my pictures sorted which will take a while ... in the meanwhile, just read Jim's writeup and Stephen's. How nice that I'm on so many pictures on Jims blog! I think most people agree that the cupping competition was the most fun, and the filter brewing workshop the most educational. See you in Cologne next year!

Samstag, 7. Oktober 2006

Dublin ahead

I still can't believe I'm going to Dublin. In less than a day, the European Team Coffee Championship will take place at the Royal Dublin Society's. And I'm part of the german team ... wow. I look especially forward to buy Steve and Gary a guinness! The lectures and workshops promise to be very interesting, and I really fear the blind latte art contest. Can't stop being nerveous!

Samstag, 9. September 2006

French Press Update

So, about my recent tips for using the french press, I propagated a one-minute brewing time and a quite fine grind. Steve suggests in an article on his coffeearticles.co.uk website a 4-minute brewing time. Who's right? Who knows better? I mean, come on, Steve's the man, he just has to know. Or not?

Well, as with everything about coffee, it just comes down to taste. And experimenting. I recently roasted a batch of ethiopian Limu and brazil Bourbon, both delivered from Joey. The descriptions of the Limu I read suggested it's got slightly less body then the ethiopian Yrgacheffe I know quite good now, but more fruitness. I struggled hard to get that in the cup with my method - and tried Steves, a 3 and a half minute brewing time. But that gave me a quite bitter brew with none of the deepness in the cup that I like. Well, it came together then: bitter? hell, overextracted it is. Reasons? Too long brew time, too fine grind.

Tried again, 2 and a half minute, a slight coarser grind. Just sipping the last drops of it, they're cold by now, and just full of fruit. It was actually so enjoyable that I hate myself for not having roasted some more in the last days! Arg, have to wait now for a new roast to gas out a little.

So, lessons learnt today: everything is relative. For each and every new bean, and roast, experiment with the variables. 4 minute brewing time, but too bitter? Try a coarser grind and/or shorter brewing time. 1 minute brewing time and too harsh? Try a longer brewing time. And what not. The result in the cup is what matters!

Samstag, 2. September 2006

Let the fun begin!

So, with all these little nifty things in place, and the PID finally arrived - let the fun begin! I took the machine apart earlier, and really hope I won't ever see a 30°C difference in the boiler temperature again. If this turns out well, I really have the hope that I successfully fought upgradeitus for quite a while.

Montag, 31. Juli 2006

Drinking Coffee too fast

I drink my coffee way too fast. Just recognized (again) how lovely a slightly cooled down cup of Yrgacheffe can taste. Left it alone for a few minutes, came back, and all the heavyness was gone, left in the cup was this slight sweet fruitiness, light but lovely body and generally nice taste. ~100g of greens left now ... need to place an order soon.

Samstag, 29. Juli 2006

Out of Yrgacheffe

Exactly two months ago I wrote this:

"I'm so glad that I've got nearly 4 kilos left of it! Trying it out as an espresso should also be fun. Finally, I'm a full blown home roaster! Yay!"

I've got half a kilo left now and am still not sick of it. I love this coffee and I love roasting, even though it's quite difficult to get right at times. I need more greens ...

Montag, 29. Mai 2006

French Press tips

There seem to be many different opinions on how to brew coffee in a french press. As a reference, see the Howto on Coffeegeek, which I find great, albeit my opinion now differs from what Mark recommends. So, here's how I brew lately. Prerequisites:

Put around 2 measuring spoons of ground coffee into the french press, and immediatly pour the hot water over it. Begin to count the seconds or stop the time as the water reaches the coffee! Right after adding the water, put the press together. After around 45 seconds, push the press down a bit and pull it up again, so that the grinds float around. After around 1 minute, push it down. Serve immediatly. And that's it.

I was using the pour-water-then-stir-wait-3-minutes-press-down method before, and found it to be quite good. But at the stand of the London School of Coffee in Bern I was shown this method, and the result blew me away. The taste of the coffee gets more pronounced, you get a bit less body, a bit less coffee-oomph, but way more of the bean qualities in the cup: If you tasted "this bean is a bit fruity" before, you'll now taste more of "hmmm, that's fruity. Maybe peach?" in it. I absolutely love this!

Of course, this is not a scientific method, and the results will vary from each try to another (you can't really control the water temperature, only guess, and you'll not always count the seconds, and you'll not always use the same amount of coffee, and coffee taste and behaviour changes as it gets older and and and and), but for me, this guideline paid out pretty well.

Montag, 29. Mai 2006

New Yirgacheffe Crop

In Bern, I collected 4 kilos of green Ethiopian Yirgacheffe (2006 crop), which Steve thankfully brought there for me. Also, I collected a new roaster, which is pretty much the same as this one, only without evil stinking coating on it so that it is actually possible to roast coffee within. And man, it's great and makes fun. And it's considerably easier, because cranking is a lot less exhausting as stirring like mad.

So, these two goods combined, I roasted a batch of Yirgacheffe yesterday (as Steve suggests, just into second crack, took about 15 minutes) and tasted it a few minutes ago, in the frech press. And wow, it's easily the pretty best coffee I ever had in my little french press so far! The first sip was what I expected it to be: a pretty good ethiopian YIrgacheffe. But as the coffee cooled down, the taste got more and more complex, fruity, with more oomph every minute. I love this coffee!

I'm so glad that I've got nearly 4 kilos left of it! Trying it out as an espresso should also be fun. Finally, I'm a full blown home roaster! Yay!

Samstag, 20. Mai 2006

The Berne Show

I'm currently sitting at a PC within the backpackers were I stay, and trying to just handle what happened the last few days.

Arrived at the World of Coffee yesterday, at around 10am, just a few minutes before Eric Wolf (german Champion) had his heat. And a few things made the experience a bit crazy:

Did you hear about the Clover? I did. While listening to the portafilter.net podcasts, while reading some blogs of some american coffee addicts. The first thing happened when we arrived was that I saw a machine that I somehow recognized. At the very moment I asked myself what it actually was, a thought crossed my head: Oh my God. It's the Clover. It's the $9000 single cup brewing Clover I heard so many professionals raving about. And it was just standing in front of my eyes. I really didn't believe it at first.

The next thing, when we entered the competition room was like a stab in the face to me: a shiney brand new La Marzocco GS3 sitting there, waiting to be taking home from me ... oh, I seem to be dreaming. It's just a price for the master himself, the next World Barista Champion.

Then there was this voice that I recognized, but couldn't associate a face with. No wonder, well, it was Nick Cho from the portafilter.net podcast fame. I never saw him or met him personally, but just heard im on the 'net.


I haven't even talked about the competing champions from all around the world. Eric, who did a pretty great show, and took 8 seconds overtime because the judges forgot to tell him. Klaus from Denmark, who did a performance that made me shivering. It was astounding. He was so calm, so passionate, so professional. And with every word he said, every move he made, you knew that he just lives coffee and damn knows what he's actually talking about.

It was great to see Steve, Jim, James, Gary, Joey and Marcy from toomuchcoffee.com - getting faces to the nicknames, talking in the real world, having a beer and much fun in general. I wished the Mocca Club was not that far away (Vienna ... hhhmm), and I wished that Stafford was just around the corner. I sure would be a regular at the Mocca Club and also watching over Steve's shoulder while he roasts, and trying to catch up with cupping and things.

And Bern. I fell in love with this city the moment we arrived. It's just plain beautiful. I like the style here, the people are pretty nice. Yesterday, I've been to two random restaurants, and I got pretty darn good food at both (ok, ok, ok, admitted, it was expensive. But Good! Man!). Do that in germany and chances are high that you get some pretty average to bad food.

I like the architecture here. And the feeling and look when driving over the Kornhausbruecke into the city is just divine.

All in all, it's really a great and inspiring experience being here. The best thing is: there's still one day to go. Tomorrow are the World Barista Championship finals, to which Jim is attending. Unfortunatly, Eric didn't make it. From the people I saw, he definitly should have been there, but I just saw a few. Ah, and tomorrow I can sip one more coffee made by the clover - the bolivian number one Cup of Excellence maybe? Ah, it's fun. And there's so much more to say, but I'll stop raving now. Back to Germany tomorrow, and we'll sure be having fun at the Leineweber market in Bielefeld in the Store!

Update: I added some links to give you some background infos on what I'm actually talking about :)

Donnerstag, 18. Mai 2006

Going to bern

I'm just starting packing up things for the Bern Show. And still can't believe that I'm really going to get there to see the World Barista Championship, meet some fellow TMC'ers and all that stuff. Amazing! Really amazing.

Mittwoch, 10. Mai 2006

I'm lovin' it!

Just finished roasting a batch of Ethiopian Harrar Longberry in a big cooking pot. A bit more uneven than I wanted it to be, but as Steve suggests, I took it into second crack and watched out for the oils. Total roasting time was 23 minutes. Tasting notes to follow on the weekend! And as I'm awaiting guests for friday, I have to go on for another batch of the Kenya Peaberry blend.

Update: Hmm, after drinking a bit of this I think that it's a little bit on the light side. Or maybe it just has such a high acidicy that it's not thaaat drinkable as a single origin ... who nows? Next time I'll try to lower the roast time a bit by rising the heat, and taking it a little bit darker. Fun thing!

Another update: hm. The cup is now cooled down ... like hand-warm ... and there's no acidity left? Strange!

The last update: Above tasting notes are for the Kenyan Rukira, not for the Harrar, in case anyone wonders. D'oh, need more caffeeine today.

Dienstag, 9. Mai 2006

Bye bye, my beloved MDF

I think I can never again use my small Gaggia MDF grinder and enjoy it like I did before. Really.

When I first got the big commercial grinder, I was astounded what a difference the quality of the grind made in the actual cup of espresso. It was the same day-and-night difference feeling that I got from changing the burrs in my MDF.

Since then, I used the big grinder for Espresso and the MDF for french press/Vacpot coffee. Yesterday night I tried the big one for french press, too, and the result was amazing! I never before got such a clarity and so few grounds in the cup at home. The taste was much more pronounced than what I usually get, not very different from what I expected, just sooo much more distinct, quality-wise.

I love these totally mind-boggling experiences, when you have a stupid idea, do it at 10pm knowing that you won't be able to sleep for a while but are just too curious, and this surprise after the first sip. Went to bed with a smile yesterday ;)

In other news, I recently began to roast in a big cooking pot. With the high borders, the risk of beans flying around in the kitchen is dramatically reduced. And when stirring like a total idiot for twenty minutes, the roast even gets pretty even! On the picture is the rest of what I roasted on Sunday.

Mittwoch, 19. April 2006

St. Helena Coffee

I'm just drinking a cup of coffee from St. Helena, a small island in the south atlantic. When I was in Hamburg last week, I bought 125g of this excellent coffee, which was roasted just the morning I bought it. The first cup of it on the next morning was great, although not very ... pronounced. The beans (and the grind!) are smelling like, how should I say ... beaf stock. A very intense spicy, meaty smell. I felt lucky when I didn't taste that flavour in the cup. But now, 6 days after the coffee was roasted, it is even more dominant - and comes through pretty tasty in the cup, and I'm really happy about it. The coffee is very bright, which makes it seem light, and yet it has a very spicy and earthy aftertaste. Steve says somehwere there is also grapefruit, but I can't identify that. He describes the St. Helena peaberry, though, and I don't think that these are peaberries I have here, so that could be part of the reason. One of the more interesting things is that the more the coffee cools down, the sweeter and at the same time sourer (more acidity?) the taste gets.

Wow, this is a great coffee.

(ps: no, I don't intend to go to bed early this night)

Dienstag, 18. April 2006

Show me yours, I'll show you mine

This is not really remarkable, but nevertheless, one my first successfull attempts at pouring a decent figure into the cappuccino. It at least doesn't look like an atomic bomb anymore.

I need way more practise!

Freitag, 14. April 2006

Kopi Luwak

I got the chance yesterday to taste an indonesian Kopi Luwak. An experience I totally enjoyed! We were visiting Hamburg and Burg's Kaffeemuseum, where they got a new bag of Kopi Luwak waiting on the port, but also had some left on stock. So, after seeing a nice tv report about the "origins" of this coffee, it got served in a small french press, together with two glasses of water and a tasting spoon.

I must say it smelled like a lot of chocolate, but I didn't find chocolate in the cup afterwards. It was a very mild coffee, and did strange things to the palate. The taste was very nice, though, but it left a very long lasting aftertaste in the whole mouth. I'm very sad that I can't remember the exact taste. I need more palate training!

On the roasting department, the new roaster I brought from Hamburg is heavy iron, but is a pity to clean. So, I did a short pan-roast, with the cheap blend that Mr. Burg did for me (for roast-testing purposes). It tastes like cheap coffee which was unevenly roasted, which is not really a surprise. But at least it's not charcoil!

Montag, 10. April 2006

Espresso and tamper

I love Monsooned Malabar.

Samstag, 8. April 2006

Seen on a coffee forum

"We soon open a Cafe-Bar in ABigCity and need a qualified barista showing us how to prepare specialty coffee beaverages".

Had a good laugh. I think I'll visit them when they opened, just to see if they found a qualified barista.

Mittwoch, 5. April 2006


Meine Liebste hat im Angebot den Tazpresso bekommen. Wie sich 1,99€/250g und Fairtrade kombinieren lassen, weiss ich zwar nicht. Aber ich bin gespannt auf den Geschmack (große Erwartungen hab ich allerdings nicht). Mein erster Eindruck vom inhalieren dessen, was aus dem Ventil herauskam, war "Äthiopien" - keine Ahnung, warum. Der Gedanke war einfach da.

Vorerst muss der Espresso allerdings ein wenig lagern, weil ich noch ein wenig Monsooned Malabar zuende verköstigen muss - dieser Espresso ist göttlich!

Achja, zum Thema Fairtrade und Kaffee noch ein interessanter Artikel (auf Englisch): Fair trade who?.

Nachtrag: Hm, hm. 250 Gramm Espresso sind ganz schön wenig. Vor allem, wenn er so gut ist und ich an einem Abend davon 3 oder 4 doppelte trinke ....

Nachnachtrag: der Nachtrag bezog sich natürlich auf den Monsooned Malabar, nicht auf den Tazpresso. Der ätzt einem ja fast die Kehle weg.

Freitag, 31. März 2006

Bodum Pavina & Espresso

While I'm at it - I love my Bodum Pavina Espresso-cups. Got them as a christmas-gift, but my Gaggia only works again since a few weeks. With the new rubber gasket and the new burrs in the grinder, the espresso just looks and tastes looooovely!

Dienstag, 28. März 2006

roasting fun

I had a few greens left from my roasting fun around last christmas, so I just roasted them in the gas oven. Albeit something went horribly wrong: I thought it would be a good idea to put an oven-sized oven pan at the bottom of the oven, so that the heat would be evenly distributed. But that killed the overall temperature, and the roast took very, very long.

I fear the worst from tasting the beans tomorrow!

Update: No, I didn't taste the beans. They smelled like ... you don't want to know that. What a waste.

Donnerstag, 18. August 2005

Zweitmühle, Nachtrag

Man sollte auf seine liebste hören, wenn sie etwas zu sagen hat. Vor allem, wenn es um technische Dinge geht. Aber der Mühle ist hoch anzuerkennen, dass sie trotz der Tatsache, dass die Hälfte des Mahlwerks genau falsch herum eingebaut war, Kaffee gemahlen hat. Nur nicht eben gleichmäßig ...

Aber: Die Mühle mahlt, und das gar nicht mal schlecht, ausserdem ist es ein gutes Training, und die "Espro"-Cafétiere produziert ebensolchen Kaffee wie es eine Bodum-Cafétiere getan hätte. Nur etwas, nun, hakeliger in der Anwendung.

Java ist einfach so lecker ...

Mittwoch, 17. August 2005


Ich habe gerade meine alte, manuelle Kaffeemühle (noch von meiner Oma) wieder fit gemacht. Sie war ganz übelst zukorrodiert, das sah sehr interessant aus.

Das Mahlwerk selber konnte ich ganz gut mit einem mir von Jeschke freundlicherweise zur Verfügung gestellten Borstenpinsel saubermachen. Einige andere Teile mussten im Espressomaschinenreiniger kurz eingeweicht werden. Witzig auch die Korrosionen auf den Sachen, die unterhalb des Mahlwerks angebracht waren: erst eine Schicht Kaffeestaub, darauf eine Schicht was-auch-immer, und darauf wars dann Blau ... ließ sich aber mit einem Küchenmesser gut abschaben :-)

Es ist erstaunlich, wie raffiniert und filigran diese ganze Technik ist. Wenn man bedenkt, dass diese Technik Generationen alt ist, und vor allem, wenn man sich den Müll anschaut, der einem heutzutage verkauft wird.

Nachdem Jeschke sie mir jetzt wieder zusammengesetzt hat - denn dazu war ich irgendwie nicht mehr in der Lage, als all die vielen Teilchen und Schräubchen ausgebreitet vor mir lagen - freu ich mich darauf, morgen wieder etwas Java kaufen zu könnnen und damit diese Mühle einstellen und benutzen kann.

Der Trend geht eindeutig zur Zweitmühle - es ist einfach viel zu umständlich, aus der Erstmühle immer die ganzen Espressobohnen und Espressoreste zu entfernen, den Mahlgrad umzustellen, Kaffee zu mahlen, alles wieder sauber zu machen, um dann den Espresso wieder einzufüllen ...


Arg! Das hätte ich schon fast wieder vergessen. Gestern Nacht machte es ganz laut Rumms in der Küche. Motte an der Decke. Katze auf dem Schrank. Lautsprecher auf dem Boden, und vor allem meine kleine Bodum-Kanne zerschellt im leeren Bionade-Kasten! Viecher!

Heute dann war ich im Hit-Markt (ganz schön krank dort), um zu sehen, ob die sowas haben, und habe tatsächlich für 6,99€ eine kleine Cafetiére bekommen, die allerdings eher schlecht verarbeitet ist. Erste Tests haben aber ergeben, dass sie dicht ist. Wenn sie hält, was sie verspricht, besorg ich mir vielleicht sogar noch die 1-Liter-Variante, für wenn mal Gäste da sind. Glück gehabt, Katze.

Sonntag, 15. Mai 2005

Der Tag danach und der Tag darauf

Nach einem so wunderschönen Tag wie dem 12. Mai mußte es ja kommen - ein total oberbescheuter Tag, an dem ich morgens aufgewacht bin mit nem dröhnenden Kopf und den ganzen lieben langen Tag lang nichts hinbekommen hab.

Nun ist aber der 14., und Ede hatte gestern Geburtstag und feiert heute eine WG-und-explizit-nicht-Geburtstags-Party, auf der ich gerade rumsitze und um 0426 Uhr einen Eintrag hier hereinschreibe. Diesen Eintrag schreibe ich eigentlich nur, weil ich eine Sache in den letzten zwei Monaten geradezu sträflich vernachlässigt habe: Bloggen über Kaffee. Here we go.

Kaffee und die Sorten

Nach meinen Espresso-Eskapaden (und den besten Espresso gibt es nun bei mir Zuhause!) habe ich den letzten Monat versucht, mich auch etwas mehr mit Kaffee zu beschäftigen - das Schlüsselerlebnis dazu war ein mir servierter Kaffee in der Roestbar, ein äthiopischer Yirgacheffe, der mich geschmacklich gelinde gesagt echt umgehauen hat. Eigentlich hab ich schon eher damit angefangen, denn irgendwann habe ich mir mal indonesischen Java gekauft und verkostet, und anschließend gedacht, meine kleine Bodum-Kanne wäre zugesifft, weil der so komisch schmeckte ...

Nun gut, ich könnte noch viel mehr dazu schreiben. Aber was ich eigentlich sagen wollte ist, dass ich gestern sozusagen meine erste offizielle, exklusive Kaffeemischung hergestellt hab (ok, da ist wirklich nix dabei, aber es macht spaß), nämlich für EdE's Geburtstag. Eine Mischung aus etwa 60% mexikanischem Maragogype (sehr bekömmlich, schmeckt irgendwie stark, ist aber trotzdem mild), 30% Java (einfach krasser Geschmack. Alleine kann ich den kaum trinken, aber zusammen mit weniger krass würzigen Sorten echt gut) und 10% eines guatemalischen Kaffees, von dem ich leider nicht weiß, wie er schmeckt, weil ich ihn noch nicht pur verkostet habe. Insgesamt schien der Kaffee aber hier gut anzukommen - binnen kürzester Zeit wurden recht viele Kannen bereitet und geleert. Und mir schmeckte er auch echt gut. Ich hab ihn einfach mal Mono-Mischung getauft.

Die Welt des Kaffees ist groß - bin gespannt, was sie noch so alles für mich zu bieten hat!

Update: Der Urheber des Namens "Mono-Mischung" bin nicht ich, sondern Jan-Christoph. Diese unverschämte feindliche Übernahme des Namens bitte ich zu entschuldigen, das war meinem Gedächtnis entfallen. Im übrigen hat er mich gerade dazu gezwungen, diese Zeilen zu schreiben.

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