Friday, December 28, 2012

Review of Kopi Luwak preroasted



             
Paradoxurus

 












As I graduated my education, my colleagues gave me some presents. One of them was 70 gr. of the coffee kopi luwak.

A little background knowledge for those who don’t know the coffee in this link.
I thought of this, as a perfect opportunity to make a review of my experiences.
This is a very hyped and discussed coffee, cashing in at about 600$ per kilo. With that in mind, my expectations was high.

I found myself skeptical from the beginning. As the picture shows, the
beans are packaged in an air tight plastic bag. In my perspective, this is not a sign of quality.




I would like a one-way valve.
















The person who bought the coffee was told that they were roasted less than a week ago. I have a really hard time believing that. There were no aromas as I opened the bag, none what so ever.
I decided to make a shot of espresso first. Dialing in the grinder with only 70 gr. of beans can be quite a challenge. I went for a brewratio of 55%. I managed to make a decent shot in my first attempt. 20 gr. of dry coffee, giving me 37 gr. of extracted coffee in 28 seconds. 












The aromas were still rather weak. When I sipped the cup, a very powerful fresh, and fruity flavor fills my mouth. At first I thought it was going to be a taste of acid. But the flavor staid, just at the positive side. In my perspective of course. As the notes of fruit came further back in my mouth, it became a penetrating nutty flavor, with hints of caramel. After finishing the cup, the notes staid in my mouth for a long time. I made a total of three shots espresso. All with the same outcome. Good, but no way near a value of the price.
I gave the last beans a go in my french press. 





Just enough for one cup


     



 This way of brewing suits the coffee much better. The earthy and nutty notes at the beginning, followed by caramel notes at the end. Everything working together in a way ,that seems more natural than in the espresso machine. 

At our household, 70 gr. of beans produces little more than 1 liters of coffee. I think it’s quite expensive, 55-60$ per liter coffee. The price just don’t match the quality and experience.       

I think this is a good coffee. It tastes good, works well and is easy to handle.  I have defiantly tried better and much cheaper. Because of that, I wouldn’t buy it myself.  

After reading an article about the coffee, I might have found the answer to my lack of enthusiasm.  Andrew Hetzel from Coffee Business Strategies, reports of comprehensive fraud with this particular coffee. Big brands, big money and big hype equal a lot of scammers. Unfortunately. It’s estimated that 5000% of the kopi luwak sold worldwide is fake. That’s a massive number. I am tempted to think I am the proud owner of 100 gr. fake kopi luwak coffe. Expensive coffee looks just like the cheap stuff, that is why no one knows if their being scammed buying kopi luwak.   
The organic perspective, with nature and animal in harmonic symbiosis seems to be deseving as well. If you are to trust Andrew Hetzel, the civet-like animal Paradoxurus are being held in small cages at large areas, while force-feed with coffee beans. Not the coffee fairytale the sellers tell and show its consumers. I haven’t looked further in to this accusation and don’t know if there is any kind of evidence. I sure hope it’s not so.  
The article in Danish 

Best regards and a Happy Newyear 
Caspar

Questions or comments can be posted in the commentfield, or at Xiburst@gmail.com

Monday, December 24, 2012

New guy on the blog

I am the new member of Coffee Channel. I have been invited to contribute with some of the posts on the blog. Hopefully I can fulfill the expectations.
I have recently graduated as Ambulance assistant. Unfortunately, there are not any jobs currently. Therefore my future is a little uncertain. But, worst case, I will have a lot of time posting on this blog.
I am 25 years old, living with my girlfriend and our common son at 16 months.
I have always been very fond of coffee. At first it was a need, in the early hours when I was a sheet metal worker. But in time I discovered the joy of fresh, grounded coffee of different kinds in my frenchpress.
One day at a gas station, I bought a cappuccino in a plastic mug. At that time, in my point of view, that was by far the best cup of coffee I had ever consumed. Already at that point, my enthusiasm and passion for espresso had begun. I just didn’t know it yet.
With some help from Google, I learned that cappuccino contains 1/3 espresso, 1/3 hot(steamed) milk and 1/3 milk foam (not the way I do it now) Again with the help of Google I found out, the espresso were made under pressure. But my god, those machines were expensive.
With that in mind I bought a mokkapot. The seller promised at the website, that it could make very good espresso. It couldn’t. Strong coffee (mokka) yes, but that’s it. To froth my milk, I bought an automatic heater andfrother from bodum. As you can properly guess at this point, the outcomes were bad. I then bought a very cheap espresso machine, very bad investment. After hours of reading on numerous coffee forums, I came to the conclusion, as many others properly, that there are no loopholes. When you want to make espresso, you have to spend some money.
I bought a 2nd hand Rancilio Silvia, and ignored all advises on buying a good grinder first. A few weeks later I had to come up with some money to buy a grinder, because grinded coffee from the coffeehouse just wasn’t good enough. I have the understanding, that many people coming in to the world of coffee, has the same experience as me. I will contribute to this blog, from the ground and up, all the basics, hoping to make the hard beginning foreseeable for the novice. I have only done espresso for about two years, and still have a lot to learn.
At this point I have the Silvia, and the Ascaso i-1 alu. I do believe I can produce very fair espresso and cappuccinos, which is still my favorite, with these two machines. But I am still at a low budget. Therefore I always try to get the most, of least. Not saying that I compromise with quality, but I search for the cheap stuff, that will do as close to thehigh-end expensive stuff as possible.
I have made several improvements and mods for my Silvia (and more to come), which I will post on the blog. Silvia is a very popular machine, and I hope that many readers will find my how to´s useful.
I could go on and on about my love and passion for coffee. Hopefully this will be reflected in my posts to the blog.
Best regards And a Merry Chistmas

Caspar

Questions or comments at the commentfield or:
Xiburst@gmail.com


Friday, November 2, 2012

The Behmor p2 tip

The Behmor roaster doesn’t have user adjustability on the fly as others do. You are stuck at custom build-in profiles. The body of in the coffee is developed between 1. and 2. crack, so extending the time between the cracks is essential.
A great tip I saw at http://evadeflow.com/2011/10/behmor-baked-beans/ lets you have a little more control over when the heating element is on at full power and at 30%, thus extending the roast. The tip is basically that you preheat the roaster, load in about 200-300 gr of coffee and choose the p2 one pound setting. Then maximize the time and start the roast. When you are near the first crack turn off the lights and watch the heating element, then slowly reduce the time until the heating element does off. When the heating element is of you now that you have reached the 30% power of the profile. Doing this and opening the door shortly will help you to extent the time between first and second crack and achieving more body in your coffee.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Fair trade vs. direct trade coffee: Is fair trading a bad thing?

In a global marketplace the wages for the little man are often reduced to a bare minimum leaving the coffee farmers with a very little paycheck in the end. In a way for global coffee companies to reach the more critical consumer mass, which cares about the wellbeing of the farmers, the certification Fair Trade was developed. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Digitized Aeropress



Being an esthetician that loves coffee and technology, this project really spun my curiosity. The guys over at Blossom Coffee have made a prototype called simply "one", this is made primarily of steel and wood with a PID and Arduino as the brain. The concept is simple; water is heated up to an interchangeable value and poured onto the coffee in a glass container. The coffee is then pushed through an espresso portafilter using a manual piston. Although this is pretty simple and reminds me a lot of the Aeropress, the innovation is in the computerized brain. Using a display and a small knob, the user is able to control not only the temperature but also the brew time.



In this interview with the Verge the founder explains the concept.



What do you think; waste of time and money or kind of brilliant idea?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

How to adjust the temperature on a Francis Francis X1


Francis Francis X1 internals

This post is actually from January 2012 originally written by Hendrup, but I have rewritten it quite a bit and thought it would be a great read for people who struggle with their X1s in producing balanced shots.

Not many know that you can actually adjust the temperature on a Francis Francis X1. While the little machine isn't the greatest machine, being a really bad steamer and it's the lack of a three way valve, it's really not that bad at all. With a little tweaking and experience it is capable of brewing some delicious shots. Some Francis Francis machines are equipped with a PID (Proportional–Integral–Derivative) controller. In simple terms a PID is capable of controlling the temperature with a much tighter dead band (dead band being the top and low of the boiler temperature), than a traditional thermostat is. A thermostat in for example the Rancilio Silvia varies up to 20 degrees, while a PID only varies a degree or two. Some top of the line espresso machines have a adjustable PID control on the front of the machine, while that isn't the case on the X1, you can actually adjust the temperature.
I have searched the entire web (THE ENTIRE WEB) and haven't found a single solution on how to adjust the temperature on the X1 model, so I popped the hood on my own espresso machine and got going. I found my shots being overly sour, so I located the internal PID and adjusted the temperature up to about 95 degrees, which gave a much better balanced espresso. If you got a Francis Francis X1 and are brewing some sour or bitter shots it might be because of the water temperature. Here is a guide on how to adjust to temperature on a Francis Francis X1.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Facebook comments integration


It’s now possible to comment using your Facebook login, while the comments are still not used much on the site; I hope it will change in the future. If you would like the same thing on your blog I followed this tutorial: http://jensontaylor.blogspot.dk/2012/03/integrate-facebook-comments-for-blogger.html
And lastly don't forget our Facebook page, it's a great way to keep you updated! www.facebook.com/CoffeeChannel

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

New design!

Yes, as you might have noticed I have changed the design. Actually I liked the old design, but there were some problems with both readability and scrolling bugs on Safari which 30% of the visitors use. The new and simpler design features a new and smaller top banner, which should contribute to a better exploration of the screen real estate. It also features a sidebar which showcases the most popular posts and later a label tag cloud. The design is based on the simple template, with is for me the perfect template as the focus is on the blog post and nothing else really. I have kept the colors relatively conservative making the banner pop without putting too crazy saturated colors in there. Lastly I have placed a navigation bar to make it quicker to find what you are looking for, I will begin labeling posts from now on. I hope you enjoy it, if not, please let me know.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: El Salvador Honey Processed Bourbon Cajamarca Single Estate

Green and roasted coffee beans

This coffee from El Salvador has been one of my favorite coffees for the last 6 months or so. The coffee has one of the most complex sweetnesses I have ever tasted, which tastes both like honey and sweet chocolate with a citrusy finish. But what really blows my mind is the coffees viscosity, which when roasted just right is almost like butter.
The coffee is honey processed, which is a process where the coffee beans isn’t washed clean before drying in the sun, it is thus dried with part of the pulp still on, which produces an instance sweetness in the coffee. This process is also known as semi-washed coffee.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How to effortlessly steam milk using only one hand


Latte art

One of the things that seem to bring the most headaches to people when first taking their new machines out for a spin is how to steam the milk and create that smooth microfoam used for latte art. I have tried a lot of different techniques and made a lot of mess trying to perfect my microfoam.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Brew ratio



Why weighing the coffee is a more accurate way then measuring by volume? 


An espresso is typically defined as a small liquid extracted under pressure by an espresso machine at approximately 9 bars. For a single the volume is about 30 ml and 60 ml for a double. So far, so good, but there is a problem with this way of measuring and the nature of coffee especially in regards to espresso. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Pop Chart’s Compendious Coffee Diagram


The chart masters over at Pop Chart Lab have just released an impressively comprehensive flow chart that diagrams the various elements required for all manner of coffee drinks. Including various types of grinders, brew methods, mixers, and the resulting beverages they create. The listed brew methods even include such new and notable options such as the Steampunk and Able Kone.


Overall, it’s one of the most accurate—and impressive—coffee illustations I’ve seen on the web. While obviously well researched, I noticed two glaring mistakes: the categorization of the AeroPress as an espresso maker and (most odd), connecting the “cupping” brew method to iced coffee. It may be too late for corrections, but either way, Pop Chart Lab will be printing 500 of them large scale, for wall hanging glory.

Zoom in and explore the full scale version at Pop Chart Lab

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Able Kone



Less than three months after Able launched their successful Kickstarter campaign to fund a production run of its latest Kone coffee filter, their beautifully designed white boxes have begun appearing in mailboxes and Instagram feeds around the world.

The new Kone and soon to be released ceramic brewer raised $150,000 more than the initial $5000 requested for tooling and production costs. Now with over 1200 backers supporting Keith Gehrke, the founder of Able Brewing, it’s become clear that his company’s new life after Coava, will create a bright new path on its own.







The Kone is a reusable, stainless steel coffee filter originally designed to fit the Chemex coffee maker, but can really be used with any vessel that supports its size and shape. The filter uses hundreds of thousands of micro-sized holes, created using a process of photo-etched steel, to form a precise filter pattern for uniform extraction.

I prefer not to compare the Kone with Chemex paper filters, because there is little comparison in the resulting coffee. The Kone is a unique brew method that incorporates pour over techniques to produce a heavier, oil-rich brew that’s still cleaner than a French press, which many people enjoy more than paper.



I’ve used the Kone since the first version was released more than 2 years ago. It’s been great following the progression of the filter and the company as it’s been refined over the years. The third and newest version is no exception.

The most obvious changes in the new design is the black plastic ring around the edge along with a new blunted tip. My reaction to the black ring was negative at first for altering the elegant, streamlined aesthetic of previous versions (it also slightly affects how well it sits in a Chemex).

However, once I handled the new Kone, the extra rigidity added to the shape and structure by the plastic ring becomes obvious and appreciated. For the coffee shops who use the Kone all day long, the new lip will greatly improve emptying spent grounds and seemingly extend the filters overall life.



The new blunted tip not only makes the Kone safer to handle, but it eliminates the small gap found on the tip of older versions, which was a clear path for fine grounds that increase sediment in the cup. This new “cap” plays a part in catching fines and helping produce a cleaner cup overall than the previous Kones.

With even smaller holes and a new pattern that becomes more concentrated near the tip, the new Kone offers more uniform passthrough as well. More of the water makes its way to the bottom, instead of leaking dramatically through the sides of the filter.





When the first Kone came out, I thought it looked incredible and worked great. It was new and there was nothing to compare it with. Once version 2 came out, the first one suddenly looked and felt like a prototype and the quality of the brew greatly improved.


The latest version, while losing some of its elegance, looks like a retail-ready product that could be sold on the shelves of Williams-Sonoma. From the packaging to the product itself, there’s a much greater feeling of value.







Below I’ve run an experiment to illustrate the progression of the Kone and how much the sediment has been reduced with each new version.

I brewed coffee with each version of the Kone using the same parameters and technique: 40 grams of coffee to 600 grams of water, 30 second bloom followed by a slow and steady center pour, using a medium grind (5-O on a Baratza Vario-W).





After each coffee was done brewing, I poured the result through a rinsed, white V60 filter to capture the sediment. Results pictured below begin with version 1.



Overall, the new Kone is a great improvement over its predecessor. From its reinforced new structure to the increased clarity in the cup—if you were a fan of previous versions then you’ll love the latest. If you’re just now discovering the Kone or have been waiting to purchase one, this is definitely the best version so far and you’ll be happy you waited.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Rocket R58: Final News!



The Rocket R58 dual boiler espresso machine 

This will be the last update of the Rocket R58 before a hopeful real review of the dual boiler, which Im looking forward too a lot. Nevertheless in the meantime Whole Latte Love have produced two videos from May regarding this newly launched espresso machine and it's kind of interesting because one of the videos actually shows the inside of the Rocket R58.



Saturday, August 25, 2012

Grady´s Cold Brew



Barely a year has passed sine Grady Laird quit his magazine production job to launch Grady´s Cold Brew, a "New Orleans-style" coffee concentrate available in 32-ounce bottles. "It´s been insane", says Laird, talking from his new Brew Compound, a 6,000 square-foot combination space on the north side of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. The Brew Cove is a tenfold expansion of the Brew Cave (Lairds first HQ) and his staff his doubled to six employees.

"Until a couple of months ago, there were just three of us doing literally everything: putting labels on the bottles, sanitizing the bottles, filling the bottles, shipping everything, cleaning."



Grady´s Cold Brew might look like an overnight success from the outside, but Laird spent years seeking out a suitable project, first floating the idea of a European-style doner-kebab shop. "I realized I´s be eaten alive, trying to run a restaurant in New York City without the right experience", he says. Iced coffee came next: "I was trying to figure out why everyone´s perfectly comfortable making their own hot coffee, but when it gets hot outside, everyone switches to buying iced coffee", adds Laird.

When Lairds started he didn´t know anything about the cold brewing technique and the first attempts off heating up a pot of coffee and then rapidly cooling it down didn´t go well. Then Laird looked into the art off extracting a great cold brew, which was grew in popularity in the coffee nerds society at that time. He found that a brew should take about 12-20 hours of extraction time, which was a very simple process, but not one people would pursue themselves on the hot days.



Grady´s cold brew was made by stepping coffee and chicory overnight, which makes it suitable for pouring in milk or water (hot or cold). Laird soon found himself running up and down the stairs of the Conde Nast Building, where he worked until last year, talking orders from fellow magazine staffers.

Chicory - is a caffeine-free herb that is as a popular coffee substitute, as well as an ingredient in New Orleans Coffee or Chicory coffee recipes. Unlike decaf coffee, chicory is naturally caffeine free. To make Chicory root into a substance, the root is pulled up from the ground, washed, dried, roasted, finely cut and then steeped or brewed. Chicory´s roasting process gives it a roasty flavor roughly akin to that of coffee, and is part of the reason why Chicory is a popular coffee substitute, as well as a fairly common ingredient in coffee recipes. After the Chicory root is roasted and cut up (or ground) it is ready to be steeped or brewed. Chicory is more water soluble than coffee, which means you need to use a lot less of it when brewing it with coffee or instead of coffee.   

"I quickly realized the reactionI was getting was not people pitying my little business, but actually addicted and really jonesing for it."

Now Grady´s Cold Brew is firmly established in the much-derided, much-emulated Brooklyn artisanal food scene and is planing to widespread with regional microbreweries (U.S.).

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cafe, Venezia

Antica Torrefazione Di Caffe


Deep within the heart of the Italian town, Venice – lies a dedication of how greatly coffee should be appreciated. A little roastery, Antica Torrefazione Di Caffe has taken a lead off becoming the single roastery in Venice, where green beans is transformed into a balanced cup and here from appreciated not only by the locals, but also tourist. 


Green coffee beans directly in the shop

Coffee History
The history of coffee has been documented as early as the tenth century AD, where its use was largely restricted to the native beans of Ethiopia. Here highlanders first farmed the coffee plant, however it was the Arabs who saw the trading potential and sold the beans to northern Africa where mass-cultivation occurred. Early 14th Century explorers upon seeing the coffee drinking in the near east labelled it as a drug, reporting the many medicinal benefits from consumption in the morning. From there, the beans entered European and Indian markets in the 17th Century, where the popularity of the coffee became widespread, as "the wine of Arabia".

Gigant roaster in the back room

Coffee was first introduced to Europe from Egypt through the Italian city of Venice, where a flourishing trade between the local businessmen and Arabs enabled a large variety of commodities and goods to be imported. Merchants sold this coffee to the wealthy in Venice, charging them greatly for the privilege of drinking this exciting new beverage.

A neverending que

Due of its eastern roots, coffee in Italy was at the outset considered a sinful and deemed as an Islamic threat to Christianity. However its popularity grew regardless, and Pope Clement VII upon wisely sampling the heathen drink was instantly enamored by the unique taste and aroma.Consequently, it was decided that far from religious conspiracy, it would be a great sin to banish such a delightful drink and thus is was deemed Christian beverage - giving rise to the first Italian coffee house.

The owner of the Italian coffee roasters

Named for the beverage that it served, the first cafe in Venice opened around 1683 and soon became synonymous with comfortable atmosphere, conversation, good food - this adding romance and sophistication to the coffee experience.

Different roasted beans for home purchase
The heart of the roastery
The professional Barista

Historically most Italian coffee is brewed strong and fast in the form of espresso, which is perhaps why this country developed various milk based coffees such as the cappuccino and latte. The inventive to develop this type of coffee was not due to its superior taste, but a shrewd 18th Century Italian businessman who sought to reduce the time his workers spent on their morning coffee break. Thus a lever driven machine was developed to force water through tightly packed ground coffee, incidentally creating a stronger more aromatic brew. Although the strong association between Italy and coffee can be deemed somewhat of a misnomer as only humble amounts are grown in this country, early Italian culture welcomed the drink as if it were their own and did much to advance its status of the beverage worldwide.

Making a cappuccino
Blue Mountain Jamaica for home purchase
The final cappuccino

Were would you find a coffee cafe that sells Blue Mountain Jamaica for home purchase and also respects the coffee enough too roast the coffee yourself as the only one in miles around? Well this little oasis in the middle of Venice did that and I must say Im impressed!

// Hendrup