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Archive for July, 2009

Bikes serving coffee

Bike with coffee

Bike with coffee

There is a new concept on the market: the bike that can serve coffee!

Mobile coffee vans have become more and more popular over the last few years. People like the mobility, the low overheads and the freedom. Not to forget that it’s great fun as well! The UK even has a world barista champion who operates from a mobile cart. So, being mobile is definitely ‘in’.

To really cut down the overheads you can now serve from a bike. No tax, no diesel, no mot, no emissions, strong calf muscles and a great sun tan.

These bikes come with a 2 group espresso machine, a grind on demand grinder and you can serve frappes and smoothies as well. It is easy to operate from anywhere and you will have a much easier time convincing the council or mall to operate within a certain area. Totally eco friendly and a great attraction.

The bike is available from Barbara from http://www.coffeelatino.co.uk.

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The Bear II

The Bear II

First of all, we have an improved version of one of my favourite latte arts. This is a combined effort of myself and Andrea. Pretty cool I think. It’s more like an angry bear.

It has been an interesting couple of days and I have heard a couple of things that I thought might be interesting to share.

1) “Do you sell instant coffee?” Our answer: “nope and we never ever will!”. It amazes me how people can sell freshly roasted coffee AND instant coffee at the same time. We try to built a company with a good name and us selling instant coffee will never ever happen. We probably have lost some money by not selling bean to cup machines and instant coffee but then again, at least we stand for some thing.

2) “I don’t need a grinder, it’s way too noisy. It is much quicker to buy pre-ground and it’s nice and quiet.” 🙂 That made me smile. This was from someone in Saudi Arabia who is not serving the best coffees ever. Is convenience really more important then quality?

Overall, I do think that the coffee in the UK is improving. We are still amazed by the amount of people that are looking for barista training. More and more people are realising the importance and we see all our new customers who have been trained getting great feedback.

Sorry if this post is not making much sense. I still drink too much coffee everyday and yes it does effect me. No it doesn’t make me all hyperactive, more the opposite in fact. It’s hard to focus on one thing as my head is spinning. I had 3 small training sessions today and drunk way too many coffees. No idea how many, but my body is telling me just too many. No worries though, I will still sleep like a baby 🙂 Then again, I am already looking forward to tomorrow’s training session.

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Blend 33

Blend 33 - One of the first espressos

Blend 33 - One of the first espressos

Thank you all for the suggestions. So far we have received fantastic feedback about our new blend.

We are going to call it Absolute Coffee – Blend 33

It is not out yet for sale as we are testing it another week or so but so far we have had loads of sweetness and chocolate notes. The blend is very safe and we haven’t had one bitter coffee yet from it. We tried it at all different brewing temperatures and it seems to handle low temperatures very well. Over and under extractions is not too much of an issue either.

The coffee has great aroma which comes from the delicious Ethiopian coffee. There is great body from the Java and a pleasant and clean aftertaste. It also holds up in milk very well.

It makes delicious cappuccinos as well. Sort of milk chocolate and sometimes toffee flavours.

It makes delicious cappuccinos as well. Sort of milk chocolate and sometimes toffee flavours.

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For some reason I always do it. Whenever I teach, develop a new blend, cup or whatever, I still don’t know my own limits. I am not immune to the effects of coffee. It’s not like I can just drink and drink coffee without any side effects.

Yesterday I drunk way too much way too quick. I can blame it on the excitement I think. We were developing a new blend yesterday which I am pretty excited about. We think it’s pretty much ready for ‘production’ but I want to test it first for a bit longer.

This is going to be a sweet coffee with delicious toffee notes when mixed with milk. But for now, we will send it out to some friends and the people next week on the training courses will get it to try as well.

If you have any great names for espresso blends please do drop me a line. There are 3 coffees in this blend from Brazil, Ehtiopia and Indonesia.

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Caffe latte

The Iseo cups for caffe lattes

The Iseo cups for caffe lattes

What do you prefer to drink your caffe latte from? Is it a glass, a cup or a mug? Does it have to be a tall cup or can it be in a flat cup like a cappuccino cup .

I get this asked quite often and I understand that this is a preference thing although I would like to write about how I would do it. To me it’s all about making it clear to the customer. They need to know the difference between a cappuccino and caffe latte. One style cup can make it quite confusing for people. And the last thing I want to do as a barista serving customers is to make it all too complicated. I just want to serve a lovely cup of coffee which they like without too much hassle. This way I can focus on making the drink taste great and serving the customer.

I prefer to drink a caffe latte out of the Iseo cups from http://www.coffeecups.co.uk. These are quality porcelain cups and have thick walls. They just look great and for some reason the coffee taste fantastic in them. Because they are tall it is very clear to people that it is supposed to be a caffe latte.

IMG00619-20090722-0933

Round flat cups are great for latte art

Cappuccinos I prefer in small cups, 6 to 8 oz cups, and I like them to be flat cups. Great for latte art as well. The big question is always what the difference is between cappuccinos and caffe lattes.  I think you do a great job in your shop when people understand the clear difference.

Having different shaped cups for the two drinks can make it clear for your customers. And that’s when you have happy customers, when they know what to expect and when things are clear. In the end, they go to a coffee shop to relax and have a nice cup of coffee and not to be confused by a massive menu and confusing things.

What is your favourite type of cup for coffee?

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Nice chairs

Salad bar

Salad bar

I am in Sweden at the moment, drinking lots of filter coffee, and having a good time. Visited a coffee shop the other day and I thought it would be nice to post a picture of the very comfortable chairs they had. There was also a very good salad bar which was very popular amongst the customers. Many people were chosing salads over sandwiches and there was a lot of healthy stuff around.

They had a decent machine with a mazzer mini e which is an electronic grind on demand grinder. Coffee was pretty good, flow was good, freshly ground, hand tamped, right amount of water. It was made pretty good which is always nice to see.

They also had a very nice ice cream and quite a wide range of food products. The place itself was very large, maybe 1500 sqft.

Comfy seating

Comfy seating

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Brewing ratio

IMG00496-20090629-1349Weighing coffee is something that many people do. They weigh the amount of coffee used for a single and double espresso. A single is usually set to 7 grams and a double to 14 grams. This is not really how I make coffee but many people prefer to do it this way.

What is also a good thing to do is to weigh the liquid (the coffee). Weiging an espresso for example is, in my eyes, a very exact method, surely better then to measure the amount of liquid in ml. Or not?

This can give you interesting results and can give you quite good consistency. Let’s say you are setting up your coffee in the morning for the day. You way a double at 16 grams. Pull a shot and turn of the shot when the blonding appears. Now you weigh the shot and it tells you 32 grams. This will give you a brewing ratio of 50% (16 grams / 32 grams = 50%).

This might be a great way to set up a grinder. Instead of timing it you simply weigh it. Get two kitchen scales, tare your porta filter and your espresso cup. Make a double or single espresso and divide the weight of the coffee (16 grams for example) by the weight of the espresso (32 grams for example) and you have your brewing rate (50% in this example).

You can then set a standard that you want a brewing ratio of 45% to 55% throughout the day for example.

Why do I like this more then a 25 seconds extraction time? Well, I think it is because you still try to get the most out of every shot you are pulling. Let’s say you normally dose at 16 grams. With a brewing ratio of 50% you should then have a 32 grams espresso shot. However, if you dose 15 grams, which will surely happen throughout the day, you want a 30 grams espresso shot and not an 32 grams espresso. Because you have used less coffee you should use slightly less water. By watching the extractions and looking at what the coffee is doing you should get this consistency.

A\\

Delicious!

Delicious!

Of course you can’t weigh the espresso everytime when you are serving behind the bar. However, it might be a great training tool and it can really teach you about consistency, dosing and pulling shots.

This also works on filter coffee and other brewing methods. I like filter coffee, depending on the type of coffee, at 5 to 6% brewing ratio.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Note: is this going to be the future of espresso coffee machines? where there is a scale in the drip tray and you can set the shot by weight and not volume

Second note: this is nothing new in the coffee world. I just thought it would be good to bring it up.

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