Thursday, July 30, 2009

Levenslessen (Dutch)

Lang geleden (2006?) op koffiekenner deze post gevonden :

Vandaag dit mooie verhaal gehoord van Mieke:

Een professor stond voor de klas om een les filosofie te geven. Hij had een aantal voorwerpen voor zich liggen. Toen de klas begon, nam hij zonder iets te zeggen de lege pot van de mayonaise en begon deze te vullen met golfballetjes. Toen deze hier helemaal mee gevuld was vroeg de professor aan zijn studenten of de pot nu helemaal vol was. Zij antwoordden van wel. Toen nam de professor een doos met kralen en kiepte deze in de pot. Hij schudde lichtjes met de pot en de kralen rolden tussen de open plekken tussen de golfballetjes. Weer vroeg de professor aan zijn studenten of de pot nu vol was. Ze gaven weer eenzelfde antwoord; ja, de pot is vol. De professor nam nu een doos met zand en kiepte dit zand in de pot met golfballetjes en kralen. Natuurlijk vulde het zand alle ruimte op tussen de golfballetjes en de kralen. Weer vroeg de professor aan zijn studenten of de pot nu vol was: de studenten antwoordden van wel. Van onder het bureau nam de professor nu twee koppen koffie en kiepte de hele inhoud van deze twee koppen koffie in de pot met golfballetjes, kralen en zand. De hele inhoud verdween in de pot. De koffie vulde de ruimte op tussen het zand. De studenten begonnen te lachen. “Nu”, zei de professor, “nu wil ik dat jullie deze pot zien als jullie eigen leven. Deze pot gevuld met golfballetjes, kralen, zand en koffie, stelt namelijk het leven van een mens voor.” “De golfballetjes zijn de belangrijke dingen in het leven: je familie, je kinderen, je geloof, je gezondheid en je favoriete bezigheden. Dingen die ervoor zorgen dat als er niets meer op de wereld was dan deze dingen, je leven toch gevuld zou zijn.” “De kralen zijn de andere dingen die belangrijk zijn. Je werk, je huis, je auto. Het zand, dat staat voor de kleine dingetjes die belangrijk voor je zijn.” “Als je het zand als eerste in de pot kiept en hem hiermee vult, is er geen plek meer voor de kralen of voor de golfballetjes. Datzelfde geldt ook voor je eigen leven. Als je al je tijd en energie aan de kleine dingetjes besteedt, dan kun je nooit meer ruimte hebben voor de dingen die belangrijk voor je zijn. Besteed aandacht aan de dingen die belangrijk voor je zijn. Speel bijvoorbeeld met je kinderen. Neem tijd voor een onderzoek voor je gezondheid zo nu en dan. Neem je partner mee uit eten. Doe nog iets leuks, er is altijd nog wel ergens tijd om het huis te poetsen of de prullenbak te repareren.” “Zorg eerst voor de golfballetjes, de dingen die echt het allerbelangrijkste voor je zijn. Stel je prioriteiten. De rest is maar zand.” Eén van de studenten steekt een vinger op en vraagt waar de twee koppen koffie in die pot dan voor zouden moeten staan. De professor lacht en zegt de student dat ze daarmee een heel goede vraag heeft gesteld. “Ik wilde daarmee alleen nog maar weer eens aangeven en bevestigen, dat, hoe vol je leven ook mag zijn, er is altijd wel een plekje om samen met een vriend of een dierbare een kopje koffie te drinken.”

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Monday Evening Cupping

During my usual trek to the north in the summer, I of course brought along a good selection of coffees. Denmark, housing some of the best roasteries in Europe, namely Kontra, Coffee Collective and Risteriet. Nuff said, more on this trip later. The cherry on top for this evening being a few bags of George Howell’s terroir I received earlier. Rather than let those coffee’s go stale, Rob invited a few coffee freaks for a cupping session.

To sum up, on the cupping table:

Kontra: La Piñona, 2008 Honduras Cup of Excellence.
Kontra: Sagrado Coraçao, 2008 Brazil Cup of Excellence.
Kontra: Tanzania AA, Blackburn Estate.
Coffee Collective: Aricha lot 2 Yirga Cheffe, Ethiopia.
Coffee Collective: Hacienda La Esmeralda Special Boquete, Panama!!!!
George Howell’s Terroir: Mamuto, Kirinyaga, Kenya
George Howell’s Terroir: La Lainez Cup of Excellence 2008, El Salvador

Nice little line up, no? All of them were pretty lightly roasted, ideal for cupping, now to the highlights.
Kontra was first in the cupping, the Brazil (?) and the Honduras La Piñona were rather disappointing flat but balanced, a turning woody when cooling a little bit, they tasted like they were last year’s crop, not a good start. I’d say they would be better suited for a tad darker roast so that they could be used for espresso. The Tanzania on the other hand was a dark fruit bomb, mainly with blackcurrants and pleasant acidity, although a bit one dimensional.

Next on the table was George Howell’s Terroir coffee. Unfortunately the El Salvador la Lainez was a roasted 3 weeks or a month ago, the aroma had faded. The cup was a bit flat, but still I found soft citrus, raspberry and maybe some apple.
The Kenya Mamuto, an old favorite back on the table was excellent as always, packed with blackberry, blueberry, black current with an underlying sugar cane sweetness and an incredible juicy long pleasant finish. This must be the 5th time I ordered it, that must be a good sign!

Lastly we cupped the Coffee collective, Ethiopian Aricha. WOW this is the most interesting cup I may have had in my life! An explosion of creamy strawberry, clean thick juicy body and this typical natural processed wild earthy undertone.
We reserved the (reported) best for the last, Panama, La Esmeralda special. First you notice the very thick body of this coffee, laced with jasmine, black tea, underlined with a honeyed sweetness. A long resonating finish, very pleasant, very balanced, very clean. I can understand that this was picked as the best coffee of the world. It is as interesting as it is balanced.
Question mark : we thought it had more punch and fruiteness when we just opened the bag on Friday. Can there be lost so much in the 3 days since we popped the bag? It was nicely closed over this period.

Your Antwerp Barista, Jazzy Jeff.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mokka Pot Tattoo

Originally uploaded by apetown
Mostaccio Bird. Nice name.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Photo of the Week

Nespresso shop window Leopoldstraat

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Alexander Van Merle meets Johan & Nyström

Every week a different Roast of the Week and every other week a new artist in our WEHTMMM art project.

As Roast of the week we had at the beginning of this month an incredible Ethiopian Limu. Deep chocolate and punch.
This week we have the Burundi again. A tad darker then last time and it feels like it does justice to this African. Deep herbs and a pronounced sweet peas taste. Fine roasted nuts in the finish. Happy.
In between we were proud to have a kilo of Johan & Nyström (I know the mirror drawing wasn't my best). Of course it only lasted a day, but those who tasted their Isola Blend still remember. A Colombia, Ethiopia, Brazil and Indian Robusta blend. Top notch. Johan & Nyström roasted this year the Beloya and Daterra Reserved for Swedish champ T Björklund.
I remember this Specialty Coffee Roaster from my Stockholm visit. This time it was Jozo D who brought along a bag.
Next person who's passing by Swedenborgsgatan 7 ..... one bag for the Antwerp Barista please.

Normally tomorrow we have a classic one : Kontra Espresso Blend. This blend was the base for our House Blend almost 3 years ago. The current one has no more Yirgacheffe or African beans, but is still a must taste. Friday and Saturday at Hopland.

I'm meanwhile dreaming of cupping new Copenhagen roasts Jeff brought along this week. And then we're talking Panama La Esmeralda, Ethiopia Aricha Yirgacheffe and other prime cuts!!!! Maybe Sunday eve?

Next week we have a brand new El Salvador Pacamara as a roast of the week. Other new arrivals are organic coffee's from Dominican Republic and Bolivia. Big week!

What Ever Happened To Mr Marlboro Man :

Alexander Van Merle is the man who is responsible for this very original work of art. It fits really well in the space. I hope this can be an extra reason to visit us the next two weeks. If you're afraid for too many people; come in the mornings. During summer it is relatively calm between 9 and noon. And isn't the coffee tasting better earlier on the day?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Giant Mill


Thursday, July 16, 2009

'Roasters' - A video by Stephen Morrissey

Informative and funny video from the Biggest 3rd Wave Roaster. Give us more of that Stephen.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Housestories goes Nespresso

After ongoing negotiations Housestories finally selected Nespresso to be their coffee supplier. Just now Nespresso has their best Pure Origine ever on the market ; the Colombian Rosabaya.

In the Housestories set up a logical choice. It's small, easy, looks great in the room and fits well in the market position of this project.

For those who want to know more about this prestigious project : follow the blog.

For those who want to book an apartment at Housestories Brussels : click the site.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

(Tra)Bocca Coffee (Dutch)

Ik ontmoette Menno van Trabocca opnieuw in Keulen.
Ongelooflijk hoe deze koffiekenner de hele aardbol afstruint op zoek naar de meest exotische en verrassende koffiebonen.
Eerder had we al een tonnetje zeer goede Yirgacheffe bij hun gekocht, en mijn appreciatie voor het bedrijf groeide alleen maar na mijn bezoek aan hun offices in Addis Abeba Ethiopië.

In Keulen kregen we enkele stalen mee gebrand door Bocca Coffee. Een aanverwant bedrijf te Amsterdam dat koffie brandt.

Hun Costa Rica-Papua New Guinea melange heb ik nog niet kunnen proeven. Wel de 'Gusto Blend', waarmee Schat Nederlands kampioen werd. Zeer stevige mengeling met een volle en goed uitgebalanceerde smaak. Prima. Wel een klein vraagteken bij de Cappuccino capaciteiten van deze blend. Sander?

Het meest tot mijn verbeelding was opnieuw de specialiteit van Trabocca : Ethiopië. Een Natural Sidamo (3) die het fantastisch doet op alle verschillende brouwwijzes. Via de Aero Press kreeg ik een krachtige fruitbom, rins, met veel diepte en een super cleane nasmaak waar ik geen genoeg van kan krijgen.

Opvallend ook dat de brandgraad mooi in de lijn ligt van hoe wij bij Caffenation werken.

Nog veel succes in de toekomst Menno en Tewis en hopelijk tot snel.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Freddie Hubbard

I'm talking a lot about atmosphere in the espresso bar.
Maybe it's time for people to rethink their music - probably the most important piece of the puzzle.

Freddie Hubbard is my favourite trumpeteer - oh man he can blow the horn.
See him live with the Art Blakey Jazz Messengers.

Later on he took over Miles Davis his band in the 60's recordings massive tracks for Blue Note.
Most of this stuff is probably the best for your bar.
Check 'Open Sesame'. Epic!*

Then he moved on to the CTI house build by Creed Taylor.
This first part of the 70's is my favourite Freddie period.
First Light and Red Clay. Oh my.

Later on the 70's he did some weird shit, but kept on playing well. Early 80's his technique was still there, but due to depressions and age he then quickly lost it.
Last year he died, but at Caffenation he's still alive, almost every day.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Cuptasting Bart and Ben. Belgium 3rd Nation!

In preparation for my second cuptasting competition a couple of months ago I went to Efico for some training.
On that occasion Bart VanSanden was showing his skills. He was champion the year before and looking stronger then ever.
On the championships I had the honour to compete with him at the same table for the first round. Unfortunately he over classed me and took his second ring later on. (on this photo you can see bart, me and in the back Peter Hernou - memorable picture actually).

This Sunday he was in the arena for the world title.
I have to admit that there was only one other competitor I knew and that was Ben Kaminsky. Repeatedly reading his articles on the Barismo blog he came into the press as the first US cuptasting champion in Atlanta and a couple of weeks ago he became second in the Oslo at the Aero Press championships.

I was happy to meet him Saturday eve after my award winning when Stephen Morrisey presented me to him.
A good looking gifted youngster with coffee knowledge and buds to be jealous after.

At the finals Bart ended 2nd and Ben 4th. A big congrats to both of them.
Next links gives you photo's and the name of the winner :

Meanwhile we(Belgium) became 3rd in the overall Nation ranking. Unbelievable how such a small country can become big in such a short notice.

When I was on stage speeching after winning the award, I told the audience my believe was we all have to keep on fighting for better coffee and a better atmosphere in espresso bars.
And I think this should be the message after all these prices and top results at championships and SCAE shows. We do participate at championchips not for the prices, but for bringing specialty coffee at the surface and under the nose of everyone in our country. The photo coupled in the press articles (seen at one of the comments of the past post) this week in Flemish news papers of a stupid cup of coffee with whipped cream next to title of Peter winning the Latte Art championship tells enough - ridiculous. There's still a lot of work to be done, with or without new titles or top results at championships.

That's it for this years championships. En avant marche pour Londres 2010! Santé!