Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Equipment is far from everything

This weekend I got quite surprised when I entered a bar in Trondheim and found they had a shiny Elektra Belle Epoque espresso machine. Seeing this, I had to invite my friends, sitting outside, for a espresso with the view of that classic masterpiece.

The Belle Epoque

We had high expectations when we were served our espresso. Perhaps this is one of the reasons we were a bit disappointed as the expectations were set to high. To be honest the espresso had similarities with the dispenser-espresso at work.

We observed that the grinder had around 1-2 kg of roasted beans in the hopper. As this was not a dedicated coffee shop these beans have probably stayed in that hopper for several days. I also deem it likely that the beans were roasted weeks ago. We did at least not smell the pleasant scent of a fresh roast in the bar.

My conclusion is that with enough money you can purchase any fancy coffee machine. Though no fancy coffee machine can make good coffee out of bad beans. Usually its better to put your money where it matters most. In this case it would be in the raw materials.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Smoked beans - No more

Finally I got my delivery from Sweet Maria's. I was a bit worried now that my bag of special smoke roasted beans were getting slimmer and slimmer. Picturing myself in the local grocery store buying pre-roasted beans... I am happy the awkward situation were avoided.

I try to buy beans from most places of the word. Also supporting some poor countries often give a pleasant cup and new experiences. (I guess most coffee countries are poor which justifies buying even more coffee). This time I bought following beans:

  • Costa Rica Cafetalera Herbazu
  • Costa Rica Finca La Ponderosa 100% Bourbon
  • Nicaragua Finca San Jose Java Longberry
  • Rwanda Gkongoro Nyarusiza
  • Tanzania Nyamtimbo Peaberry 
  • Timor FTO Maubesse 

The first beans for the roaster's heat were the ones from Timor.

The Timor beans got a Full City roast, taken just on the start of second crack. Here you see the beans cooling down after the roasting process. To have a good cooling system is important as it stops the roasting process sharply. Letting the beans cool in a pot allow them so prolong their internal roast process which is not always good for the end result.

I usually prefer to test my coffee with a simple french press. It allows you to enjoy the coffee for some time and also let you test the coffee at a wider spectrum of temperature. Some times the coffee shows different characteristics as it cools down a bit.

Tomorrow I will offer some of my friends at work a taste. I hope they will enjoy.