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Flowers from El Bosque ?

Keeping going our special friendship with the Brothers of El Bosque they have sent me some photos of this years crop being sorted at their mill in Guatamala. They also sent some pictures of the plants in flower which are stunning photos, some of the best I’ve seen. The flowers on them are massive and its from the same area where the other photo with me in was taken just a few months earlier.

Take a look at http://www.flickr.com/photos/hasbean/

Kind of made me wonder how Mother Nature knows what to do and when, and how beautifully she does it all. Sorry I’m going all bleary eyed thinking of the good times spent there in January this year, and how much the farm and the brothers impressed me.

Any way hope you enjoy the pictures.

Ohhhh my, have I been wrong all this time?

You know when you think you know an answer. An answer that you thought you have been very sure of for a long time, and find out it may not be true. Well 9 guys (of whom I hold in great respect) from homebarista.com have done some work on freezing fresh coffee and if this extends shelf life, and it appears that it may have some beneficial results.

It’s a great article at Home Barista but I do worry a little (trying to claw back some credibility). I think its got to be frozen well (i.e. no air in a good freezer) and there must be no condensation on the beans during defrosting. I also believe that buying fresh coffee is the only way to guarantee ultimate freshness, and freezing isn’t for everyone.

But what I do like is having my long standing beliefs challenged and this article is something that really did that, well done guys.

Whats in my Kitchen (Grinders)

A Friend of mine suggested I do a “what’s in my kitchen” list of what coffee things I’m loving at the moment. As I have so many coffee things, I’m going to try and do at certain price points. This time I’m going to concentrate on Grinders

Grinders

Under £100

There isn’t anything that I’d really have any more that I can sell. Since the passing of the Aerolatte grinder around 12 months ago, the only other option is the ibital mc2 (which is made by the same company just re badged) which comes in at just over £100. It is a better-built machine than the Aerolatte was, so my advice, spend some more in this vital area of the ibital upwards. I do have an Aerolatte grinder set up in my kitchen and its a little workhorse, and up to the job of espresso grinding.

Under £250

The Macaps are good grinders. They are not quite Mazers but if you take the bells and whistles off the grind quality is equally as good. And for under £250 (£220 take a look here). I do have a Mazer in the kitchen side by side and I can’t tell you I’m not swayed either way and keeping in mind the

Money no Object.

MAHLKÖNIG K30, I love this grinder. I’ve only used it a handful of times, but I do have one on order (out of my price band waiting for an ex demo I’ve been promised). It’s not without faults, it can suffer with clumping and its price tag of £850 is a little shocking. But it grinds like a dream and for me is everything a grinder should be.

Other things to come over the following weeks, if there is something you would like me to cover in particular then I’m happy to do this.

I love Fair trade (well kind of)

Long time readers will know that Has Bean is not a fan of the fair trade brand (link here) so this statement is a bit of a shock to some I’m sure.

In my naive world every one is like us and pays a good price for a quality coffee. But not everyone pays a good price for their coffee (glaring looks at the big 4 and a number of others).

I watched this video and realised we make such a small contribution (the tinyest, tiny drop in the ocean) to the whole thing.

It then came to me that if these irresponsible companies pay more for the average coffee and brand it as fair trade that’s got to be a good thing. And then companies like Has Bean (and a lots of other micro roasters) pay even more for the awesome specialty coffee and brand it as good coffee, everyone wins.

So fair trade is good for those who need it, we’ll continue to buy good coffee for a good price, and I hope that others pay a little more too, those who can make a difference. But for the time being we will make our drop in the ocean and hope it makes others stop and think.