I had a question from a customer the other day asking why we don’t ever hold a lot of stock of decaffeinated. Just a few weeks ago we had 5 decafs and now we have just two. Well you know were obsessed about freshness (and rightly so). The decaf process poses its own problems. Green beans will keep fresh for around 12-18months and roasted beans will keep fresh for around 2 weeks or so. But decaf is another variable that’s harder to nail. When coffee goes through the decaf process it opens up the coffee so the caffeine can be removed. You cant just close it up after you have done this so it is more unstable than a normal caffeineated coffee. Its also true those greens that get decafed can be old crop that the green bean seller wants to move on (ours rarely are but I don’t want to get caught out with fading greens). Our main import partners go looking for coffee that will solely be used for decaf coffees so this tends not to be a problem but you need to be on your toes.So we wont buy more than a bag at a time as we know just a matter of weeks can change the coffee. A good example of this was we recently had a very good Colombian organic decaf that was very popular and we enjoyed very much, but we had to let it go as it just was falling away. So where am I going with all of this? Well what reminded me of this is we recently cupped the new crop sample and we are very pleased to say it’s on its way back. So the old saying of good things come to those who wait could never be truer. We wont stock something just because we think the range needs it, its always on quality in the cup.
After spending the long weekend enjoying and experimenting with the Arobie Aeropress, I felt it important to make my points clear on it. I tend to use the bank holiday as a day to catch up on forums I don’t have time to keep up with or some coffee related Internet reading. I read something on alt.coffee (the usernet newsgroup) about the press that made me revisit what I had said about it.The thread goes along the lines of the Aerobie doesn’t produce espresso, and its folly to claim it does. If your going to be 100% correct I suppose that’s right. But the argument could be used against Moka pots and home user machines like krupps etc. For me the aerobie does a far better job of making espresso style drinks than most machines I have tried under a few hundred pounds. I wanted to clear that one up so it doesn’t come back to bite me and I’ll tie it together in one statement “The aerobie doesn’t make espresso, but it does make a style of espresso type of drink at a very affordable price”
The long weekend also means I go without espresso for a few days. At the roastery I have a wonderful La Spaziale two group spazio that is a wonderful machine that even me the clutz of a barista can make good espresso. At home I have a great simonelli oscar, but it needs some love and attention and I never find the time for it. So I go for the option of either Vac pot (my favourite) or lately the aerobie.
Because I have a little more time and don’t want to drink and be gone I’ve been making Americano’s with it. And I’ve got to tell you this is a complete new brewing method, and I’m really growing to love it. It’s the closest I’ve come to cupping tastes in a brewing method ever. The clarity is WOW the nuances come running out, it is truly a revelation. To many times in coffee the big experiences end up being big money (top level espresso machines, grinders etc) but this is £25 and really is a big step forward in brewing.
One thing I have noticed is the extraction times and how this can really alter the drink. For instance I did an Ethiopian yirgacheffe (the new one with big apricots) and let it step for 30 seconds before pressing out. I then very quickly did the same yirg on the same grind with the same amounts of water but let it step for 1 min. Drank side by side they were incredibly different, both pleasant but really different. The 30 second one was very light grapefruity with delicate apricots and peach. The 1 minute one had increased body less of the grapefruit but much more peach. The variables are endless, and far more enjoyable than the french press for sure. I’m a convert, not just because we sell it but I truly think this is the beginning of something special in coffee.
Enough of the aerobie any way, some new info sheets uploaded today so take a look in our downloads section at the link below
Were a big fan of James Hoffman, who won this years UK barista championship, using our coffee, we developed the winning blend with him. Well after winning James was invited by the El Salvador coffee association to visit San Roberto and La Fany farm two coffee’s we have been proud to stock.So why not go and take a look at his online diary at his blog
If you phone up Has Bean some time and get the answer phone you’ll forgive me for not answering, but this is what happens when I do. This is the El Salvador San Roberto, the winning coffee from last years Cup of Excellence. Yes a tears were in my eye’s and yes I gave myself a big kick. Things move this quickly in coffee.
With the holidays I’ve done “A LOT” of reading on the net which has been great fun. I came across a piece at www.portafilter.net talking about an experiment, which put the Bourbon variety of the coffee plant against Caturra (a close family member). Caturra has more branches so it is much more productive. However, most people find Bourbon is better in the cup, so the question was asked why?They got coffee from Caturra and Bourbon plants from a single farm, picked on the same day, processed the same way, roasted the same way. When cupped they found that the Bourbon coffee was better. They repeated the experiment. This time, they removed some of the Caturra’s flowers so it produced the same amount of coffee as the Bourbon. This time, there was no difference in the cup from the two varietals.
Sounds easy doesn’t it, less quantity more quality, but this means less money for the farmer. Its tricky when for years and years people have told the farmer its to do with soil and altitudes and now we turn round and say and while your at it produce a little less and lower your yeild.
A Great piece of work that really improved my coffee understanding, thought it would be nice to share.
A new article added to the website today “How to Brew Coffee Has Bean’s 10 Commandments” Really meant as a bit of fun, but you will get the idea. Click here to go to the articleThe long weekend has meant I’ve had time to dig some of this stuff out, and I hope to publish some more soon.
Its also given me a great chance to fall in love with filter coffee again. I’ve been mainly drinking the Nicaraguan coop 22nd de septembre which is truly special. I also had the last of the sample from Colombia auction gone a few days ago, and that got me very exited about it. Its amazing but at home I rarely drink espresso, but at the roastery its all I tend to drink.
There is some interesting stuff been going on in the forums toomuchcoffeeand coffeegeek,and the portafilter.net guys portafilter podcast entertained over the break. If you don’t know Nick and Jay (party on Nick, party on Jay) do a radio style podcast thing, where they sit around and talk mostly coffee (and sometimes go wildly off topic). But that doesnt matter very cool, and there recent shows are all about the SCAA conference in Charlotte. Being too far to go and too expensive it was good to hear all the stuff that was happening. Also the coffeegeek podcast is available too and aimed at the newbie in coffee (I’m sure Mark Prince won’t mind me saying that). There have been some cool ones recently though where he talks to Susie from the cup of excellence, great work, by all these guys.
I have been tossing around the idea of doing a European based podcast type thing, but I’m worried that 1 no one would listen, 2. it would be rubbish, and 3 I’d run out of time to do it. But I haven’t ruled it out, if anyone is interested in helping or doing something with it let me know.