One title doesn’t fit all

November 7th, 2009

This is going to be a bit of a mish mash post, a composite of a few different things.  Originally I had planned to follow up the previous post on brew temperature and conduct a few experiments but the comments quickly reminded me I need to go and do some serious reading before attempting anything serious.

Instead this post is a collection of a few different thoughts rolling around like tumbleweed in my brain.


We had a lot of international visitors today at the roastery.  Keith Loh from Singapore, Joe Hsu from Orsir in Taiwan and Paul Bassett meaning that conversation was both interesting and far ranging.  Plus I ended up drinking way too much coffee.

Joe very kindly brought me a TC-2A syphon, and we talked a little about the Syphon contest that had taken place in Japan a couple of weeks ago.  Joe had sent me the score sheets but I can’t understand them – if anyone wants to see them then I can post them on here, but google will probably deliver them quicker!

If I understood it right then in the contest steep time is set at 1 minute, and this restriction kind of inspired me to start playing with the syphon this evening.  I confess, shamefully, that my interest in it was inversely proportional to the fetishization of it online.  I never wanted to be one of those people who stopped liking a band because it got popular. How embarrassing…

Regardless – it has been good to be challenged by it again.  I still suck at it – by which I mean I still haven’t really nailed a coffee, though I feel I am getting pretty close.  I am sticking to sensible doses (60g/l) and am trying to just change one thing at a time.  There seemed to be a lot of chatter about syphons online, did anything close to conclusive surface?  Are people willing to share where they ended up?

Green Coffee Packaging

Ola wrote a fantastic post a while back, and recently it has been something I’ve thought about more and more.  Of the vac packed coffees we deal with I have two polar extremes.  One of the seasonal espresso components was packed in 20kg boxes, and plastic vacpacking.  We’ve gone through all the boxes in three months, in which time the other espresso components still in jute have not suffered.  The amount of packaging is quite upsetting, and makes me feel quite bad.

However we have a few different coffees from Aida Batlle that are too precious to trust to jute.  We may not know the full effects of alternative packing methods, but with coffees like her Grand Reserve (which we won’t launch for a few weeks more) I am glad to have them packed well against the elements.  So I remain conflicted.  I think Ola’s identification of the problem (it takes too long to move coffee) are pretty much spot on, and if we sped that up and remained seasonally focused as an industry then the packaging dilema is somewhat reduced.  That said – I’d still like to know of alternatives to jute for shipping and storage. (Shipping especially)

Teflon steam tips

Paul from CoffeeHit very kindly took a few low flow Synesso steam tips away and had them teflon coated.  I know teflon steamwands are nothing new, but this is still a fun experiment for me.  I love the low flow tips – they are great for training – but they were always annoying to clean.  I’ve only had these for a day, but so far so good.  I am going to send one back to Synesso for fun, and have a couple left.  Will see what to do with them.  I should point out that the colour choice is not the only one – it does now match my portafilters quite nicely though!

Home Brewing

I still want to do more on brewing at home.  I know I am not alone in seeing this as a really important area where the industry needs to do better when it comes to communicating and educating.  I think for the quality driven there are only benefits for getting people to drink better coffee at home – that includes cafes too.  I quite fancy putting together another videocast on coffee brewing at home.  I know I need to redo the Chemex one, and that is pretty high up the priority list, but I was curious if people had a preference.  More than that I was curious as to how most people who read this make coffee at home.  I’d be very grateful if you could vote in the poll below (you can pick three different options):

How do you make coffee at home?

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So – quite a lot there.  I know I need to catch up on replying to loads of great comments – looking forward to doing that this weekend.

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