an espresso lover's blog

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Went for a heart with rings this morning, but got a hybrid. Still, I like it :)

My popper is now officially in the mail and I hope to get it sometime this week. Looking forward to trying it. I've even put up a draft for a green bean order from Stavanger. I need more beans if I am going to make some blends. It will be interesting to see how much brighter the coffee will taste due to the fast roast time.

This hasn't been the best of days, too many questions unanswered right now in my life. Still, I think everything will work out.

7/29/2003 01:41:00 AM  

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Last week I asked barista Tim Wendelboe if I could join him when he roasted coffee for the Stockfleths coffee bars in downtown Oslo. He roasts at the Solberg-Hansen (biggest speciality coffee roastery in norway) plant so we took the tube up to Ryen today. It is about 15 minutes from central Oslo.

Before doing the stockfleths roast we went upstairs to the dining room to get an espresso. They have a really cool E61 Legend machine there with a nice Faema grinder as well. We quickly found out that the beans in the grinder were stale (most employees are on vacation right now...) so we went down to the roastery to get some fresh ones :). Ah, the pleasures of being close to a roastery. Tim got some malabar espresso that was much better. I had never tried a malabar type espresso before and I found it to be quite nice, and I got the chance to brew it myself as well (on the E61 Legend!).

We then went down to the roastery and Tim took me on a short tour while getting the ingredients for his blend.

They have a really nice system of silos, fans and pipes that is used to transport the beans from storage to roaster. This makes the job less demanding physically. They currently roast mostly on two big 120 kg probat roasters. I was pretty impressed with the roastmasters who had several decades of experience. I think one of the guys had been roasting for like 40 years or something. It sort of suprised me that they used old roast samples to compare with during roasting. Clever stuff.

After roasting Tim's espresso blend we went into the cupping room and I had a chance to cup a Kapi Robusta, a Jamaican Blue Mountain and a Brazil that I don't remember the name of. I had never tried cupping so this was really exciting for me. We roasted the three samples on three probat sample roasters, all gas heated.

The roast level was quite light, suitable for cupping. Three small bowls of coffee was brewed with each coffee. I think he used 11 grams of coffee per cup, ground for drip and brewed for about 4 minutes by just pouring water in the bowl and letting the grounds seep. We then had to swipe off the coffee foam on top of each bowl and then let them cool a bit. On my first tries I had a hard time discerning the brazil from the jamaican. The robusta on the other hand was really different and had a kind of bready taste to it, but not unpleasant. As the coffee cooled a bit and my slurping improved somewhat I could make out more differences between the jamaican and the brazil. It really struck me how difficult this art is. Practice is key and the ability to cup with seasoned cuppers. Loved the experience and wouldn't mind trying it again if I get the chance. As a complete rookie in cupping I was left with the impression that a cup of french press would be easier to diagnose with than the small spoonfulls of coffee that is used at the cupping table, but I guess it is a question of developing the palate and practicing a lot. It certainly isn't very practical to brew lots of french presses for each sample :). It is however according to Tim important to cup as the end product as well, that is brewing drip coffee or making espresso if you are developing an espresso blend.

All in all a great visit! Thanks Tim!

7/23/2003 03:52:00 PM  

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Some weeks ago I had to return an Alpenrost that I had been borrowing from a friend. Not that I used it all the time, but I miss the excellent drip and press coffee I could produce from those ultra-fresh beans. A danish dealer called is selling the G3Ferrari popper, so I put in an order for one yesterday. It is quite inexpensive so it won't matter that much if this style of roasting doesn't work out for me. Still, everyone says and writes that popper roasting is fun and easy. Only negative is the small amount of beans per batch and the fast roast time that can give less body and more acidity in the cup. I'm also curious to the amount of smoke produced. I will be mainly roasting for drip so I don't really think it will be a problem. With the Alp I would mount a tube on the exhaust and put the other end out the window. That worked nicely. I'm curious to know if the popper will produce a more even roast than the Alp. I think that was its biggest negative, and not the least the fact that one couldn't watch the roast progressing.

Tomorrow I'll spend most of the day visiting a big roaster here in Oslo. Looking forward to it.

7/22/2003 12:23:00 PM  

Friday, July 18, 2003

Sigh, the guys I'm buying espresso coffee from (Temperato) are on holiday, and I'm having a hard time finding decent, fresh beans. The two bars "Java" and "Mocca" here in Oslo both have very good beans, but they're expensive and not close to me. In pure desperation I bought a can of illy beans today, and I have to say that those beans were among the worst I've ever tried. Watery, thin stream and barely any crema. Can't roast either because the Alpenrost I borrowed had to go back. Well, somehow I'll survive :)

7/18/2003 06:30:00 PM  

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Somebody mentioned that SCAA had put audio recordings from the sessions at the SCAA 2003. And sure enough, they have. When you register and pay a 10 dollar fee you get access to all of them. They're supposed to put 85 sessions online, but not of all of them are there yet. The sound quality isn't so good, but it is ok. Today I've been listening to some sessions about green coffee and roasting that were very interesting.

I've also read a transcript from a 2002 session called "Technology in the craft" (presenters: Mike Sheldrake, Stephan Diedrich, Robert Hensley, Michael Sivetz). Excellent stuff. Lots of information about how coffee roasting works both in theory and practice. They even sketch out a method for developing your own roast profile for the coffee you are using, and how to manually operate a Diedrich roaster! Great read.

We have a big heat wave going here in Norway now. It is happening all over the country. In Bergen they had 87 F (30,5 celsius) yesterday, which is a new record. Here in Oslo we had something like 27 celsius (80,6 F) in the shade, and that is really enough for me. I stayed in my flat most of the time and did paper work. And of course, I drink a lot of iced coffee :)

7/16/2003 10:44:00 PM  

Friday, July 11, 2003

Not much happening lately. I was home in Arendal last week to visit my family. Arendal is situated in the very south of Norway and is a nice harbour town. It was good to see the folks again. I had my Silvia with me and used it together with my brother's rocky. He has bought it from me and now he is going to borrow my siliva while he studies computer science. I'm nice huh? He seems very interested so I think I can expect good cappas when I visit him at the campus.

I repaired a Rancilio MD50 grinder today. The upper part of the doser (the star) had come loose. It was an easy fix, just press down and tighten hard. The MD50 is a *robust* and powerful grinder, but it won't win a beauty contest. Personally I think the doser lever is a bit to heavy and slow. It works fine, don't misunderstand me, but I'm a fan of the light and smooth levers like on the mazzer super jolly (not the mini which is sluggish too).

My brother is here now so I think we will go downtown and visit some of the very nice coffee bars we have here in Oslo, like stockfleths and java.

7/11/2003 11:56:00 AM  

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

New article by David Schomer titled "Roasting for Espresso: Implications for Coffee Retailing". Interesting read!

7/01/2003 07:41:00 PM  


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NM 2005 pics #1
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Oslo qual 2004 pics
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NM 2004 pics #2
WBC 2004 pictures
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Stockfleths move video
Stockfleths cupping
E2K review (16.05.2003)
SH roastery visit
Scarecrow popper

Superb espresso in Oslo

Stockfleth's Lille Grensen
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