Archive for the ‘coffee’ Category

What use a coffee scoop?

July 31, 2021

That was my thought at a zero waste stall. Why use, what use a bamboo coffee scoop?

I take the point from the little experiment carried out by James Hoffman, consistency if take care, but consistency of what, an unknown, unknowable scoop of coffee? And it would vary with grind size and the coffee beans, for example if the beans were peaberry.

I brewed a pour over using an April brewer. I followed the recommendation of Patrick Rolf, 12g of coffee, 200g of water, first pour 50g circular pour 50g centre pour within 10 seconds, wait 40 seconds, repeat. Total brew time two minutes thirty seconds. How to without digital scales and an accurate timer? Not possible using a scoop.

I cannot see any use for a scoop. I cannot see why provided with an Aeropress. It leads to sloppy brewing, lack of consistency.

Zero waste shops: Refill shampoo bottles, loose nuts, rice, cereals, spices. But never buy loose coffee. Stale oxidized beans of unknown provenance, roasted who knows when. Always buy coffee from specialty coffee shop or reputable coffee roastery.

Plastic Free July

July 17, 2021

Those empty laundry detergent containers, empty shampoo containers, do not throw away, take to a zero waste shop and have them refilled.

That is what I did last week, laundry liquid from ecoleaf, the shampoo coconut from Faith in Nature (which matched the previous contents).

But please never put wrong liquid in mismatched container, it is not only the labelling, we have iconic shapes, ketchup bottles, coke bottles.

Classic, weed killer in a Coke bottle on the shelf in the garden shed.

A zero waste shop recently received a lot of stick when a foolish employee bragged she had found a use for an empty ketchup bottle, filling with cleaner.

If have an Nespresso machine do not not buy the disgusting coffee from Nespresso, and if thinking of buying choose an Opal One a superior machine, the capsules buy from reputable coffee roasteries.

  • Kiss the Hippo — compostable
  • Colonna — compostable and aluminium
  • April — compostable

Compostable, throw on the compost heap.

Aluminium, obtain a gadget from Colonna, Lakeland or Hotel Chocolat and use to extract the spent coffee grounds, scatter the extracted coffee on compost heap or garden, the emptied aluminium capsules, stack to increase their bulk, drop in a recycling bin.

If order from Riverford, veg box or recipe box, delivered in a card box which can be reused, recycled or composted, inside tins, maybe little plastic boxes, fruit and vegetables loose, strong paper bags or compostable plastic bags. The boxes are collected next delivery.

When we recycle, reuse, compost, we are not only reducing waste and closing the loop, we are also saving on embedded energy used to produce the products, thus helping to cut carbon emissions.

We face several global crisis

  • global warming
  • mass species extinction
  • pandemics
  • plastic pollution

When out and about, wishing for a coffee, never takeaway or offer a reusable cup, relax and enjoy coffee served in glass or ceramic. The only exception a kiosk or cart.

Seven Districts coffee at Curtis in Sincil Street

July 1, 2021

A couple of weeks ago I noticed Curtis in Sincil Street selling bags of coffee from Seven Districts, now serving.

I was suprised, Curtis a butcher cum baker, long established family business, but not where expect to find bags of coffee on slae, let alone specialty coffee. Though when I asked, the bags were selling.

Excellent for cakes, fresh made ready meals (cottage pie. sasahe mash and peas, are excellent), and roast ham.

Curtis have always served coffee, basically grasy spoon cafe, tea or coffee with a cake or sausage or roll.

If I wanted a sausage roll to eat it would be Pepperdine’s or Redhill Faram, pork chops Pepperdine. But absolutely no way the rubbish from Greggs.

Following the destruction of nearly all the local family family businesses by the Coop, Curtis and Pepperdine’s are one of the few remaining family busiesses left. Mainly because they own their own property, and thus cannot be driven out by the Coop.

For Curtis to serve specialty coffee, install an espresso machine, a move up market for their coffee. Maybe they have noticed the growing number at 200 Degrees and want a slice of the raction. Also since renovation of the locality, a growing number of people sitting around.

Today I decided to sit outisde and have a coffee. Too hot in the sun, they need shade. Cappuccino, too hot, cup size too large.

Espresso tonic Coffee Aroma

June 23, 2021

A hot day, I decided to sit outside Coffee Aroma with an espresso tonic.

I was the only person, very quiet.

A not very good espresso tonic, wrong glass, ice melting, did not know how to make, wrong beans.

  • PHOTOS Espresso tonic Coffee Aroma

Espresso tonic

June 22, 2021

I keep playing around with this.

Need a 310ml (minimum) cut glass crystal tumbler.  Crystal looks great.

The recipe is very simple:

  • 120g ice
  • 120g tonic
  • 40g shot from Opal One

For ice, I use the same water as I use for making coffee. It can be scrimped from a coffee shop or use Coop still water, but never tap water.

The tonic is important. Forget the crap from Schweppes. Try Fever Tree  Premium Indian tonic.

For the coffee, 25g Discovery Short Rwanda from Colonna. This is roasted for 25g, but is works fine as 40g for espresso tonic.

The trick, getting the balance right between coffee and tonic.

Opal One,  a superior machine to a Nespresso machine, roughly twice the price of the cheapest Nespresso machine.

When brewing the shot, flush the machine with hot water, shake the capsule, after the shot eject the capsule, flush the machine.

Aluminium capsules, obtain gadget from Colonna, Hotel Chocolat or Lakeland, extract the spent coffee grounds, recycle the aluminium, coffee grounds scatter on the garden or compost heap.

Compostable capsules, drop on compost heap or dispose off with waste food collection.

A very refreshing drink on a hot day.

The best Panama Geisha of 2021?

June 18, 2021

Panama Geisha, Finca Deborah the best of 2021?

I am pleased Patrik Rolf then went on to qualify, one of the best coffees in the world.

In the same locality we have Hacienda La Esmeralda where Geisha was discovered or rediscovered, for more on this read God in a Cup, and the estate of Ninety Plus, located Boquete, Volcán and Renacimiento.

Several things struck me from the farm, Finca Deborah.

  • shade grown coffee
  • beautiful wooded hills
  •  coffee protects the environment
  • the care the farmer Jamison Savage takes with his coffee beans

I contrast the introduction looking at the green beans with green beans I was asked to look at from Cameroon. The Cameroon beans had insect damage and black mould. When I tried to explain the condition of the beans was not acceptable, supplier became angry. Would not listen when I was trying to help, telling them if they wish to be taken seriously they have to address these problems, they cannot ship poor quality coffee beans.

I am pleased Patrik featured the farmer. Someone grows the beans, we need to know more about the farmers. Unless they care, we will not be drinking high quality coffee. We also need to thank the roastery and the person who brews our coffee.

We have our green coffee beans, how do we roast, how do we brew?

Slightly longer roast time, slightly higher roast temperature. This would appear to go against perceived wisdom, if we think of cheap crap commodity coffee, roast the shit out of it to hide any defects.

Then when we get to brewing, again contrary to perceived wisdom, leave to rest for three, four, five weeks.

And then, grind, store in an airtight container, brew the next day, which appears to go against perceived wisdom, grind and brew fresh for each cup, otherwise lose all the aromatic oils, coffee will oxidise.

Interesting to try, three different Geishas, same farm, same variety, different processing of the beans.

I recall something similar a couple of years ago, twelve different lots from the same farm, a cupping session at Taylor St Roasted.

I was tempted to order.

Synchronicity: Intrigued to stumble across this, of my friends at The Underdog, one of my favourite coffee shops in Athens, using beans from Finca Deborah for the World Barista Championship Boston 2019. It is always an honour and pleasure to be served a coffee at The Underdog and if time permits and not too busy conversation about coffee. If The Underdog rates this coffee, then Patrik Rolf is in very good company.

Foot note: I tried to order. Too late, Sold Out. 

Cappuccino at Angel Coffee House

June 7, 2021

A cappuccino at Angel Coffee House. It changed hands a while back. I have had a takeaway since it changed hands, not good.

Today, able to sit outside and have a cappuccino. Not good, completely clueless on coffee.

First I am served with chocolate sprinkled on top.

I send it back. The waitress tells me that is how we serve it. I cannot be bothered to tell her, no that is not how to serve a cappuccino.

Second cappuccino served. It looks disgusting tastes disgusting. Too hot, all froth and foam, the cup size not the correct size for a cappuccino, far too large.

No water brought to the table.

Coffee is Ozone. I have not yet been anywhere where the coffee is Ozone and I can say have had a great coffee. The Angel Coffee House no exception.

I left my cappuccino untouched.

Why do people bother to run a coffee shop if cannot be bothered to brew decent coffee, cannot be bothered to source quality coffee beans?

There are only two coffee shops in Lincoln worth a visit, Coffee Aroma and Madame Waffle.

Espresso tonic

May 30, 2021

A refreshing summer drink?

Fairly easy, at least should be, if have all the required gear.

First find a cut crystal glass of 350ml. I could not find, settled for crystal glass of 310ml.

No tray for making ice cubes. Improvise with plastic tray from ready meals, fill with 120g of water.

Reset Opal One to factory setting, which gives me 25g, 40g, then reset temperate to highest temperature setting.

Recipe simple:

  • 120g of ice
  • 120g of tonic water
  • 50gof espresso

Tonic used Fevertree Indian tonic. Strange shards of ice due to method of making ice. 40g not 50g of Kenyan espresso, default setting on Opal One.

I have to admit, looking forward to a refreshing drink, I found to be a disappoint,  watery. Maybe I should have tried in the afternoon when hot, not waited to evening when cooling down.

I then tried the Kenyan from April as 25g shot. It was excellent.

Last words to European Coffee Trip.

Real Coffee

May 26, 2021

Really, or just another example of real life bullshit?

This is unfortunately typical of the garbage I receive every day.

Exclusive new aluminium capsules

It’s your lucky day. You’ve just stumbled across the only recyclable, Fairtrade and organic coffee capsule in the UK!

WTF is real coffee? Or do we now have fake coffee like we have fake meat?

We have bad coffee, which this probably is, typical of what we find in the corporate coffee chains, for example tax-dodging Starbucks et al and the vile undrinkable coffee peddled as luxury by Nespresso.

Then we have independent specialty coffee shops serving excellent coffee.

There is nothing exclusive about the offer.

No, it was not my lucky day, and no I did not stumble across. It was an unwanted intrusion into my personal timeline.

Do not diss compostable.

I assume they mean the contents of their aluminium capsules are organic, not the aluminium which is what they misleadingly state.

It is only possible to recycle aluminium capsules, if obtain a tool (not mentioned) to first extract the spent coffee grounds.

FairTrade scam pays tiny premium above commodity price, maintains growers in poverty as no incentive to improve quality.

Facebook directs to a website, no information, other than told the world’s best coffee, another false claim. Nothing on origin, variety or Q grade.

There is quality coffee in Nespresso compatible capsules, but not from Nespresso:

  • Kiss the Hippo — compostable
  • Colonna — aluminium and compostable
  • April — compostable

Note: The video that appeared on my timeline does not appear to exist and yet it does exist. Very odd. I have posted a different video (but it too does not exist).

Note: The video that appeared on my timeline does not appear to exist and yet it does exist. Very odd. I have posted a different video (but it too does not exist). I have therefore posted the links (may need to be signed into facebook to view)

Halo compostable coffee capsules

May 20, 2021

An e-mail from Halo, ELLE Winner: Best Compostable Coffee Pod! Really, well let’s check it out. And compared with what?

I found an article, 10 Best Coffee Pods To Buy 2021.

Elle, that well known magazine with expertise in coffee. Er, I think not, and it shows.

In their Top 10, Grind, Lavazza, Eden Project, which says it all, their lack of knowledge of coffee.

When we see magazines and newspapers promoting the Best Coffee, Independent recently had a similar list, just ignore.

With great reluctance placed an order with Halo, recommendation by Elle sufficient reason not to.

  • hype
  • meaningless environmental claims
  • pods porous to oxygen
  • pods jam machines
  • pods made of paper

Crass environmental claims, comparing compostable pods with aluminium. Aluminium can be recycled, but first extract the spent coffee grinds and put on the compost heap.

Compostable, home compostable on a garden compost heap or an industrial biodegrader? How many have a garden compost heap? Even fewer access to an industrial biodegrader.

Do I really wish to jam my Opal One?

April highlight the problem of paper tainting the coffee. With a V60, always first rinse the paper.

If the pods are not an effective barrier to oxygen, somewhat self defeating as the coffee will not be fresh.

When we buy coffee, we should not lose sight of what we are buying, coffee. The packaging is important, its role is to keep the coffee fresh. If the packaging can be recycled or composted or recycled, an added benefit.

With capsules an additional criteria. The capsule forms part of the brewing process, it must be neutral and not effect the flavour of the coffee.

Quality is inversely proportional to hype. excellent coffee does not need hype.

Service reasonable, order placed on a Monday and confirmed, Tuesday notified had been dispatched, delivered in the post early Thursday afternoon.

A long black box. Not impressed. Follow the example of Grind and Kiss the Hippo or Riverford, plain cardboard boxes, well designed, minimal impact on the environment. So much the Halo claim packaging minimal impact on the environment.

Open the box, two long boxes shrink-wrapped in what is claimed to be compostable plastic. We will see.

Inside the lid, told

  • The world’s best coffees, in a way that’s best for the world.

If the world’s best coffee, then specialty grade, high Q grade, high 80s, low 90s. No mention of Q grade. Nor mention of origin other than country.

Kopi Luwak is not the world’s best coffee, far from it, it is to support a vile trade in animal cruelty. Had I known Halo was involved in this vile trade, I would not have ordered from Halo. Any company that supports this vile trade should be driven out of business.

If wish to recycle the box, then ship in a plain cardboard box.

Opening the box, a faint pleasant aroma of dried fruits, maybe dates or figs. The two boxes inside with the capsules is supposed to be an oxygen barrier, but the aroma suggests not effective and that the capsules are porous.

Capsules limited shelf life, use by December 2021, which again suggests the capsules do not provide a very effective oxygen barrier, the world’s best coffee, far from it, marketing bullshit without specifying origin, variety or Q grade. 

Halo recommend once the box has been opened, use the capsules within three weeks, which once again implies the capsules are porous, not an effective oxygen barrier, in other words completely useless as capsules.

And the coffee?

  • Daterra Moonlight
  • Pacamara

A bag of coffee when opened, often even before opened, a wonderful aroma of the coffee, a promise of what is to come. With capsules nothing, which at least shows the capsule is functioning as it should, an oxygen-free environment for the coffee.

With Halo, stripping off the outer oxygen barrier, open a box of capsules, Daterra Moonlight, an interesting, not unpleasant smoky aroma that I cannot quite place. But, unfortunately shows we do not have an effective oxygen barrier to keep the coffee fresh.

A porous capsule is to miss the plot. The advantages of capsules

  • optimum grind
  • optimum freshness
  • oxygen-free environment

The capsules, made from rice and paper, is of the look and feel of an egg box or the compressed card sometimes used for tomatoes. mushrooms and strawberries . 

Dropping a capsule into the Opal One, usually no problem, it hesitated, I thought it was going to jam, then dropped through. 

No information on brew. I chose roughly 25g as I have brewed other capsules. 

Fearing it may swell and jam, I immediately ejected the capsule on completion of the brew.

The brew, not as I expected. Lacking in crema, weak and insipid for an espresso, more like a not very good V60 pour over. 

On examination of the capsule, it had the same malfunction as I had experienced with Grind house blend compostable capsules, a couple of tears and not the matrix of hole, but worse, two layers were lifting up.

Comparisons are with an aluminium pod and Kiss the Hippo George Street blend compostable capsule

Dropped on compost heap with capsules from Grind and Kiss the Hippo. 

The following day, I tried a second capsule to see if experienced the same problems of capsule failure and poor quality brew.  Unfortunately yes, if anything the tear in the surface was worse and the brew as bad, a watered down espresso or poor quality pour over. 

Batch failure, design failure? 

One day on from removing the plastic outer wrapping, aroma was now more pronounced on opening the shipping box, far more pronounced, very strong aroma, when opening the capsule box.  The capsules are porous, not acting as an oxygen barrier. A serious design failure.

My findings are what have been reported by others, but without realising the significance for the freshness of the coffee. 

Unspoken question, was the Opal One at fault?

The following day, Kiss the Hippo Bond Street house blend compostable capsule. No resistance dropping into the machine, crema, tasted like espresso, not a watered down espresso or poor quality pour over.

Examining the ejected capsule, perforations as would expect, comparable with aluminium capsules. 

Halo, maybe a batch problem. but looks like steer well clear of. 

Note: Will update sometime in the future with thoughts on the second box of capsules.  I do not wish  to open the box soon, due to limited shelf life of the capsules once the oxygen barrier breached. 

%d bloggers like this: