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Day Five my coffee trip in La Paz
Thursday, August 14, 2014 - 10:07 PM - 1 month, 1 week ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - Steve Leighton's HasBean Weblog
A little later than I might of hoped, but the one thing about Bolivia is the internet sucks. I’m living my life through a gprs signal, and downloading an email takes 5 mins, let alone uploading g some audio. but we are here, it has nothing to do with coffee, but a little to do… Continue Reading

Book Review: The Coffee Roaster’s Companion
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - 03:01 PM - 1 month, 1 week ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - WBC 2007 World Champion James Hoffmann's jimseven
Book Review: The Coffee Roaster’s Companion
In the past I’ve written up lists of recommended reading, and there is always one question that comes up that, I have struggled to answer: “What book should I buy on coffee roasting?” Until today the options have been limited to Ken David’s book , or the harder to find little books like Gerhard A. Jensen’s “Coffee Roasting” . Neither are likely to make you an better at roasting, whether you roast at home or roast commercially. Roasting is a tricky business, and learning to roast feels more like trial and error than anything else. Many companies consider their roasting techniques and approaches proprietary, and have traditionally been unwilling to share. I’m actually a believer in proprietary information, and when I found out Scott Rao was going to write a book on coffee roasting this inspired further action for me at work. I had little doubt that this was going to be a book that was going to make coffee, across the whole industry, significantly better. I have not been disappointed. Writing about roasting chemistry is difficult, and I think Scott has done an impressive job in cutting to the chase and presenting the important stuff in a way that seems real and accessible. While we understand the Chlorogenic acids are important, the whole discussion of them in roasting or brewing often feels abstract – here they do not. What most people will want to read straight away are the practical roasting sections. Scott himself acknowledges this, but I would heed his note: “I implore the reader to study the entire book and not focus solely on the “how to” chapters. Experience with my previous books has taught me that readers who cherry-pick the parts that appeal to them end up missing some of the big picture, leading them to misapply some recommendations” I’m not going to cover the practical information in the book, other than to say that it is valuable and I definitely learned a good deal on my first couple of read throughs. Discussion of Rate of Rise (RoR), development, and things like ΔT are important, useful and ultimately very helpful. Scott has a very practical, methodical approach and I have no doubt that we’ll be looking at how we can implement his advice in a variety of places at work. I’m also delighted to see a section on sample roasting – something that it is almost impossible to find any good resources on. Some people will reject what is in here, as it is contrary to their practices or beliefs. We’ve presented roasting as an art, as a personal expression of a roaster, so opinions that don’t validate what some people do can feel like criticism. They’re not – they’re opportunities to get better. Scott is cautious throughout to state that he’s trying to open up discussion. I think he’s given coffee roasters a base language that will allow us to better express the green coffees that we love, that we want to share and showcase to their full potential. I don’t think I absolutely agree with everything Scott writes, but I feel in a much better place when it comes to discussing that, arguing my point, and pushing my understanding of roasting to achieve the cup of coffee that we have in my heads. You can buy the book direct from Scott. If you have any dealings with roasting coffee then I suspect this may be the best $45 you’ll spend. The Coffee Roaster’s Companion – $45

Day Four my coffee trip in Bogota
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - 10:15 AM - 1 month, 1 week ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - Steve Leighton's HasBean Weblog
today is less coffee farm more coffee, I’m cupping in the labs of the exporter and talking coffee. I talk about the interesting set up in Colombia and why theres been a sea change in the varietals seen here

More Colombian Ramblings pt3
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - 12:43 PM - 1 month, 1 week ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - Steve Leighton's HasBean Weblog
Day three of my travel diary sees me in Tarqui in Huila Colombia and visiting one of the finest farmers we buy from any where. Alexis Trujillo owns just one hector of land, which means he produces around 10-12 bags a year in total. I wanted to see how a small producer can make a… Continue Reading

Distributing/Selling The World Atlas of Coffee
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - 11:35 AM - 1 month, 1 week ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - WBC 2007 World Champion James Hoffmann's jimseven
Distributing/Selling The World Atlas of Coffee
After the last blog post I received a lot of emails and tweets from various people asking about selling the Atlas in their cafe, in their online shop etc, from around the world. So – if you’re a coffee business of any kind then hopefully this will be of interest to you… I should be clear that I’m just the author, not the publisher – so I have limited control over somethings. However, it would mean a lot to me to have cafes supporting the book and I definitely want to do whatever I can to enable this and get distributors access to good pricing, to make this worthwhile. I want this to be useful to any coffee business in every way possible. Worldwide the English language edition will be out in October. Translations won’t be out until June next year, though the English version will be available via distributors. There are currently translations planned (but not confirmed) for French, Spanish, Dutch, Czech, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean and Chinese. Hopefully more to follow! To help make all this easier I had a quick chat with the publisher and figured I would start with collecting the information of companies that would be interested. I can hopefully work with distributors and my publisher to sort out direct access to books. There will likely be a minimum order to get wholesale pricing, but I don’t know what that is yet. There are a couple of boxes to check, relating to potential events. Nothing is confirmed yet, but I travel a lot and (while most authors tell you to avoid book signings) there may be a chance to do something creative if I am a town or city where people are stocking it. I am also working on an idea for a launch event that I’d like to try and coordinate nationally (and internationally if possible) that could be a more interesting way to do a book launch, and also get consumers a little more excited and curious about the possibilities of coffee. Nothing below is a commitment of any kind – just collecting contact info at this stage. Thanks again to those who’ve gotten in touch, the response has been lovely and I’m grateful that so many people want to support the book. Loading…

Colombian Ramblings Pt2
Monday, August 11, 2014 - 11:10 AM - 1 month, 1 week ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - Steve Leighton's HasBean Weblog
I managed to make it to day two. You hit the amount if listens I set in my head to the number, and a few of you emailed in to say how much you enjoyed them, so today you get an even longer one. I expect tomorrows to be a little shorter, but for now… Continue Reading

Colombian Ramblings
Sunday, August 10, 2014 - 12:31 PM - 1 month, 1 week ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - Steve Leighton's HasBean Weblog
I’m on the move again, this time traveling in Colombia, I’ve been here just of 24 hours so not lots to talk about apart from travel and meeting this top man Edier Peromo from Pitalito. Listen in

Flashback friday 4
Friday, August 08, 2014 - 09:16 PM - 1 month, 2 weeks ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - Steve Leighton's HasBean Weblog
You think i forgot about this right !! Well wrong, that just proves you don’t follow my instagram account where last weeks flashback was a picture. This week we look at an article I wrote back in 2008, and I am as proud of it today as I was back then. Its an insight to who I… Continue Reading

Coming Soon: The World Atlas of Coffee
Wednesday, August 06, 2014 - 08:16 AM - 1 month, 2 weeks ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - WBC 2007 World Champion James Hoffmann's jimseven
Coming Soon: The World Atlas of Coffee
In around two months time, on October 6th, my first book will be released. I’m very excited, and maybe just a tiny bit nervous too. The book is titled “The World Atlas of Coffee”, and I want to talk a little bit about how this happened and what it is. I remember a moment, very early on in my time in coffee, when I had been cupping coffees and was trying to understand exactly where they were from. I remember the coffee that triggered the question, something from Kalossi. More than that, I remember the feeling of being both stunned and annoyed when I asked which book I should buy to look up where this coffee came from and being told there was nothing. This was astonishing to me, considering how rich the world of coffee was and is. While I always wanted to be the person to write that book, for a long time I never really felt it was my place to do so. (And I expect to hear that criticism in the future too.) What changed was very simple: I was approached by a major publisher, already well known and respected for books like “The World Atlas of Wine “, and have a reputation for producing beautiful, high quality titles. They asked if I would be interested in writing this book, and I thought I would be a fool to pass up such an opportunity. So I jumped at it. What followed was full of all the necessary clichés, best summarised by Douglas Adams, “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” I don’t mean to be dramatic but this book is undeniably one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. (I know people say that, but there’s a good reason they say that. Listening to Oliver Strand talk about how difficult it is on the portafilter podcast was hugely reassuring.) I had one unusual challenge in writing this – focusing on exactly who I was writing this for. I wanted to produce something valuable to those coming into the industry who want to learn, and also something that’s a useful reference for those of us who’ve worked in coffee for some time. More than both of this, I wanted to write something for all our customers – the people who go out and buy, brew, drink and enjoy coffee every day. I believe that understanding something more can make it more enjoyable, and I wanted to make more of coffee accessible rather than make it more mysterious and exclusive. I want to help people to understand what they like, explore what they don’t know yet, and feel more confident in the somewhat intimidating world of specialty coffee. The book isn’t about me, or about Square Mile Coffee, but just about coffee. The book is divided into three sections: an introduction to coffee in general, a section on brewing techniques (aimed at making professional standards accessible and worthwhile to home users) and then the atlas section, with individual countries divided by continent. This third section was the killer. Finding accurate, credible information and facts that can be double checked felt nigh on impossible sometimes. I’m aware that the moment we publish the book some facts will be wrong, or be disputable. This is why I am hopeful this does well enough for a second edition (which will also be out of date the moment it is published!). What I have tried to do for each country, in writing a summary of its history of coffee production is to try to explain why its past makes it the way it is. The existence of smallholders and garden coffee in Ethiopia is the result of a very different history than that of Brazil – with single estate businesses that can produce more coffee than all of Bolivia put together. So along, with the history I’ve tried to explain where a customer’s expectation of traceability should be. I’ve done my utmost to get harvest times, altitudes and typical varieties for each region within each country that I’ve covered. Inevitably a source of some contention – there are some very basic guidelines for how coffees from a producing country may taste. (I’m aware that this seems reductive and negative but please wait to judge me until after reading them.) I haven’t covered every single country that produces coffee. I’ve covered those with a focus on arabica and the capacity for speciality. In some cases I’ve decided not to include a country because I don’t feel the data available is accurate enough. (Haiti, for example, is a difficult place to write confidently about post earthquake.) Equally, this is not a project without constraints of size and word count. If it is successful then it will be expanded in future editions, and the work is already done on some additional countries. My greatest hope for this book is that it becomes a genuinely useful tool for us to communicate better with our customers, to help make coffee more engaging, and more valuable. I’m proud of the work I have done, I’ve given it my best, and I hope that you’ll either enjoy it, support it – or both! I’m going to promote the book as widely as I can, and I will be working hard to do it in an interesting way – rather than just ramming it down people’s throats until you unfollow me on twitter and block me on Facebook! I am going to post more about it in the next couple of months – about its availability around the world (Including various translations), about reselling (if people/cafes/roasteries/coffee businesses around the world are interested), to say thank you to those that have helped me, and about any events I may be doing to promote it (come and say hello!). It’s actually available to preorder on amazon already (and has been for a month already, despite the fact that I’ve yet to hold a physical copy – such is the nature of modern publishing). While I’m deeply conflicted about amazon, I can’t deny it is probably the cheapest place to buy it and if preorders are decent the price actually drops (which is why the US price is already lower than RRP)! The book will only be available as hardback (the digital version I dream of requires some physical sales first) and it is both fabric bound and without a dust jacket! (I just really, really hate dust jackets so this makes me very happy!). Here are some links: The World Atlas of Coffee - Amazon UK The World Atlas of Coffee – Amazon US

Assorted recent news, 5th August 2014
Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - 08:07 PM - 1 month, 2 weeks ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - Welsh Champion 2009 Trevor Hyam's The Bean Vagrant
Coffee is what I spend a huge majority of my time doing, and if I’m not actually doing something with coffee directly, it’s never too far from my thoughts, for long. Continuously. To say it consumes me, more than I it (but in a way that’s still healthy …just!), might not be too far from the truth. So, as it’s been a while, there’s lots I could mention. But, just a few of the highlights that have occupied or entertained by coffee brain enough to come into focus here, are unpacked as follows. Gifts: Not long ago, I received a lovely gift of samples from UK-based coffee subscription company Press Coffeehouse . They sent a couple of samples from their list of world roasters: USA’s Madcap’s Ardi Ethiopia natural, and Germany’s Five Elephant’s Los Guacharos washed Colombia. I’d heard good things about Madcap already, whilst Five Elephant was new to me, but both coffees came with a wealth of information, and it was clear this could be tasty. Initial inspection of the beans/roast in both cases was full of promise, and I was not disappointed. Both coffees were great! The Madcap was especially brilliant (but then I’m a sucker for great Ethiopian coffees!), ripe, sweet, and intoxicatingly floral. Five Elephant was lovely too though, a transparently light roast, and very clean and juicy. There’s much that can be said against ordering coffee from overseas roasters, although there are of course many awesome ones, for various practical reasons (freshness, unsuitable transportation environments, costs, to name some key ones), when we have such brilliant roasters here in the UK. That said, it’s very tempting to do so, and it’s fun that a company like this takes the headache out of getting hold of them, for those that want to try. As far as freshness goes, the Madcap arrived at my doors 16 days post roast, and the Five Elephant at 11 days. There are those who might consign coffees to the bin at two weeks (or sooner!)… But I’m not one of them (coffee freshness is very important to me, and is something I take seriously, but for me, the quality of the bean, the roast, and the brewing/preparation, are all more critical than the freshness, within reasonable limits). I found both coffees had travelled well, and brewed wonderfully at home, as various types of pourover filter. Particle sizing: A while back, results came in for my latest round of laser particle sizing tests, after submitting grind samples from several top ranking coarse filter grinders (see previous post). A very brief summing up is as follows: My modded Tanzania was predictably awesome again, at all settings tested (medium to coarse), and was the benchmark from which to compare the other grinders, giving (narrowly) the very best result. I had suspected the Hausgrind hand grinder might well equal or possibly even surpass the Tanzania (from having read about it, and seen and tasted grounds from it). It might seem hard to believe that a humble hand grinder could rival a legendary electric commercial filter grinder, but some of the new generation of specially crafted hand grinders are purpose-built to be excellent for coarse grinding, and I see no reason why some cannot do so, potentially. And, at coarse FP settings, at almost identical peak micron sizes, the Hausgrind was indeed very impressive. Without going into specifics, one could place these graphs from the Tanzania and the Hausgrind over each other… and essentially see only one, single, identical line (!). I believe the Hausgrind had benefited from a few tweaks and optimisations, so this is not necessarily representative of every single one, but I would imagine they would be pretty close. The Tanzania’s still a bit more convenient though (but at a price)! Perhaps more surprisingly, the plan cafe’s Bunn G3 performed very well too. I had hoped it might indeed be better than is generally assumed (due to various factors I’m aware of). But I was still surprised by just how impressive it’s results were. Pretty much identical to the other two grinders, when compared at matching peak micron sizes. The Hario Skerton was then also added to the list of grinders tested (just to compare, by the lovely @mathewsmith1 who makes the analysis available, as this is his own grinder). This is a nice enough hand burr grinder, but not meant to be in the same league as the others tested. Predictably, here we saw the biggest difference. In comparison to all the other 3 grinders, this had a very shallow and wide peak (although still essentially a single peak), and with a lot more fine particles in the 0-100um/microns range. Completely different to the other three. Cold Brew Coffee: This summer, I’ve introduced a new drink for the plan cafe: Cold Brew coffee. Cold Brew has already been popular for a long time in (warmer!) countries like the USA and Australia, but has rarely been seen here in the UK until more recently, but this summer it’s been flourishing at a few artisan coffee shops, particularly in London (Thanks to @CaffeineMag for some inspiration on this initially!). This method involves steeping (or drip brewing) grounds with cold or room temperature water for many hours to extract the flavour, rather than relying on hot water to do the job in minutes. Brewing slowly with cold water gives a completely different kind of flavour, and allows for a concentrate to be brewed that can be served over ice without becoming diluted. I spent a few weeks experimenting with recipes (with some unpleasant results initially), before reaching something I was reasonably satisfied with (thus adding to the already long list of brew methods for which I have brewing notes written up in extensive detail, and continuously updated, in separate, method specific files!). It’s slow going, changing one factor at a time, when you have to wait 7-24 hours (and this range can be even wider) to sample the results! And, as with any brew method, there are so many variables at play (the coffee, the grind, the time, the temps at different stages, agitation, technique, filtration, water, roast profile, flash hot bloom, or cold only, room temp, fridge, iced water, etc), that the variation in the results can of course infinite. I’ve experimented with the alternative Japanese iced coffee method at home before, and that certainly appeals to me, like many others in specialty coffee, because it can better preserve the brightness, acidity, florals, aromatics, nuance, complexity and character that we love in light roast, high quality coffees (although it does have its own issues; really good pourover is very technique dependent under normal circumstances as it is, but when you remove half the brew water, extracting successfully and correctly becomes a real knife-edge). As such, I was a little sceptical, but intrigued, about the slow Cold Brew method, as it is often described as the opposite: all mellow mid tones, and no acidity or individual character. But, I’ve been very pleasantly surprised. Whilst all the above is true to an extent, Cold Brew can be delicious in its own particular way, and, with some tweaks to the method, I’ve found it’s possible to balance the best of both worlds, retaining a good degree of acidity, aroma, and the character of the individual coffee, together with a creamy mouthfeel, and an overall flavour that is delicate, smooth, and very refreshing and approachable. In fact, I was shocked how identical the aromas of the finished product can be to the aromas of the specific beans. Perhaps even more so, albeit in a very different way to hot brewed coffee. And the colour, well filtered, is WOW! Beautiful, deep reds, orange, and amber, with wonderful clarity. I’ve been enchanted by the beauty of the clarity and colours of hot pourover coffee for a long time, but pure Cold Brew, over ice, is something else – super stunning visually! And what’s more, I’ve found it can be a great way to successfully encourage people to try, and enjoy, coffee black, without milk (which is always a positive thing!), precisely because the drink’s intrinsic flavour profile is so soft and delicate. People often describe using darker roasts for Cold Brew, and it then being a good vehicle for adding cream and sugar. But if you think about it, that’s just like hot brewed coffee, and it doesn’t have to be like that. From the outset, just like any hot brewed method I would use, my aim was to use lighter roasts, and create something that would be nice on its own, black, and representative of the coffee. And if you make this your desired endpoint when experimenting, you can work towards achieving this aim, even though Cold Brew might always lack much of the range, complexity, and intensity of hot brew. I did try some (relatively light) espresso profiles, but was not at all keen on these, finding them just way too much, although I could have experimented more to make them work. One or two people who prefer a real punch, or who definitely only like coffee with milk, preferred these though. So, I’ve settled on using light filter profile single origins exclusively, and have found these can make clean, juicy-yet-smooth-and-creamy, delicate, refreshing, and interesting Cold Brew. And the filter profiles are actually best black, as the brew is nice and delicate, whereas adding milk to these drowns it a bit. Some might use something middle of the road for Cold Brew, believing anything else to be a waste of good coffee, or because they’re just going to add milk or cream to it… But I’ve gone in the other direction, as I wanted to give the brew method the best possible chance, and have mostly experimented, and launched, with a really premium coffee: Colombian washed Finca El Faldon filter profile from James’ Gourmet, grown by Arnulfo Leguizamo (the same farm and farmer that produced the 2011 WBC winning coffee). This has notes of jellied plum, and toffee as Cold Brew. We’re serving our double filtered, bottled concentrate at the side of a chilled glass of ice, with a little cold water to dilute to taste, if you want. If you want milk, or some homemade simple sugar syrup, no problem, just ask, but maybe give it a try without, as it’s surprisingly delicate and mellow! The availability of the Cold Brew will be limited each day when it’s being served, and it won’t be on every day. Check the Twitter, or feel free to @message if you want to know. It’s essentially a very easy brew method, which is all about experimenting a lot, carefully, with the detail of the recipe and variables, until it works well for a certain coffee, rather than needing any skilled technique as such. It’s therefore great fun to try at home – you don’t even need any expensive equipment whatsoever, just some good beans! Despite a lot of work getting to a recipe for the El Faldon that I’m pretty happy with, I’ve really only scratched the surface with Cold Brew and there are so many further variations I could try. Sieving would be just one interesting option to try (I even read about someone talking about brewing whole beans as Cold Brew, which is something I’ve toyed with the idea of before, as a way of getting past the issues caused by grinding!). If I continued to dedicate just a fraction of the time and research I do for hot brewing for this, I think the method could potentially be improved further. Certainly worth playing with. There’s lots of info around online about slow Cold Brew if you want to have a play at home, whilst the sun’s still shining and hot! Espresso brew ratios: For several years now, I’ve been using low brew ratios, and doses, for espresso, for pretty much all the (relatively light roast) espresso profile coffees I use (both single origins and seasonal blends), and I’ve been watching with interest over the last couple of years as indications have emerged that a few others in the speciality industry, in the UK at least, have been gradually beginning to move in the same direction, here and there. Using low brew ratios did not come easily, and was something that confused me, and even seemed ‘wrong’. Why? Almost all the brew ratios and recipes you saw within modern, speciality, ‘Third Wave’ coffee, until more recently, recommended high dose, high brew ratios. So for a long time, I fought against it, and tried (jumped through hoops) to do what was apparently ‘correct’ for this type of coffee. In the end though, I stopped resisting, and navigated by taste, instinct, and experimentation, towards consistently lower brew ratios, for pretty much any coffee, even coffees designed and recommended for higher doses and ratios (although with slight variations depending on the specific coffee and scenario, etc, as presented when dialling). It then felt as if I had previously just been trying to ‘force’ the coffee into a little box, where it, and I, were often not happy, and where the results rarely seemed to be the best expression of what the coffee should, or could, be. Whereas at lower brew ratios, I consistently found a more balanced, rounded, articulate flavour, a more true sweetness, a lighter, more delicate, but more appealing crema (visually and texturally), and I generally felt it simply gave me a better representation of the coffee’s flavour. If I just ignored the weights until after dialling to where the espresso simply looked and tasted best, this is where I’d end up. It just seemed more ‘right’ (and not simply personal preference either). So, I stopped trying to follow the fashionable recipes, and just did what worked for me. I didn’t understand quite why I found this to work better, when everything I saw elsewhere recommend otherwise (although I had theories). I thought maybe it was just some quirk of our particular equipment set up. And to some extent, this is still true; our equipment does certainly seem to prefer, even require, lower doses, and lend itself towards lower brew ratios too. But this alone didn’t completely explain the situation, and didn’t help to alleviate the nagging feeling that the recipes I was using were somehow ‘wrong’ (at best, ‘traditional’ or low end ‘normale’), and not ‘proper’, modern, speciality – because everything you read would recommend different (higher) doses and ratios. But it worked best, for me, and I gradually just stopped worrying about it (as much). Several years ago (but not that long ago), at that time, most of the speciality or Third Wave recipes you would read about were in the 65-100%+ region. Triple baskets were the thing, and ristretto was king (and this is often all still true). Often the few recommendations you might find for lower doses still came hand in hand with a relatively high overall brew ratio, at or towards ristretto. Then, a few years ago, a slight shift downwards got a lot of airspace on the top blogs and forums, with people talking about recipes more down at the 65% end, quite specifically. I still felt like something of an anomaly… Then, just a year or two ago, I noticed a few (leading) figures talking about recipes in the region of 55%, as something of a norm, for the light roast espresso they worked with as standard. This gave me a little hope that maybe what I was doing wasn’t so very odd after all, although even this still did not quite reflect what I was generally using. Now, even more recently still, a few key sources have broken the 50% seal though, and have been talking about 55-40% brew ratios, and even beyond (and non of this is even with regard to something altogether different like lungo EK coffee shots – just ‘normal’ espresso making). And some of these sources are the same ones that were at about 65% a few years ago. It feels strange to contemplate that finally, almost comically, the recipes I’ve been using for a long time might actually be becoming somewhat fashionable and on trend, after for so long feeling at odds with this one aspect of the very movement I’m part of, and wholeheartedly promote. Why’s this happening? Has speciality UK roasting undergone a such a significant shift over the last few years that it suddenly requires these lower espresso brew ratios? I don’t think so – the top handful of microroasters have been pretty (even very) light for some time already. Who knows, there’s a lot at play, and any possible reasons for it are really another story. I just wanted to point out these observations, and put them out there. I’m not saying this is how all espresso should be brewed, by any means. And I’m not saying I’m always happy with the espresso I achieve now. I’m not even saying that I only like espresso brewed like this (I’ve had hugely enjoyable shots made in other places, brewed in the high dose, high ratio way). Different brew ratios and practices can all make delicious shots when successfully executed. And some will simply not like espresso made with a low brew ratio, out of personal preference. And I’m not suggesting that those using 65% or more a few years ago, and now using 55% or below didn’t already know (far more than I) what they were talking about back then. I don’t think they’ve suddenly ‘figured out’ that lower is better. And, what works best in a certain situation for one person can be highly specific to the individual site and equipment (coffee, machine, baskets, pumps, grinders, water, technique, etc, etc), and not necessarily transferable, as any kind of wider ‘truth’ that will work for others. And, it’s certain that particular equipment set ups will lend themselves more towards making high brew ratio shots very nicely, and people using such set ups might rightly navigate towards higher ratios, perhaps even as an ideal for that set up. I’m not really trying to say anything specific at all! It’s just been interesting, and refreshing, to observe these murmurs of a possible gradual shift in perspective for some highly regarded figures in the industry in recent times, and a loosening of the previously accepted ‘rules’, towards something I’ve long found to work, for me. Silly Article: A month or two ago there was a depressing and surprisingly negative article in the Observer Magazine about modern speciality coffee in the UK by someone I would really have expected to have a more positive and enlightened attitude towards something exactly like this movement. The bile that followed in the comments attached to it online lowered the tone even further. There were a few possibly pertinent points made that might have been interesting and productive to explore, but the overall tone of blinkered reactionary negativity eclipsed these. A real shame. But with each juicy, sweet, clean, and characterful cup, I smile, and the memory fades! Current Coffees: In right now for French Press service at the cafe, or filter beans to take home, are delicious new Kenyan Kiri (summer fruits, blackcurrant, brown sugar, floral), and Guatemala Finca El Pelicano (biscuity and ripe white grape), and the smallest amount of El Salvador Guachoca natural, if you’re very quick. Naturelle (yes!) is on for espresso, currently composed of Brasil Santa Maria natural and Suke Quto washed Guji. And, El Faldon Colombia is on as Cold Brew of course, when available, whilst this particular coffee lasts..!

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