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Uk barista competition judges training
Friday, January 17, 2014 - 10:49 AM - 1 year, 1 month ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
Uk barista competition judges training
At the end of last year Steve Leighton got himself nominated as National Co-ordinator for the UKBC. This happened fairly late on in the year, Steve is an amazing person and a very close friend of mine and Square Mile’s and we wanted to help him and make his newfound role a little easier. So I offered to give him a hand to organise the competition in any way I could, with John competing again my options were limited in the ways that I could help. Steve and I had a chat and decided that the best way for me to help was to put my position as Chair of the Rules and Regulations Sub Committee for World Coffee Events to good use and run the judges training course for the new judges and the calibration for the older judges along with Sonja Bjork Grant. Once this is done I will step back and let Denise the Events co-ordinator for UKBC choose the groups and put together the schedule for the judges and return to helping John practise. This year Steve used his charm to convince Sonja Bjork Grant to come out and help with the judges workshop, for those who don’t know Sonja she has been around barista competitions since they first started in 2000 at Monte Carlo. Sonja has seen these competitions continued growth and was there for the beginning of World Coffee Events, which now runs all 7 competitions for it’s parent companies. Sonja’s enthusiasm and passion for the competitions is amazing and the fact that she is still actively involved in them after 14 years is inspiring. If you haven’t seen her Tamper Tantrum talk you can watch her talk about barista competitions here , she has great stories to tell about how it use to be and if your lucky enough you might get to meet her at the finals of the UKBC in April as she will be head judging there as World Coffee Events representative. It’s been quite a few years since I have personally judged and when I did the training course years ago it was only a one day course, I remember leaving feeling like I wanted to do more and would have been happy to spend a couple of days learning what to do. Judging is an important role and when the barista puts so many hours into practising the least judges can do is spend some time making sure they are comfortable and ready to judge. The first day was purely training for new judges, we expect the people that attend to have an understanding of the rules and an ability to taste – it is a training for the competition and not a coffee training course after all. In the morning Sonja did a quick introduction of WCE and what it means to be a judge. We then moved on to dissecting the sensory score sheets and how to use them correctly. We broke them down into each section and the categories in their sections. This included simple things like what to write in the introduction and coffee information section and how to best organise the sheet effectively so you can get all the baristas information down without running out of room. Then on to the more detailed explanations like how to apply the correct protocol when evaluating the drinks. These things are all in the rules documents but sometimes it really helps to talk through things so people have a full understanding. Judges are taught that they must make all their comments relative to the corresponding rule, so every section of the score sheet was followed up with the corresponding excerpt from the rules. For example in the cappuccino evaluation it starts with the visuals of the coffee, followed up by the consistency and persistence of the foam and then goes on to the flavour. This is a very important part as the score weighing for this is very high, any score given is then multiplied by 4. Cappuccino flavour section 14.3.3 The cappuccino is a hot beverage that should be served at a temperature that is immediately consumable. Sensory judges will drink from a spot on the cup different from the area that was disturbed during foam evaluation. The texture of the foam, temperature of the beverage, and the taste of the coffee and milk will be included in the flavour evaluation. After the initial sip, the sensory judges will revisit the cappuccino for at least one additional sip from an undisturbed location on the rim of the cup. The cappuccino should have a harmonious balance of the sweetness of the milk and its espresso base. Judges will listen to any flavour descriptions and explanations given by the competitor and compare those with the beverage served. There should be a correlation between the coffee beans used in the espresso, the coffee’s taste profile, and how those flavour profiles are highlighted by the addition of milk. If no flavour descriptors are given, judges will score based solely on the balance. After we finished going through the sensory score sheet we moved on to the technical aspects of the competition. Ken Cooper who has been a technical judge for WBC talked through the ins and outs of the technical score sheet – highlighting points like cleanliness and wastage – baristas can lose points for things like having to much steamed milk left over. With 34 bodies in the room we had to divide everyone into groups and send them to one of four stations. The first station was an entire mock routine by our friend Geunha Park who is the Korean Barista Champion who very kindly agreed to come do run through after run through for us and the judges. This was a great chance for the judges to see how it feels to watch, drink and take notes on a real routine and then discuss their thoughts afterwards with Sonja. The next station was the espresso station where judges were pulled shots and tasted and talked about the different coffee they were served. The third was similar but a cappuccino station where they could assess latte art, use the correct protocol to assess the coffee and then discuss what they tasted and start trying to assign scores to the drinks based on the things they had been taught earlier. The fourth station was the technical station, this is where Ken had made piles of ground coffee and made the judges eye ball it to figure out how much waste it was, they also did this with pitchers of milk and trying to guess how much milk waste was left – this is a very important part of being a technical judge. The baristas can be deducted points based on their wastage and the technical judge has to assign a point number to a weight of waste, and they don’t have the option of weighing it on stage so you will find a lot of tech judges will go home and start weighing things so they can have a good idea of the weight of things. After everybody had completed one station each we had a quick Q and A session and then called it a day, by this point everyone was well caffeinated and ready for dinner. Monday was Certification day Sonja and I set 3 stations. The first was a written test with 60 questions of varying difficulty, some were easy, some sounded easy but in actual fact where trick questions and others were quite difficult. There were lots of important questions that related to the rules directly so it’s important for people to do well on these questions. The next station was the mock routine by Geun ha, judges were assessed on their ability to apply correct protocol and make rules based comments as well as their ability to apply the correct scores to coffees. Judges are shown a list of competencies that they must be able to do with some of them being critical- meaning that if they can not achieve these then they will not pass the test. Things that are included in that list are things like using the correct protocol, following barista instructions and applying rules correctly and many more. The third testing station for the day was a triangulation, 5 different triangles where placed on a table and judges were given a set time to identify the odd cup out. Judges were required to achieve a pass mark of 70% or higher in order for them to be able to qualify to be a UKBC judge. I feel its especially important these days for the judge to be a highly skilled individual, baristas are getting better and better and the team of judges must also live up to this. The third day was a day for judges that certified last year to come back and calibrate with the group- once a judge passes they are certified for two years in the UK and then they have to re sit the tests. On this day we set up three stations again, two for pulling shots and tasting coffees and one mock routine but instead of Sonja and I leading the groups we let the judges discuss and bounce ideas off each other. Although its hard for them to taste that much coffee its a great chance for the new team of judges to bond and learn off each other and really start to become one coherent group that is in agreement with each other. I had totally underestimated how important this aspect was until I started talking to some of the judges and listen to their conversations with each other. During this day the groups of judges also practised full run throughs right from walking on stage and introducing them selves to the baristas, to the calibration time in the room after the routine where they talk through their scores and comments with the head judge. This year the UK is also going to be implementing shadow judges that the WBC has been using for a couple of years. There are two shadow judges, one is an information shadow judge – their job is to stand out of the way and record everything the barista says, this doesn’t mean that the sensory judge can stop recording information, but it does mean that they can fully concentrate on the actual sensory aspect of judging and applying scores correctly. The second shadow judge is a protocol judge – they are there to make sure that the judges are applying the correct protocol for each course and following barista instructions to the letter- if a judge fails to do this it will be noted and the judge will be reminded in the judges room of what they have done incorrectly. Shadow judging has been very successful in other national bodies and the WBC, and is a great way for new judges to get involved if they are nervous about actually judging. I think the shadow judges will improve judging standards hugely and create a great amount of support for the judges. It looks like its fun sitting up there drinking amazing coffee but its a high stress environment where you are trying to do the right thing, take it all in and judge the barista as fairly as possible. I’m really excited about the calibre of judges this year and are excited to watch them grow and become amazing judges- hopefully some of them will even go on to judge in the World competitions.

Juan Ticona
Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 04:59 PM - 1 year, 1 month ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
Juan Ticona
We have an exciting new coffee from South America in the form of the Juan Ticona and it is tasty! Plenty of caramel and milk chocolate notes upfront with a lovely complex honeydew melon acidity. Expect a silky mouthfeel with plenty of sweetness like red apples. Juan Ticona is the owner of the farm in the Caranavi region and has been producing coffee since the early 1970′s and it really shows in the quality of the coffee coming from the farm and surrounding region. We believe it’s important to support Bolivia’s coffee production and encourage them to continue to grow great coffee and not replace their crops with the much more lucrative coca. Grab a bag here!

Christmas Shipping
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - 04:16 PM - 1 year, 2 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
We just wanted to send out a quick blogpost to our lovely web shop customers regarding shipping over the holiday and Christmas period. Our last roast and ship day for the year will be Thursday the 19th of December, meaning all orders to be included in the days roast will need to be in before midnight on Wednesday the 18th. The first roast day in the New Year will be Monday the 6th of January with all accrued orders over the Holiday period being roasted and shipped on this day. Subscription wise, if you have an espresso subscription with us, the last instalment of the year will be roasted and shipped on Thursday the 19th of December. Filter subscriptions will be roasted and shipped on the 2nd of January, and the January espresso following on the 16th. Please be aware that Christmas is a very busy time for Royal Mail, and ordering early and allowing as much time as you can for delivery will hopefully avoid any disappointment on Christmas Day! Remember last minute shoppers, you can always grab a gift card to print off and give the lucky recipient as there is no need for postage…

Why we require Reverse Osmosis in London
Monday, December 02, 2013 - 03:41 PM - 1 year, 2 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
Why we require Reverse Osmosis in London
We wanted to write a little bit about why we now require wholesale customers in hard water areas to use reverse osmosis, because we believe there is a little confusion out there. Our goal, as a roaster and supplier, is for our customers to have successful and sustainable businesses. If they’re succeeding then we succeed too. Water provides a two fold challenge to cafes in the South East of England and in other hard water areas: Scale Imagine leaving a kettle boiling 24 hours a day, think of how quickly it would be coated in scale and residue. This is what the steam boiler on an espresso machine is doing, often 24/7. Hard water rapidly damages equipment if it isn’t treated properly. 95% of service calls we’ve dealt with in the last 5 years have been due to the build up of scale. We have no interest in profiting from scale, and when it does affect a machine it can often take the machine out of service for a period of time. To descale and repair will cost a lot of money and, combined with a loss of earnings, the bill can be large enough to place a painful pressure on a coffee shop business. We desperately want to avoid this happening. Reverse osmosis certainly costs more initially, but if taking a long-view of the business then it will save money (even with water wastage factored in). The build up of scale inside a Synesso steam boiler… Coffee Quality Poorly demineralise and softened water makes less tasty coffee. Our customers work with us because they are driven by serving great coffee. Water has an enormous impact on taste, and working with hard water or excessively mineral water, makes coffee brewing extremely difficult. We roast and QC against good water, and customers who are using reverse osmosis find it much easier to brew better coffee. Cafes with great reputations for coffee in London, more often than not, are using reverse osmosis. Inline Filtration Cartridges We’d worked in the industry before starting Square Mile Coffee Roasters, and believed that traditional inline filters were sufficient. Once we began to work with them often it became clear that they simply weren’t good enough. Generally the better will soften the water for a relatively short period of time (busy customers ended up changing XL sized filters 4–6 times per year!), but you still have water with a high mineral content. In our experience we’ve seen them fail to adequately soften water (essentially run out) well before the manufacturers claimed they would. After years of paying close attention to hard water we feel that in almost every circumstance that reverse osmosis is the only sensible solution. The Financial Implications These are some very rough figures but let’s compare reverse osmosis to filter cartridge systems. Cost of Reverse Osmosis: £1500-£2000 New membranes and filters over the next 4 years: approdx £800. Total: £2,300–2,800 Cost per year:£460-£560 Cost of Filter Cartridge: Approx £150–200. Total (4 changes per year): £3,000–4,000 Cost per year(based on 30kg/wk etc): £600–800 In addition you’re looking at some substantial servicing costs with filter cartridges. At the very least you’re looking at around £400+ for a simple descale, that may be required every 12–18 months. We’ve seen far higher bills as badly treated water can contain chlorides that can damage boilers irreperably. If you have to replace brew or steam boilers, along with other parts, then bills can quickly reach £2,000+. (Reverse osmosis is the only viable way to remove chlorides from water). Add this in and the cost of water treatment can end up being double what it would be to use reverse osmosis. We want to avoid this. We do sometimes sell reverse osmosis units, but we absolutely do not require people buy them from us. We don’t want to profit from descaling equipment. Sadly many companies do see an opportunity to make money here. We want our customer’s equipment to work well every day so our they can serve great coffee, and have their customers enjoy the coffees we’re all working so hard to source, roast, brew and share. What Reverse Osmosis Is Not We should make it clear that reverse osmosis is not a perfect solution. There is currently no better way to treat tap water to use for coffee brewing, but over time you should still expect to see some accumulation inside a machine and there may still be problems over time – though obviously way, way less than you would have without them. Equally – they are not intelligent units. They must be monitored and used properly, or else you will likely have problems. Check For Yourself If you are in London you can enter your postcode into the Thames Water website here , or better yet use a test kit. (We recommend using a proper water test kit on your specific water). You can then take that data and put it into the wonderful water calculator put together by La Marzocco here . You’ll find that La Marzocco would recommend a reverse osmosis for their machines in London, and rightly so. In Summary We wish all of this was easier. We wish the water in London was perfect for coffee brewing, but it isn’t. It needs both treatment, and a modicum of our attention. We need to built little systems into checking on our water the same way we check fridge temperatures or anything else. This will save us money in the long term, and make our customers happier in the short term when we serve them great coffee. If you have questions then let us know, or speak to your equipment supplier.

Christmas Gift Guide
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 07:22 PM - 1 year, 3 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
Christmas Gift Guide
It is that time of year again, what to give friends and family for christmas? Coffee and coffee related things are obviously the answer, so we thought we would put together a bit of a gift guide. First up a couple of nice gift packs: We have a new complete V60 brew kit to get someone into coffee, including the Hario red V60 cone, slim grinder, filters and the griffin mug to brew straight into. Available here . We also have the griffin mug gift box. Purchase a bag of coffee through the website and the gift box, and you have the perfect stocking filler for someone keen on coffee! Grab one here . Not sure what to give? Bit late on your Christmas orders? How about the easy option of a gift card. Available in £25, £50 and £100 denominations to suit all budgets. The lucky recipient can then choose some coffee, equipment, stock up on filters or grab a t-shirt. Have a look here . Our most popular gift is always the subscription option in either espresso or filter. Every month the lucky recipient will get a tasty new coffee It could be a new micro-lot we have secured, an unreleased new single origin or in the case of espresso a new red brick or sweetshop blend! Look at your options here .

Bulldog Edition
Monday, October 28, 2013 - 03:54 PM - 1 year, 4 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
A little over a week ago a new cafe opened, called Bulldog Edition. This cafe is a collaboration between Square Mile Coffee Roasters and Ace Hotel. The Ace have been on coffee people’s radar for years, as a business that cared an unusual amount about coffee. In the past they’ve hosted Stumptown’s cafes in the cities of Portland and New York. In London they wanted to approach things differently, and instead of just leasing space to someone else, they wanted to be involved in the cafe. We agreed to collaborate, and we’re obviously very excited to be open! Our last foray into retail was Penny University, which was created to offer a very specific experience and to highlight the value and excellence of brewed coffee in a market dominated by espresso. We’re proud of what we accomplished there, and Bulldog Edition is something quite different. While we’re interested in pushing technology in coffee brewing forward, this isn’t a place that is about showcasing the latest coffee brewers, or where you need a certain level of knowledge to order half of the menu. We want to achieve something else with it, something much simpler: We want to make your day a little better. We’re obviously a little crazy about coffee here, but that shouldn’t be a requirement to drink and enjoy tasty things. We want to create a cafe environment where everything tastes really good, but you’re also looked after and made to feel welcome. While this is about carefully curated and well brewed cups of coffee, we want to avoid getting to the point where it’s sterile and almost hostile. It’s about trying to remove as many barriers as possible between a coffee drinker and a delicious cup of coffee. If you want to talk coffee, talk brewing or anything else – we’d love that. The team behind the bar is knowledgeable and happy to chat about anything and everything, but only if you want that. There’ll be a full selection of our coffee available for retail there, and usually a couple of different options for both espresso and filter. There’s brewing equipment on the shelves and we’re happy to talk through brewing and give recommendations. We’re open from 6.30am and we close at 6pm, seven days a week. We hope to see you soon. Twitter – @BulldogEdition

Cascara and caffeine
Friday, August 30, 2013 - 02:07 PM - 1 year, 6 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
Cascara and caffeine
We’ve been selling Aida Batlle’s cascara for a few years now, the first time was back in 2008 when we wrote this blog post . Cascara has been a huge hit among our customers, and many other roasters have since started offering it too. Whether enjoyed hot or iced, one of the questions we’re always asked is how much caffeine is in the hibiscus like tea that we brew from these dried coffee cherries. We’ve never had a good answer other than the first hand experience of feeling pretty heavily caffeinated after consuming a few cups- often more so that if we were drinking regular coffee. So in order to shed some more light on the effects of this brew, we sent some cascara off to Germany, to be analyzed at the same factory that decaffeinates our decaf! The results were in yesterday, and we thought we’d share it with you. We looked at both the dry cherry, whole and ground, as well as the brew, at 4 different recipes. As expected, ratio of cascara to water has an impact on the caffeine content of the final beverage, while steep time seems to make little difference. Surprisingly, we found the caffeine content to be fairly low. Even at the strongest, longest brew, the caffeine content of cascara came in at 111.4 mg/L, compared to the broad range of about 400-800 mg/L in brewed coffee. We’d love to hear from anyone who has done a similar test, or could help us explain why, if the caffeine content is fairly low, do we feel so energized after just a couple of cups! Is it sugar from the dried pulp? What else is in these magical cherries?

KILIMANJARO’S
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - 03:41 PM - 1 year, 6 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
KILIMANJARO’S
We are delighted to once again offer these three processes of one coffee from Aida Batlle’s farm, Kilimanjaro. All three process are the same Kenia and Bourbon mix of varietals. This year an outbreak of rust affected more than half of Kilimanjaro’s crop, which means that production is down, so unfortunately we were only able to secure a small lot of this coffee. We believe that coffee pricing should be sustainable, and the loss of coffee meant that this year the price for the coffee produced was significantly more. Year after year, Aida has produced great coffee and we want to see that continue. First we have the Washed process, which we feel is really defined by the crisp lime, tangerine and honeydew melon notes. Balancing this fruit is more fruit! It has a refreshing cranberry acidity that leads to a nicely rounded cup. Grab a bag here! Next up is the Pulped Natural which has a ripe sweet pineapple acidity, with notes of pistachio nuts and juicy mandarins. It has a pleasant delicate sweetness and a silky mouthfeel. Pick some up here! Finally is the Natural, which is a delicious mix of strawberries and cream with sweet milk chocolate – everything we expect a tasty natural to be. It has a creamy, custard-like mouthfeel and a surprising, delicate, raspberry acidity. Available here! As always with the Kilimanjaros we are able to get some cascara also. This is so very delicious, with notes of cranberries, red currants and tobacco followed with a sweet rich toffee. Also available here!

Kilimajaro’s
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - 03:41 PM - 1 year, 6 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
Kilimajaro’s
We are delighted to once again offer these three processes of one coffee from Aida Batlle’s farm, Kilimanjaro. All three process are the same Kenia and Bourbon mix of varietals. This year an outbreak of rust affected more than half of Kilimanjaro’s crop, which means that production is down, so unfortunately we were only able to secure a small lot of this coffee. We believe that coffee pricing should be sustainable, and the loss of coffee meant that this year the price for the coffee produced was significantly more. Year after year, Aida has produced great coffee and we want to see that continue. First we have the Washed process, which we feel is really defined by the crisp lime, tangerine and honeydew melon notes. Balancing this fruit is more fruit! It has a refreshing cranberry acidity that leads to a nicely rounded cup. Grab a bag here! Next up is the Pulped Natural which has a ripe sweet pineapple acidity, with notes of pistachio nuts and juicy mandarins. It has a pleasant delicate sweetness and a silky mouthfeel. Pick some up here! Finally is the Natural, which is a delicious mix of strawberries and cream with sweet milk chocolate – everything we expect a tasty natural to be. It has a creamy, custard-like mouthfeel and a surprising, delicate, raspberry acidity. Available here! As always with the Kilimanjaros we are able to get some cascara also. This is so very delicious, with notes of cranberries, red currants and tobacco followed with a sweet rich toffee. Also available here!

Brewing Class with Ben Kaminsky
Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 01:28 PM - 1 year, 7 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
Brewing Class with Ben Kaminsky
On Wednesday July 7th we’re delighted to be hosting Ben Kaminsky’s brewing class here at the Roastery. Ben has given this class around the world, and has rightly received both great feedback and great results. We’re excited he’s giving it here in London and we strongly encourage those with an eye to improve quality, and to move coffee forward, to attend. Brewing Class Ticket – £130 (Price includes VAT) More info: Ben Kaminsky will be presenting some of his research on coffee and espresso brewing, grinding, and roasting, that are sure to answer some long standing questions and likely raise many more (e.g. Is espresso brewing inherently flawed? What actually constitutes an espresso roast?). He will be focusing heavily on techniques surrounding the EK43 grinder, including how to produce a “coffee shot”, a new way for brewing filter coffee that he thinks will likely replace the industry’s best and fastest brewers to date. This course covers practical ways to improve quality while decreasing costs, as well as new possibilities for coffee and espresso service. Half the course will be spent in practical tasting of the theory covered in the lecture. Ben recommends you understand the basic elements of extraction, including practical use of an extract mojo if you want to get the most out of the class, though beginners are also welcomed. Ben Kaminsky is the 2009, 2010, and 2011 United States Cup Tasters Champion and former director of quality control, espresso and innovation at Ritual Coffee Roasters in San Francisco. Since leaving Ritual eight months ago, he has been consulting full time on equipment design, training, roasting and sourcing. He also coached Matt Perger using many of the techniques covered in this class to a second place finish at this year’s World Barista Championships.

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