I've really only been into coffee since February 2005. I'm 16 now and I have been completely consumed from head to toe by the coffee bug and baby am I lovin' it or what?! I started out finding recipes for Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino, and soon, thanks to espornographers, I had a Gaggia Espresso in the house. Later, I bought a Super Jolly and have been doing some minor tinkering ever since. I now work at the Elysian Room in Vancouver. I hope you all enjoy reading my blog and leave some comments!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Brazil Daterra Reserve from Ecco Cafe- Courtesy of Andrew Barnett

First off, a shout out to Andrew Barnett for [indirectly, I suppose] scoring me this coffee. When I got off work on Sunday, Alistair left me with nearly a pound of Brazil Daterra Reserve along with the pound of Hines espresso - and what a week it has been.

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I have always been curious to try this coffee since I heard it made for a very sweet and balanced shot. I can honestly say that it fulfilled those expectations. At first, it took me an abnormally long time to get it dialed it. After about my 5th sink shot, mostly due to the thermostat's deadband - it constantly reaches the low point during the shot and just scorches it towards the end - I was able to pull a decent shot. I must have dosed about 19g or so and it came out to approximately 1 1/4 oz. The crema was not particularly dark, but had great mottling. I noticed a confluence of aromas! There was a strong smell of anise... like ouzo. I attributed this to the high temperature that my machine seems to run at. There were even hints of vanilla and cedar. I prepared myself for what I expected to be a chocolate bomb. I took a sip and immediately noticed the syrupy body and wild dried fruit and nut flavours. The aftertaste was all vanilla and cocoa. It was a very satisfying shot. I pulled a few more and noticed that they were all very different. Some shots tasted like they were half Yemen, with leathery and musty aromas. Others were like a balanced, refined, sweet Brazil. The cappuccino was a different story.

In milk, this espresso seemed to be weak, with the only flavours making it through the milk being the bitter chocolate. I decided to do some temperature surfing and start the shot at the low point so that it initially increases during the shot and then decreases towards the end. I found that this worked best with the Hines. The cappuccino imrpoved... it became sweeter, but still lacked intensity. I coarsened the grind slightly and made a final cappuccino. On this one, I made an acceptable rosetta.

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The taste of this one blew me away. It was caramelly and had strong bitter chocolate flavours balanced with vanilla. It was a particularly sweet cappuccino and had an aftertaste similar to the smell of ground coffee and equally as intense.

Overall, this was a really good espesso. Unfortunately, I never did cup it or make a french press. It was very satisying as a straight shot in the morning. I hope I get the chance to score some more in the future.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Espresso Machine is GO

I just got my machine running. After teflon taping every fucking part of the machine I realized I was missing a small black gasket. After finding it where I saw it the other day and some careful rearrangement, I had me a working pump. Here's an out of focus camera phone picture of the shot I pulled with some Hines that was roasted earlier today... first try... I swear!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

starts with "l" and ends with "ung infection"

Last semester, just days before final exams, I got a cold... it developed into bronchitis. Needless to say, I was too delirious to write my exams and had them postponed. I wrote all but my Physics exam and excelled in all courses. This semester, my marks are lower and I need to do even better on my exams. My first one is on Tuesday. Well, as luck would have it, I got it again. This time, it's unlikely I can postpone the exams. My day is completely overtaken by sleeping, hacking up phlegm, and studying (read: beating Splinter Cell in two days). My blog is not my main concern right now, but after exams I will have all summer to commit to coffee, partying, and partying harder... and keeping respiratory infections at bay (hooray!).

Thursday, June 01, 2006

serious this time

Well, I'm sure you all got the point that I wasn't exactly "back". I've been having great coffee at work lately and been brewing some good coffee at home. I finally put my espresso machine back together after I found that the over pressure valve i ordered not only had to be adjusted internally but also was a TWO-WAY valve. I couldn't find a place to properly mount the two way valve unless I dismantle the malfunctioning OPV and attach it to the end. I soaked the malfunctioning OPV in vinegar, I'm hoping that'll help. I'll pick up some teflon tape soon to fix the leak that is coming from the plastic plate that screws onto the pump housing. I'm also restarting the espresso machine build as a summer project. I'll have lots of time to DRIVE out there and check on the progress... since I got my license!

Anywho, for those who haven't seen it... I'm amazed about this recent Panama CoE auction's results Panama CoE auction's results, the top coffee going for US$50.25 per pound! This narrowly broke the old record of $49.75 per pound, held by Brazil Fazenda Santa Inês. In that auction, the record more than doubled the previous record, held by a previous lot of Panama Hacienda la Esmerelda, if my memory serves me right. The next highest bid in that Brazil CoE auction was just US7.80 per pound, just over one seventh of the cost of the #1 coffee, despite scoring just 3.2 points less than the winning coffee. In the Panama auction, the #2 coffee finished at US$10.75, about one fifth of the winning coffee's score (#2 cupped at 89.80 points). This demonsrates improvement in quality assessment... the highest scoring coffee didn't rake it in as much as at the Brazil auction (average price per lb at the Brazil 2005 and Panama 2006 auctions: US$4.75 and US$4.72, respectively. That was a milestone auction and seems to have opened the doors to high priced coffees. Bidding wars are perhaps more likely as people are beginning to realize the true value of great coffee. This Panamian coffee scored a 94.60, compared to the Brazil Fazenda's score of 95.85. I'm just happy Sweet Maria's got it... I look forward to ordering a pound or so... oh... that's gonna be costly... oh well, it should be nice coffee... I sure hope Mark Prince is as excited as I am! (hint, hint... nudge, nudge)

Well, i got a bit more on my mind but I gotta go to bed now... hopefully I'll post again soon.

party on, fellas (hope nick is reading)

Monday, March 13, 2006


Yes, ladies and gentlemen, "all the ships at sea", I'm back from my break from... well... coffee. Until about a week ago I have had bronchitis (was pretty much gone 3 or 4 weeks ago though) and bad coffee experiences. I had not had a good coffee for weeks. I, by no fault of the engineer, did not receive my build estimate for my proposed espresso machine's boiler and have been talking shit about how it's taking him so long, not realizing that it was in my inbox marked as read for some reason, with our other twenty-odd e mails. Furthermore, I've had final exams and a new semester at school. It's SPRING BREAK so I'm getting back into it.

First things first, special shoutout to Tonx for giving Matthew from Elysian some coffees for me to roast. The coffees include an Ethiopian Harrar Gr. 4 FTO, Ethiopia Sidamo Wotona Bultuma, Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Kello, and Kenya AA Kiaga. Hopefully I will get a chance roast these up tomorrow or some time soon.

Next, I participated in a podcast roundtable earlier with Sean Strugnell, a "new guy" named Michael, Mark Prince, Matthew from work, and Peter V. It was pretty fun, although I had almost no sleep and just learned I was doing it when I arrived. I sure hope I can come back to talk more shit and say some useful things... God knows I have too much to say already. I also got to try some coffee from the AeroPress using the different filters. We talk about the results during the roundtable. Quite frankly, I have little recollection of what we talked about... that's how sleep-deprived I am. It was quite a waste of a podcast opportunity at "Casa del Prince". I'm sure when I hear it I'll disagree with everything I said... but I digress... whatever that means.

I'd like to say goodbye to Chris Tacy as it seems he has "moved on" from the wonderful world of coffee. He is a major asset to the coffee enthusiast community and will surely be missed in many ways. I want you to know, Chris, that I really respect and admire you. You ahve been an inspiration to me. Reading your blog is very entertaining and gives me many of my ideas of espresso.I'm not even gonna ask what's happening with Put Up or Shut Up... I think we answered that one. I can only hope you change your mind, but you gotta do what's important to you. I will miss you and your radically different and extremely intriguing posts and I hope you do well in this post-coffee life of yours. I can also only hope that you read my blog!

Well, that about wraps things up. It feels good to be back into it now.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

I Can't Believe It's Not Regular!®

Well, today sure was an eye-opening experience... actually it didn't open my eyes at all, that's the greatest part... read on...

I came into work and was soon greeted with a cup of coffee (I'll skip all the order-taking and dish drying that led up to it). I tasted it and my immediate reaction was.... meh... as it cooled I found that it didn't develop acidity very much. It was very rich, with some predominantly chocolate/macadamia nut undertones. It was almost as if it had little overtones. It wasn't too complex nor was it perfectly complex, but it was a nice cup of coffee. I happened to say "hey.... low acidity, pretty good body, nice chocolatey "bass tones"... this sounds like a Mark Prince coffee!"

It wasn't until later that day that Alistair dropped the D-bomb... it was DECAF


Long story short, the ensuing conversation went like this.... "O RLY?" "YA RLY!" "NO WAI!"

I couldn't believe it. Alistair said something about how Swiss Water Process ruins coffee.... it was the Mexican Water that made this one so good. I laughed as hard as a man can laugh at hepatitis B. Turns out this process is much better... at least with this Decaf Tanzania Peaberry. I'm sipping on a cup right now from French Press... at 12:33AM... and I have work and studying for exams tomorrow... OH WELL. I'm a changed man.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


Well, it's been a great day of work. I arrived to see a fat chunk of engineering on the counter. I was immediately attracted to its digital display, stainless steel panels, and reminiscence of what I've been waiting monthes to see in real life. I knew we had a Clover, and it hadn't escaped my mind, but I was so excited I think that time stopped and I forgot what I was there for. All of a sudden, bam! I worked constantly with no downtime to try the Clover for a few hours, at which point we went nuts with that motherfucker.

Wow... I loooove it. Nothings perfect, but the bar has been raised substantially. It truly is able to do what espresso was supposed to be able to do: brew a cup of coffee for the order, fast and especially for the single customer. To sum it up quickly, its a French Press minus the guesswork... period.

Before reading further, please watch this video.

Now, allow me to take you through the process.

1. Grind coffee to a slightly finer than french press grind, using your new Ditting grinder
2. Press brew button, assuming volume (8oz, 10oz, 12oz, 14oz, or 16oz), temperature (adjustable to 1F I think), brew time, and other parameters such as the time the plunger pauses before going back up once it has been separated from the coffee, are properly tuned.
3. Dump the coffee into the brewing chamber as the plunger goes down.
4. Watch it, feel it, love it.
5. Use Clover-spec squeejee to swipe away the dry puck into grinds bin.
6. Wipe the top of the machine.
7. Savour the flavour!

It produces a cup very reminiscent of French Press. It seems to add a level of clarity. This could be the same idea behind a flat brew profile in espresso. With less brewing time, your end brewing temperature (just before plunger/serving) is closer to the initial temperature, you get more clarity. Kenya Karagato, Colombia Classico Cauca, Panama Carmen Estate and some Nicaraguan we had worked out very well, very similar to press style. What can I say? This thing is a winner.