Monday, June 27, 2011

Roskilde Festival 2011

The Roskilde Festival is about to start. The camping area is already full, beers are being drunk and music is being played. And again this year we're ready to serve some tasty coffee for the hungry masses together with Manfreds / Relæ. We've assembled a great group of baristas and is packing up the La Marzocco and Mazzer Robur as I'm typing this.

You can find us the same place as last year, next to the Gloria stage:

The menu will be very simple again this year; espresso, cappuccino, caffe latte and iced latte, but this year we'll be brewing up some delicious filter coffee in stead of americanos, for those in search of great tasting black coffee. We'll be shifting through Finca Vista Hermosa from Guatemala, Kieni from Kenya and Daterra from Brazil.

See you there!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Worlds Brewers Cup

A couple of months ago our barista Torfi won the first Danish Brewers Cup - the competition for black, filter-style coffee as opposed to the espresso-centered Barista Championships.

This week the World Brewers Cup takes place at the SCAE show in Maastricht. You can read more about that at On Wednesday June 22nd Torfi will compete and represent Denmark, and of course we hope he'll make the finals on Thursday.

Danish Brewers Cup Champion 2011: Torfi

In any case he will be joined by Christian, who placed 2nd in the Danish Barista Championship. Together they'll be brewing up our fresh crop Kenyans, Gichathaini and Kieni, for the good people attending the SCAE show. This will happen at The Village - a new area focused on showing new trends in coffee and some of the new specialty coffee roasteries around Europe. So if you're at the SCAE look for Torfi and Christian and ask for some great fresh coffee.

Monday, June 20, 2011

La Esmeralda 2011

As you might know we were fortunate to get a lot (#ES8-16) of this years La Esmeralda Special.

Tomorrow, Tuesday 21st, we're roasting the first batch for sale. If you place an order in our webshop before noon tomorrow we'll send it out the same day.

On Wednesday, June 22nd, from 14:00 to 16:00 we'll be giving out free samples of Aeropressed La Esmeralda Special in our coffee shop. Come by for a taste of one of the worlds most aromatic coffees.

As last year, we probably won't be roasting this coffee every week, but will post on our Facebook page when we plan to roast it. If you order several coffees together with Esmeralda in our webshop, please notice that the entire order will wait for next Esmeralda roast.


Friday, June 17, 2011

AnneStine's WBC 2011 afterthoughts

So my run for the WBC ended with a decent 15th place this time. Only 9,5 points separated me of being in the semi-finals. Overall the championship has been a great experience.

Sara and I came down Friday the 27th, doing some preparations for practice time on the machine the following days, finding milk and getting ourselves situated.
Klaus came down the following day with more coffee and his celebrity glamour, so we were ready and in shape for a two-hour training session the following day.
Anxious to see how the local milk would taste and appear in combination with my coffee, what the water would be like and of course there’s been a lot of talk around how the espresso will react to such high altitudes, we were an excited little group of people with many questions entering the training space at Amor Perfecto.
We tested some different roast dates and found the oldest date (17/05) to be the absolute best. Having this high an altitude makes the crema of the espresso expand more, making it very bubbly, so using beans that have de-gassed a lot work better. We practiced with local fresh milk, but found the milk we brought from Denmark to be better in what we were looking for in terms of flavor and texture. A big thanks to Leo Corleone for bringing some additional milk and coffee for us all the way from Denmark.

Team Denmark

The next day we were on our way to Armenia and a 2- day coffee trip sponsored by Café de Colombia. We visited coffee farms; saw the coffee research facility of Cenicafe, Juan Valdez funpark and much more. It was an amazing trip from start to finish. Also great to see that there are serious focus on bringing right information out to the farms themselves, giving them tools to produce good quality coffees.
Back in Bogota we had our official practice time, the day before the competition itself. It was a nerve-wrecking and intense few hours. As the Mazzer Robur grinder was stuck in customs and would be arriving as my practice time was done and over with, we had no grinder to practice on. At that point everything was looking a little black as we would only have 15 minutes the next morning to dial in the burr set that we brought with us from Denmark, also dialing in both roasts and test the very limited amount of Danish milk we had.

Lucky for us we were very fortunate. Unsure if it was because of my desperate look in my eyes or not, but the lovely Marcus Boni let me split my 1 hour practice time in two parts, and squeezed me in for 30 minutes very early the next morning to set my Robur.

The WBC back room
WBC Back Room

I used my first day practice time on milk steaming and the lighter espresso roast was set to perfection, all there was to do now was to go home, do some mental training and get lots of sleep.
That didn’t happen. After having a very nice relaxing massage the same night I was feeling a bit low, and very drowsy, and I couldn’t sleep at all, in the halfway between sleep and being awake I kept going over the different parts of my presentation. So waking up at 5am, with a fever that is, was more a relief if anything.

We arrived at Corferias where the competition took place and were quick to get our gear in shape due to the short amount of time we had. It went well, with expertise assistance from Sara and Klaus right next to me.
Still feeling lousy and building an even higher fever, I was not feeling fresh or ready to compete at all, so I stuffed myself with some painkillers, went had my mental training for a small hour and got myself amped for competing.

This was IT! Getting out on stage and setting up was the best part ever. I didn’t feel nervous, I was calm, and my hands didn’t shake as I was preparing the cupping, as they normally do when I’m nervous. The shots I pulled from both espressos also tasted incredible, so I felt very secure on my dial in and the roast dates we’ve had selected.

Tasting the espresso

My 15 minutes started, I was giving my introduction and went to prepare my first shots of espresso when something went very wrong. The grinder was acting really weird. The dose, which had been set perfectly with minimal amount of waste in my preparation time had suddenly changed, and a lot more coffee came out. I decided to go ahead and make both double shots, wasting a lot of coffee as a consequence of the higher dose. I quickly saw the shots weren’t running as they should, so in the heat of the moment, I bluntly stopped them without wasting more time. I could almost hear Klaus’ heart jump from the sideline. I remade the espresso and the second set was better, although not as good as I’d have liked.

Tech judge checking the machine while AnneStine talks to the sensory judges

The rest of the presentation went ok. I knew that I was very limited on time and had to do things very disciplined and pick up the pace to finish in time, which I did, with a finish time coming in on 14:51 minutes.


The next two days I was in bed with a fever. No energy and not eating anything much but watermelon, so I can’t say I was in my top form. Sara even had to stand in for me when announcing the semi-finalists.

Unfortunately for me there were 14 great baristas doing a better job on the score sheets, so there was no need for me to prepare myself for the next day, which I was very disappointed not to do. The semi-finalists were all excellent and well deserving semi-finalists, I only wish I could have gotten that second chance.

Semi-finalists announcement (with Sara standing in)
Great crowd at a great stage

Watching the finals on Sunday was amazing. The roof almost lifted when Alejandro Mendez from El Salvador was announced the winner. What a great performance, great concept and a truly great ambassador for specialty coffee this man will be. I’m very excited to follow him in the coming year. I wish him the best of luck!

WBC 2011 Finalists

I would like to thank a few people that have really stood behind me and beside me in this little adventure.

First I would like to thank The Coffee Collective for giving me loads and loads of support creating solid frames and great guidance all the way thru the process. It has been truly amazing to feel the engagement from your side.

Then my two key persons I could not have done anything without. Sara Sundby; my coach and right hand all the way from the Danish champs to the WBC. You have been such a star! And Mathias Skovmand Larsen; food chemist and the Man of mans when it comes to innovative thinking in gastronomic ways. You have spent more time on this then I ever could imagine, Thank you!

Then we have all the tasters, and judges throughout my training and practice presentations, for taking the time, giving great feed back and golden advice along the way.

I would like to give big thanks to Edwin Martinez and the whole Finca Vista Hermosa team, for the great help of getting the new crop Finca Vista Hermosa to the roastery in time for WBC. I know how hard you worked for the beans getting here fast enough.

To Eva Solo, for everything I needed in glassware, utensils, serving trays etc. - I got it pronto. Uh la la Julie for helping out with signature drink cups even though she gave birth a week before the WBC, Paco Jet for sponsoring the machine for WBC, to Roger Wittman and La Marzocco USA for amazing assistance on the Mazzer grinder to and from Bogota. The help from all of you has meant a great deal to me.

Thank you!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cupping Extravaganza

Prior to the World Barista Championship I had the opportunity to attend the Cupping Extravaganza held by Virmax and Hacienda El Roble. The extravagant part was that we were going to cup 31 varietals from one single farm. Actually we were about to cup both species and varieties. If you want to know more about this I can highly recommend this article.

Hacienda El Roble

Varieties are all the rage in the coffee world right now, as you probably also noticed in the WBC presentations. However, it's quite rare that we can confidently say we're tasting the varity. Different varieties take to different climates, soil conditions, altitude and so on, so linking a single variety from one farm doesn't mean you're necessarily going to like it from another. From the cupping I've done of different varieties in different countries I have become more and more convinced that general, broad characterizations of varieties' flavours are probably not possible at the moment. The terroir and processing plays too big a role. Even tasting several varieties from one farm can be misleading, because quite often the farm expands over a large area and the varieties might be exposed to different microclimates and terroir.

All this had me so much more intrigued by the idea of cupping these 31 varieties from one far, grown at the exact same area of the farm and processed the same way. And with all the controversy surrounding the new high-yielding Castillo I think it's even more important to support experimentation with varieties based on taste. Just think how successful Hacienda La Esmeralda have been due to great tasting varieties.

Varieties popping up at the El Roble nursery

I must admit I had little expectations to the event, as I didn't know who was going to attend and how serious it would be. It surpassed any expectations I could have had, though. Firstly, the group that attended was awesome. Mie from 49th Parallel, Jenny Howells from Terroir, Mark Dundon from Seven Seeds, Russell Beard from The Source, Tal and Zachery from Four Barrel, Bjørnar from Kaffa, Ryan Brown from Stumptown and many many more really great coffee people attended (we were up to 20, so sorry for not naming everyone here!). It was such a nice mixture of people I've known for a long time and new acquaintances. And definitely some very experienced cuppers. Mark and Russ came straight from the Honduras Cup of Excellence, so they were very calibrated.

Russell Beard from The Source in Australia

Mie & Ryan
Our favourite Mie and Ryan "Le Tigre" Brown

Next I was happy to see how professional Virmax was running the competition, following CoE procedures. It's just so nice when the organisation around a thing like this is running so smoothly that you can focus 100% on what's in the cup. A big applause to everyone at El Roble as well for being so timely and precise with coffee, water, timing etc. First day we cupped three tables (11, 10 and 10) with proper time between each table to relax pour taste buds. The next day we cupped the Top 10 from the previous day.

The 31 varieties we cupped were actually out of a total of 72 varieties and species that are being grown at El Roble's coffee garden. We took a tour of the garden and I think it's safe to say everyone was impressed. It's astonishing how different the plants look. I've seen a lot of the different species and varieties in other places (for example last year at the Instituto Agronômico de Campinas) but here were even more varieties in one place. The leafs range from tiny and narrow to big round ones, that remind you of rhubarb leaves. I took a bunch of pictures, but I'm too poor a photographer to really capture that sort of thing. Besides the look of the plant you can taste a huge difference in the cherry itself and especially when sucking on the mucilage.

Not all the varieties are producing enough cherry yet to process, roast and cup. I think Virmax had gone through something like 50-60 of them and after their initial cupping some could be sorted out and some there simply wasn't enough left off to roast and cup. But I also felt that 31 was quite enough for us to cup.

Me engaged in breaking the crust

So what were the results?

Well, overall the difference in flavours on those tables were astonishing! There were just as much variety in flavour on those tables as a lot of roasters have in their entire assortment. And that came from one little area of one farm. We had some that tasted like earthy Indonesians, others like nutty Brazils, but more excitingly we had flavours reminding of the great Kenyans coffees and one that I would have bet was a well grown Geisha (but it wasn't).

The top two coffees are mysteriously labeled "HR" for Hacienda el Roble. Until a few weeks ago the people at El Roble thought the HR61 was Coffea Liberica and the HR62 was Coffea Racemosa. Two other species of coffee, hence it was not Arabica. However, the chief scientist from the Colombian national coffee reasearch center Cenicafe was at El Roble to validate the different varieties. But he could not confirm it was those varieties, because of different characteristics (like a bronze-colored tip leaf). Unfortunately he couldn't confirm which varieties they then are. Coffee's genome has not yet been decoded, so it's not possible to confirm from the DNA. So for now those two will just be labeled "HR".

The HR61 was incredibly floral with loads of jasmine, coffee blossom and also citrus fruit, orange, bergamot. A very very good coffee that really excited me. The HR62 was my second favourite. Also extremely aromatic but more fruit-tones, like peach and pear turning into berries in the aftertaste.

The SL28 was a little wild and crazy and we suspected that the fermentation would need to be different for that variety. It didn't present the clarity that we're used to. Some scored it really high while some flunked it for being too fermented. Borderline coffee for sure.

One of my favourites, although apparently the scorekeeper read my sheets wrong (I wrote 89 but can see how it could look like 84) was the Moka/Mocca. Super sweet and creamy with a lovely vanilla aroma in the aftertaste. It was particularly when it cooled that you noticed it. It didn't scream out as the more wildly aromatic ones, but made of for it in sweetness and mouthfeel.

I'm not gonna get into detailed descriptions of all the varieties as this post is already long enough. But the Mibirizi on the last table was stunning as well. Very sweet and almost a perfumed scent of melos mixed with rosehips and lemons. Quite light mouthfeel but very delicate.

Overall I'm really looking forward to more of this kind of thing. We need to encourage farmers to try different varieties. If you go through Latin America the same 8 varieties are grown almost everywhere. Now of course Esmeralda became a bit of a game changer making the Geisha famous. But the Geisha only performs well in some areas at certain altitudes. And there might be 10, 20, 50 other varieties out there that would be just as good or even better if matched with the right conditions.

Farmers that I've spoken to would like to try other varieties, but their primary concern is making a living, and higher yielding plants will still give more money in the end. So if we want those better tasting varieties out there, we need to be ready to pay a lot more for them and make it financially interesting for farmers to produce them.

I'd like to thank Oswaldo Acevedo, the owner of El Roble, and his entire amazing staff for hosting us and engaging in this experiment. Also thanks to Giancarlo Ghiretti and Alejandro Cadena of Virmax. And finally to the others in the 'little' group. It was great fun to get to know everyone there.

The 2011 Cupping Extravaganza participants

Slideshow with all the pictures from the Slurparama:

Monday, June 6, 2011

Gichathaini our New coffee from Kenya

When Casper and Klaus was in Kenya earlier they found an excellent new lot from Kieni. But they also tried coffees from other producers and they fell in love with this particular lot from a producer we have worked with earlier - Gichathaini.

It has these extreme floral notes that is only found in very few lots from Kenya each year. An to our experience these notes are also very fragile. Therefore we roast it very very light and with lots of heat applied both early and late in the roast profile.

You can tried it in the coffee shop from tomorrow (tuesday 7th of june). There will be free samples at 14.00 and 17.00 hours.

Friday, June 3, 2011

New Crop La Esmeralda Special - DELAYED

After several month of empty shelves we are very happy to announce that we have been able to get hold of lot of the New Crop of Hacienda La Esmeralda!

Because of delay in shipment it will not be ready Tuesday 7th unfortunately as earlier annouced. It should be ready for sale on Tuesday 14th of June instead.

At 14.00 hours and 17.00 hours on Tuesday 14th  it will be possible to taste free samples in the Coffee Shop!