Monday, May 26, 2008

George Howell, "The Long Road to Coffee Quality"

I have long maintained the links on the right hand side of the blog without saying much about them, so I thought it worthwhile to start mentioning a few.

International coffee superstar George Howell has come up with the brilliant idea of sharing his voluminous coffee knowledge by adding little snippets to the page linked above. George seems to be adding a snippet every time that he sends out his monthly newsletter in a bid to get more people to sign up. So do that too if you're in the US of A. (I signed up from half way across the world.)

At the time of writing this blog post, George's article focuses on coffee varietals and - you guessed it - terroir. I have only skimmed the article so far, but it is worthwhile remembering that George's focus is single origin brewed coffees, rather than espresso blends.

... and if I didn't make it clear, you can access the article by clicking the title of this post.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

ARC Opening

I was flicking through my photos in preparation to post something else when I flicked past some photos of the party to celebrate the opening of ARC's new bigger/better/faster/stronger warehouse a few months back. It occurred to me that many of my readers probably aren't really familiar with the ins and outs of the green coffee trade. For that matter, neither am I, so I'll just say that green coffee brokers/importers are an absolutely crucial and often overlooked link in getting something tasty into your cup; these are the guys who are largely responsible for selecting the pool of green coffee from which Australian roasters create their blends. And with that, I'll congratulate ARC on their new facility with some photos ...

Zoe hearts green coffee. This should give y'all some idea of the scale that we're talking about here, although the warehouse was practically empty at the time of the party.

Moshe aka. "Mr ARC" with a number of samples in his gorgeous new cupping room.

A rather serious piece of sample roasting equipment; Brambatti, from memory. ARC is part of a global network of coffee brokers/importers. Their quality assurance process involves a heck of a lot of sample roasting, including the exchange of sample roasts and roasting notes across the network.

Again, you can see that the space is pretty massive. The crowd included a lot of the movers and shakers in the coffee scene in Australia, with many making a trip from interstate to be there.

Some of the interstate guys continued the celebration the next day with a coffee crawl.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Australian Barista Competiton: The Gear

There is plenty to write about the ABC and I anticipate that it will be at least a week until I get around to it. For now, interested readers should take a look at Syd Low's amazing photography of the open barista competition and the final event.

In the meantime, I compiled a few lists of what grinders and tampers everyone was using. The references in brackets are references to the number of the photo in Syd's series where you can see the competitor using that gear.


Dave - BNZ + Stepless Mod (Syd, 16)
Con - Robur (Syd 06)
Jen - Robur (Syd 17)
Anne - Robur (Syd 1)
Aaron - Robur (Syd 1)
Kallum - Compak (Syd 03)
Ian - Compak (Syd 11)
Patrick - ???
Hazel - BNZ + Doserless Mod (Syd 10)
Jesse - Robur

Tracy Rupe - Compak (Syd 3)
Simon James - Robur
Kiril Shaginov - Robur
Nic Hind - Compak (Syd 1)
Vanessa Moore - Robur
Tim Adams - Robur (Syd 2)
David Seng - Compak
Alex Forsyth - Compak (Syd 4)
Jesse Hyde - Robur
Craig Simon - Robur
Kelvin Wong - Compak (Syd 5)
Douglas Bolzon - ???
Mimma Battista - Compak (Syd 7)
Emanuelle Muratore - Robur (Syd 3)

It looks like the Robur was the clear favourite, taking up 12 of 24 competition slots. The Compak put up a reasonable show, with 7 out of 24 slots, but we need to remember that it was the supplied grinder. Other than that, seasoned campaigners Dave and Hazel opted for the BNZs and did not like their stock configuration. Dave modified his grinders to give them stepless adjustment. Hazel modified her grinders to make them doserless. One has to wonder if they would switch to Roburs if they were buying now, seeing as they will soon be available in doserless and the new doser seems to sweep pretty clean and dose pretty straight.


Dave - Espro (Syd 16)
Con - RB (Syd 15, 36)
Jen - Pink RB (Syd 20)
Anne - Pink RB (Syd 20)
Aaron - Coffeelab (Syd 6)
Kallum - Old Pullman (Syd 3)
Ian - ???
Patrick - ???
Hazel - That NZ Thing (Syd 12)
Jesse - Espro?

Paul Asquith - Some Generic Metal Thing (Syd 2)
Tracy Rupe - RB (Syd 4)
Simon James - Pullman
Kiril Shaginov - RB
Nic Hind - RB (Syd 2)
Vanessa Moore - RB
Tim Adams - RB (Syd 2)
David Seng - Coffeelab ?
Alex Forsyth - RB (Syd 2)
Jesse Hyde - Espro ?
Craig Simon - Espro ?
Kelvin Wong - RB (Syd 05)
Douglas Bolzon - ???
Mimma Battista - Pink RB (Syd 07)
Emanuelle Muratore - RB (Syd 05)

Again, there was a clear favourite - the Reg Barber, taking up 12 spots out of 24. The Espro made a minority showing, taking up four spots. The Coffeelab (2), Classic Pullman (1), New Pullman (1), Random NZ Tamper (1) and Generic Metal Thing (1) took up the slack.