Kopi Luwak

by Reiss Gunson on Monday, 29 March 2010 06:01

Had our first cup today, tasting notes can be found on the product details for this coffee on the filter/vacuum section of this website. Later today we will make as an espresso & also as a vacuum coffee, which will provide a lot more information about what adjustments we need to make to the roast. In any event we are very pleased with the results.

Accurately 'tasting' your coffee

by Reiss Gunson on Monday, 29 March 2010 05:23

Drink coffee around the same time as you imbibe alcohol by all means, just don’t expect your taste buds to be able to provide your brain with an accurate picture of what the coffee actually tastes like. In our experience even a single 330ml bottle of beer significantly blunts the taste buds, preventing you from being able to tell exactly what the coffee tastes like. Often this will not be an issue, for example, where you are already familiar with what the coffee tastes like, and just want ‘a coffee’. However it is a complete barrier to accurately assessing a coffee that you are unfamiliar with.

Kopi Luwak

by Reiss Gunson on Friday, 26 March 2010 20:11

Yes, curiosity has finally gotten the better of us; we have gone and bought Kopi Luwak. We’ve lost count of the numbers of times we’ve been asked what it tastes like, and up until now we’ve had to mumble towards our shoes and say that we have not tried it.

All rather embarrassing when you’re a coffee roaster & people expect you to have tried anything they’ve heard of or read about in the popular press.

Oh well, this is our rite of passage I guess; our introduction to one of the worlds most exclusive coffees. As soon as we get a moment we will start reporting on our test roasts. We can tell you that the bags look pretty ordinary, simply adorned with an identity tag in two corners.

Espresso: double v single

by Reiss Gunson on Tuesday, 09 March 2010 15:08

I have only recently realised that I have held a deep seated prejudice against single espresso, almost always opting for a double espresso instead. So deep it has almost been a sub-conscious decision. Why this is it is hard to say. Perhaps I felt (wrongly) that such a small volume of anything didn’t qualify as a drink; was hardly worth the effort. I think this view is probably more widely held than you might think

After countless espresso over many years I now acknowledge that there is a significant gap between the shot quality of a double and a single espresso. This is particularly evident if you are using a lever machine as the need to draw the lever up for the second shot severely disturbs the water flow through the puck, adversely affecting the quality of the espresso. So much so I now think of the double basket supplied with lever machines as a ‘ristretto basket’, as opposed to a ‘double shot’ basket

While the gap is narrower with an electric pump machine, the quality of the single shot on a high quality lever machine is superior to the single shot delivered by an electric pump machine as the pulsing motion of the electric pump is eliminated and a spring lever progressively reduces the water pressure through the puck as the extraction progresses (as will a manual lever if you so choose)

Using any given coffee it is easier to replicate the same shot characteristics with a single shot; this is particularly important when evaluating experimental roasts, reduces waste and allows more shots from your machine before you have to refill the reservoir, assuming you are not using a plumbed machine

When you shift to single espresso, you immediately appreciate why the Italians place so much emphasis on the correct temperature for the espresso cup; the volume is much lower (obviously) and therefore the temperature of the coffee is influenced even more rapidly by a cup that is too cool; the simple act of tipping the cup just once will significantly cool the coffee if the cup is too cool

Moving to a single espresso shifts the focus away from treating the espresso as a beverage or a ‘thirst quencher’ and elevates it to a precious nectar of limited supply. A thimble sized cup just half full conveys a heightened sense of scarcity

An extraction of the fruits from the labour of many, a reflection of the terroir of the soil on which it was grown. This is all the more visceral with the simplicity and clarity of a single origin coffee that has been carefully selected, then roasted to perfection for the espresso process

The pursuit of single origin coffee that is suitable for the espresso process is a central tenet of Londinium’s founding principles. Conventional wisdom demands that a blend is required for the best espresso. Try our Costa Rican espresso roast as a starting point and see if you aren’t persuaded by our dogged pursuit in identifying single origin, even single estate, coffee that produces world class espresso

The concentrated nature of espresso also puts your taste buds at risk of over indulging with a double shot. A single shot ensures you are left wanting more, and the flavours seem sweeter, more intense, more concentrated. The aftertaste lingers with more clarity

Yes, the single shot is the finest exponent of espresso; less is more

Olympia price rise

by Reiss Gunson on Tuesday, 09 March 2010 12:00

We have raised the price of the Olympia equipment, to bring it into line with Olympia’s worldwide retail pricing, namely;

Moca CHF1162.00
Cremina CHF3392.00
Maximatic CHF3671.00

To date we have been selling these machines at a discount

We have not received preferential wholesale prices from Olympia, we have funded this discount out of our own margin in order to establish the brand in the UK where there is no tradition of buying commercial quality espresso machines for use in the home/small office

As a token of our ongoing commitment to the finest domestic espresso machines in the world we are pleased to announce free express shipping worldwide on all Olympia products, a saving of over GBP220.00 for many destinations

Panama coffee

by Reiss Gunson on Monday, 01 March 2010 06:51

Well the conclusion of the matter is this coffee produces a nice clean espresso with just enough acidity. When we posted our previous comment we mentioned the complexity of the coffee. It is complex, and indeed delicate, but on the whole perhaps not quite as complex as we had hoped for. Nonetheless, this is a fine coffee that makes a superb espresso, assuming you like your espresso clean and delicate. Not really the right coffee for cappuccinos & lattes. In summary we are very pleased to have this coffee in our every expanding coffee library.

We couldn't help ourselves...

by Reiss Gunson on Friday, 26 February 2010 11:23

We’ve just pulled a shot of the Panama a few hours after roasting and while it needs time to de-gas & round out, the general character of the coffee is clearly evident. We’ve not tasted any coffee from Panama before, and we’ve not read too much about it either, so we didnt carry any prejudices into the test.

We’re ashamed to admit that we over-extracted it slightly, as freshly roasted coffee grounds bind together very easily & hey we were careless & paid the price. Notwithstanding, the general character of this coffee is clean and very delicate.

Think of the very delicate Mexican coffee that we used to have as the nearest comparison. (the current offering of Mexican is no where near as delicate).

The Panama coffee is less creamy than the old Mexican offering, but it is more complex. The complexity would however be completely lost with the addition of milk. I also doubt if this coffee will be any good as a filter coffee as it presents low levels of acidity.

Its true that we have to drink a lot more of this coffee before we settle our views in terms of what it specifically tastes like, but already it is clear that this is a rare example of the single origin espresso style that reflects Londinium ethos; delicate single origin espresso with complexity. The kind of complexity you really have to focus on to fully appreciate. This espresso doesn’t shout at you, it presents itself in a barely audible whisper, yet with great beauty.

First test roast of the Panaminian coffee

by Reiss Gunson on Friday, 26 February 2010 03:46

We’ve just completed the first test roast. These beans are smaller than average, and the bean roasts up darker than comparable beans when roasted to the same temperature, giving the impression that we might have over-done things, when perhaps we havent. Anyway, we’ll let it rest for a day or two & let you know how we get on. Cheers!

Feeling macho?

by Reiss Gunson on Wednesday, 24 February 2010 13:32

The Daterra Monte Cristo is the coffee you need. Its called ‘Monte Cristo’ for a reason; the delicious tobacco taste. At Londinium we are aware of the prevalence of ‘the abuse of superlatives’ in the coffee industry. If we say it tastes of tobacco you will easily detect it without a vivid imagination. This is a wonderful roast that passes the ‘shot after shot’ test. Fabulous.

New in: Columbian, Santuario Estate, bourbon variety

by Reiss Gunson on Thursday, 11 February 2010 10:13

A rash of new coffees over the last couple of weeks, some taking a long time to get ‘right’

As a result some of the new coffee hasn’t seen the light of day yet

This bourbon variety from the Santuario Estate in Columbia one such coffee

When we were given a sample to drink by the broker we weren’t at all sure this coffee was going to work as an espresso. Many of the so-called ‘high quality’ coffees that are being heavily marketed present their acidity too brightly in the cup when prepared as an espresso

This problem was present with this coffee when young, but we have opened a 250g bag this morning that was roasted on 4 Jan, so around 5 weeks since roasting. During that resting period the coffee has rounded out superbly. In our view this really is a coffee that needs weeks, not days, to rest before opening. Contrast that with the Columbian supremo which can be used almost immediately as it does not have such high levels of acidity, and is much more mellow with caramel tones from pretty much the day after roasting, which admittedly is unusual.

Anyway, this bourbon offering from the Santuario Estate now presents it’s acidity in a wonderfully elegant & balanced way, giving the coffee a unique personality without being over-bearing or grating on the palate.

I would expect that will translate into a wonderful cappuccino, but I’ve not got that far yet

More soon.