Ethiopian yirgacheffe now available

by Reiss Gunson on Friday, 20 November 2009 04:52

VAT 17.5% on 1 Jan 2010: Olympia price rises

by Reiss Gunson on Friday, 20 November 2009 01:46

If you are considering purchasing an Olympia machine, prices will be rising on 1 January 2010 by the amount of the increase in VAT from 15% to 17.5%

Margins on Olympia products are under considerable pressure as the Sterling has weakened significantly against the Swiss Franc over the last couple of years, during which time we have held the prices. As a result we are unable to absorb the rise in VAT on 1 Jan 2010.

Peruvian FTO

by Reiss Gunson on Tuesday, 10 November 2009 02:13

This coffee is from a different source than the Peruvian FTO we have stocked previously. The Peruvian coffee we have had in the past has exhibited less acidity, which has produced a very mild & creamy espresso, but perhaps a little bland for the milkies.

When we drank this new Peruvian shortly after roasting we struggled with the increased acidity a little, and were initially concerned that it was going to be another of those coffees that wasn’t suited to espresso.

But this morning we had a shot from a 1000g bag that was roasted on 30 Oct and was broken open a day after roasting and has been casually opened & unopened every few days to top up our grinder, just sitting on the bench in between

In this time period it has really rounded out. If you ever wanted an espresso to call your autumn roast this would be the one you would use.

Sure, the crema has dropped back to say only 2 or 3mm deep, but the acidity has completely changed. There are no sharp edges when it hits your tongue as there were when it was fresh, and the natural sugars in the bean now blend neatly with the carmelised elements to give you a fantastic sweet tobacco taste. It reminded us of sitting front of a big open fire drinking single malt scotch whiskey. It really is a great espresso to draw with a few friends and chew over the events of the day.

When it was first roasted the acidity and the carmelised sugars did not tie together properly on your tongue, they fought for dominance like two north pole magnets.

SO if you opt for this roast please give it at least 10 days unopened, perhaps 15 even, to let the roast mature. This coffee really has shifted from something were wondering about trying to roast darker to tame the acidity initially, to a roast that we are now extremely proud of the complexity it offers as a single origin espresso.

We can confirm it also makes a very enjoyable filter coffee.

It also makes a good latte & cappuccino if you are a closet milkie.

the Columbian Supremo is all gone

by Reiss Gunson on Tuesday, 10 November 2009 01:56

We are very surprised, but we cant even get our hands on any more Columbian Supremo before Christmas. This is not an ‘exotic’ or limited availability coffee usually, but unfavourable weather in the region this year has severely restricted supply.

Understandably brokers are cautious about buying significant volumes of the coffee at the elevated prices in case supply unexpectedly returns to more typical levels and they are stuck with stock with a cost greater than market selling price

We’ll get it back for you as soon as we can.

A fresh shipment of Peruvian FTO

by Reiss Gunson on Monday, 02 November 2009 13:50

We have the Peruvian fair trade organic coffee back in stock, albeit from a different source. This coffee exhibits more acidity than the previous Peruvian coffee, making it more suitable for latte & cappuccino, yet it still stays within our range of acceptability for espresso use. If you intend to prepare this coffee by a filter method let us know & we will roast it a few degrees lighter for you

Mexican fairtrade organic certified

by Reiss Gunson on Tuesday, 27 October 2009 03:02

have enjoyed trying a fair trade & organic certified coffee from mexico this morning. a fine coffee to be sure, but much brighter than the mexican coffee we currently stock, which is so delicate we can only describe it as the espresso for people who don’t like espresso. it really is like cream that has had a couple of spoonfuls of coffee stirred into it.

Columbian supremo

by Reiss Gunson on Tuesday, 27 October 2009 02:29

avert your eyes if you are a ‘micro-lot’ only kind of espresso drinker. as you are probably aware the columbian coffee has been knocked around quite a lot by adverse weather this year. as a result we have struggled to obtain columbian coffee that is well suited to espresso production. well the good news is we have a shipment of fresh columbian supremo in that is making a fabulous espresso. you are quite right, it is not from a single estate, or a single lot within an estate, its just supremo from a variety of estates. like it or not, but this is often the kind of coffee that translates best into espresso. yes, we readily admit that if you drink your coffee with milk it is a bit flat and one dimensional, but for espresso use it is simply one of the smoothest coffees we have. unfortunately much of the highly prized micro lot coffee has too much acidity, and is too bright & too sharp for making a smooth espresso. but this particular shipment of supremo beans are absolutely perfect for espresso

Otto review - conclusion

by Reiss Gunson on Tuesday, 27 October 2009 00:24

Apologies for the delay in bringing the Otto review to a conclusion

We tried the Otto out on an electric hob & it certainly performs much better than on gas

For starters the time before the coffee starts to issue forth from the spout of the Otto is around the six minute mark, a significant reduction from around 10 minutes on gas

We also achieved much more consistent results in terms of the taste & appearance of the coffee with the electric hob

The Otto provides a very strong milk steamer which makes the task of frothing the milk easy

We purchased the Otto because we are always looking for a machine that will allow our customers to make espresso at home at a more accessible price point

We have spoken at length with the Otto’s inventor, Craig Hiron, in Australia and can confirm he is a top bloke and we wish him every success and look forward to meeting him in London later this year. We are acutely aware of how much time, effort, and resource have been expended to bring the Otto to life. We have no hesitation in telling you that the Otto is a very beautiful and well made product

While the Otto delivers crema, we were unable to achieve the dense crema that the Olympia machines deliver with ease, shot after shot. This is less of an issue if you drink cappuccino as you douse the espresso in foamed milk, but as pure espresso drinkers we found it frustrating

Having used the Otto once you will need to immerse it in cold water and completely cool the stainless body, dry it down & reload with coffee before you prepare a second shot, all of which takes considerable time. This is less of an issue if you only need to prepare one double shot of espresso.

If you are seeking a machine for occasional use only to produce two single shot cappuccinos, then you will probably find the Otto meets your needs. You are likely to be frustrated if you expect the Otto to deliver a traditional espresso with a dense crema and need to do so several times during the course of a day, or wish to prepare drinks for more than two people from it

The Otto can be bought online at

In addition the Otto is a superb piece of functional sculpture to add to your coffee table; a great conversation piece

Otto review (cont...)

by Reiss Gunson on Friday, 02 October 2009 23:03

we understand that using the Otto on an electric hob gives much better results (as opposed to a gas hob), so this weekend we will try it on an electric hob.

Otto review (cont...)

by Reiss Gunson on Friday, 02 October 2009 01:59

over the last few days we’ve made a point of trying a different method each day to see what gives us the best result in the Otto, including double loading the basket (i.e. load, tamp, load again into the space created by the first tamp, tamp a second time). Obviously the double load drives the maximum weight of coffee into the basket so a much coarser grind is required. The double load approach might be OK with coffee that isn’t so fresh, but with the fresh Londinium coffee it chokes the Otto very easily.

so far in the experiment we are getting out best result by using our standard weight of 16g in a double basket (or 8g in a single), grinding to the same fineness that we use for the Olympia Cremina, and giving it the lightest of tamps; merely breathing on it with the tamp, else you will choke the Otto completely.

next time we will make our grind fractionally coarser, but still espresso grind to get it running a little faster … we are trying to get into the 80s extraction time for a dble shot that the Otto manufacturers advise… we are still a little outside that zone.

we have posted a photo of this morning’s result on Twitter if you are looking for a visual