News

Papua New Guinea - Sigri Estate, AA grade

by Reiss Gunson on Thursday, 01 October 2009 12:02

Now available.

Otto espresso (cont...)

by Reiss Gunson on Thursday, 24 September 2009 04:36

Not much time, other than to say we tried the Otto today and we failed miserably

The Otto guidance suggests fairly fine coffee, but this all relative to the capabilities of your grinder & the unusually deep portafilter on the Otto allowed us to put way too much coffee in. As you would expect we were greeted with a chronically over-extracted brew

On the second attempt we faired much better as we weighted out 16g with fine scales, but we still over extracted in a big way as a result of having the grind too fine

Next time we will run a much coarser grind and hope to come much closer to being ‘in the zone’

Vacuum coffee still magnificent

by Reiss Gunson on Wednesday, 23 September 2009 12:36

Guests for supper tonight, providing the perfect excuse to get out the methylated spirits powered Cona vacuum coffee maker. In reflection I’d have to admit I forgotten just how superior the coffee is to filter coffee. Its fairly easy to set up, but make sure you use hot water or it will take half an hour to heat the water with the meths bruner. It certainly isn’t the weapon of choice for a quick cup before work. Cona also offer a stove top version which would be exponentially quicker, but it certainly lacks the charm of the classic meths burner version. If you haven’t tried vacuum coffee before you really should. I can only describe the taste as exceptionally clean and sweet, the result of the coffee only ever coming into contact with glass during the entire process. The website that Cona run is an embarrassment, but the product is best in class. Check them out, still based in Wimbledon, London, since their formation in something like 1920 I understand.

Cona

Otto espresso

by Reiss Gunson on Wednesday, 23 September 2009 06:09

The Otto has arrived!

We have purchased one to conduct a full review and see if it really can deliver espresso as claimed. If it does then it provides you with a reduced price point for obtaining espresso at home

First impressions:

Otto was shipped by DHL and given the weight of the product we were concerned that it could easily be damaged in transit. As the images show, we need not have worried. Otto is double boxed in two heavy duty corrugated boxes, then finally you arrive at the presentation box. It is self evident that a lot has been invested in the development of the packaging to ensure the Otto can be shipped around the world and arrive in good condition. Considerable time and expense has also been lavished on what we would call the presentation box, with the contents held in place with custom cut foams of two different densities to ensure the contents is held snugly in place whilst being adequately cushioned at the same time

Otto is supplied with a full complement of kit, so all you have to add is water & coffee

We were initially dismayed when we spied what looked to be a cheap light weight plastic tamp in the box. However when we picked it up we were pleasantly surprised to discover that this is not the case. The tamp is made of the same high density nylon as the handles on the Otto

The health and safety brigade are kept at bay with a tastefully sand blasted ‘HOT’ in a couple of places

We consider the finish to be of an exceptionally high standard, especially the effort that has been put into achieving a mirror finish on the stainless steel body – incredible.

Indeed, the only blemish we have found so far is cosmetic, but in the most visible location on the top of the ‘group head’. The casting has a recess in it for the Otto label to be attached. The edges of the casting around this recess are a little rough and we will suggest to the manufacturers that this be addressed going forward, but we acknowledge that this is purely cosmetic and that we are being picky and many buyers would either not notice, or not care even if they did.

So we’ve established that we’ve just invested in a piece of art, but can it make espresso?

Well, so far we’ve only completed the two ‘test cycles’ where you use the machine as normal but dump the coffee to ensure that any tainting that might result from the manufacturing process is flushed away. As a result we were fairly sloppy in our approach regarding grinding, dosing, and tamping. Hopefully tomorrow we will use it in anger for the first time, with a view to producing espresso.

We are also very impressed with the thought that has gone into the manual, which is extremely simple to follow as a result of its pictorial approach which verges on cartoon like in style. In our opinion this is a stroke of genius.

Find the man in the coffee beans

by Reiss Gunson on Tuesday, 22 September 2009 04:52

Once you find him it seems so obvious, and if you’re anything like us you’ll think why didn’t I see him immediately?

If you find the man between 3 seconds and 1 minute, the right half of the brain is developed normally.

If you find the man between 1 minute and 3 minutes, then the right half of your brain is functioning slowly

You need to eat more protein if you have not found the man after 3 minutes

And yes, the man really is there!

Do something healthy today... start drinking black coffee

by Reiss Gunson on Sunday, 06 September 2009 02:54

We’ll argue long into the night that the biggest health risk presented by high grade coffee is the additives which turn it into a calorie bomb, not the coffee

The number one killer in the western world is heart disease, most of which stems from eating too much and engaging in too little exercise

Its the milk, cream, sugar, & flavorings that are the real threat to your well being, not the coffee

Try a black coffee today

That doesn’t have to mean espresso, you have a vast array of filter methods available, moka pots/stovetops, and vacuum methods. You might find it takes a little to get used to the taste of coffee, as opposed to all the sugar you have become accustomed to, but after a couple of weeks you will be reformed. You will also quickly discover why coffee is no longer seen as a commodity, and how a good coffee stands out like a beacon when drunk black alongside a poor, invariably stale, coffee.

As a positive side effect you will drop your calorie intact dramatically if you have been in the habit of drinking frappaccinos or the like, and you’ll become as regular as clockwork, which is equally important as our modern diets have insufficient roughage and are resulting in record levels of bowel disease.

Slowfood

by Reiss Gunson on Sunday, 06 September 2009 02:28

If you haven’t heard of the Slowfood organisation yet, we suggest you check it out.

Basically they have formed to raise an awareness of the importance of biodiversity in fruit and vegetables in particular, but extending into other areas like fish & rare breeds of livestock.

Thousands and thousands of minor varieties of fruits, vegetables, etc are at risk as the pressure from powerful multinational companies drives the demand for standardised and homogenised varieties that are hardy and easy to grow. We would like to think we can contribute to this approach over time as we continue to seek out interesting coffees from around the world and experiment with them to see if they deliver world class espresso as a single origin coffee.

The Slowfood organisation are committed to promoting lesser known varieties of fruit and vegetables, without which increasing commercial pressure will probably wipe them out.

Slowfood

Ethiopian wild forest coffee released for sale

by Reiss Gunson on Saturday, 05 September 2009 12:18

After much development this coffee has finally been released for sale

We are particularly proud of the finished product as i don’t think we have spent more time on any other coffee to ‘get it right’

Enjoy!

what are we doing?

by Reiss Gunson on Thursday, 27 August 2009 12:48

we are sinking hours into optimising the roast of the new Ethiopian wild forest grown coffee

if we’re honest we’d probably call it cantankerous at this time the day, when we still don’t feel we’ve tamed the beast

this might be a coffee that we offer in multiple editions, and we hope to release it for sale next week

i’m personally not big on these african coffees for single origin espresso, although the sidamo is a notable exception

that said we are getting a great result for cappuccinos already, its just that getting a great result for espresso is so much more challenging as there is no milk to mask the imperfections behind

as always however, we’ve been asked for this coffee so we are working hard to deliver a coffee that exceeds expectations in the unique Londinium roasting style which is quite different to the Monmouth Coffee roasting style, for example

Olympia Maximatic reviewed ad nauseam

by Reiss Gunson on Saturday, 22 August 2009 04:28

Olympia Maximatic review

as usual the guys at Home-Barista.com have performed an exceptionally detailed review, this time its the Olympia Maximatic

click the link and read on…