News

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…

Espresso machines on sale at Fortnum and Mason

by Reiss Gunson on Thursday, 06 August 2009 10:14

I popped in to Fortnum & Mason today to see what was happening on the coffee front

It might surprise you to learn that they sell a range of entry level domestic espresso machines

Anyway, what I discovered is all the espresso machines are still on sale, with at least 25% off, even though the sale month of July has passed us by

They are selling the Bugatti machine, although it would be interesting to know who actually manufactures this machine… I’m guessing it isn’t made on the same production line as the Veyron!

It certainly looks nice, but I have no experience of using the machine.

They also sell the Gaggia Classic which is recommended as a good entry level machine and has been made for long enough that it is robust and reliable. The Baby Gaggia is not made to the same build quality.

There was also a Dualit machine on offer, very much entry level, but the price was an astounding £140 or perhaps even less from memory… i don’t know how you retail a machine for that price

Anyway, that’s what on sale in the kitchen ware section of Fortnum and Mason this week

Swissgold filters

by Reiss Gunson on Monday, 27 July 2009 23:45

To get the best out of the Swissgold filter don’t use too much coffee. What the Swisgold filter gives you is very clean tasting coffee, and highlights the subtle differences between coffees of different origins. If you use too much coffee the taste simply turns into an unpleasant coffee syrup.

Iced coffees 'a meal in a drink'

by Reiss Gunson on Monday, 27 July 2009 22:55

Just another reason for making the switch to calorie free black coffee…

SOURCE: BBC website 27 July 2009

For every Starbucks’s Venti Dark Berry Mocha Frappuchino….
Some iced coffees being sold on the high street contain as many calories as a hot dinner, a cancer charity warns.
The chief offender had 561 calories, others contained more than 450, and the majority had in excess of 200.
It is the combination of sugar, full-fat milk and cream which appears to push some of the cool coffees into the upper echelons of the calorie scale.
The World Cancer Research Fund, which identified the drinks’ calories, noted healthier versions were available.
The “venti” or largest version of Starbucks’ Dark Berry Mocha Frappuccino, a limited offer for the summer, contains 561 calories – more than a quarter, WCRF notes, of a woman’s daily calorie intake.

…you could have had a Big Mac, and even a few fries
Take away the whipped cream and it has 457 calories. The smallest version, without whipped cream, provided 288.
But even some options with skimmed milk are high in calories. At Caffe Nero, the skimmed version of a Double Chocolate Frappe and a Mocha Frappe Latte contain 452 calories, WCRF said.
Costa Coffee’s summer offerings are rather more modest but may still contain more calories than a chocolate bar. The Massimo Coffee Frescato contains 332 calories, while the primo-size, the smallest available, just under 200.
WCRF said it was highlighting calorie content, because after not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight “is the most important thing you can do to help prevent cancer”.
In fact it suggests people should become as lean as possible without being underweight.
Earlier this year it estimated that 19,000 cancers a year in the UK could be prevented if people lost their excess weight.
Dr Rachel Thompson, Science Programme Manager for WCRF, said: "The fact that there is an iced coffee on the market with over a quarter of a woman’s daily calorie allowance is alarming.
“This is the amount of calories you might expect to have in an evening meal, not in a drink.
“As a general rule, if you want to have a coffee, go for an unsweetened version with skimmed or semi skimmed milk as this is likely to contain fewer calories. It is also worth steering clear of ones that contain lots of cream or sugary fruit syrups as these tend to be higher in calories.”
A spokesperson from Starbucks said its Dark Berry Mocha Frappuccino was only one “of over 87,000 beverage variations”.
It noted these others included an ordinary coffee, containing four calories, an iced Americano, containing 11 calories, an iced caffe latte with skimmed milk, containing 68 calories “to more indulgent options on offer which our customers may choose from time to time”.
In a statement, Costa said it took "the nutritional balance of all its food and drink very seriously.
“Currently we provide a nutritional breakdown for consumers on packaging. Full nutritional analysis of all our food and drink products is also available in all of our stores and on the Costa website.
“Costa seeks to provide customers with a choice of products across its drink and sandwich range, meeting all key health trends; allowing them to choose healthy options if they so wish.”
Caffe Nero was not available for comment.

Lever machines & fresh roasted coffee

by Reiss Gunson on Sunday, 26 July 2009 01:13

If you use a lever machine & are moving to real fresh roasted coffee, and assuming you have a decent grinder, it is very easy to over-extract the coffee as the moisture content in genuinely fresh roasted coffee is much higher than in beans that are just claimed to be ‘fresh roasted’. In fact it is so noticeable that if you rub a few freshly roasted grinds between your forefinger & thumb you will feel the dampness. This is a key indicator of a fresh roast. As is a dense, generous crema flowing from the portafilter.

Arabica beans produce less crema than robusta, and the crema from arabica beans drops off quickly as the beans stale. To combat this many roasters add robusta to aid in the production of crema but you will never see a bean of robusta in a Londinium roast unless you ask for it in your bespoke roast. We don’t have a downer on robusta, but just bear in mind that a 100% arabica roast has to be extremely fresh to give you a dense, generous crema. Commit this to memory as it is a rare fact in a coffee world congested with opinion, misinformation & grandstanding.

How is the risk of over-extraction greater for a lever machine than an electric pump machine?

Well domestic electric pump machines choke very easily, which alerts you to the problem in a fairly obvious manner (no coffee runs from the machine)

With a lever machine machine, especially those of us with a macho streak, it is very easy to just swing on the lever harder & harder & and a brown liquid, however unpalatable will eventually flow from the machine

If you are using your lever machine as a home gym you’re probably over-extracting the coffee

Simply set your grinder a mark or two coarser. You’ll will notice the drop in resistance on the lever immediately.

The ‘correct’ amount of resistance can only be learnt with experience, but suffice to say it should only be moderate. If your lever machine is like the tight lid of a jam jar & your partner is always asking you to make the coffee because they find the lever too hard to pull down, then that is definitely too much pressure. In short, if the pressure is right your grandmother should be able to pull a shot on your lever machine

Obviously the pressure needs to be more than just ‘nominal’, but if the pressure on the lever is too low it will be evident with thin coffee that is more like filter coffee than the thick, dense composition and accompanying crema that are the hallmark of espresso

If you take a while to work your way through a 250g bag of coffee you will find that you need to notch the grinder to a slightly finer setting as the coffee ages and the moisture content in the coffee drops, meaning the grounds bind together less easily, therefore demanding a finer grind