Archives for posts with tag: origin

It happened and will certainly happen again – a regular customer turned up and asked for a latte to take-away at around 5pm. Being a regular, the barista mentioned that these beans are different from the ones served that same morning.

This wasn’t a blend of Brazil & Burundi but a single origin from El Salvador. Meaning that the latte will without a doubt taste different.

At that very point, the customer looked confused with a nervous smile on his face.

The barista could almost hear that little voice in the customer’s head saying: “what are you talking about…”.

There was (of course) that mention from the customer: “i am just after a latte”!

This type of customer was a drinker and not a taster. He just wanted a caffeine hit, a taste of coffee without caring about:

  • the roast profile,
  • the origin of the beans,
  • the taste and/or flavours.

Should people buying a coffee be more curious about what is in their cup/drink?

Those individuals might be really fussy when it comes to choose a wine to go with their meals. However, coffee is (sadly) seen and perceived as a hot beverage – as if all of them have a taste of…coffee.

Some could be surprised and eventually shocked, as speciality coffee is deeper than that.

It is not about being arrogant or pretentious about coffee. Being passionate (or an expert) when it comes to recognize the country and region is where all the difference is.

It is similar to what a sommelier does! Assessing the tasting notes and measuring the level of acidity, sweetness and body.

cupping matFor larger and full version click on the image

Filter coffee is starting – slowly – to become more popular than milky espresso based drinks. But, do people decide to have a nice latte because of the latte art or do they believe that black coffee is boring?

We could question whether they have ever tried an AeroPress, Chemex or V60?! Does this seem too complex?

These filter brewing methods will produce incredibly different drinks; the coffee extraction is surprising and it is not unusual to see people discarding their 15 year old cafetiere for a new device.

What does this mean? The drink quality can be a revelation. It is a bit like buying ground coffee and coffee beans which are then freshly ground on demand (either manually or automatically), or even cooking from fresh and having a ready meal. It works the same way.

If all beans were the same, why would so many coffee shops be selling two or three different coffees either blends or single estate!?

Here again, it can be compared with pubs and the various beer/ales: they all have a distinctive finish with more/less acidity or floral aroma!

This is the same with coffee beans! Without forgetting the peaberry – rare too.

The washing process is also something important to consider.

Coffee washing process

Coffee washing process

Caring about coffee is just natural, isn’t it? No one would like to have a lager served instead of a bitter and vice versa. Same rule applies for that caffeinated drink!

Another example with tea: Assam will bring something that Earl Grey doesn’t have and here people don’t say “it is just tea” – they are clearly after a specific taste and flavour.

When looking at a cappuccino, the espresso (which is the foundation of the drink) is then diluted with milk in order to give that smoothness.

The actual sensation after having had such coffee can make you feel “heavy” or full-up. This is because proteins contained in the milk will produce sweetness. Imagine combining this with a rich slice of cake. The sugar hit will have an effect on your metabolism.

When ordering a filter coffee why adding milk to a delicate liquid? There is no logic to do so.

Would you be ready to purchase a great tasty meal (whether fish, vegetables or meat) and spoil it with an additional ingredient which would destroy the initial point of having ordered such food? A person would buy a curry because of what it brings to the taste buds and pouring either tomato or brown sauce over it could be perceived as a major mistake, wouldn’t it?

This is why caring about coffee is something which has to become more natural/common and putting sugar away would in fact, help you to enjoy a subtle cup of coffee. Without forgetting that speciality coffee is not bitter due to the roast being medium rather than dark!

It is also important to understand that each beans have been hand selected to be in your bag. There is a reason why 250g of coffee can be over ten Pounds. The green beans required a lot of attention, labour and care too and there is a price to pay for quality.

Preparing a filter is similar to cooking – there is a recipe. It is about respecting proportions (ratio in this case) between coffee and water. It is not just about pouring water over a powder sitting in a filter.

Once all this is understood then… the consumer will appreciate each second – from the time the barista makes the drink to the last drop in the cup.

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Each coffee shop needs coffee beans – either green if the business is also a coffee roaster or already roasted and ready to put their hopper(s).

One notorious green coffee importer is Nordic Approach:

…Every coffee we buy or forward to a client is selected based on the cup profile…

The website is complete with a lot of relevant information such as the “current offer list” section with price per kilo…etc

Nordic Approach - extract offer list

Nordic Approach – extract offer list

But, it has appeared in the recent “coffee news” the following: Colombian coffee exports fall at fastest in 3 years! A rather worrying headline for a country and an entire industry.

In this due to coffee rust? Not exactly!

According to agrimoney.com the truckers’ strike is the main cause of the decline of exports:

…Exports dropped 16.8% to 772,000 bags, the biggest rate of decline since March 2012…

Coffee is everywhere and everyday of the year…what if suddenly the demand would be higher than the supply? Could we go towards a crash of the green coffee price. It would then become something rare, very pricey and maybe considered like gold dust as people like to say!?

Espresso bars could either struggle to get some beans or the price per cup could then reach an unprecedented value.

So, just imagine a customer stepping into a shop and being asked for 5 Pounds to get an espresso. Most of the amount would be to cover the cost of the ingredient! Does this mean that the decor and other accessories would then be limited and reduced to the minimum?! Forget ceramic coasters or other free newspapers/magazines and unlimited internet access. It would be a kind of coffee recession making coffee shop life a misery for the owners and customers.

Following the daily live stream of coffee price can be seen as geeky by some but it is as interesting as the actual stock exchange (http://www.fxempire.com/commodities/coffee/).

Live stream of coffee price

Live stream of coffee price

Thankfully, there is for the time being, no real fear or panic as the strike by those truckers has now be resolved.

To read the full length article regarding Colombia coffee exports go HERE.

The coffee culture is on the rise. Coffee shops and espresso bars are the new social places to meet and work (WiFi connection being almost everywhere). There is initial a trend of people a coffee drinker maybe because of all the subtelties in the aroma and flavour?!

Drinking coffee is also a lifestyle.

You are what you drink…remember this?

In the past, there were lager, bitter and ale drinkers. The price of of pint of beer is gone through the roof. Alcohol is also restricted when you have to take the road. The new alternative being caffeine. It keeps you awake, helps to concentrate (sometimes) and is a stimulant. Overall a winner for the wallet, the well-being and finding a right balance when it comes to working positively.

Price of Pint of Beer infographic

Price of Pint of Beer infographic

But can we (or should we) categorize coffee drinkers? Let’s have a look at the most popular ones.

1/ Americano: a double shot espresso and hot water – generally black but with a dash of milk for some. Those are for the ones who are after “just a coffee” – in a hurry and willing to have that coffee hit with no hassle. It can’t go wrong.

2/ Cappuccino: foundation of a double espresso with steamed milk and that froth to end the beverage. The chocolate sprinkles are sometimes requested, because it looks good – but for a coffee gourmet this is irrelevant. A kind of long drink ideal when meeting with friends or colleagues.

3/ Latte: in other words espresso with warm and little frothy milk (way less than a cappuccino…or it would be one). This drink is generally ordered by customers who are looking for something really hot served in a mug so they can hold it too. Practical on the way to work or during lunch break to “escape” the stressful day. Rather comforting with a piece of cake or toasty.

4/ Flat white: a new comer – smaller cup with a double ristretto and just warm enough milk (not hot), delivering a smooth coffee that the client could drink instantly without any burning feeling. The milk temperature and texture being the essential factors to get the perfect flat white. Younger generations are after such recipe…some say “this is a hipster drink” – no comment on this front.

Flat white in Acme cup

Flat white in Acme cup

Coffee fans/experts shouldn’t be assimilated as snob or arrogant: they just like the drink to be made correctly according to the rules. No sugar would be added to the ordered cup. This would almost be seen as a sacrilege. As prime examples, no lemonade would be added to expensive red/white wine – no extra should alter the original aroma/taste – simple as that!

Nowadays, it seems to be the norm to ask for supplements on everything. When people purchase a bicycle they want “free” accessories added because the initial cost is high – a helmet or front & back lights will do. This pattern is also present when it comes to catering (food and drink) people want to get as much as possible bits from cinnamon to ketchup, mayonnaise…etc, even if left on the table when leaving. It is the want rather than the need. In these particular cases the “less is more” attitude should be chosen, in order to appreciate the full flavours released by the ingredients when reaching our taste buds. Quantity doesn’t win anymore…quality comes first.

A similarity when watching TV programmes related to properties: why do people want huge bathrooms or bedrooms – isn’t the living area a space to focus on?

The main and ongoing question applicable for everything: what are you expecting from a specific service/product/space?

The first words to come up: good – meaning durable, solid which is after all quality!

It is obvious that investing your cash in an estate is a serious matter – it can’t be compared with buying a daily crafted coffee – or can it? When you think that the average price of coffee is about £2.50… and if you fork out this amount 5 times a week for let’s say 11 months, the total amount dedicated to the brew could be around £550.00!

Being “addicted” to coffee requires solid finances, but it brings this unique feeling and almost privilege of belonging to a specific group of individuals who appreciate first class beans, extraction and ratio…without being too pedantic.

UK and the love for coffee - infographic

UK and the love for coffee – infographic

 Click on image for larger version