Archive for November, 2007

Grinders

Recently I purchased a Compak K6 Shop Grinder (after the announcement of Compak being used in the WBC). The grinder does wonders for me in its stepless, micro adjustment. The freedom of grind has allowed me to near perfect the grind for many different brew methods. However, this post is not about my grinder but grinders in general.

Recently I took apart a Mazzer Major to fix a problem with the central shaft. The grinder had stop grinding yet I could hear the motor continue to buzz away. In my extensive knowledge of this machine (aah nada) I removed every exterior piece of the grinder and started to have a look around. Basically to say that the cause of the problem was that the grinder had been adjusted too fine while there were still beans between the burrs, restricting the possibility of any movement (most probably not an issue when using a robur but as we know, the major is flat). After a little clean she was a beaut once more.

The essence of this is to bring light to the need of regular cleaning and maintenance to grinders. All too often they are forgotten. Earlier in the year, when I was still Baristing, we would always have an extensive maintenance and cleaning procedure for the machine but never the grinder. I am saddened to have left now as I would love to see the difference in extractions having cleaned that grinder.

What’s more of a shock to me currently, and this will be rectified soon, is the state of my personal grinder. Having spieled about others my own is looking a little grubby too. Ouch!

My Grinder!!!

The oils in the coffee can turn sharp and progress to truly pungent as they break down, not to mention the state of the trapped beans and their effect both on future grinds and the grinding performance of the machine. Late last year I came across a natural rice based cleaner that seems to do wonders for these grinders. I also recommend if you have the know how, that you should remove the blades every so often and give them a good clean out.

Happy grinding!

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Merito Shout Out

Merito Logo 

Here’s a little shout out to Merito Espresso. Those who know me know that I work for this roasting company. I have been here since January 07 and loving it!

Merito in Daisy’s

Merito Espresso – Hand Crafted in New Zealand

  • At Merito Espresso we aim to provide coffee that makes getting up in the morning about as good as it can get.
  • Merito Espresso is a small company that prides itself on delivering the freshest coffee possible.
  • We import the finest beans from around the world, choosing only premium product grown on Coffea Arabica shrubs.
  • The beans are then hand roasted in small batches to ensure perfection and let rest for the ideal taste.
  • We love New Zealand just like it is and to be sustainable will not package in foil bags.

Visit www.meritoespresso.com to see more of us.

Merito

Urban Coffee Shrub

Coffea Arabica Shrub B

After almost a year of nurturing this baby Coffea Arabica shrub I am yet to see any fruit for my labour. The poor wee thing has trouble surviving in these conditions and in all honesty I don’t think I’ll being growing very many coffee cherry’s without my own micro-climate here in New Zealand.

However, The photos show new growth which is always a bonus – I have had trouble with over dosing it with nitrogen which led to some nice little patterns on the leafs but also a bit of burning.

Coffea Arabica Shrub A

Coffea Arabica Shrub C

Here’s hoping it survives summer – if you have any tips please feel free to let me know.

Indian Cupping

Roasted Arabica

Today I cupped two different Indian beans for a friend of mine. He gave me an Indian Plantation A Arabica and an Indian Robusta Cherry AB (Sorry I could not be more specific with estates, I will try to find these out). The results are as follows.

Indian Plantation A Arabica.

This produced a very nice, well rounded cup with a banana – almond taste. The cup presented low acidity with a pleasant aftertaste. Very good as a single estate cup.

Indian Robusta Cherry AB

I have doubts about Robusta, I know we should try things without predetermined views and I tried. This cup produced a rather pungent, sharp taste, similar to that of dark chocolate (the 90% stuff) with a hint of raspberry. There was a medium acidity with a lingering aftertaste that was rather nice, The thought of a bitter, dry coffee I was expecting quickly vanished with this coffee. Nice, but I did prefer the Arabica.

 Cupping Cup

The final cupping I did was a simple 50 / 50 blend. I have to say – I would in future only use a maximum of 20% Robusta as the 50 / 50 had very little distinguishable taste.

New Zealand Coffee Scene

Upon reading such blogs as those listed in the blogroll to the right I have realised that the caliber of barista’s, coffee enthusiasts and professionals is much higher globally than we see here in New Zealand. It appears to me that our latte drinking culture is not so much focused on the essence or foundation of good coffee so long as they have something hot to drink. While I realise this generalisation is somewhat far stretched, it is the closest comparison when measuring against the depth of intelligence and care of brew amongst many others I have recently come across in the coffee environment.

It is challenging and thought provoking to read the blogs of James, Tristan, Steve, Dave and many others. It reveals that there is still much to be learnt by so many within New Zealand’s coffee culture. In my first 6 or 7 years making coffee I only ever really focused on pulling the perfect shot and complimenting that with the silk textured milk.  It wasn’t until a couple of years ago, with the help of Auckland Barista Champion Ben Boyle that I began to look deeper into the essence of the entire coffee process.

Having now an understanding of green bean variations, the effects of climate conditions and growth variations – the enormous masterpiece of roasting and blending, coupled with a more detailed focus on the perfect grind, water temperature and extraction methods – and of course the help of some professionals along the way – I can now say that I have learnt the beginnings of how to appreciate good coffee.

It is a vision now that I share with a number of others in New Zealand to portray a greater appreciation nationwide and hopefully lift the entire standard of coffee throughout New Zealand.

In a post I read the other day, James mentioned the focus that one particular farmer had on working with the end barista to work together in producing a distinct coffee  – knowing the opinions of end users and establishing favoured coffee characteristics. An idea that I think we could do with seeing a lot more of.

The overall idea – that the coffee be appreciated for the complexity of the process from cherry to cup, and the education to customers as to what really is a great tasting cup of our finest black.

Introducing 15twentyfive

Hi All,

15twentyfive is a frequently updated blog site that will detail my personal experiences with many forms of coffee. My intention is to regularly post various stories on roasts, brews, blends and the general day to day functions of the barista.

The name arises from a personal obsession I have with the 15ml Ristretto at a 25 Second extraction – still a favourite of mine.

Personally,  I have been “Barista-ing” for some 8 years now in a number of small to large cafe’s around Auckland, New Zealand. Most recently, at a Cafe/Roastery where we would produce in excess of 600-700 coffee’s per day. These days I am roasting coffee for the newly founded Merito Espresso.

Anyway – that is me. Please feel free to drop me a reply and have a chat.

 Myself at Work/Play


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