Archive for June, 2007

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Campos 193 Missenden Road, Newtown, Sydney 26/6/07

26/06/2007

 

This is yet another cafe that I heard about overseas, this time in London when I was visiting Cameron from Flat White I noticed a bag of Campos sitting on the counter. I had tried to get to this cafe before I left for Dublin as it was listed as being in the top ten cafe haunts in Sydney. I did try and do the list but only got half way through when I gave up as, quite frankly there were some cafes in that list that should not have been in there.

 Since being back I have been in the cafe a few times and every time I have had a really good espresso and a strong flat white. The first time I went in I made light chit chat with the guys as I told them that I had seen the their coffee in London. What I did not realise then was that I was talking to Will the owner, so when I emailed him to make a time to meet him I was surprised to see the same guy.

Will has been at it now for 5 years and he really has set the place up to just pump out the coffees. If you have been to Flat White in London you will recognise the bar set up as the boys in London had followed the same format. The difference with campos is that they are using the GB5’s and instead of two, two group Linea’s, Campos have a 4 group and a 2 group side by side. Another thing they have down pat like Flat White is the consistency, with small Rosetta’s on every flat white I’ve ordered and each espresso tasting the same.

Campos, Newtown

Campos, Newtown

Flat White, London

Flat Wite, London

 On that note the espresso is exactly what I look for when drinking the black stuff, I have to tell you that I am pretty tired of tasting espresso that’s earthy, smoky, muddy espresso. Give me an espresso that’s lively, clean, it does not even need that much body for me and I do want to taste some sweetness to it then I am happy! Campos is hitting the spot it does have a nice body, its got a great acidity to it and is on a par with any of the best coffees I have tasted around the world! I would have to say that I really do get excited when I walk into this place, its just so nice to know that great coffee is on the way.

 Will and Campos head barista Ben, keep a pretty tight ship, they have a no talking policy that seems to keep the place flowing. So how do they tell each other what to make if they can’t talk to one another? They have come up with a system of symbols using dice and depending on how they place the spoon on the saucer will tell them what drink to make. You wont see any unsightly pieces of paper hanging around. I’m not really sure how I would go in that enviroment but if it works for them and I get good coffee everytime, then I’m not going to complain.

The dice talk to them

So do the spoons

 Will says the scene in Australia is getting better as the barista is been seen as a professional and even getting paid as one. Campos is trying to create a tipping culture too with the tips they earn a week pushing up wards of 100 bucks (not an actual figure). I asked will what a barista could earn in Sydney to which he said up to about $25 dollars per hour, not bad, not bad at all.

Wills Fav? or was it the Papua New Guinea peaberry?

 Campos also supply their coffee to other cafes and says he has over 40 accounts some being in some exotic locations through out Australia and abroad. Campos make sure that the cafe owner installs the right machinery and get thorougher in house training from his baristas.

Just for show

water spout for customers, great!

So a quick thanks to Will for letting me in the cafe and to the silent men behind the bar, Ben, Adam, Luke and Yianni, i’ll be back for sure even if we don’t get to chat;)

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Mecca Espresso 67 King St Sydney

12/06/2007

It had to happen eventually, so it might as well be now. As I am so behind in my blog about Mexico I have decided to jump to presant day as believe it or not I am still active in this community… 

7/6/07

I finally got to go to Mecca Espresso which Klaus Thomsen had been telling me about for ages, saying that they are doing the best job in Sydney by far. I went in there a couple of days ago to just say hello to owner Paul whom I’d met at the SCAA meeting in Long Beach. It was good to catch up and I was glad that Paul took the time out to sit at one of the bars to talk to me. Paul is in the process of changing the way Sydney is going to consume coffee, huge statment I know, but keep an eye on his space, its going to be very exciting! After an espresso that was made by Reuben, Paul invited me to come back on Monday, yesterday to meet Scott Callaghah the current Australian barista champ. The plan was to have a look at the video of his performance and just hang out at Mecca for a few hours. I was really excited to meet him as I had just seen him making coffees on a national morning tv program that morning, doing his bit to promote the industry.

 Mecca Espresso is right in the city center and do a roaring trade during business hours, which means they get to shut the place on Sundays, something that would be a treat for sure. They have a three group Mistral, the first one that I have seen up close and personal and a two group Synesso on the back counter. I’m guessing the two machines are split up only because of space, though I am gonna go back when they are busy to see how the place runs, just for interest sake. One thing I did like was the tennis grip on the Reg Barber, it felt so supple! Mecca also uses two Robors and a La Marzocco swift and have a small food option.  As with most cafes in Sydney they have quite a large area outside to sit and just people watch. The espresso that Rueben made me was clean, low in acidity and had a smoky finish to it that had a long lingering aftertaste.

As it was the long weekend I decided to go home to Orane and show Julia McFadden around my neck of the woods. Julia is a kiwi barista that was part of the Irish barista team, for the European Team Coffee Challange, Dublin 10/06. Actuall go see www.theflyingthud.wordpress.com for a cool promo video on it, it was such a great event. She had not been to the outback yet and was very excited to be greated by a huge Kangaroo in our front yard when we pulled in at 6.30pm on Firday night. So after the relaxing weekend out of Sydney we had to get up too bloody early on Monday to make the three and half hour journey so I could be back at mecca by twelve.

11/6/07

 I somehow managed to be only 20 mins late for the little gathering I was a  worried that i would of missed the start but as it turned out Alex was still seasoning the two group Synesso. It was only a small group with only Paul, Reuben, Alex, Scott, myself and two other blokes who I forget thier names.   Alex played around with the Synesso trying to get it up to temp as the coffees were coming out sour and he was hating it. Actuall it was really good to see how fanaticle he was about it as he would not serve a shot till it was right. So after a while we got our coffees we finally got the dvd on the way.

Alex, Reuben, Paul and Scott

One of the first things that I noticed about the finalist perfomance was that most of them were using tools to level the coffee. I’m not really sure about this I don’t recall seeing anyone in the Irish, UK or even the US barista finals use these. I have to wonder if this is going to affect Scotts score in anyway come Japan. I guess its all down to sensory with the new score sheets so if there is no affect on taste then what differance does it make. I should of asked why they thought it nesasary to use the tools, I’m sure they might say its to improve consistancy, would anyone like to comment? Call me old fasion, but I like the conection between barista and coffee when you get in there with your hands to level. I know that Scott makes and sells these so I will have to have a play with them and hopfully Scott himself to sell me on them.

 Anyway his performance looked great on dvd, though it was spliced and made a lot shorter, I would like to see his whole performance from prep time right through to performance before I would offer any sugestions. I hear he is going to do a few run throughs with judges over the coming weeks, hopefully I can be a part of that. Even though I have helped to train the Irish and Mexican barista champions I would really love to see Australia bring back the tittle. Sorry James too, your a good kid and all, but you know what the Aussie and English rilvary is like, any chance we can beat the pomes we’ll take!!!

As someone a lot smarter then me once said…

The Americans say, God bless America, the Kiwis say, God defend New Zealand, the English say, God save the queen and the Aussie’s say, thank Christ for Australia!

 C’mon Aussie!!!!

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L’Espresso Cafe 64 Avenida Norte No. 4 Antigua, Guatemala

06/06/2007

After leaving Edgar on the tenth I started my trip and over the next seven days I go to Tikal where there are amazing Mayan ruins, Livingston a sleepy fishing village then back south to Antigua.

 

 

After only a day in Antigua doing some sight seeing I go for a afternoon walk through the markets just to kill some time. Its full of life but I am not in the mood to be hassled, I hear some music coming from a café that has an historic outer shell with a very modern interior. I look at the menu and a short young man greats me at the door who I latter find out is called Mosh. He asks me what I would like, as he hands me a menu. I hesitate at first but then think feck it, I order an espresso. I make the suggestion with my hands to make it a very short espresso to which he comes back to me and suggests a ristretto. Ok, so he might know what he is talking about.

 

 

As he starts to make the coffee I see that the doser is empty and he is grinding fresh on demand and packing quite a lot of coffee into the single portafilter. It drips at first but starts to flow a little better through the middle. Ok, he starts to let the pour continue a little long and I was tempted to say something. What could I say or do other then make obscene jesters from across the bar? It comes out at just a touch under 50mls and its way too hot, the crema dissipates quickly but I drink it anyway for it’s the 1st coffee I’ve had in 7 days.

 

 

I tell Mosh I am a barista in broken Spanish and he lights up as I write down that I’ve been doing it for 13years. Then David comes behind the bar as I am showing photo’s of my coffees on my mobile phone. They then call the owner Armando and conversation flows as he speaks fluent English and wants to know my story.

 

 

He asks my thoughts on his espresso and I say it was poured a little long for my liking. From that he gets David to make another short, short ristretto, it comes out a little shorter then the last one but still too long for it to taste good.

 

Now Armando starts to tell me about his business.

 

At time of visit it had only been open for 8 months

 

Also big on yummy crepes

 

Uses Cafe Azutea www.cafeazotea.com

 

Wireless available

 

After we talk about his business he offers me another espresso of David and asks for it even shorter then the last. This time its the right size, I can taste some fruity notes but unfortunately I feel the Nova Simonelli is cooking the coffee. I stay for an hour taking photos and Armando gives me a 230 gram bag of coffee for free! He’s a very nice guy and I do end up going back there again in the morning after a full body massage in the pala next door that he owns as well, tough life eh?

 

 

 

Although this has nothing to do with coffee I would have to say that one of the highlights of my trip would have to be climbing Mt Pacaya. An active volcano where we got to stand practically on the flowing lava, it really was breath taking.

Oh, and just an after thought I was staying at a hostel called Black Cat so I thought that this picture painted on their wall would be appropriate, as I will be working in LA with Intelligentsia (visa pending).

 

 

Could make a great T-shirt…