Archive for March, 2008

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SCAA Longbeach, Gas and Clover

20/03/2008

 

 Well today had KC, Steven and myself head of to SCAA head quarters long beach to do some sample roasting on there STA electric roaster. As we still have no gas on yet in LA and we need to actually roast and buy coffees, over the next few weeks Steven and I will take the drive down to LB for our spot buying samples.

SCAA roastersThe other Agtron

STA electric roasterSo small

Today had us roasting decaf coffees from all over so we can cup tomorrow morning before our health inspection at 2pm. I kinda dread putting decafs on the cupping table I just hope we find some “jems” as we need to make some numbers up.

Spot buying decafSuluwasi Coffee anyoneKC

I got to meet Joseph again who I had met in Nicaragua at Remecafe in Managua, it was nice that he recalled the meeting even though its been almost 2 years. The training room itself is pretty cool with lots of toys to play with and ample of room. I look forward to sitting th Q graders there soon.

SCAASCAA training room

IMG_8827[1]Never seen so many jugs in the one place

We have a date for the gas to be turned on here in LA and we have even booked Marty to come out and fire the roaster up. I was supposed to be going to Berkley for the Western Regional Barista Competition but there is no way I would miss the controlled burn that Marty will be doing. Also Geoff Watts will be in town for a couple of weeks and that means there will be some serious drinking to be had!!

Gothot

Gothot with our coffee bins

On other news I know that everyone has heard about the sale of Clover to Starbucks, its smart business and I wish the kids at Clover all the best. As for what it means for us back in OZ and everywhere else only time will tell. In the mean time we all just need to stay focused on the business of selling outstanding, fresh coffees and not rest our morals on marketing appeal of equipment.

Interesting times…

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The Flat White, for my American fellows.

17/03/2008

Almost every week at Intelligentsia’s coffee bar in LA we seem to get the odd Aussie or the even odder American who has just returned from Australia, ask for a flat white. Now this was all Ok as I explained to my fellow workers, that its a 6 oz coffee with espresso, steamed milk and 5 Mils of textured foam on top (or a wet cappuccino for any travellers to the states).

Now this was working fine till we had an American with an Aussie in tow come in and ask for a flat white. When he received the above coffee as I have described, the American (apparently) flipped out and proclaimed that this beverage was not a Flat White and that his friend was an Australian and he could tell you that it is a 12 oz coffee!!!

Now I feel I have to explain, the coffee culture that is in Australia at present,  still offers (as with most countries) all sizes 6oz through to 12 oz, sorry no 16 oz coffees down under. Whether it be a cappuccino, flat white or an americano (long black). So maybe to the uneducated yank and his Aussie hand bag, they had only been going to truck stops and petrol stations back home, where 12oz flat whites are expected.

The flat white exists only because, even the most respected and revered espresso bars in Oz still put Chocolate powder on their traditional cappuccinos (which they still offer in all sizes). Now feel free to object but is not a traditional cappuccino served in a 5 to 6oz cup and has no chocolate powder on top which would only aid in disguising the coffee nuances through milk? I love that Intelli LA only offer a 6 oz cappuccino and that’s it, full stop, no chocolate powder, no large sizes, no more questions. This is how a flat white should be as well.

Now, ask for a Flat White in Ireland or in most parts of the UK you will find yourself drinking a cafe au lait, which for my Aussie readers (Mum) is a filtered coffee with steamed milk added.

 I look forward to the day when I can go home, ask for a cappuccino and get a TRADITIONAL cappuccino at any of the espresso bars that I walk into. Till then, when I am back home its flat whites and espresso’s (or to some, short blacks) and most likely no filter option unless I’m at a pertrol station (gas station)…

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Agtron, Reno, Navada, Intelligentsia and as usual playing catch up

16/03/2008
I am not sure why I seem to do this to myself but I always seem to be playing catch up with my blog. I have wanted to post this ages ago but had some issues with my camera and the small but extremely annoying fact that I still don’t own a computer… So I am going to post what i had written quite some time ago, so come with me for a trip down memory lane. 
 
Well the last two days saw KC O’Keefe, Kyle Glanville, Steven Lee and myself in Reno to attend the kinetic function roasting course by Carl Staub. I really had no idea what we were installed for other then KC continually saying to be ready for a brain storm.  It was just amazing and I have learnt so much, Carl had some very interesting theory’s on how to roast and set the green bean up during roast, with the right foundations so we can get the most, in-particular, sweetness out of the cup.
The guy who was teaching the course was a true Renaissance man who had his fingers in everything. He was a large American that used to carry a pistol but now just drives around in either his Ferrari or “town” twin turbo Porche.
 
He took us out to dinner and bought us some amazing wines as he has been studying wine for twenty years also. The hotel that we stayed in was hilarious and very Vegas in style with a casino that was opened for 24hours a day. Mirrors and fluorescent lights were everywhere and with no view of outside it was a touch full on. Reno itself is in the desert and is surrounded by snow capped mountains so I am itching to get some skiing in soon.
 Our hotel for the nightReno
the course was so detail and I do want to write more about it but for now I will write the first paragraph out of the manual.
The key Chemistry Basics of Roasting.
Many thermal/ chemical reactions occur during the roasting process, decarboxylation of quinic acid moiety, fractionization, isomerization, polymerization and complex sugar reactions. The principal thermally reactive componements are monosaccharides and sucrose, chlorogenic acids, free amino acids, and trigonelline. Both aravinose and calactose of polysaccharides are split off and the basic sulfur containing and hydroxyamino acids decompose. Carbohydrates both polymerize and degrade, liberating thermally unstable monosccharides decomposing 15-35% of the polysaccharides, depending on the degree of roast.
If I can I might try and go through at least the one meaning of each term used in the above paragraph as it would be a great study tool for my self… We’ll see.
After a full day of lectures the second day was a lot more hands on and we actually got to roast using his Agtron SRS-II system. Actually putting his theories his roasters were pimped out with Altimeters flight computers, ribbon burners that sounded like a small jet aircraft taking off when they wined into life.
IMG_8529SRS-II Roasting SystemRibbon burnersAltimeter that is contected to the roaster
Kyle Glanville, me, Geoff Watts, Steven Lee and KC O’Keefe 
Other news is we are we passed our final inspections out at the roast works we have health inspections to pass then we will be waiting for the gas to be turned on. Once that’s done we’ll get Marty out here to fire up the roaster, then she’s full steam ahead!
I will also be heading up to Berkley for the barista comps where I will sit the Judges accreditation course and hopfully judge.
I should not forget to mention that Julia has finally landed in LA, I’ve bought an old BMW, have a bike and am growing a beard so I can feel more like Stephen Morrissey who is out here visiting as I type.
We had Paul from Mecca, Sydney, Mark from St Ali, Melbourne and Mike out here visiting just two weeks ago. It was bloody great to have some fellow Aussie’s out here and have the Americans out numbered in the cupping room for once! haha!
Mark from St Ali Melbourne and KCMike (closest) and Paul from Mecca, Sydney
I think that is it for the moment I know that is so much that i have done since the 20th of December but this post would just get to long in tooth!
Till next time!