Monthly Archives: May 2009

World Barista Champion 2009

Just thought that you might want to know that the World Barista Championship (WBC) for 2009 was won by Gwilym Davies from the UK. That means for all those people who thought the UK was behind in making good coffee, they are wrong, because for the past 3 years all the World Barista champions have come from the British Isles, so head over to London for the best espresso. OK ! seriously London is where it’s at for the following reasons when it comes to the WBC – check this connection: The WBC champion for 2007 was Jim Hoffmann from the UK and the 2008 WBC champion was Stephen Morrissey from Ireland and they both set up the coffee roastery, Square Mile Coffee Roasters with Anette Moldvaer – 2009 WBC sensory judge. Now ! the 2009 WBC champion actually runs espresso carts in London and guess where he buys his coffees from, Yep ! Square Mile Coffee Roasters – wow ! what a connection.

I learnt about this connection from Square Miles blog, so check it out for more in-depth coffee stuff, http://www.squaremileblog.com One thing that’s new for the WBC is that the machine sponsors have changed – the espresso machines are no longer sponsored by La Marzocco but by Nuova Simonelli and the coffee grinders are no longer by Compak, but now by Mahl Konig. For more about the WBC, check out their website on http://www.worldbaristachampionship.com/index.html.

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I’m Drinking Origin Coffee Roasting coffees….

Well ! I couldn’t walk into my favourite cafe on the African continent, Origins Coffee Roasting in Cape Town and not buy some freshly roasted coffee. I was already enticed when I visited the new cafe upstairs and walked into order my coffee, where I noticed that at the back of the shop, was like a coffee roasting plant. Bags and bags of green coffees waiting to be roasted, placed in bags and either served to lucky customers as espresso, cappuccino, etc or sold to customers like me, who want to take the experience home.

So, feeling a bit adventurous, I decided to try two different coffees. I remember that last time I tried a Rwandan coffee, was actually from Origins Coffee Roasting and I had a pleasant experience, so when I was offered a Rwandan Mugombwa, I more or less seized the opportunity. For the next one, I was looking for something to satisfy my afternoon thirst for French Press coffee only and I was offered an El Salvador El Borbollon. However, I did have to quiz the barista that was advising me on coffees about when the coffees were roasted, because of late, I’ve just had too many “too fresh coffee” experiences whereby I buy this fresh bag of coffee that I have been promised has been de-gassing for a few days, only to get home and realise that the coffee still needs some resting time – have I lost you ? Well ! check out my post of 8 August 2008 for more details. 

In any case, I was promised that the coffee had been resting for 2-3 days and so should be ready for the grind, BUT I was nevertheless suspicious. As soon as I got home, I have to confess, that the coffee was in deed a bit too fresh, meaning that when extracted, even neatly packed into my bottomless filter, bubbles appear, resulting in splashes as evident by what I call this “dirty espresso” shot.

The taste was of course not as good as it could have been, but when the coffee had calmed down a bit, about 3 days later, it came out beautifully, as witnessed by this shot

Just look at those lovely dark coffee streaks blending in with the crema, hmmmm ! OK! so what did it taste like – I detected a vanilla, nutty and earthy taste and when blended with milk, a milk chocolate taste could be detected.

 

Ironically, although I bought the El Salvador El Borbollon for French Press, I found it much nicer as a milk based espresso, with hints of vanilla and milk chocolate – smooth and creamy too. I didn’t have that many challenges with getting the right grind as I opened this bag about a week to 10 days after it would have been roasted.

If you live in South Africa, try and get your coffees from Origins.


From Coffee With Love in Cape Town 2009

You know that I have to start with my favourite, Origins Coffee Roasting on 28 Hudson Street (I have even memorised the address), in De Waterkant area, just off the centre of downtown Cape Town.

I’m lucky enough to visit, what I think is one of the most exciting cities in the World on a yearly basis since 2006. I always like to go back to my favourite places to see if they are still keeping up the standards, because occasionally I’ve been disappointed when I get excited by a cafe and then go back after about a year to find out that the original concept, usually devised by a passionate coffee freak, has lots its appeal because the owner has wandered off after making a bit of money and has taking a more “executive” life. Anyway, I’m glad to report that that hasn’t happened at Origins – it seems that they are just getting bigger. First they had a small cool shop, then they added a tea part at the back, then they bought upstairs and opened up a barista school and now, wait for it, they’ve opened up another shop on the roof. As you approach the shop, with the original entrance in front of you, look to the left and you will see a sign inviting you upstairs with 50% of your coffee. you climb these funky stairs to a roof terrace area, which now houses a trendy looking cutlery shop, a model firm and a courtyard with lots of Origins Coffee Roasting umbrelas, et voila….

So, I had to try it, as it was a nice day in Cape Town to sit outside and drink coffee, which I turned down at the the hotel, saving my appetite but of course for a milk based espresso drink. I ordered a flat white, which, now beginning to know a little more about coffee, was a bit hot – “wait a minute, isn’t coffee supposed to be hot ?” Yes ! I add, but not burning your lips hot, as you need to taste the coffee and too hot will not caress your lips. So the barista asked me, “did you like the coffee ?” and I had to be honest, having traveled 1000s of miles for this experience, “Well ! I said, I think the temperature on the espresso machine needs to be regulated”. He perfectly understood my complaint and offered to make me a new one for free, which as much better. I then rushed off downstairs, trying to track down, joint owner, Joel Singer, to say hi. I stumbled into one of the long time baristi there, Lindsay, and asked her for a double espresso.

But, as I waited I saw her pour these two cups of beautiful latte art cappuccinos or flat white (first pic above) and one below, just for you.

I also bought two bags of coffee (more on that later in another posts). I finally caught hold of Joel, who was doing a photo shoot on their revamped tea room, said hi and was on my way after 2 flat whites and a double espresso – tasting coffee can be quite exhaustingly pleasant.

For my next discovery, I tracked down, after reviewing my foodie magazines with features on Cape Town food, Shelleys Gourmet Coffee on 90 Kloof Street – if you are in a rush, take a cab. Shelley’s opened in late 2008, so it is quite new and has a lot of delicious bites to eat and from what I gather is beginning to get popular with the breakfast crowd, even offering an espresso French Toast, which I hope to try next time God willing. I also met with Shelley, who is very warm and welcoming and a real foodie freak like me. Anyway, I had a sandwich lunch there, gazed at the cakes….. delicious and had a double espresso before rushing back to the hotel to catch my cab to the airport.

You can read more about Shelleys on my foodie site, http://www.atastyblog.com/in about a weeks time God willing. Anyway, highly recommended for a bite to eat, cake and coffee.