Have you ever been to a Coffee Roastery in a Mall?

Well, the answer for me is YES… and perhaps I should add, only in Dubai.

Just last week, I was meeting a friend at the Galleria Mall in al Barsha, Dubai (the neighbourhood behind the Mall of the Emirates – the one with the ski slope) and upon entering I saw a coffee shop, La Gente.

La Gente Dubai

Always the sceptical coffee snob, I decided to pop my head in, where I saw a Synesso machine to my right, lots of roasted coffee in retail bags, coupled with their black and grey marble interior. On the left they have seating on high tables but they also have seats outside the coffee shop. I then walked further in and spotted this….

Probat 12kg

A Probat (think, Mercedes of coffee roasters and yes, it’s made in Germany). Impressed I promptly asked “do you actually roast coffee in this machine in this mall?” and they replied “yes sir”. So, I thought “I can’t really come in here, quiz them and not order coffee”. So as soon as my friend joined me, we went for it together with some cakes… blueberry, ummm!.

First up, they have a variety of coffee on order. For espresso, they had a Brazil, which my friend took and then I asked them for their house blend… Brazil, Ethiopia and Costa Rica… aha! now this might not seem exciting to you BUT for me it was, why ?

Lets rewind to 2008-2009 – this was the era of espresso blends – the time before single origin was even thought off for espresso.

so, fast forward to 2022 and the main reasons why I was excited by this blend is because this exact combination was indeed the flavour of the years back then, because you used

Brazil for body, crema and chocolate and nut

Costa Rica for acidity

Ethiopia for fruitiness

so, now guess what I ordered …

A cortado using their house blend of course, with some kind of seahorse on the latte art design.

Yes, it was flavourful as I got to sample a mirage of fruit, medium acidity and hints of almond and dark chocolate.

If I’m ever at that end of Dubai again, I’ll try their filter blend options, for which they were offering three options.. see below

La Gente brew bar

Apparently they have three branches, Galleria Mall, where I went, Eden House and Motorworks.

The Myth of Freshly Roasted Coffee Part 2: The Taste Test

Welcome to Part 2 of this myth busting series about Freshly Roasted Coffee… the real test, which relates to how does coffee roasted several months ago, taste. Even though coffee can still smell fantastic, does it taste good too? Have you always been told that after 3-4 weeks of a coffee being roasted it won’t taste nice? A side note – did you know that according to the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA), 80% of our taste is reliant on our smell ? Well 🤔 here’s a video debunking that myth as I now prepare and taste a coffee roasted 4 months ago, an Ethiopian coffee roasted for Mokha 1450 – a cafe in Dubai, which I was gifted by its proprietor , Garfield.

My recipe was

15g of freshly ground coffee

225ml of 95C hot filtered water (I use 95C with a ceramic V60 because the ceramic will extract some of the heat – another tip from an expert)

Pour for 50g and then the remaining 175g

Timed pour around 3 minutes max

Have you encountered any other coffee myths that you would like to bust?

The Myth of Freshly Roasted Coffee: Part 1 – the Smell Test

Have you always been told that after coffee has been roasted, it is only good for about 3-4 weeks and that it will being to smell rancid and the you might as well throw it away or serve it to your guests who don’t really care about good coffee ?

Yes, we know that coffee is roasted from fresh berries and that like all fresh things they won’t last long BUT once roasted is there something we might have missed… some chemical or perhaps biological process that we are not privy too that may just about bust that myth.

To be honest this test that you will now see on this video was just something I came across with three coffees this year. Prior to my experience which I share here with a friend and fellow coffee geek, Naveed (see his blog https://theneedforcoffee.com …) I must confess I would usually not drink coffee after it has been roasted 4 weeks prior to my consumption – I hasten to add that I don’t usually buy coffee in bulk but in small batches as and when I need to drink it – which as you know if at least three times a day. However, of late, I have tended to have a lot of coffee in my house (as if that was ever a bad thing) and on this occasion, I got a bit crazy buying too much that I could drink within a reasonable “roast date” time so I found myself trying to drink lots of coffee before my self imposed 4 week Roast date.

However, as I share with you on this video, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that for three coffees, not only was the smell pleasant for my nostrils but as you will find out in Part 2, pleasant to drink too. Okay, I have to do a song and dance (my wife’s expression) here, because one of them is my filter roast – the drink of the escapist – featuring Uganda and Burundi, which I have to confess I didn’t like upon its delivery – roasted 2 days before. I then decided to leave it and try and brew it a few weeks later…

Have you had the same experience before ?

What do you think may explain this wonderful phenomenon ?

Please feel free to share your experiences ?

Launching My Espresso Blend

I’m so excited to let you know that on 2 March 2021 I launched my first ESPRESSO BLEND coffee in collaboration with Sippy Beans of Dubai, UAE. I always believe that if you are really passionate about something and try your best to persevere with faith and determination to live your dream, you will experience it in some way. This isn’t my first journey of living my dream as you know, because back in 2009, I moved to Cape Town to open up my first coffee shop, called Escape Caffe, which I eventually sold for multiple personal reasons in early 2013.

So, when in October 2020, upon just moving to Dubai, I met with Shehzeen of Sippy Beans (a Dubai based online coffee retailer) I was asked, after talking about coffee for hours, she asked how we could work together, I dared to say, because I had dreamt about it and wanted to articulate it for REAL, that “can we launch a coffee brand using From Coffee With Love”, she said YES almost immediately. Now, who said that dreams don’t come true.

You may be wondering why I have called the espresso blend the “drink of the escapist”, so check my video here to experience my excitement.

In short, we worked with one of Dubai’s premier coffee roasters and after having tasted about 10 different blends, I knew that just one sip of what would be become my first espresso blend was all I needed. It just hit the spot, it was so unusual for me and I knew it was a bit unconventional, like LOVE of course, something that cannot be easily explained.

As I usually drink my espresso based drinks with milk, you’ll find hints of chocolate, spicy vanilla, with medium/low acidity and a long lasting caramel taste – so you’ll be looking forward to your next cup.

I always believe that you should follow your passion and pursue your dreams with perseverance as you never know who God will place in your path to make that dream a reality.

Thanks to my wife and my kids for believing in me and being patient when I went to cafes and grilled baristas about their coffee preparation. Thanks to Sippy for putting their trust in launching this blend with me. Looking forward to developing the filter blend soon God willing.

At present the coffee can be ordered using this link https://sippybeans.com/products/lameen-abdul-malik-custom-espresso-blend?variant=39251631931495

Thank You Butterworth & Son Coffee Roasters

You’ve probably heard me many times elaborate about how blessed I am. Blessed to be introduced to the coffee bean by its Creator and I can’t even count how many times I’ve had a wonderful coffee experiences, let alone the amount of times I’ve been given free coffee (there are many reasons for this). And the blessings continue.

So a few weeks ago, or is that months now, one of the baristi (plural for barista in Italian) from Butterworth & Son Coffee Roasters Lauren Small (aka I am the Anxious Barista on Instagram) reached out to me on Instagram and wanted to know if I would like to taste their coffees. Having researched them – yes I do this because I have been offered free coffee before BUT if I don’t think I’m going to have a pleasant experience, I decline – I politely accepted. However, as I had just moved to Dubai, I was concerned that it would cost a lot for them to send me about 1kg of coffee in terms of postage and registered delivery/courier charges but Lauren was insistent, so I succumbed. In any case, after one failed attempt, I decided it was far much easier to have Lauren send it to my brother in London who would then pass it onto our daughter, who would be visiting Dubai in mid-December and voila! just one day before she was due to leave, it arrived…. The things you do for coffee eh! Nevertheless, another blessing.

Not only did I receive coffee from them, they selected a very diverse group of coffee spanning the coffee world, two Africans, one central American and one South American – that sounded strange as I wrote that. Now, off to the coffees.

Colombia Washed

From reading the taste profile, I knew that this would be good for espresso and it was. I even invited a friend over to share the experience and well what did it taste like….

Chocolate but of course, especially when brewing it as my daily cappuccino. After a few days, you would be pleased to know that it never disappointed and always tasted like chocolate. Now how’s that for consistency and a good way to start the day.

Guatemala Honey Process

This one, I must confess was a bit tricky as I brewed it both as an espresso and as a filter (aeropress and HarioV60). I started off brewing this as an espresso and picked up hints of apricot but the Colombia (above) was so good as an espresso based coffee, that I moved over to brewing this solely as a filter, either on an aeropress or Hario V60, where I picked up hints of winey dried fruits.

Kenya Peaberry Washed

Now, it’s getting exciting. If you know me, you would know that I usually get excited about Kenyan coffees but I should probably add that Lauren, I presume, didn’t know that I love Kenyan coffees. Typically, Kenyan coffees when roasted right and of course brewed right tend to have traditional taste profiles of dark berries and this one obviously had that.

However what stood out for me when brewed this on a Hario V60 was the hints of lime and mint. Now you may be wondering, why Lime and Mint? but before you judge, it was not overpowering at all. It was like after you had the first sip, then there was this delicate flower taste of lime and mint afterwards. As the coffee got older and the days went by, the mint dominated and the lime diminished but nevertheless it was a truly pleasant experience all the way to the last bag… sigh.

Rwanda Natural

I think I’ve saved the best for last. The experience with this coffee was further enhanced by my desire to start using my Chemex, which was given to me by my former colleagues as a leaving present way back in November 2019. I know, why did it take this long to use it ? but that’s another conversation. Prior to using the Chemex for the first time, I asked Lauren for their recipes (yes, each coffee shop has a recipe for how they brew their coffee per method, well serious coffee shops do). In this way, I wanted to ensure that I was brewing not just this coffee but the others too, using their recipe. In fact after this disclosure I have now amended how I brew Hario V60 to 20g with 300ml water.

Okay, so back to the Rwanda and the Chemex, now that could be a good movie title

Using their recipe of 300ml to 20g of coffee and my new Hario scales (thanks to my wife), I really enjoyed the process.

slow mo coffee drip

And how about the taste? Okay I may not have picked up strawberries and cream but Plum, medium citrus acidity and hints of buttery caramel were predominant. It was such a pleasant experience that I mainly brewed this coffee on the Chemex, despite its average brewing time of 5-6 minutes. On the Hario V60 and aeropress it was still nice but not as delicious as on the Chemex. In fact Lauren had recommended trying this as an espresso but I couldn’t take the risk of wasting 40-60 grammes of this delectable coffee during the espresso adjustment process, so I just stuck to the safer process of filter brew.

I just checked their website prior to writing this piece and sadly for you they don’t have this coffee anymore. Don’t worry, I empathise with you too as I had my last brew of this coffee early last month.

Just before I finish, kindly note that this is not paid sponsorship and I don’t get any money for bragging about my wonderful tastebud experience.

I’m not sure about the background of Butterworth and Son, who are based in St Edmunds, UK but I know that they do good tea too and from my experience, good coffee as well. I definitely recommend them and you have to love their artwork on there bags too.

To check them out and order coffee and teas, check them out here https://butterworthandson.co.uk

Coffee of the Week: Square Mile Kenya Muchagara

Looking through Square Mile Coffee‘s instagram feed, it suddenly dawned on me that because of all the pandemic fiasco, I haven’t ordered coffee from them for several months. In part, this was due to my desire to support local coffee roasters in Vienna but I was also worried that if I ordered coffee from London, it might take several days to 2 weeks before I get my coffee, as post offices were using the excuse of covid to delay delivery. How wrong I was, because I actually got my coffee faster than pre-lockdown days. So, naturally I was delighted when they arrived a few days after I placed my order.

Included with my usual 2 bags of espresso and one of filter, was a gift, a 30g of a Kenyan coffee from Muchagara in Kenya’s Kirinyaga county. The first thing I noticed was the smell – WOW!, wow! wow! – probably the best smelling coffee I’ve smelt all year. Aware that I only had 2 opportunities to make this coffee, I made sure that I really measured them well. First up, I tried it on the aeropress, using 14g, which was more like blackcurrant BUT I knew that for me, brewing it on the Hario V60 would be the real test.

Using the remaining 16.5g (I got an additional 0.5g – yay!) with 250ml 95C hot water with my dear wife filming, Here’s my experience – to conclude…. ah that smell….

I picked up a bit of the cherry and some type of caramel sweetness and hints of citrus acidity.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CDg_DbRBU3e/

Coffee of the Week: Balthasar’s Honduras Los Ceibos

This week’s coffee hails from Honduras – Los Ceibos – Microlot, a coffee of the red bourbon variety, grown at 1,380 m, naturally processed with a taste profile of strawberry, rhubarb and caramel, roasted for Balthasar, in Vienna. So, I’m using the aeropress, with 15.5g of freshly ground coffee and about 210ml of 95C hot water. I’m using the inverted method and filming from a sky view so that you can see the process from the top.

On the taste, I picked up the caramel and as it cooled down, a bit of berry taste.   check out the video below for more details. https://www.instagram.com/p/CDCTEGXBiHf/

How to Use an Aeropress: The Video

WELCOME TO MY NEW HOW TO USE SERIES, WHERE I SHOW YOU QUICKLY HOW TO USE MY FAVOURITE COFFEE TOOLS.

The Aeropress  – Very popular with many coffee connoisseurs BUT how do you actually use it and what is it?

In short, it’s a filter brew process, popular amongst Specialty coffee enthusiasts and was invented by Alan Adler, A Stanford University Professor in 2005. Initially it was ignored as a coffee tool when it came out, as it claimed to make espresso BUT after working with some coffee experts, it rebranded and dropped the word “espresso” and is now very popular, so much so, that they now have…. wait for it…. World Aeropress Championships annually.

I use it every other day and depending on the coffee, sometimes more because it works best with certain coffees, usually low-medium acidity for me. It’s easy to travel with and I always take with me when I travel. There are many ways of making coffee with an aeropress, which costs about US$30, but here I’m using the inverted method. I usually use;

  • 14-15g of freshly ground coffee
  • 210-220ml of about 95C hot water
  • Brewing time of 3-4 minutes
  • two filters made wet

Watch the video using my instagram link for my rantings on this easy to use coffee tool. https://www.instagram.com/p/CB3eiibhdON/

 

Drinking Very Fresh Coffee

 

I had the pleasure of visiting coffee expert extraordinaire Johanna Wechlesberger of Vienna School of Coffee last Wednesday (1 July 2020) and she gave me a Honduran 90 hour anaerobic fermented coffee, which she was roasting right in front of me on the Ikawa (wish list) to try out. As I was rushing back home, Jo gave me 15 grammes. So, just after 3 hours I cupped (tasted) the coffee using a French Press as recommended by Jo – who am I to argue.

Tastes – easy on the stomach, hints of lemon acidity, molasses and caramel came through. Watch the video for the oral experience.

Here’s the video below, with a link from my Instagram page (as WordPress sadly is not allowing me to load videos)

Coffee of the Week: Rwanda

 
This week’s coffee hails from Rwanda-Umusazi, a coffee of the red bourbon variety, grown at 1,900mroasted for Balthasar, my fave coffee shop in Vienna. It was actually recommended to me by one of the baristi, who used this coffee last ear for a competition. It features the 72 hour fermented coffee processing method again, which almost guarantees a delicious fruity experience. So, I’m using the Hario V60 for this video, but I’ve adjusted the recipe somewhat. Typically, I would use about 15g of freshly ground coffee with about 240ml of 95C boilng hot water, but I found that when I increased the amount of coffee to 16.5C for the Hario V60 filter brewing method , I had the wow factor – what a fruit bomb, with berries, grapefruit acidity and hints of caramel in the middle of my tongue – In fact I’m drinking it now as I write this, yummy.

To summarise; 16.5g freshly ground coffee 95C 245ml hot water Hario V60 Hario V60 filter wet with hot water Makes about 235ml delicious coffee Yummy!

 

check out the video below for more details.

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