Drinking coffee with Champions: Michaela Ruazol-Recera and Mon Alpas

The champs

As promised from my last post, where I mentioned “how often do you walk into a cafe and a champion offers to make you coffee”… well it happened to me twice and here, I was served by Champions – yes that’s the plural of champion – Michaela Ruazol-Recera, UAE Barista Champion and Mon Alpas, UAE Latte Art Champion. Scrolling through Instagram, I couldn’t believe when I saw on Goldbox Roastery (one of my faves) page that both champions would be at their roastery serving coffee. I promptly informed Naveed and off we went.

To be honest I was surprised that upon arriving around 1pm, that there wasn’t a queue – definitely if this was in London, Melbourne or New York, there would have been a long queue BUT I wasn’t complaining – more time to talk to the champions and enjoy my coffee. We even had a front row seat as Michaela explained the special process of her winning coffee, la Esperanza Mandela, stored in barrels for 30 hours – which was served – listen below;

Michaela in action

Fresh from competing at the World Barista Championship and the UAE Barista Championship, which she won again, Michaela seemed excited about trying to innovate the coffee industry and during the week I was there, it was also being served at her cafe, Typica in Jumeirah (yes, I went there a few days later to have it – let’s just say it tasted like vanilla ice cream). BUT we’re not finished yet.

Two creatures

Yes, that looks amazing but have you heard of “distilled milk”? Well, I recall Naveed mentioning it to me but I had never tasted it before – in short, it’s milk that is frozen and then in this case defrosted with 50% of the water removed making it a lot creamier and sweeter. This isn’t an easy feat as I have tried to froth cream before – yes, many years ago during my inexperienced wide eye years and no, it didn’t work. So, all I can say is “hat’s off” (English colloquialism for well done) to Mon Alpas for not only frothing the milk but pouring such wonderful latte art.

Mon in action

So, we had our coffee prep and brewed on the this wonderful Modbar by the UAE Barista champion and had our milk for our cortado prep and poured by the UAE National Latteeart champion – how often do you get to experience or say that ? Online Dubai.

The taste ???

Well, here’s my reaction – need I say more.

Excited me

Okay just a little – sublime in that usually when I’ve had any kind of macerated or anaberoic coffee, it’s been filtered and you can experience this unusual fruity caramel taste but in a milk based espresso coffee, it was Wow! sometimes words are not needed – just enjoy the experience.

And I’m not finished – I so enjoyed the experience that I asked for the cappuccino version – yes, it had more milk but also more coffee….. Yummy!


Needless to say It was great meeting Barbara Croce, owner of Gold Box too as she was in Dubai for a few days, so I got to talk coffee geek stuff too.

Feeling jealous ? Don’t be, because this coffee will be made available at Typica if not now, then very soon as Michaela can’t wait to INSPIRE others with her new creation.

Coffee News…. WBC, Cup of Excellence et pui…

OK ! So, I wish I was going to London…. WHY ? It’s WBC time or in full World Barista Championship time. This year promises to be bigger and better than ever…. as always. This time the WBC will be held in London from 23-25 June and it will held in conjunction with the ever popular Caffe Culture Event, which I had been going to since it’s inception in 2006. But, typical, just when I move away from Europe, I miss out on such a wonderful opportunity, but such is life. In any case, if you can and haven’t booked your flight yet or better still if you live in London, log onto the caffe culture site (www.caffeculture.com) and you can attend for free, yes ! for free. This year, they’ve got a special treat, the launch of the new La Marzocco espresso machine, the Strada – the first La Marzocco machine that would let the barista to have absolute and direct control of pressure at any point during extraction, Wow ! Also, there’s a whole load of guest speakers like David Schomer (if there was a phd in espresso, he would have one), Latte Art and Coffee Tasting competitions. Let’s not forget the Caffe culture event too, where there will also be specialist workshops, like how to run a cafe.

Also happening in the coffee world at the moment are the auctions for the Cup of Excellence (CoE). I blogged about the CoE a while back in 2009, but in short it is a process where the best coffees in a country are selected by both national and international cuppers to determine which is the best coffee. After which, the selected coffees are awarded the prestigious Cup of Excellence award and auctioned off through the internet. Today, they had the CoE for El Salvador and redcherry coffee roasters of Cape Town were hoping to get some, even though I was lucky to taste some just last week, brought back by redcherry coffee roaster, Audrey (more on that experience later).

All over in Melbourne, Australia, I have to let you know that Market Lane in Prahran Market, Commercial Road is up and running… well it’s been operational for about 6 months and from the reviews and pics (see market lane review ) I can’t wait to buy a ticket and see the place for myself. For more about Market Lane see http://www.marketlane.com.au/ for more and if you are in that part of the World, you’re very lucky… get down there and buy some coffee.

Still on new ventures, Square Mile Coffee Roasters have just opened up a new coffee shop in London, Penny University. The name might sound strange but it is based on London coffee history, where people visited coffee shops so often that they use to learn a lot about life, so for example each coffee shop was known for the professions that visited it, whereby if you went to a coffee shop frequented by physicians/doctors, you could learn a lot about medicine just by hanging out there for the day. The famous insurance company, Lloyds of London was created in a coffee shop frequented by insurers of course. OK ! so what’s penny university ? It’s actually one of the first modern coffee shops not to offer espresso based coffee – don’t scream ! They are of course offering top quality coffee using different methods like the HarioV60, Woodneck, etc. For more see square mile coffee, link on my blogroll, and if you are in London for the WBC or just in London, get down there for a different coffee experience.

As for me, I’ve joined twitter and I have been learning a lot about coffee and roasting, which is always very exciting for me. You can tweet me on atastyescape

Last but not least, as you know, I moved to Cape Town about 6 months ago to pursue my dream of running a coffee and cake shop and just this week I’ve finally signed a lease. You can follow check up on updates on my new blog related to the caffe on http://escapecaffe.wordpress.com

Ciao !

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