Saturday, March 27, 2010

Visit from down-under

This week we had a visit from the current Australian barista champion, Scottie Callaghan.
Scottie is the 2006 World Latte Art Champion and also won the ABC (Australian Barista Championship) in 2007, representing Oz at the WBC in Tokyo. Back in 2006 I visited Australia and met Scottie who's personality and commitment to coffee instantly impressed me.

Scottie is on a world tour that will take him through Denmark, Sweden, Norway, The Netherlands, U.K. and several states in the US of A. What a trip! On the way he'll spend time with some stellar coffee people and taste lots and lots of coffee. The purpose of it all is to get a broad understanding of the taste preferences and approaches to roasting (and perhaps blending) from country to country.

We had a great time with Scottie and spend a whole day on cupping and training. I really look forward to follow his tour around the globe on his blog:

To go straight to his blog post about his visit to Copenhagen, click here.

Scottie on his rented bike:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Finca Vista Hermosa, Guatemala, march 2010

So this is the forth year we will be buying coffee direct from Finca Vista Hermosa.
Being my first time in Guatemala I was very excited.
Both Klaus and Linus have been to Finca Vista Hermosa before. You can read what they had to say about it here:

Linus' visit in 2009:
Part 1
Part 2

Klaus' visit in 2008:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

I arrived in Huehuetenango just as this years harvest came to an end. The patio’s were full of washed coffees, laying drying in the sun. The patio crew, which contains 5 people, is constantly watching the coffee and making sure the coffee drys evenly by turning the coffees all the time.

We have been buying from FVH the past three years and it has always been one of my personal favourite coffees. I was very curious how this years crop would turn out. The harvest, as with so many other places around the world, has been really small due to bad weather. Around 30% less than last year, which was also a small harvest.

What we have experienced in the past, when the harvest is small, is the crop tends to have more complex aromas. This usually means that farms who are focused on quality can get a higher price for their top lots. This ensures their survival, even when the yield is low, like it was this year.

The first day I spent hiking the mountains where the farm is located. Edwin, who's family own the farm, took the time off to accompany me, along with Diego the farm manager. They showed me the farms micro lots and some of the many natural springs which flow from the mountains over several locations. The springs are a very favorable advantage for the FVH coffee farm. Huehuetenango has one of the lowest annual rain falls in Guatemala. The springs ensure FVH can prosess their signature clean and aromatic coffees.

We also walked past some of the houses, situated in the middle of the farm, surrounded by the mountains. Living in these houses are families who have been working with Finca Vista Hermosa for a long period of time. These families have now been offered land where they can live and farm themselves. Most have amimals, grow vegetables and coffee which they themselves sell to different buyers. Essentially living off the land.

Another contribution that Finca Vista Hermosa brings to the local community is the farms school. The school is used daily by more than 120 children, some living up to 25 mins walk from the farm.

On the second day I was acompagnied by Andy from Barefoot Coffee Works in San Jose California. They have also been buying from Finca Vista Hermosa for a long time. We brought a couple of bags of freshly roasted FVH coffee, Edwin brought a grinder and a Hario v60 dripper. We brewed fresh coffee, and the people of FVH tasted the coffee they put so much effort into growing.

In Guatemala people drink coffee the whole day. It is also normal for children to drink coffee day and night. But they brew it very weak, up to 10 times weaker than we are used to. They also add milk and loads of sugar. So we added extra water to suit the locals taste. The local people provided a lot of positive comments on our brew. It was such a relief that they liked what we had made out of their coffees.

Three years ago a new micro-lot was planted at FVH. This year will be the first time they can harvest this lot called El Mirador. This has produced about two export bags (120 kg) this year. This lot is located at the very top of the farm between 2000-2200 MASL. This is one of the highest altitudes coffee can grow in Guatemala. On this lot they have chosen to grew the Maragogype type of Arabica which produces huge cherrys and therefor huge coffee beans. This coffee should produce more aroma but less body. We for sure look forward to tasting this new lot and tell Edwin all about what we think.

During the evenings at the farm a lot of coffee discussion went on. One of the topics was Fair Trade. Why is Fair Trade not a good thing for a farm like Finca Vista Hermosa? Its simple; the cost to produce coffee in this region exceeds the fairtrade buying price! This is due to the rough and steep mountains where the farm is located and because the pickers are out picking cherrys in the same lots up to 7 times per havest for the cherrys to be perfectly ripe. So Fair Trade does not equal good coffee nor an actual fair price for farm like FVH.

After 3 days at the farm it was time to head back to Guatemala City. On the way there we stopped at one of the dry mills Fince Vista Hermosa uses, called Beneficio de Cafe Cofeco. This is where the last step of quality control is made before the coffee leaves Guatemala, ensuring only the best beans arrive at the roastery here in Copenhagen.

Back in Guatemala City we finally tasted this years lots. 11 in total. At Anacafé they were really helpfull. They roasted and arranged a cupping for us afterhours. This was the first time we were able to taste the coffees also for Edwin. The cupping blew our minds! The three of us were speechless! Everything tasted fantastic and all the lots cupped really clean. The difference was in the aromas. We found everything from thick sweet chocolate, to fresh tropical fruits. I’ll let all you people out there put your own words to the coffee once it arrives here at The Coffee Collective.

We really look forward to presenting some of the best of these FVH coffees to you.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Esmeralda Roast Tuesday March 23rd

Limited roast of Esmeralda up for Tuesday March 23th.

You can pre-order it on the webshop here.

Please note that the coffee will ship same day as roasted and not before. To make sure you get yours on time, we need to have your order by 9 o'clock the same morning. If you order any additional coffees we'll wait with sending it all together to save you of the postal costs.

La Esmeralda Special
Boquete, Panama
Direct Trade

A sweet and clean cup. Fresh with a elegant aromas af abricot, bergamot, heather honey and jasmine. 

At Hacienda La Esmeralda the Petersons grow a small lot of the Arabica variety Geisha. The Geisha originates from Ethiopia and is characterised by an astonishing fruity and floral aroma. The coffee is selectively hand picked and then mechanically demucilaged, washed and then dried with sun or a combination of sun a machine drying.
For the past couple of years the Esmeralda Special has only been sold on an auction held by the Petersons, where roasters from all over the world are bidding against each other. We are very happy that we got a lot and are able to present this coffee for the first time in Denmark. We have roasted this coffee quite light with a bit more heat towards the end, so the freshness and the natural aromas are brought out the most.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chemical reactions vs. physical changes at 1st pop

While roasting coffee at lot of different chemical reactions is going on in the bean. These reactions are very complex and are responsible for the development of coffees flavour. Some of the chemical reactions in roasting are endothermical (demanding energy to proceed) others are exothemical (producing energy while proceeding). I recall to have heard that proportion between endothermical and exothemical reactions are changing forth and back during roasting. Roughly speaking the Endothemical reactions are dominating the start of the roast. whereas the exo. reactions are dominating the end of the roast. But during the middle of the roast the proportions should change forth and back.

For a while we have noticed that when 1st pop is at is full speed (around 188-192C bean temp on our roaster) the bean temperature has been increasing slower than both before and after this point. I have believed that this was due to the exothermical reactions slowing down at this point. With the rather rough equipment we have to measure the proportions between the two types of chemical reactions (the bean termocouple), this particular point is in fact the only indication of what might be exothermical reactions slowing down while roasting that we can see.

Intuitatively it seems rahter straight forward if the exo. reactions would just increase contiuesly as more energy is put into the roast and not be slowing down. I know from what I have heard that this is not true, but could it be that what is slowing down the temperature development at 1st pop is not the slowing down of exo. reactions but rahter the energy needed for the physical expansion of the bean at this point? Might this be similar to the extra energy needed two vaporize a liquid? if you add a constant heat two a liquid the temperature would increase constantly also, but at the transition phase the enegry added would be used to changes phases from liquid to gas therefore you would not have a constant temperature increase at this point. Might it be a similar physical property that is responsible for the slower temperature development at 1st pop and not slowing down of the exothermical chemical reactions?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mikkeller Beer Hop Breakfast

We've just received two boxes of the Mikkeller beer brewed with our light roasted Idido that we posted about last week.

They are for sale in our coffee shop from today. Only 24 bottles for sale in our shop out of the limited 1.000 that Mikkel brewed. Price is kr 50,-

We drank a few bottles on Thursday before sending off Casper. It's an awesome beer with Simcoe and Colombus hops and nice coffee flavour from the very aromatic Idido.

Go get some now!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Café N nominated as Café of the Year by Politiken

Café N on Blågårdsgade is nominated as Café of the Year in Politiken's annual iByen award.

Please go vote for Allan and his wonderful crew who's serving our coffee just a couple of blocks away from our roastery.

Go here to vote!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Guatemala trip 2010

As part of our Direct Trade programme Casper is off to Guatemala, more specifically to the Huehuetenango region, to visit Finca Vista Hermosa with Edwin Martinez.

Huehuetenango is a city in the North West of Guatemala, but is also the name of one of the 8 coffee growing regions in Guatemala, marketed by the Guatamalan specialty coffee association Anacafe as Highland Huehue.

Vis stort kort

We visit each of our Direct Trade producers at least once a year, every year. This is our third visit to Finca Vista Hermosa and until Casper returns and write about his trip (there is no internet connection at the farm) you can read about the previous two trips here:

Linus' visit in 2009:
Part 1
Part 2

Klaus' visit in 2008:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

You can also take a look at Finca Vista Hermosa's website to learn more about this outstanding farm.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

More coffee beer

A few weeks ago we drank about 30 litres of a certain Coffee Stout brewed with our Kiawamururu, Kenya AA Top, to celebrate our two year anniversary. It was brewed by guest-brewmaster Sean at Nørrebro Bryghus, and it was delightful.

Now there's a new coffee beer! Danish wünderkind Mikkel Borg Bjergsø of Mikkeller, who just might be the most respected microbrewer in Denmark, brewed a limited batch of his Beer Hop Breakfast - an Oatmeal stout - with our light roasted Idido, Aricha microlot #2.

MIkkeller Beer Hop Breakfast 2

We haven't tasted it yet, but Mikkel just brought in a case for us to sample. I'm pretty sure we'll open it up tomorrow and have a few before we send Casper off to Guatemala.

MIkkeller Beer Hop Breakfast 1

Monday, March 1, 2010

Idido Limited Roast

As with the Esmeralda, we're also only roasting the light Idido on demand at the moment to keep it fresh.

We'll be roasting up a batch tomorrow, so place your orders on the webshop before noon tomorrow to get it sent out straight from the roaster. Webshop orders are sent out every Tuesday afternoon.