Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fresh coffees are in!

Today is a very special day for us as we're roasting the new crop Kieni and Esmeralda Special.

This is the third year we buy coffee from the Kieni cooperative and we continue to be very impressed by their quality. You can read much more about Kieni in this blog post from our visit there in January. It's has a lively, juicy acidity and both blackberries and black currant in the aroma. But it's also very clean and has a huge mouthfeel at the same time.

Kieni 2012

The Esmeralda Special, as you may know, is only sold on their own auction. We were lucky to get a small lot together with our friends Phil & Sebastian in Canada.

The prices this year were very high all around. The highest bid was at USD 66.00/lbs but what was more interesting was the high price all around and that the lowest price was an astounding $29.00. We paid $44,50 to Esmeralda (and then you can add shipping, coffee import tax, roasting loss etc.). You can see the whole auction list here: http://auction.stoneworks.com/ES2012/final_results.html

Yes, it is a very expensive coffee and yes, you could buy lots of other great coffees for much less. Some will say that the prices are driven up purely by the name or novelty of this coffee. But honestly there is not any coffees out there that matches the Esmeralda's incredible aromas. There's quite a few Geisha's around (and a some that are similar and thus labelled Geisha) and we've cupped a lot of them. But nothing so far has been as aromatic, clean and defined as the Esmeralda. So to us, this is a coffee we just feel we need to be able to present to our customers here in Denmark, no matter the cost.

Geisha cherries

As an industry we have come a long way trying to make coffee a "noble beverage" (in the words of Georg Howell). But we're still struggling to pay wine-like prices for the coffee we buy, because we still struggle to get consumers to pay those prices. For us the Esmeralda again and again has shown people that quality is worth paying for and that it is in general an under-priced luxury.

Due to the higher price this year, we've decided to sell it in 125 g. bags instead of 250 g. to make it accessible to more people. And please, if you're in Denmark, make sure to brew it on bottled water of good quality.

Both coffees will be in stores on Friday the latest and is available through our webshop.

Copenhagen Beer Celebration

A couple of weeks ago, the 11th and 12th of May, the long anticipated and Copenhagen Beer Celebration took place.A two day festival of only the best breweries in the world, hosted by our friend Mikkeller.

So the scene was set for a weekend devoted to great beer. The location was the historic, former tennis court, now the Copenhagen running club Sparta’s indoors running track, at Fælledparken. The guest list was more than high profile, representing some of the world’s best-known quality breweries. To name a few; Three Floyds, Kernel, Brewdog, Evil Twin,  and of course Danish Mikkelers, who were arranging the event. All in all, this could not be anything than awesome!

Even though it felt almost as a criminal act to drink beer standing on a running track, especially when there was an athletic competition going on just outside, the simple and authentic setting actually increased the overall focus of this event – to taste world-class beer. Quite a lot of the brewers themselves were present at the event, which gives a hint of the line-up. Aside from tasting beer there was also arranged for a variety of seminars to take place, all in some way related to beer of course.

And when people needed a break from tasting beer, paying attention to seminars or networking, that’s when we at The Coffee Collective, came into the picture. For the occasion we were offering special drinks combining both beer and coffee. During the two days we offered the ‘Monks Brazilian Elixir’ and a ‘Hoppyccino’.

Both drinks were prepared as cappuccinos. The ‘Hoppyccino’ was made with Simcoe hop infused milk. The singel hop variety had simply steeped with cold milk for half an hour in a frensh press and then it was prepared as cappuccinos.The very fresh and fruity hop, which had some lemonade-notes in it, complemented the sweet milk extraordinary well and resulted in a really interesting and aromatic cappuccino.

‘Monks Brazilian Elixir’ was based on our Brazilian bean, Daterra, which had been put into a pickle of the dark Belgian ale ‘Monks Elixir’, and then afterwards the soaked beans had extracted in milk to obtain the sweetness from the ale. The result of this was a cappuccino, which was extremely creamy and sweet.

The crowd warmly welcomed both of these experiments, and who knows, maybe ‘Hoppyccino’ will be on the menu in one of our coffee bars one of these days… Rumor has it, that the hop was brought back home to the laboratory for further experiments.

All in all, Copenhagen Beer Celebration did turn out as an awesome event for getting the last updates on the global beer-scene, and as an excellent venue for us to be part of. Who would have thought, that the beer-loving people turned out to be just as passionate about coffee.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

It's official: We're opening a new roastery and coffee shop!

Some of you might have already heard the rumours, but we wanted to wait with making it official until we knew it would really happen. We're opening a new roastery and coffee shop in Frederiksberg, Copenhagen.

A few months ago we signed the lease for an absolute dream space. An old factory building on Godthåbsvej 34B in Frederiksberg. Just 10 minutes from Jægersborggade and in an area we know really well. The building is just three levels and we've taken the entire floor plan of around 400 square meters. This will host our new roastery, a good sized office space, storage and shipping, and a new coffee shop.

Since the beginning of the new year we've worked on renovating the interior. The walls and the beautiful old concrete floor have been kept, but made ready for use for food production. We especially love the floor, which have been sanded down and treated with something called liquid glass. We wanted to keep the history of this 100-year-old factory building. There's lots of big bright windows in the old style with iron mullions and even though the building is off the main road, there's great light. The renovation has taken quite a lot of time and we've needed to draw in new water, plumbing, radiators, electricity, build inner walls and so on. But we're getting very close now and things are taking shape nicely. Our good friend Søren Ulrich and his company Plain Crafts have been instrumental in this process and he's currently finishing the beautiful bar constructed in two kinds of Oak and raw iron.

For the roastery we've invested in a 35 kg Loring SmartRoast. That machine deserves a blog post on it's own, and we will try to write that up soon. It will be visible through a large glass wall so the noise from the roasting won't bother our guests, but everything will remain transparent. This will also be a much needed expansion of our roasting and packing space, which all our guests at Jægersborggade know we've been needing for a while.

To be honest, we didn't really think we'd be building a third coffee shop so soon after the huge project of opening and optimizing Torvehallerne. We did consider just opening a roastery and wait with a coffee shop. But it just didn't feel right. It's been a central vision for us straight from the beginning of The Coffee Collective, that you should be able to see how we roast and be able to enjoy that coffee on the same premises. So since we have no wish to become a chain, we decided to try out something new with the coffee shop. Just as our two current shops are very different, this third place will hopefully present a completely new experience. And exactly the coffee experience is what we want to focus on.

The goal in our new shop will be to get our guests to experience and talk much more about the flavour of the different coffees. We wish to create an environment that is relaxing and de-stressing. Table service is one of the things that will help us to do this. Another is a long bar, with ample leg space and pleasant seats. From our experiences on Jægersborggade we want to bring in more closeness between the guests and the barista. Presence, service and openness will help us eliminate the stress we often see in people when they are waiting in line at a register. And we hope to create an atmosphere that encourages trying out new things and being open minded to new experiences.

There's a lot of ideas and things we want to try out and we look forward to get the journey going. Everything is shaping up nicely. A La Marzocco Strada EP is installed and already producing some amazing shots of espresso. The Uber Boiler has arrived too and grinders, water filters and so on is in place. We're still waiting for a few things to be in place before we dare to share an opening date, but it's getting close. We'll be back soon with an invitation to you all.

The space before putting up inner walls:

Sunday, May 6, 2012

New Danish Barista Champion: Torfi

Big congratulations to Torfi Þór Torfason - the 2012 Danish Barista Champion !

Also congratulations to Omar Hossain for the 2nd place and Allan Juhl for 3rd place.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Danish Barista Championship

This weekend the Danish Barista Championship as well as Latte Art and Cupping competitions is being held at Frederiksberg Hallerne, Jens Jessens vej 20, 2000 Frb. C.

Three of our baristas will be competing: Torfi, Peter E and Omar. So come by and cheer for them this weekend.

Saturday at 10.00 the Latte Art Competition will start and at 14.00 the Barista Championship takes off with 6 participants in total.

Sunday at 10.00 is the Cupping competition and Samuli, our new bar manager at Jægersborggade and previous Danish cupping champion will compete. The at 14.00 it's the Finals of the Danish Barista Championship.

From what we know it's going to be a small event, but it's open to anyone.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Torvehallerne Closed Friday

Due to the strange Danish public holiday Store Bededag - literally means Big Praying Day - our shop in Torvehallerne will be closed tomorrow. Jægersborggade will still be open. We hope to see some of our inner city customers make it out to beautiful Nørrebro.