Apparently I have one of the few entire copies of the instruction manual for the venerable Faema Family espresso machine - I have had a request for a copy already and then heard about another one today - I have scanned the manual and placed the images in my web album. If you have a Faema Family and no manual - now you can access this version. I'll eventually convert to PDF and make that available. The Family is a great little machine - one of Faema's best efforts in the domestic market - a shame to see the manual and the machine no longer available.
As I mentioned in my last Post, Matt (the Abstract Gourmet) took a few photos at the crop day. I tried a linen disguise for as long as the teatowels would stay wrapped around my head but he still managed to get photos of me all the same - and some great ones of some coffee snobs and coffee.
Yesterday was the Crop Day fundraiser for the Autism Association Early Intervention Centre.
IT was Huge.
And very very happy.
All up the Coffee for a Cause drive, the Crop Day and the Cafe we ran at the crop day raised $5175.
In particular I would like to thank:
Dean Gallagher (5 Senses Coffee) and Kamran and Louise (Fiori Coffee) for your extraordinary generosity and great coffee, for the prizes for raffles and for the absolute committment you have shown - this would never have happened without you!
Chris "Christretto" Ratty - a very professional amateur who did the long haul yesterday,
Matt O'Donaghue (AKA Abstract Gourmet) - a polymath in the making if I ever saw one,
Nolan Hirte - who showed us how it is really done when it is done well - good luck in Melbourne!
Ashley Brian (5 Senses C0ffee) - for getting the La Marzocco to us in the first place, and for sage advice
Justin(Fiori Coffee) - for making sure we had what we needed on the day (late edit - sorry mate don't know where my head is!)
Andrew Tang - for the afternoon shift!
Silvia - for taking hot chocolates to an art form
We were given some terrific prizes which we raffled off and a special thank you to:
Clare from Tiger Tiger - I know what a treat those who won the vouchers are in for!
Corey from Epic Espresso - Make them have a ristretto if it is their first time!
Tracy from Crave Provedore at Floreat Forum - the bags were just what we needed.
And to Andy Freeman and all my fellow CoffeeSnobswho got the ball rolling with the Big Bean Donation - thank you!
To all those who dropped by for a coffee and a g'day it was great to see you!
I'll no doubt be writing a real post on the crop day in the next couple of day - but until then here is a sample of some of the photos - thank you Kim! (I know Matt has more, many more than these - some may require editing for Grendel removal purposes though!)
This morning’s ‘The West Australian’ was quite a revelation, but unfortunately the coffee section in the ‘Fresh’ lift out was more a revelation about the newspaper than it was about coffee.
If getting former World Barista Champion Paul Bassett’s name wrong (he's Paul 'Barrett' now, apparently) isn’t a bad enough starting point then how about going to a non-artisan roaster to talk about specialty coffee and single origins?
Worse – they profiled 3 consumer level espresso makers. One was a pod machine – Nespresso pods, so not only are you tied to a pod system but the Nespresso ones at that. This may give you ‘café style coffee’ at home, but not from any café I’d care to visit.
Their second machine was a Saeco fully automatic machine, which are sometimes capable of OK coffee – but building the grinder into the body means the beans have a good chance of sweating their way to stale in no time at all.
The Sunbeam machines are fine – nice little jobs for the most part but the selection of machines used in the story – given their price range of $1600 to $700 was pretty pedestrian and certainly wasn’t out to stretch the imagination as far as coffee making goes.
I would suggest that anyone buying a fully automatic machine would be wasting their money attending a home barista course – unless it was to check out what they should upgrade to.
I am still at a loss to find any rationale on how they rate cafes – it was a real mixed bag with some undoubtedly top spots but other venue listed I personally would have questions about. Perhaps they need to concentrate less on information and more on knowledge and separate ‘specialty coffee’ from just ‘cafés ’.
Some disclosure of assessment criteria might be nice too. They might legitimately have headlined the article as “Some of Perth’s Great Coffee” so it may not be fair to place the blame on the journalists – I feel the heavy hand of an Editor all the way through this. There did seem to be a feel of sticking within comfort zones as well as there was little focus on what is at the leading edge of coffee and why.
I live in hope for next time.
Highlights of the article – the piece on Bannister Downs milk was good and rightly profiled a great milk producer and the section on Epic’s Home Barista course was also good.
I only bought the West this morning because I knew the coffee section was going to be in the lift out – it was a good reminder of why I usually don’t bother – Abstract Gourmet and Spice magazine are much more reliable!
Sometimes I have to travel interstate for work. I am given taxi vouchers for the rides to and from the airports - and usually I am travelling late at night on the homeward leg so they are much appreciated.
The taxi fare from the airport to my home is about $84 on average, however a local luxury car service is now offering chauffered car service from our suburb to the airport at $75 (or the return trip from the airport to the suburb in which I live).
The tricky question is - is it right to use a luxury car service which costs less than a taxi, but might give the perception of misuse of public funds?
The big debate over there seems to be about Thiomersal (a preservative used in vaccines).
Some people believe that exposure to this compound 'causes' autism.
My son was not exposed to this compound - and has autism.
Who or what do I get to blame? No one.
For some reason humans love to blame external factors for all sorts of ills on very thin evidence and it seems to me to be an extension of earlier superstitions - would we have blamed it on witchcraft 500 years ago?
No, my son is different to me but not better or worse and in some ways it is not he who has a disability, but society for not valuing his difference.
I feel for all parents of children with autism - it isn't easy but it is also dangerous to tilt at the windmills of a 'cure' for autism .
The 'Coffee for a Cause' has been raising funds to help the Autism Association's Early Intervention Strategy where their help children with autism to learn the skills that will help them cope with a society that doesn't have the skills to cope with them.
On Saturday we are holding the scrapbooking crop day as the major fundraising effort - I'll be there helping to run a 'cafe' to add extra funds into the mix. Hopefully we'll have some photos early next week of how it all went.
And I am proud of my son, he's a wonderful boy BECAUSE he has autism and while we may find his behaviours challenging at times it does not change the fact that he gives a lot to those around him and we are grateful for him just as he is.
As if it isn't bad enough that work has been thieving my blogging time, today I heard of an even worse theft.
Fiori and Bonissimo roasters are both located in the same complex in West Perth. Today they both arrived to discover that thieves had cut and removed the copper gas lines on the exterior of the building.
No gas - no roasting.
I wonder if Kamran wants to borrow my breadmaker and heat gun?
I know the price of scrap metal is high, but that is just stupid.
Pretty soon scrap metal dealers will have to take ID - hmmmmm that is not a bad idea. . .
One of the lesser known drinking hazards is watching the 7.30 report on the ABC after 3 glasses of wine.
Engaging in this practice can lead to intemperate posts such as the one that follows.
I'm not overly fond of pulp mills. I understand their necessity but would rather do without paper thank you very much.
My ire is aroused when I see representatives of pulp paper companies (in this case Gunns) Clumsily defending the mill they wish to build on the Tamar River by declaring that their mill will bring (of all things) more tourism to Tasmania.
You have got to be kidding.
This post is totally non-coffee related, except perhaps in as much that had I been drinking coffee, rather than Cabernet Sauvignon, it would not have been made.
On Saturday I decided to spend a little time roasting coffee. A friend had asked for some beans and I thought I would roast a kilo of coffee so that we had some for home as well.
I rolled the coffee bench down onto the footpath so that I could sit out in the sun and read. I roasted 2 batches of 600 grams which gave me pretty close to a kilo - perhaps 50 grams more.
Ethiopian Yirgachef and some Indian "Tiger Mountain". It was very relaxing sitting there listening to the quiet crackles of the coffee beans.
Whenever I roast now though I can't help but think of the people who have handled these beans before I did. There is suddenly a much more personal aspect to roasting the coffee myself. I had always liked the hands-on aspect of this, but I think I see the connection between me, and the other people in the chain of the coffee beans through to me much more strongly.
I feel as if doing a good job of roasting is also part of respecting the labour of others and I am really starting to understand the extent of the passion of people like Kamran (Fiori Coffee)and Dean (5 Senses) when they roast.
Closing that loop at home by being my own barista is an important part of the process - no good roasting the beans well if I can't make a great coffee as well!
From time to time people place comments on my blog and their sign-on names links back to a blog of their own.
I'll quite often follow the links - in part because I am incurably inquisitive.
Today I followed the links left by Graham Barker who seems to be an incurably inquisitive sort himself and who'd blog is nothing short of extraordinary.
Big call that, calling a blog extraordinary, but Graham's Paddock is some blog - snowfall tracking (yay at last someone to point my in the direction of the white stuff again!), photography (including cow photos), recipes and collections are but of a multitude of interests.
The Navel Fluff and Beard collections would have had me snorting flat white out of my nose, but all I had was water.
Graham links to Simon Haynes' free software tool for writers YWrite - which looks to be a great tool and I am wondering if I might be able to apply it to keep track of blogging themes that I return to from time to time.
Amazing to think a Navel Lint collection can land you on the Tonight Show - I should have kept all those ear scrapings after all. Perhaps its not too late to start a coffee puck collection.
Coffee and religion have a long history it seems, and like many drugs I suppose it should not be surprising that a drug renowned for its sociable use should be found linked with communities of faith.
Coffee's origins in Ethiopia make for an interesting religious circumstance. Ethiopia is one of the unique places where the three Abramaic faiths have co-existed for a long time. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all have shared a part in the history of Ethiopia but it was Islam that first seemed to recognise, and take advantage of the benefits of coffee. It is understood that some tribes ground the beans with goat fat and molded this into a pre-battle snack. Later, the Sufi Dervishes consumed coffee to sustain their ecstatic whirling and coffee as a hot drink, with its origins in supporting religious observance was born.
There is a much told tale of Pope Clement VIII, who was presented with coffee. Many wanted to see it banned as it was known to be a drink common among Muslims and feared for it's hellish blackness. Clement however is said to have enjoyed the brew so much that he baptised it instead (perhaps creating the first Long Black at the same time - I wonder if that qualified as a 'God Shot'?).
A wag (but surely not I!) might suggest that with some churches coffee would be best served before the sermon to ensure alert responsiveness in the audience but the tradition of after-church socialisation over coffee seems to cross denominational boundaries, although I do recall a significant predominance of tea in very large pots at the Anglican church of my mother's family when I was growing up.
This begs the question then as to whether the relationship between Christianity and coffee is to some extent a learned behaviour - we associate coffee with socialisation, faith played a role in our early socialisation ergo the two are now linked?
Or perhaps it is the result of personalities that enjoy social contact and gravitate towards situations where social contact will occur such as at church gatherings - or coffee shops.
I'm beginning the think that the IT links are incidental.
The ebbs and flows of history do however reveal some distinct patters that connect coffee and faith and need to be explored further.