Friday, February 18, 2011

Random Coffee Googlings

I play with numbers quite a bit and this morning as a warm-up exercise for some serious number play I did a comparison of various search terms including the word coffee.

The world loves coffee far more than it hates coffee.

But we already knew that.

Click to embiggen!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Original Recipe

For Coca Cola - or so it is alleged. I have my doubts.

Good luck funding the coca extract though! Unless you live in Boliva...

  • Fluid extract of coca 3 drams
  • Citric acid 3oz
  • Caffeine 1oz
  • Sugar 30 (quantity not known)
  • Water 2.5 gal
  • Lime juice 2 pints 1 qrt
  • Vanilla 1oz
  • Caramel 1.5oz or more to colour
  • Merchandise 7X flavour (use 2oz of flavour to 5 gals syrup):
  • Alcohol 8oz
  • Orange oil 20 drops
  • Lemon oil 30 drops
  • Nutmeg oil 10 drops
  • Coriander oil 5 drops
  • Neroli oil 10 drops
  • Cinnamon oil 10 drops

Seriously Coffee

There are some mornings when you've had enough of nuance and just want the caffeine equivalent of a headbutt.

Now you could go down the patch of using robusta in the blend to boost the caffeiene level, but for those who do not like the burnt-rubber aftertaste of the lesser robustas that dominate the market then you have to find an arabica (or arabicas) with some Oooomph.

I got mine!

Visiting the happy sacks of green beans at Fiori Coffee last week I was shown a bag full of Mysore Nuggets - but peaberry nuggets and told that if I blended these with a certain Balinese bean then it would be a robust, unsubtle but enjoyable brew...

= Brief pause while I make coffee =

...and yes, it is unsubtle, but tasty to the last drop.

As a brief aside, when blogging I am never sure whether to include a moment of interruption like the above or not. As I was writing this post, a colleague came by and asked if I wanted to share in a Clever Coffee Dripper of coffee with her. We discussed the merits of the dripper as a highly functional piece of coffee equipment, we ground the blend I mention above, and made a dripper each to take back to our desks.

Coffee is enormously a social thing wherever it is made, even if that interraction is brief, The one thing (and perhaps the only thing) that Nestle have got right over the years is their understanding that the marketing of coffee should highlight the social aspect of the drink. Unfortunately their idea of marketing is rather saccerine and about on a part with the powedered beverage they sell. Fitting really.

Back to the good stuff...

This blend has an up front bitterness that screams caffeine, but an underlying sweetness that allows the coffee to flow over your tongue and retrieve your senses from their initial resistance to that first taste.

It is just what I needed to kick my brain into motion and I like it.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Sweet Coffee

I roasted this weekend, finishing the last of my Ethiopian Limmu, and the Ugandan Bugisu from Mt Elgon. A colleague at work loves acidic coffee so I roasted a special batch of the Bugisu just for her. I took it to first crack and then a touch more until there was an even colour to most of the beans - but still very light.

We made a pour-over this morning and I had expectations of something quite tart given the colour of the beans.

But it was sweet, smooth and silky.

As it cooled I found the balance between acid and sweet more obvious but even so the sugar was more dominant than the sour and it had a very warm spicy thing happening somewhere towards the back of the palate.

Later, while sitting in a meeting the aftertaste was still with me - burnt fig, quite distinct and as clear as if Maggie Beer herself had been char-grilling the figs.

It was not at all what I expected, but very welcome.

Ugandan coffee has been improving in recent years and we are seeing more of it - the result of better shipping than anything else in many cases but the volcanic slopes on which the coffee grows support a range of cash and food crops and are intensively farmed.

This Google Earth generatred view from the Butiriku crater towards Mt Elgon (in the distant background) shows that even on the steep slopes of the crater, cultivation covers the sides with a patchwork of produce. The floor of the crater is at 1400 metres and rises to 1800 metres (in the centre-right of the photo).

This is certainly good coffee altitude and the area all around Mt Elgon supports a large number of villages and coffee is the main cash crop for most people in the region so it is great to see an improvement in quality and quantity from so many small producers.

And it was a fascinating coffee!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Stovetop clarity

A while ago I posted a video of making stovetop espresso. With all my earlier stovetops the end product had been muddy and burnt but with the little Bialetti that Kam from Fiori gave me I have had much more success.

I have been in the habit of lifting the Bialetti from the flame almost as soon as the coffee starts to flow up the spout - I know that the result of this is a little less coffee, but I find that first fraction of the brew to be sweeter and substantially more mellow than if I maintain the heat and allow all of the water to boil through.

There is also substantially less sediment - to the point where the coffee is almost completely clear. I don't know just why this is - if I leave it a litle longer it certainly has a lot more sediment and I wonder if that last rush of water and steam is at a higher pressure and thus carries a little more sediment through with it.

I know that from a flavour persective some people prefer the full measure and body of the more muddy brew, but I have come to prefer the early lift and the clean taste - here below is my video again so that you can see the result of the method I am using. I'd love to hear any views on why it is that the first fraction has almost no sediment.