Category Archives: Rant

Rant, but not mine

This is a rant on CoffeeGeek from a fellow CGSG, Steve that speaks on behalf of us, the few of us in Singapore who have turned home baristi and/or home roasters overnight to combat the crappy coffee scene in Singapore. You want crapresso, Singapore has it at every corner.

In pursuit of the Last

All the hours spent. All the money invested. All the knowledge gathered. All in the pursuit of…

The Godshot.

When I was talking to Chris Nachtrieb from chriscoffee.com, he asked a question, which left me dumbfounded for a few seconds. We were talking about pre-infusion, the different machines, Eric’s device, line pressure, PID, and…

Chris: “Are you ANAL?”

me: “Uh….. WHAT??”  TF (which I almost added.)

Chris: ” I mean, are you the anal sort who wants every shot to be a GODshot?”

Hmmm…. Doesn’t everyone look out for that? The GODshot. The ultimate espresso shot, the more than an inch thick reddish brown crema, the nice slow honey-like pour from the naked portafilter, tastes just the way it smelled out of the bag, espresso nirvana.

I have not experienced it. Not yet.

I’ve read about people attaining it. The reviewers of the La Marzocco GS3 definitely had it; the way they were talking about getting better shots of finickiest Vivace than they’ve ever tasted at Espresso Vivace. Now, this probably means all the rest of what they thought were Godshots in the past, were merely goodshots.

We are in pursuit of the Last. The Godshot that cannot be bettered.

    Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
    Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds, – and done a hundred things
    You have not dreamed of wheeled and soared and swung
    High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
    I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
    My eager craft through footless falls of air…
    Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
    I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
    Where never lark, nor eer eagle flew –
    And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
    The high, untrespassed sanctity of space,
    Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

                                             — John Gillespie Magee, 19, RCAF

Hacienda La Esmeralda Gesha

I’m roasting the world’s best coffee beans and I was so excited I forgot to time the roast. I stopped the roast at the verge of 2nd crack. I should’ve stopped it before hitting 2nd crack. You know, after roasting espresso roasts most of the time, you just have a knack of stopping it at or after 2nd crack. I’m not used to roasting medium roasts.

As I opened the bag after 2 days’ rest, this familiar chocolate hazelnut fragrance hits me.  Hmmm…  Vivace Dolce a blend of Gesha and  Monsooned Malabar??  This would really explain why Espresso Vivace puts like 95% monsooned beans in their blend.

I know I know. I should be french pressing this, but I couldn’t resist the ease of the aeropress. So, here’s my first Gesha aeropresso.

I did not use the aeropress scoop, I dosed my usual 20 grams (my daily dose in the triple basket.) I would think the aeropress scoop, which is about 1 1/4 times more than a normal scoop would be overkill. This coffee is just super fragrant, and I don’t wish to overload my senses.

Here goes… Hints of chocolate, smells of hazelnut, tastes very tea-like, smooth. Methinks it would be better if I try an americano next. Why oh why am I not making a french press? Because my french press looks really crudded up, and I don’t want to mix in freaking expensive to high hell coffee with jurassic crud in the french press.

I even cleared out the grinder in between grinds. Nothing must mess this ritual up. OK now, on to my next. It’s ok. One thing there is to note about drinking your own roasted coffee is never ever overextract your coffee just because it costs as high as US$130 a pound. It’s ok. 25 seconds or 2.5 ounces of water later and you dump the 20 gram puck. IT’S OK. 25 seconds or less. I’ll try for a americano ristretto this time, did I get that right, a restricted americano. IT’S OKAY.

MDF set at 3. This is not malabar. Malabar’s cool at 2. DO NOT OVEREXTRACT. Whoa. Good tiger-striping.  Ok, I see white and off the flow now. Oh wait, there’s still crema leaking into the drip tray. NOOOOOOO…… The drip tray gods must be happy today. Please bless me with good sales at work today so that I may continue to feed good coffee into thine drip tray.

I just couldn’t resist. Gesha espresso, especially with quite a bit of crema, though not as much as malabar vivace. Oooo. It’s like drinking unadulterated perfume. Spill some on me. Cheaper per ounce than Chanel. OK, americano here we go.

OH DRIP TRAY GODS! If I thought the aeropresso was EDT, this americano is like drinking perfume, despite diluting it with water 2:1. Imagine if I were to bring this over to Steve’s or Kai Seng’s, OMG! This is Yirgacheffe multiplied 20 times! I can’t even begin to describe the fragrance to you. You just have to dump your Apple shares and buy this Gesha. (One AAPL share = one pound of Gesha)

Taking coffee to a new level, Part 2

Taking coffee to a new level …

UP

Home Roasting – the freshest beans are all resting at home.
Forums like CoffeeGeek and Home-Barista
Coffee Greens SG
Bottomless Portafilters – looks might not be everything, but at least you know whether you are tamping correctly.

DOWN

Singapore National Barista Championships 2007
all major coffee chains in Singapore – there’s not one single place that even knows how to do an  espresso with decent crema. If I wanted overextracted coffee, I’ll rather drink my drip tray.
Far Coast Coffee – coffee pods. You want pods, get an ipod.

Leave your comments on where I can find a decent place that serves espresso with decent crema or if you wish to add to this list.

Ah ha!

Bean: Vivace Dolce Decaf

Degree: Southern Italian Roast

Roast Age: 6 days old

Gaggia Espresso given a 5 cycle flush/warmup, Bodum Pavina thoroughly warmed, and sitting in a hot bath. There were patches of oil on the surface of the bean. Espresso Vivace recommends that cofee beans should be roasted to a Northern Italian roast, to maintain the oils within the beans, and not the Southern way, where beans are already seeping to the surface. Being the noob, I still can’t seem to get the Northern Italian roast right.

The pour was great, another 22 second pour, with very dark brown striping. Full of crema, as usual, I like the design of the Bodum Pavina, as it lets me see just how much crema I get with every glass. This pour started out with 80% crema, and then it slowly subsided to about a centimeter’s worth.

Ever since I learned from a fellow Coffee Greens SG (CGSG) member the correct way to tamp, it has made all the difference. Well, he learned it from David Schomer’s book. David Schomer is the owner of Espresso Vivace, Seattle. His book, Espresso Coffee: Updated Professional Techiniques, gives a wealth of knowledge on espresso making. Interesting to note is how he nit-picks on every single variable in his environment to make the perfect espresso. Eg. he talks about every time some customer uses his establishment’s toilets, there would be a change in water pressure. A time when the sea breeze blew around his coffee cart, he had to make drastic changes to his grinder setting. If you think Monk is OCD, you’ve just met Mr OCD in Espresso. A friend of mine in Seattle – Cavin insists there’s no good coffee shop there. A bowling ball should drop on his head. Before that thought, my heartfelt congratulations to him for getting wifey Jessica preggers.

2nd pour was made up of “leftovers,” a bit of Dolce and Oaxaca, one half of Dolce Decaf make the pour interesting. A slower pour than the first, excellent tiger-striping, I ended it around 25 seconds, I removed the Pavina, but kept the water running, it gave another good 4 seconds before blonding. The taste was fruity, bittersweet, a floral aftertaste like Yirgacheffe. Interesting because I’ve never tasted floral notes in Oaxaca before. It can’t be the Dolce. Ah well, it’s all in the blend. For record purposes, it was 50% Decaf Dolce, 15% Dolce, and 35% Oaxaca. I recorded the taste after the espresso has cooled off. That’s maybe it.

Another CGSGer KS basically told me he prefers Americanos. Cafe Americano is essentially espresso diluted with water. Before meeting KS, I would not think of diluting espresso with anything, not even milk. But after I tasted my first Yirgacheffe Americano, I was hooked. The added water helped to bring out the floral notes of the coffee to the not-so discerning drinker, like me for example (at the time.) KS says that it is how he introduces coffee to other beginners. (Woe is me.) I pulled another Yirgacheffe, and drank it neat, it had floral notes, but I was not able (at the time) to isolate the floral notes from the overall full spectrum of tastes from the Yirgacheffe. And I feel also the temperature affects the tastebuds. When the drink is hot, I am not able to discern the taste as much as when it cools. I’ve read during cupping sessions, they test the coffee when it’s cooled down. Now I know why.

You learn something everyday.

Hello World with a good cup of espresso!

Hello World with a good cup of Vivace Dolce espresso, from espresso Vivace,
undoubtedly one of Seattle’s finest coffee shops. This coffee is
freshly roasted, Central Italian roast, about 4 days old, what I
consider to be a good time to brew this coffee.

Briefly on why I started making my own coffee. Have you tasted
espresso in Singapore? Starbuck’s, Spinelli’s, Gloria Jean’s? I’ve been
to a lot of joints, order a single or a double, and cringe. Go order an
espresso anywhere in Singapore, more often times than not, you’ll get a
thin brew, no crema (Spinelli’s has decent crema), tastes worse than a
cafe americano, actually, the only way I can simulate the way it tastes
is by drinking my drip tray. Well, my drip tray coffee has crema, and
it has more body than most doppios in Singapore. If you’ve had an
espresso the way it. (italy) intended, then you have to start making
your own coffee in Singapore.