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.

Meetup at Steve’s

Thanks to Steve Cairns for hosting the 3rd meetup for CGSG. We all had a great time.  I really enjoyed this meetup, as I finally got to touch and pull shots from the ultimate Expobar Brewtus II.  I used Vivace Dolce, roasted til verge of 2nd crack, rested for only a day.

Here’s a video of Kai Seng pulling a shot of Mexico Oaxaca from Sweet Maria’s. Steve has this neat sign that says “Espresso Open” on the wall overlooking his Brewtus.

[qt:/files/meetup_steve.mp4 176 160]

Humidity

Personal note. This morning, I turned off the air-con, turned the Gaggia on, and left it for 20 minutes. The pour was significantly much slower, with MDF at 3, almost 33 seconds to get the same volume in my Bodum glass. Humidity affects speed of pour. I have to check up on the Schomer book on the humidity-grind setting page.

Singapore’s 1st National Barista Championship 2007

Singapore’s 1st National Barista Championship 2007

Singapore, 15 November 2006 – Singapore Coffee Association (SCA) will hold its first inaugural Singapore National Barista Championship (SNBC) from March 29 – 31 at Suntec City Convention Centre Room 208 & 209.

Supported by Singapore Exhibition Services (SES), the objectives of this highly regarded Singapore National Barista Championship include:

    * Promoting the growth, excellence & recognition in the Barista profession in Singapore.
    * Growing the Barista’s knowledge of and expertise in the preparation and serving of specialty, espresso coffee through competitions.
    * Promoting the knowledge and consumption of specialty coffee to the consumer through the Barista.

SCA’s Chairman, Mr. Victor Mah said, “This is the first time Singapore is holding a barista competition at a national level and it is open to all barista enthusiasts. We are hoping that through such events, we can inculcate in our younger generations that being a barista is a professional career that is creative, fun and exciting. We hope to be able to raise the profile of Barista profession in Singapore.”

Competitors will be judged by qualified assessors such as Justin Metcalf, World Barista Championship International Judge, as well as Qualified judges from the SCA on a number of criteria such as; creativity, barista skills; coffee taste, cleanliness and etc. The winner of the SNBC will then join the other champions from the respective countries at the World Barista Championship in Tokyo from July 31 – August 2.

[excerpt from http://www.singaporecoffee.org/forms%5CmediaRelease081106.htm]

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Drink Leaded!

Bean: Bolivian Peaberry

Degree: Northern Italian Roast

Age: 2 days old

This is the bean I roasted on the verge of 2nd crack. I expect lemony brightness?? Here’s the pour. Good slow one, good tiger striping, 23 seconds pull. A lot of crema as expected. The pull was guinness-like. The full glass of crema slowly subsided to just 1.5 cm worth of crema. Some hazelnut cloured spots peppered on the surface. Smells great after past few days of drinking unleaded decaf.

A slight hint of brightness, light bodied, methinks I have to wait a few more days to get the most out of this coffee.

2nd pour was an americano, still very light bodied, no hints of brightness nor bitterness. I await tomorrow’s pour, and hope that this coffee lasts til this Friday’s roast. A CGSG’er, Leon is coming over for the roasting session, and hopefully, Keith can join us too. We would probably be roasting a common bean, Vivace Dolce. Since I’m expecting company, I better roast another batch tomorrow.

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Roast Day Sunday

Bean: Bolivian Peaberry

Degree: Northern Italian Roast

Roast Time: 12.30 pm @ 8 min 45 sec

I ended this roast on the verge of 2nd crack, at around 8 min 45 sec. Only time will tell whether I made a good roast. I normally do not stop the roast until I see oil seeping thru the bean surface. I intend to let this batch rest at least 2 days before I drink it. I find a lot of coffee I roast peak at around 3rd or 4th day. They are stored in one way valve bags after cooling. I prefer the one way valve bags as I can squeeze out the air, and let the carbon dioxide emitted from the beans do its job. Can’t do this with those containers with the vacuum pump. It sucks out the air, but it doesn’t allow the carbon dioxide to exit the container.

I’ve only had a cup of Aeropressed Dolce decaf today, which is comparable to an Americano. Seems like I’ve only enough to make one more decaf drink before I’m out completely.

I go to this Hong Kong cafe – Xin Wang at Orchard Cineleisure sometimes. They have this Iced Macau Coffee on their menu that I like to order. Essentially iced milk coffee served in a stainless steel mug. It’s quite good, and it’s actually iced cowboy coffee. Cowboys dump an egg in the brew.

Last Friday, I went to TCC at Peranakan Place. TCC is one of those 1 in every 100 meters coffee joints, much like Starbucks. TCC stands for The Coffee Connoisseur. They have Kenya AA, Brazil Santos, Jamaican Blue Mountain, but I took the safe route and ordered San Pellegrino water. I saw the espresso in the next table, the usual cafe americano passed off as espresso. The machines TCC uses are super-automatics. I’ve also been to McDonald’s cafes using super-automatics with Bon-cafe beans in the hopper. Seems like super-automatics are the trend these days. It makes little difference, either a untrained barista behind a good semi-automatic pumping swill or a monkey behind the counter pushing buttons serving swill.

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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.

2nd pour

I am on a roll! My 2nd triple espresso is nearer to a godshot. Perfect tamping by NSEW method, very even, small slow funnel, good tiger striping, It smells and tastes as it did in bean form, crema that outlasts the drink. What a great way to start a new day. Darn! I should be signing up for espresso rehab. I’m addicted to beautiful pours!

Singaporean coffee geek’s notes and reviews on espresso and coffee roasting. Formatted for iPhone / iPod Touch.