Tag Archives: barista

Video – SNBC Day 2 – John Ting

Here’s a video of John’s performance at this year’s SNBC. Having participated in SNBC every year since 2007, John has been placed Runner Up in 2007, and Champion in 2008 and 2009. His latest WBC 2009 rank representing Singapore is #21.

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SNBC Day 2

Today, I came prepared, with my naked portafilter, a digital thermometer crippled from my Eric Svendson’s setup from home, and my Espro tamper.

While attention was focused on the latte art competition on the floor, I stole away to try my stint at the Rancilio Classe 6 unit at the door. A few points in summary:

My Rancilio naked portafilter locks in at 6 o clock

The Ditting-Mahlkoenig clumps to high heaven because of the lack of a doser to help in some unclumping. I had to use the digital thermometer to unclump the grounds in order to perfect my pour. I had spritzing in most my pours no thanks to the doserless grinder.

The Rancilio Classe 6 rapidly loses heat in the grouphead. I read initial temps of 205, and then it steadily decreases to a range between 165 and 175 degrees 20 seconds in. I’m sure past competitors would miss the PID’d temperature stability and machine build of previous SNBC sponsor who brought in La Marzocco. Even Nuova Simonelli had their WBC machines specially customized with a PID to ensure temperature stability.

The Spinelli roast worked very well with the Rancilios. I managed to test out one pour at the competition machine with the Boncafe roast, intended for the latte art comp, and it tasted inferior to the Spinelli roast. I would think Ross had tailored the roasts to suit his machines. Despite the temperature instability and the clumping, Spinelli pours from the Rancilio were all within a good degree of tolerance in body, flavour and acidity. Point in note, if all else fails in this year’s SNBC, be sure to use Spinelli roast. I’m sure it’ll taste quite fine to please the judges’ palates.

Updated with new photos:

At SNBC

I’m awaiting for the SNBC competition to start. As with all other previous SNBC’s, there are the usual familiar faces:

Justin Metcalf, WBC certified judge and looks to be head judge of SNBC this year.

Victor Mah, head of Singapore Coffee Association, the organiser for SNBC.

Ross Bright, roaster at Spinelli Coffee and sponsor of this year’s Rancilio machines.

Danny Pang, past SNBCs’ finalist and of Geek Terminal and Espressoul fame.

A few points that I’ve noted are:

There are 3 stations of Rancilio Classe 8. The portafilters are so tight they can’t lock into the normal 6 o clock position. I was told the machines are new and so the tabs are not seasoned enough to lock into the right position. And some of the machines’ spouts are angled while others aren’t. I’m not sure if changing the baskets to the thinner ones might help any.

The trophies this year look quite cheap, not the usual frothing pitchers from past years. Entry into this competition is by no means cheap, being $250 a head for non SCA members. You would think they could at least mount a tamper or portafilter or at least something representative of a barista to begin with. The winner from SNBC this year also walks away with a Ditting grinder, which looks like a Vario Baratza, sponsored by Hospitality Essential.

Updated with new photos below:

Meetup at Kai Seng’s

CGSG Gang of Four (L to R): Colin, Melvin, Kai Seng, Steve

Today’s gathering, January 17 2010, was called up at the last minute, and the attendees were the usual Gang of Four: me, Melvin and Steve at Kai Seng’s pad. Peter was away in Geneva while Adrian was selling bakkwa (roasted pork slices.)  As you can remember from the previous meetup, I, on behalf of the group expressed our enthusiasm and reminded Steve to, most of all, show up with the salsa. He did and thanks to Adhe who is wonderfully consistent, we finished the salsa in one sitting. Kai Seng also prepared ice lemon tea and had cream puffs.  Adrian, though absent, gave us a sampling of his bakkwa. As this gathering was called up last minute and that Steve had just returned from a business trip, most of us were caught without roasted coffee so much so Kai Seng and Dawn had to miss their daily americanoes to allocate for the group. I had a roast muckup the day before too on my Idido Misty Valley.

Wow! While Steve was the undisputed champion of machine mods, Kai Seng has practically every latest gadget known to Man and was the envy of us all. Steve mentioned KS definitely had all his priorities right, marvelling at all his worldly goods. It’s techie geek pad EXXTREME, sporting a Dell Zino with BlueRay connected to his HDTV, a handheld wireless trackpad-keyboard all-in-one, a WDTV media player, a Nexstar HDD dock with eSATA, a Canon Vixia HF200 camcorder, and a nice roaster, of course. A La Marzocco GS3 or a Kees Van Der Westen Speedster would have completed this picture with a sweet note. I remarked about how we coffeegeeks are techie geeks at heart, and Steve followed up by saying that the research process leading right up to our purchase was meticulous and tbat anything that was lacking thereafter would immediately be corrected by some modifications. Did I get that part right?

Kai Seng, Melvin and I made a few espressos while I took turns with Melvin to try out the Vixia. Coffees drank today were Kai Seng’s Ethiopian Kuza, Melvin’s Kenyan AA, and my re-roasted Idido Misty Valley. The day before, I had overloaded my roaster with beans and after a 15 minute roast, was dissatisfied with the results and decided to re-roast half of the batch. Fortunately, the re-roasted batch tasted good, albeit a bit fresh and lacking body.

We adjourned to the rooftop where the roaster was situated. Kai Seng uses a professional gas fired drum roaster. We each had brought our own greens and Kai Seng was at the helm roasting them. We were blessed with a good wind and despite the heat, it was comfortable enough to lounge around in the shade. The 1st and 2nd cracks could be heard clearly over the drum rotation of the beans, and a sample of the beans could be easily taken out at any point during the roast to be examined for colour and consistency. Sight and sound are the 2 senses we use to determine when to end the roast, including all other methods we have employed in our coffee roasting, be it a popcorn popper, a DIY over-the-stove drum roaster, an i-Roast or a GeneCafe. The drum roaster also had the knack of rapidly cooling the beans upon exiting the drum, which is a major plus as you would want the roast to end instantaneously. It is akin to photography and its decisive moment. Our decisive moment makes or breaks the roast.

After the roasting, we went back downstairs where Kai Seng wrapped things up by showing us how he kept the greens, which would warrant a separate post. All in all, it was an enjoyable get-together as usual and a great stress reliever. I am so looking forward to our next gathering. We thank Kai Sneg and Dawn for graciously hosting this fantastic meeting of the like-mindeds.

Stay tuned to this blog for upcoming videos of the event and a sure-fire way to preserve your green coffee ala Kai Seng.

Meetup at the Cairns

This coffee get-together was organised at a last moment’s notice on Sunday, 8th November 2009 at Steve Cairns’ new place. The ones to turn up this day were me, KaiSeng, and Melvin. Peter couldn’t make it and Adrian was in Malacca. (UNLUCKY)

I regret that I didn’t take any pictures of the HIGHLIGHT AND MAIN EVENT of the day:

The . . . . .

. . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . .

S A L S A ! ! !

which was prepared by Steve’s wife, Adhe. Actually, I don’t really regret as I was too busy stuffing my face with the corn chips and the springrolls dipped in the salsa. I’m hungry now just thinking of it. I think I’ll start off by petitioning that no future coffee meetup shall ever start without Adhe’s salsa. It just would not be complete.

After the fabulous salsa, we retreated inside for drinks. Steve has gotten a really nice work table from IKEA for his coffee equipment as you can see in the accompanying photos below. His line of equipment include the Expobar Brewtus, a Macap M5D grinder with a digital display and worm driven stepless grind adjuster, a Rancilio Rocky grinder (from his Silvia days), a new Reg Barber tamper with a made-to-order 58.2mm convex base, a new clicker tamping base, topped off with the familiar “Espresso Open” backlit sign on his wall. Steve went on to explain about how he and Kelvin (another CGSGer) felt that the 58.2mm base was a much nicer fit than the usual 58mm. We all took turns trying it out and I think that 58.2mm just might be my next purchase.

KaiSeng, Melvin and I brought our own home-roasted coffee, while Steve had Spinelli. My Brazil Formosa was just roasted the day before and I felt it wasn’t rested enough, so I declined to even take it out of the bag.  KaiSeng brought Bolivian AA. Melvin brought a blend of Bolivian AA and Ethiopian Limu. We all took turns as baristi, including Steve’s daughter, Samantha who made an exceptional americano for her mom. I should’ve taken a video or photos because her pour using the naked portafilter was excellent – the basket being equally saturated, the first few drips and then smoothly coming together at the centre of the basket, a slow and steady pour. WOW!!

Without further ado, here is the awards ceremony. The votes are counted (award winners’ votes are discarded) and the winners are . . . .

ishot-2

Best Newcomer:  Samantha Cairns

Best Barista:  Samantha Cairns

Best Roaster:  KaiSeng (that’s saying something as Spinelli was also in the running)

Best Entree which every future meetup can’t do without:   Adhe’s SALSA (which just became the best incentive for us to increase the frequency of our meetups.)

Best Salsa Stuffer: 3 way tie between Colin, KaiSeng and Melvin. (Even though Melvin came late, he caught up real fast.)

We really really have to start planning for the next meetup. How’s everyone for December or January?

WBC 2009 Day One: Best Looking Signature Drink

What I thought was the best signature drink from WBC 2009 Day One goes to Akihiro Okada from Japan.

Akihiro Okada's signature drink preparation
Akihiro Okada's signature drink preparation
Akihiro paints the insides of martini glasses
Akihiro paints the insides of martini glasses

He used a paintbrush to paint the insides of the martini glasses, his paint being the cherry syrup (someone, pls correct me.)  Then again, aesthetics may prove misleading, as many a dark chocolate like naked pour have proven lemony beyond all recognition.

WBC 2009 Atlanta: John Jhi Chiang Ting Singapore

Coupled with the bad internet connection, I could only catch every other frame during John’s routine. The emcee is James Hoffmann, WBC 2007 Champion, now at  Square Mile Roasters.  Anyway, here are whatever pictures I could take during the event. As John says in his routine, “Please enjoy…”

John pours latte art in front of judges.

The familiar “tap tap tap”, dosing coffee grounds into the portafilter

John pours water for the technical judges.

John explains his signature drink, “Summer Blossom”.

John calls “Time,” signaling the end of his performance and is being
interviewed by James Hoffmann.

John thanks everyone for their support, especially the ones cooped
up in Singapore, watching his performance at an ungodly hour.


James Hoffmann.

CuppaChoice Barista Challenge 2009

‘I AM A BARISTA IN SINGAPORE’ is organising its first ever Barista Challenge in April 2009.

Date:Saturday, April 4, 2009
Time:11:00am – 5:00pm
Location:CSC Bukit Batok Clubhouse
Street:91 Bukit Batok West Ave 2 S(659206)

Head Judge: Ian Consulta (CuppaChoice)
Technical Judge: Danny Pang (Geek Terminal)
Sensory Judge: Steve Cairns (CGSG)

Announcing the 9 Barista participating in this challenge:-

1. Siti Aindah- Starbucks Coffee
2. Suresh- Ice Cube
3. Siti Oyah- Starbucks Coffee
4. Noribsham- Starbucks Coffee
5. Rohit- Geek Terminal
6. Mohamed Azman- Geek terminal
7. Colin Loh- Home Barista (CGSG)
8. Melvin Seah- CuppaChoice Coffee
9. Shereen- Ice Cube