Tag Archives: oriole

Tuesday Night Throwdown At Oriole

Come and pit your latte art skills amongst cheap booze and fellow coffee compadres once again at Oriole’s now infamous Tuesday NIght Throwdown. (or you could just come for the cheap booze!)

5 Buckaroos per person
winner takes all + ultimate bragging rights!
other attractive prizes (wine, dining vouchers, e.t.c.)

knockout format. don’t be shy. all can play!

Ask your friends along! Remember: more participants = BIGGER POT. Register through facebook or call to Oriole Cafe & Bar (6238 8348) – we need your RSVP! p.s. – no handicap for those drunk before the contest!   [excerpted from their facebook page.]

Hands On Review: La Marzocco FB80 Paddle Group

First of all, I would like to thank May Soo from Wineberry, the official La Marzocco distributor in Singapore for inviting me and Kai Seng to Food And Hotel Asia 2010 at Singapore Expo. The first thing we did after passing through the visitor registration process yesterday was heading to the La Marzocco booth at Hall 5C-8. The La Marzocco booth is also conveniently located opposite from the stage area where the Asia Barista Championship is being held today and tomorrow. Thankfully, ABC’s La Marzocco machines are sponsored by Wineberry, unlike Singapore National Barista Championship’s mismatched pair of machine-grinder combo.

On display were 2 very sought after machines of mine.

This is a La Marzocco GS3 Paddle Group with clear side panels. The clear side panels are an exhibition only feature as the original GS3 comes with black side panels. This one time model is also on sale for a very good price of S$9000. I was told that there will be a price hike for La Marzocco soon.

And the winning espresso machine of FHA 2010 this year would be the La Marzocco FB80 Paddle Group. This machine is a beauty to behold. We could see that the 3 groups all had individual PIDs, with temperatures set at 94.8°C, 96.6°C and 95.5°C. As the temperatures show, it would mean the PIDs could be configured in steps of 0.1 degree. WOW!

This FB80 model comes with LED lights too. Note also the matte black steam wands. Sleek!

That’s one less trip to Ikea to get the LED strips.

Paired with the 2 La Marzocco espresso machines is the La Marzocco Swift, a grinder with auto-dosing and auto-tamping.

The real feature the FB80 and the GS3 had that attracted the both of us were the paddle groups and the ability of pressure profiling. So many of the other espresso machines found at FHA this year were mostly boasting Green-Save-The-Environment features. These paddle group machines meant that we could control the amount of pre-infusion time and the amount of pressure manually. The paadle group lever goes smoothly from right to left. As I gradually moved the lever to the center position, I could see that the pressure went to 3 bars steadily, and as I moved the lever to the left, the pressure began to climb to 9 bars.

With the La Marzocco Swift ensuring the tamping and dosing variable would remain constant throughout, we could easily put the FB80 to the test. I went first. I chose to use the 95.5°C grouphead and proceeded to flush the grouphead with the portafilter attached. I then detached the portafilter, gave it a good wipe and locked it into the Swift. The coffee provided was Oriole Cafe’s freshly roasted Espresso blend, another good match to the machine. After the Swift’s dosing and tamping ended, I unlocked the portafilter and locked it back into the FB80. I gradually moved the lever to the center position and then waited for the first drops. Just as I did that, I knew that Kai Seng would probably be thinking the same thing as I was at the time. This experience would be perfect if I had brought along my naked portafilter. After about 7 seconds, the first dark chocolate coloured drops appeared in the cup. I let it drip for about 4 seconds before gradually moving the lever the the left, bringing the pressure up to 9 bars. The pour was superb, the colours went from dark chocolate to lighter dark chocolate. The crema in the cup was so spectacular. At the first sign of very slight bloding, I moved the lever back to the right to stop the pour. The espresso was heavenly. I could taste the wide complex taste spectrum of the espresso. No bitters at all, some chocolates, a buttery mouthfeel. At 95.5°C, I was in 7th heaven with Oriole Cafe’s espresso blend.

Darn! I’m late for work. I will finish this review when I return later in another 11 hours’ time. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, please attend FHA 2010 even if it means paying the $80 at the door. Wineberry will not be having the FB80 for long. I’ve heard that the unit already has a buyer.

P.S.  The only odd feature we didin’t like was the fact that there was only 1 pressure gauge shared between all 3 groups. I turned on the 3 individual groups at different times and it seemed that the pressure gauge displayed the highest pressure at any one time.

Video – SNBC 2010 Finals – Keith Loh

This is the video of Keith Loh’s (Oriole Cafe) winning performance during the Final Round of the Singapore National Barista Championship 2010. Keith went on to win the Championship and will be representing Singapore in the World Barista Championship held in London later this year.

[xr_video id=”95531d3a9e0d4bce892ec5180671da24″ size=”sm”]

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:

Latte Art Showdown II at Oriole Cafe

oriole

Oriole Cafe will be organising a latte art competition on 2nd November 2009. For those who don’t check or have Facebook accounts, the details are below, as excerpted from their Facebook updates:

Get your milk jugs ready and steady your nerves,
Back after 8 months (sorry we’ve been busy…)!
New exciting and audience friendly knockout system
Many prizes galore (alcohol guaranteed)!
$5.50(nett!) beer all night long
cut price shooters
$5 entry, winner takes all
Plus…BRAGGING RIGHTS!
register early to secure your limited slots! Or just come and join in the mayhem!

This event is planned to start at 7:30 pm on Nov 2, 2009 at Oriole Cafe & Bar, #01-01 Pan Pacific Suites, 96 Somerset Rd.

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.