Archive for the 'Coffee' Category

New espresso blend v2.1

From this week on we are using a new espresso blend composed out of three great beans. This blend is roasted by Caffenation and is blended in our house! This blend is nice as espresso and on filter and performs excellent in all milk based drinks. All beans are also sold separately..


New portafilters in the shop!

Finally they arrived! The new fully coated portafilters, done by Coffeehit in London. Thanks a lot guys..

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Rwandu “Musasa Estate” and Kenia “Tiganga Estate” (In French)

Tinganga Estate


Traitement humide, séchage au soleil sur tamis

Tinganga est situé dans le district  de Kiambu dans les hautes terres du
centre du Kenya. Le domaine couvre environ 182 hectares et emploie 400
personnes. Cette ferme bénéfcie d’un sol volcanique bien drainé et situé
entre 1630m et 1935m. Une politique sociale stricte est appliquée  et aucun
travailleur n’est engagé en-dessous de 18 ans. Le domaine offre à ses
employés une habitation sur le site, de l’eau potable, du bois de chauffage,
la sécurité et une formation pour assurer une récolte de haut niveau.

Musasa Estate

Rushashi district

100% Red bourbon
Traitement humide

Onctueux, doux et éclatant,légèrement citronné avec de belles notes florales
Musasa produit des cafés lavés de très haute qualité depuis 2003. Cette coopérative comporte environ 800 membres dont la moitié sont des femmes, ce qui en fait une des plus importantes du Rwanda. La production annuelle est d’environ 100 tonnes.

Musasa fait partie du projet d’aide gouvernementale PEARL. Dans le cadre ce celui-ci, cette coopérative a pu bénéfcier de la construction d’une station de dépulpage. En contrepartie, Musasa s’engage à reverser 10% de ses profts pour la construction d’autres stations au Rwanda.

Text and images from Knopes Coffee Roasters

Scrambled eggs and Panama Don Pachi coffee as breakfast

This morning I had a fabulous breakfast, specially suited for a barista. First we steamed up the eggs with our La Marzocco.

After that we pressed a great coffee from Panama (Don Pachi with is a Gheisa variental, roasted by Stumptown coffee roasters, thanks to Isa) on the Aeropress.

Checking out the London espresso scene..

Two weekends ago I was in London for an espresso trip, with the objective to have some inspiration for the espresso scene in Antwerp. I had prepared a list with some bars I definitely would liked to see and I would be asking people over there which places they like. This is like a little report of what I have seen.

Friday morning I had a meeting with Cameron McClure at Milk bar. Cameron McClure is one of the partners of both Milk bar and Flat White. These two really set a standard for other businesses in the landscape. They are doing a great job in educating the people about great coffee, what is a very important statement in the coffee world today, this is also something I’m noticing in my own business also. The more you educate them the more they get enthusiastic and start spreading the word.


The interior of both Flat White and Milk Bar is nicely alternative with a very good lightning and musical vibe. This musical component also give the place immediately a vibe when there are some people in the bar.

The next stop on Friday was the Square Mile Coffee roasters, I had a meeting with James Hoffman to get an overview of how they see coffee roasting in London and what there business is like, and of course to bring back home some coffee. It was nice to have a chat with this WBC camp, and have a little hint on what path we still have to follow to get to this kind of experiences in Antwerp. It’s still a long way to go but I’m sure we will get there.

From here on the real espresso hunt started, after these two visits I had a lot of places to visit so lets go crazy on caffeine..

First stop was the Monmouth stand on Borough Market in the area of London bridge. This is a market shop where they sell coffee in bags (grinded or in whole beans), you can choose here out of an impressive selection of 15 coffee’s. (They do like 15 tons of coffee a week) Not all single origin due some beans are recovered into a blend. But still this is impressive to see for the first time. Besides the coffee in bags the do a lot of drip coffee and some espresso and milk based drinks. For the drip coffee they use a couple of Ditting’s 1203 grinders set on the right grind setting and used to grind just one dose for a paper filter bag, which goes into the drip holder on with hot water is poured, a fast and effective system for drip coffee. Here I had a Fazenda Canta Galo out of Brazil, a Gethumbwini Estate out of Kenia and the Monmouth espresso blend.



After visiting the market shop I had a quick look at the bar at Borough Market but this was so crowded with people that I just took a shot and went on (they were queuing like for an attraction on a holiday park, quit unbelievable), but a nice, little old fashioned style with a lot of brick and wooden elements, a very warm atmosphere.


From here on I went to see a place called “Taste of Bitter Love” this is the smallest espresso bar I have ever visited. But really cool, a lot of old and second hand furniture.They also use coffee from Square Mile and this already sets the expectations high. They served me very short shot that was almost a triple shot ristretto, so lots a acidity and almost noting else than crema, a new experience to me, but as I would notice later on, this is a practice they do more in London. Most of the shots I had were like triple ristretto shot with a very high level of acidity.


Next day I started with the original Monmouth shop at Convent Garden.


Here again the impressive number of different coffee’s. This shop has also a little consumption area, where you can sit down and enjoy your espresso out of a ceramic cup ( I can tell you, a single shot espresso in a paper cup, just tastes like paper, noting you would like to have..) Here were also some communal tables, with the notice to not use your mobile and be social, same at the ordering place! Here I had two times the espresso from the house blend which compounds of Fazenda Barreiro (Brasil) as the base of the espresso, added with Grupo Asociativo Quebradon (Colombia) for high notes and complexity and Finca La Perla (Guatemala) for cocoa notes this gives a  blend which can be described as toasted almonds with smooth body and balanced fruity acidity.

Next stop was “Bea’s of Bloomsbury” this is not what we should call a hardcore espresso bar but more a patisier that does some coffee on level.


In the back they have a open patisserie area where you can see them making the beauty full cakes and sweets. Besides the bar there is an area where you can consume the things they make, and I can tell you it’s quit impressive. If there is someone in Antwerp with this skills, I’m in for an adventure on the coffee site. Last but not least about Bea’s of Bloomsbury the have an impressive La Marzocco 4 group, what a machine! More on the machines in the next bar which is the “Fernandez & Wells“espresso bar. This bar is located in Soho and is near to Flat White. A very warm atmosphere by the use of a lot of wood. I really had a good time here, the guy working at the bar did an excellent job.

They use an incredible nice machine, the Synesso in a 3 group version. I think this will be the new standard of machine for an espresso bar within the next 5 years. They have like different pumps for each group, two boilers, possible to set different temps on different groups, possibility to do different pressure profiling and so on ( La Marzocco is also working on this kind of a machine, they call it the mechanical paddle version, available as an option)


You may think that it for this day, but no I still tried to visit two other bars: FARM Collective and DOSE Espresso


Unfortunately they where both closing so I didn’t had the chance to taste their shots.

On Sunday I did the last bars of the weekend and this where “Climpson and Sons” which roast their coffee themselves, here also a triple ristretto shot with a high acidity. something you have to learn to drink.


I tried to bring a visit to the WBC champ from this year Gwilym Davies but I missed him on the flower market on Columbia Road, what a pity. On the way back however I encountered a cycle café (LOCK 7) what was really cool in concept; Bikes, Bagels and Coffee.


After this it was time to head home again and start to do something with this inspiration I had on this marvellous trip. However I have some general thought about espresso in London:

  • They tend to serve espresso’s with a high level of acidity
  • The serve a lot of triple ristretto shots
  • Impressive quality of machines, only La Mazocco or Synesso (something to work on here in Belgium)
  • All bars are take away oriented, so only small area for consumption
  • A lot of bars are roasting themselves (very interesting)
  • Some nice crossover concepts of coffee and …
  • High level of service to clients

If you are visiting Londen and you want some good coffee places, these are definitly worth visiting! Spread the word..

The Bar choq set-up..

The basis and core of our set-up is an Anfim Super Caimano grinder with titanium burs diameter 75mm and a engine power of HP 0,60 – 800 Revs/min, this is a version without the on demand grinding option, so a lot of dosing to do for each shot. But it gives you a lot of freedom to control the running time of the shot.


When working with this grinder I found some problems with the grounds clogging up in the exit channel, so I figured out some DIY solution, and I came up with this. Which is working great. Momentarily its in in cardboard but I will make it out in metal.


As Espresso machine we are working with a Faema Smart A with to group heads. This machine has a boiler of 11l and  is a heat exchanger system. This machines offers a great quality to price ratio, but I’m not a die hard fan of these machines due to the temperature surfing you have to do and the low steaming power. This steaming power and temperature is also affected by the hot water you extract from it. If I pull like to or tree cups of hot water for tea, the steaming pressure drops immediately and the temperature also which gives a problem for the consistency of the shots. So I’m definitely going to check out the dual boiler systems, like that on a La Marzocco if this machine needs replacement.


We overdose our shots a little higher than normal. We use 21gr for a double basket and 16gr for a single shot basket. These 16 gr is more than the half of the 21gr, but we need it to have the same extraction times. In a post ago I was telling you about the difference in head space with the new shower screens, that made the shots running not so well. This is now fixed with some good old do it your own method, just hammering the shower screen a little bit lower.

For cappuccino’s and latte’s we use a full fat milk from Campina that is branded over here as Stabilac. It has a 3,6gr of fat per 100 ml. This gives a much sweeter result when the milk is steamed and combined with the shot of espresso.

This is basicly the setup, after a wile I will maybe add an extra grinder to it, to have an espresso from the week.

I keep you posted when there is some chance made..

New Faema shower screen

Yesterday they delivered the new shower screens so I have a double pair to clean out, it seems to be a new design we a little less headspace for the coffee puck so I’ll probably have to lower the dose on the single shot bucket. At the left the new one, and at the right the old one


The exact hight of the new and the old screen from the grouphead are measured by the following method:


old: 15,00 mm; new: 13,60 mm

So we loose 1,4 mm of headspace, this means that we crush the puck before the pre-infusion. And it gives some strange channelling of water on the sides some times.


Maybe this is due to the crushing or something, but this we will need to find out! I will keep you posted.


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