I was really impressed by the US Barista Championships held at the Anaheim Convention Center in California (near Disneyland!) over last week culminating in the final on Sunday.
Why? Well if you know me, and the team at Ristretto, well you know that the one thing that gets us going is good good coffee. Good in terms of cup quality/ flavour, good in terms of provenance and good in terms of the social and environmental positives it can bring. And there was plenty of this to be had at the championships.
You know a lot of coffee businesses, whether they are aware of it or not still, dumb down coffee and with this the key attributes I listed above are affected. It isn’t good for anyone. That’s just not up to scratch.
The USBC, as well as the other 50 national Championships held around the world, which all culminate in the World Barista Championship - to be held in London later this year in June is truly about the pursuit of, appreciation and sharing of good coffee. This can make a difference to so many lives and is worthwhile.
As a fellow coffee aficionado, I openly implore you to please look through the notes/ live blog from the championships and/ or view the finals footage that has the hosts/ presenters interviewing the baristas before and after their routines and very openly talking about their ideas, efforts and experience of quality coffee.
And this is what I really like about the Championships and the Specialty Coffee industry in general.
So again, If you have time please have a look, do your own research. There is so much good content up your bound to find some chunks that resonate.
Good coffee is not about baristas or roasters, it’s about everyone across the seed to cup chain from farmer to consumer.
At the consumer end the first step is easy; simply TASTE the coffees you are presented more so than simply knocking back, drinking or consuming. You taste the bad, the good and the really good… the difference between farms, the influence of climate and processing… different flavours and finished. In Specialty Coffee itts all there waiting and at Ristretto we look towards doing our part better and better.
p.s. Good Luck to Australia’s own National Champion; Scottie Callaghan who will be representing Specialty Coffee from Australia at the WBC.
Here’s an interesting article on Urbanspoon’s iPhone application. Whether you have an iPhone or not Urbanspoon is a rather cool online guide to eating out and on the go. It’s global and from our own use in other cities an accesible and reliable source of eating and dining information.
Ristretto has a listing at Urbanspoon and we ask if you can please kindly vote (1 single click!) or leave a brief review.
Its accesible form any browser but also via Urbanspoon’s own iPhone app; It was featured in an Apple computer ad and is simple to use and quite fun with the pokies type rolling shuffle. Cool!
Beyond being a listing service with a cool user-review iPhone app, Urbanspoon’s innovation has been the realisation that user generated reviews were insufficient and they have crawled the web pulling in reviews from established critics and experts and also provide services allowing content to be easily added to facebook by these contributors.
Urbanspoon really mobilized the food blogger community – they build easy to use widgets that help bloggers link their reviews directly into urbanspoon. A number of Perth food bloggers are already using these.
Recently we’ve also noticed another online listing service; Perth Coffeescape. Perth Coffeescape is about “searching for the finest coffee in Perth” - a good one, one which we are sure you also agree with. We’ll feature Coffeescape in the near future. Have a look around - populate it with a few votes (hint!) and more importantly some solid comment about how you approach coffee and what you find in a good coffee!
We think there is great opportunity in these public ranking and rating thingies to get the good work out about what specialty coffee is, what can be found in a good cup of coffee and also how this holds tremendous value for all across the seed to cup chain from farmer to consumer. It’s natural, as Perth coffee afficionados continue to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for a good cup these services can be increasingly utilised in this way, making them truly valuable and not-just-hype. That’s good!
Its come up in some discussion and messages; the Kenyan Gethumbwini on Grider#2 at Ristretto. Thank you and glad this coffee is being enjoyed at Ristretto. Friday cupping today @1:30pm, includes some never tasted before coffees!
We’ve harboured away a couple of sacks of a fine coffee we enjoy immensely; Kenya AA Gethumbwini Estate from Thika in Nyeri. Cupping, we have been enjoying some blackcurrant/ dark berry notes, subtle grapefruit acidity and tea like character of this full bodied cup. It’s on Grinder 2 at Ristretto for the next few days with some also packaged for take home beans (seeds). Great black but also interesting with milk. Roasted for Filter/ Plunger or Espresso!
Coffee was introduced to Kenya in the late 1800’s. Kenyan coffee is meticulously prepared (like Guatemala much Kenyan production was developed by Germans) and has traditionally offered its coffee for sale in small publicly auctioned lots. This often preserves the identity and provenance of the coffee noting the mill and sometimes the area or group of farmers or even Estate it’s from. It’s important to note that here you actually cup taste coffee from the Auction lot before bidding - this is not coffee bought blindly but bought on taste/ cup quality.
This keeps the good separated from the not so good and vice-a-versa. We love it!
Roasted medium or lighter, a good Kenya coffee is generally bright and lightens up the pallet! Its acidity (brightness) is often of such quality that even if its forward this distinguishing characteristic is truly enjoyable in the cup. We can get some intense and a great range of flavour from Kenyans too. Stone fruit/ Fruit flavours and also more sweet/ stewed fruit and vegtal flavours are two other typical profiles that come to mind. Its not just an intensely bright citrusy coffee!
Moving forward with Kenya, we are expecting to broaden our Kenyan offerings and will be selecting some new season coffees shorty for delivery later on in 2010.
Here’s some new images from Amaro Gayo in Ethiopia where we source one of our most distinct coffees from. It’s a key component in our Custom Espresso blend at Ristretto and often also presented as Single Origin. We find copious amounts of strawberry and sweetness in this cofee (further notes below).
We sourced this coffee following a trip to the USA where we met one of the consultants who has partnered with the farmer to develop and refine their practices and market their exceptionally fine coffee the world over.
This exceptional coffee is exported through Ethiopia’s only female miller/exporter, an exceptional woman. Asnakech Thomas is one of the most inspiring figures in Ethiopian coffee today. Native to the Amaro region, Asnakech decided in 2005 to return to her homeland to improve coffee quality at her mill and in local communities.She is one of the few people to travel weekly between Addis and the coffee areas.
The Amaro Mountains are a small range separating the communities of Amaro on the eastern slopes from Nechisar National Park and the lowland tribal areas of Arba Minch in southwest Ethiopia, Sidama region. The local coffee varieties, relatively light population, waterfalls and highland bamboo forests are among the many unique features of the area.
All Amaro Gayo coffee is certified organic. Prices paid for this coffee are at the extreme high end of market, social programs are in the works including possibilities for assistance with capacity building and coffee job creation, schools, clean water and medical care.
Altitude: 5200 feet
Processing Method: Natural
Grade: Strictly Hard Bean
Quality Certifications: Organic Coffee (USDA) and designated as Grade 2 in Ethiopia which is the finest grade for any DP coffee (or washed for that matter - we’ve never seen or read about a Grade 1!)
Cup Characteristics: creamy and thick body, chocolate, coconut, dried banana & very sweet berry - strawberry - flavours. Clean and consistent.
Come down to Ristretto this (and just about every) Friday at 1:30p for our Coffee Cupping (Tasting) session. Freshly roasted coffees the table THIS Friday:
- 2 separate micro-lots from Mountain Top Estate, Nimbin, Australia.
- 2 micro lots from Guatemala from Finca De Dios (Fraijanes) and Finca Teanzul (Santa Rosa)- these are CoE tendered coffees awarded 84 or above points by a preselect ion and then national juries.
- A nice Kenyan AA from Nyeri. Drinking this now finding some good tea-like flavours and quality and dark berries.
-= and finally =-
- A couple of El Salvador coffees from Santa Ana.
We’ve met many new cuppers from Eat Drink Perth over the last month. Our Friday cuppings are always an opportunity to taste several outstanding single estate Arabica coffees individually and also for you to hear about the basics of how to assess/ approach coffees and communicate our ideas about their taste/ profile.
Well, if we’ve set everything up correctly you can now receive noticifcation of our blog updates via Twitter and at Ristretto’s Facebook news feed page.
We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas on how we can best use these services and to get the word out about specialty coffee around Perth.
We are keen to use face books for publicsing coffee events (e.g. cuppings and tastings, also events of an educational nature).
Details for the following services:
Facebook: username ristrettoperth
The Aeropress is back in stock at Ristretto!
We’ll continue to offer them at the same price, which also includes 250gram pack of a fine Single Origin Estate selections or the Ristretto Custom Blend coffee (now a 2 x award winner!).
With Aeropress on my mind (more than usual) I returned to a blog to pull up this interesting rundown of the Top 3 Aeropress Methods applied by the finalists at the 2nd World Aeropress Championships staged in 2009 by Tim Wendelboe Coffee in Oslo, Norway.
We’ve been experimenting with various “upside down” approaches similar to that detailed in the video below. Some with good, some with disastrous results (in terms of mess) but often with great flavour and the body that the Aeropress brings.