SA AeroPress Champ Recipe!

Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Our South African Champion, Romeo Chimunya is in Sydney right now. Here is his winning recipe for you to try at home!

  • I used grind 4 setting on the Guatemala Gold grinder (coarse)

  • Measured 32 grams of coffee

  • Add about 80 ml of water

  • 84 degrees

  • Stirred throughly to bloom the coffee

  • Let steep for about 1 minute

  • Topped up another 80ml of hot water

  • 1 wet filter in the cap

  • Plunge slowly for +/- 1,5 minutes

  • Added more 20 ml of slightly cold water into the coffee to cool it a bit down

  • and then BOOM!!!

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Brewing Coffee from a Backpack

Wednesday, 31 October, 2018

Your friends have invited you to spend five days in the mountains, sleeping in caves and hiking with all your food and possessions on your back. They have persuaded you that you can survive on two-minute noodles and rusks. They have even convinced you that squatting for the loo isn’t that bad. But then you ask, “Who’s bringing the coffee?”

All it takes is, “We normally just pack a Glad Bag with instant”, and that is it – you are out. Spending five days without proper coffee is just too much. Of course, FOMO kicks in because you really do want to go; everything else sounds so enticing – the mountain air, crystal waters, showering in waterfalls… So, the question is, how do you make sure there’s quality coffee along for the hike?

Coffee makers for camping

The first thing you need is a coffee maker; something small, portable, lightweight, and easy to clean. The traditional options are just not possible here, and while there are some great camping products on the market, they can be a bit pricey for people who are not regular hikers.

Breaking a glass French Press on a hiking trip is no fun, but there are some great options from Cape Union Mart:

Designed for outdoor adventure, both options are vacuum-insulated to keep your coffee hot for a few hours, and stainless steel to withstand any rugged terrain. They can also be used for water when you find yourself over caffeinated (unlikely, but it’s a possibility).

If you’re aiming to earn more eBucks, there’s also the Stanley Mountain Coffee System Vac Bottle, which retails for around R999. The all-in-one system provides a stainless steel pot to boil water in (on your burner or over a fire), before you brew your coffee with the built-in press, and store it in the leak-proof thermos (which promises to keep your coffee hot for 24 hours). The lid even separates into two cups so you can share your French-pressed coffee on the trail.

If you have to have an espresso, then the Minipresso is what you want. For just over R1,000, you get an amazing hand-pumped espresso in a super-small portable system. With a clever, compact design, this little powerhouse machine claims to be the smallest and lightest espresso machine in the world. With both a cup and a coffee scoop included, all you need to add is the coffee.

Rough it on a budget

If your budget doesn’t quite extend to these options, and you only ever plan on going camping this once, rather spend your money on good coffee than the coffeemaker. The budget solution is some simple coffee filters (R26 for 80) and a no-nonsense plastic funnel (a whopping R9). You can even throw in an AfriTrail enamel mug for R40 and you have a pour-over system for R75, all-in. 

It might not make the best filter coffee in the world, but you’re still going to feel better about life than the person in the next sleeping bag who is sipping on chicory or one of those cappuccino sachets people who don’t know you keeping offering. Happy trails!

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Grinder Technology explained by an expert: The Mythos II

Friday, 26 October, 2018

On the counter at Thirdspace in Fourways JHB, photo courtesy of Thirdspace.

We chatted to Alessandro Morrico of Morrico Imports about the grinder that many in the coffee community hail as one of the best out there!

What are the key feature additions to this version of the Mythos?

MYTHOS II is designed for speciality coffee and cafes alike with maximum parameters to allow roaster and baristas to get the “best” out of their coffees.

Major key features are:

- Larger Titanium blade diameter of 85mm 

- Variable speeds on motor 

- Touch screen - ( as well as small chalk board in front to let customers know what beans and served - very on trend!)

- Variable temperature settings. 

- Gravitech technology and Weight programming to ensure consistency. 

What technical innovations set the Mythos II apart from its predecessor?

New larger blades allow for best management of the grinding  process-

-The longer cutting blade creates maximum surface area of extraction 

-Longer life / higher volumes are made easier

-Maximum consistencies on extractions during various times of service in a cafe or restaurant

What can cafe owners expect from this machine?

Absolute parameters of choice - recipes will now be best managed via all the new variable options. Such as:

- Setting lower or higher temperatures to best suit the coffee -

- Variable speeds to best manage the coarseness for extraction and flavors of the coffee with zero residue.

-Gravitech , now allows for the use of a hands- free scale system , which allows for perfect yield recipe- no need for extra scales and time wasting steps during service. 

- Silent motor for quite service , as well as allowing better communication and interaction between customer and Barista.

How does this grinder effect the end cup that our readers will be drinking?

The effect  is an obvious perfection of the extraction I.e. the coffee will be a cleaner cup , more consistent , sweeter as well as showcasing the complexity of the bean and roast profile and extraction. Readers will notice and taste the difference and will also notice the consistency. The Baristas will notice for sure the ease of use the reliability as well as performance and versatility of the machine. 

Any other comments/interesting facts our readers would know?

The Mythos I - clima pro , was designed by barista champions ( Fritz Storm , Gwylim Davies , Colin Harmon and James Hoffman)  asking for a better, easier  and more consistent Grinder solution which would offer a more consistent method of grinding to showcase their coffees.

The MYTHOS II has once again been revised by Baristas champions to further use more recent technology and add many more parameters to best achieve very much the same result,  just BETTER with systems that make the coffees sweeter, protect the flavours , will showcase complexity and flavour profiles as well as offer versatility to all types of coffees and Roast profiles and methods of extraction . 

I think It will be very  interesting to know , that each parameter of settings on the MYTHOS II is enough to considerably alter the final flavour of the coffee in the cup and each parameter  will add quality to the cup. If you consider all the parameters available, the solutions are endless. 

For sure, some VERY EXCITING COFFEE TIMES AHEAD for Baristas and readers. 

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Review: The Tognana Stovetop Set

Friday, 28 September, 2018

I love a good for Moka pot for three reasons:

1. The brewing ritual is a special experience. It takes me right back to Italy, to the little apartamento above the piazza where the aroma filled the space and built the anticipation of the delicious coffee to follow.

2. The mouthfeel of a moka pot coffee is something unique. A silky, rich elixir that transports flavour through your mouth like no other coffee.

3. Screw Eskom. You can make a moka pot without electricity. Think loadshedding, camping in the wilderness or on a hot plate at the AirBNB that only stocks instant.

So here is the latest addition to the Moka Pot market and it's a winner...

Tognana - Moka Pot and Milk Pan from https://classichouseware.co.za/

The Unboxing.

We were sent this elegant little package from Classic Houseware.

 It is a 2 piece Milk and Coffee set - and straight away we put it to good use!

The team at Classic Houseware are also one of the distributors for Craft Coffee, which is one of our favourites, especially after they clinched 3rd Place in the A Shot in the Dark roasting competition held in Durban recently!  So it was essential that we tried the Craft house blend as our first coffee in the Tognana moka pot.

We always grind our coffee fresh, this time we used a hand grinder and we set it slightly finer than a Plunger grind but more course than an espresso grind. This means a reasonable amount of pressure build up before the coffee pushes through the puck and into the pot, resulting in a delicious crema.

My favourite moment of a moka pot brew! When the first dark, rich liquid flows out of the spout like lava!

We achieved a delicious aroma and a rich crema on top of the coffee - always a good sign that the coffee is fresh, the grind is right and the heat is correct - pushing through the coffee at a nice even rate.

Next, we popped some milk into the Milk Pan and set that to warm up while we poured out the coffees.

There are 3 great features to this Milk pan. Firstly, the single handle makes it easy to move with one hand, as opposed to picking up a cooking pot with two. Secondly, I hate having to try and pour milk out of a pot, I always , make a huge mess. This one has a great little spout. Happiness. Finally, the coating on the inside ensures the milk doesn't catch. 

There you have it folks. Delicious coffee extraction and easy warm milk preparation. Thanks Tognana!

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The Youngest Latte Artist in SA?

Tuesday, 21 August, 2018

Meet Jonathan Le Roux. His parents own Cup o Cafe and he is just a little bit obsessed with coffee. He entered the Almond Breeze Latte Art Video Challenge, but he wasn't eleigible to compete because of his age. We were super impressed with his mad skills though and wanted to show him some love! He's certainly got a bright coffee future ahead of him! Well done Jonathan!

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A Video Series for Roasting Beginners

Friday, 10 August, 2018

We are huge fans of Roaster Joe (Joe Marrocco)! He is incredibly giving of his time and knowledge in educating others (and he has submitted some lovely articles to us over the year!s) and although he has just left Cafe Imports to pursue another dream, they worked on this excellent video series together. We found it really enlightening and entertaining.

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Review: The Nespresso Creatista

Monday, 13 August, 2018

This week we got a chance to unbox the Nespresso Creatista Plus and it was a surprisingly good experience. With Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood’s keynote address at Creative Coffee Week still fresh in our minds, one has to consider what the biggest barrier to entry is for consistently good home coffee: Equipment, the skills to use the equipment and the time we have to make good coffee happen. So it was great timing that we received this machine the week after Maxwell's talk as we were able to view it with fresh eyes. 

We have to give credit to Nespresso - they are continually innovating and looking at how quickly this coffee market is evolving - and coming up with coffee products to fit those emerging gaps. Case in point? The first thing we noticed as we unboxed the Creatista Plus is that is has a steam wand, and a proper barista milk jug. And not just any steam wand - a Breville steam wand.  Nespresso built an entire empire on the fact that at home, work and in small-scale hospitality situations people want a quick, consistent shot of espresso. But now they also want to have control over the variables that make the coffee their coffee and understand that giving the user the ability to attempt latte art because they have perfectly textured milk is a big win.

Want a cortado? You pour the exact amount of steamed milk. 

Want a 3 tiered tulip? Well now you can attempt it with the microtextured milk courtesy of the Breville  automatic steam-wand and proper barista jug (It’s pretty impressive!).

Want your milk at a certain temperature? Adjust the heat on the very smart, simple control panel.  

The second thing we noticed is that Nespresso are trying desperately to  change the perception of wastage and enviro-push back to their massive global footprint. With this new line of machines, they are including a re-cycling bag for the used aluminum capsules which can be dropped off at local Nespresso centres. There is a lot of media around this, so we won't bore you with the details, but it is a start and we hope that those of you who do use Nespresso will actually make the effort to re-cycle and to take the bags to the appropriate place. 

We like this machine a lot. It's a solid and easy to use piece of equipment with the ability to control the variables that takes out the need to have skills and is super efficient for people who don't have a lot of time in the mornings.

Now, we just need to find the right coffee to use with this great piece of hardware.

The microtextured foam from the Breville steamwand is pretty damn good, it's just that our latte art needs some work! Make your selection with the dial from the classy interface.

Great crema on the espresso (though this 'flavour' wasn't our favourite!), the automatic steam wand at work.

Will this bag make it to a recycling station? We can hope! At least an effort is being made.

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Review: Brewista Smart Ratio Scale

Thursday, 19 July, 2018

The Brewista Smart ratio scale is exactly that - a smart scale that works on your coffee to water weight ratio and makes it super easy to calculate and time your dosages. 

When it comes to pourovers - home and cafe environments - the difficulty comes in trying to either manually calculate water to grounds targets, and then pacing the amount of water to pour.  The scale automatically calculates the water needed based on the amount of coffee grounds used and chosen ratio.

Dual timing bars display the actual and desired pour rates. Matching the timing bars achieves the recommended 2½ minute pour time.

The Ratio Scale makes a perfect training tool for baristas and coffee lovers alike that want to get their pour over coffee dialed in. It features automatic and fully manual modes, and the water to grounds ratios are adjustable. The Ratio Scale takes care of the math so you can take care of the customers!

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