Walking into Tulip Coffee Bar in Hermanus is like visiting an old family friend's home. The people are friendly and familiar, the staff greet you like a long-lost relative, and everything looks like it’s been there forever - in exactly the right place and with exactly the right feel. If Hermanus is the quintessential Holiday town, then Tulip is the quintessential seaside coffee roastery. The locals have their “usual’ seats and their “usual” orders, and they chat over the newspaper or their latte, greeting friends and cajoling latecomers with hearty laughter.
The unmistakable facade of Tulip in Hermanus
But best of all… is the smell of the place! Freshly ground coffee from one end, and then as the breeze changes slightly, a gust of fresh baked confectionary from On-Shore bakery, situated under the same roof.
The flat white. So good!
We had a selection of milk based beverages, all using the house blend of Ethiopia, Guatemala and a touch of Malawi or Zambia. Deliciously rich and chocolatey, with a big body and a hint of natural caramel sweetness! Perfectly paired with a range of delectable treats from the kitchen, including croissants filled with sweet and savoury fillings and smashed avocado on sour dough bread with a poached egg on top. Yum!
The staff were incredible - very efficient with the orders and the requests from our little party. The food came out quickly and was so delicious. Best of all, we bought a few bags of coffee from the retail section which the staff recommended and ground to our requirements (cue in more delicious smells!)
A place that makes you feel like you belong there!
We chatted to Owner Justin Dods, who informed us about some exciting plans for Tulip in the future. They are expanding their operation by moving a few blocks down the road to a larger dedicated roastery premises, including a fully fledged training centre and a development programme for the unskilled people in Hermanus looking to empower themselves. Onshore Bakery will take over the existing site at 14 Hope street. So if you’re ever in Hermanus, pop into both for an amazing coffee experience and some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet!
We know from our love of braai-ing, that smoke is a natural outcome of getting the best cooked meat. The same is true of coffee roasting, the process creates a large amount of smoke and while this can be managed without an afterburner, more and more roasters are looking for a solution to reduce this output. Neil Maree of Genio Roasters explains.
Choosing a Filtration Device for your Roastery without the smoke and mirrors
Smoke and odours are natural by-products of roasting coffee beans. Filtration devices can reduce smoke by up to 90% depending on various circumstances. Educate yourself on the pros and cons before you accept the quote from the manufacturer and make the capital investment.
We as roasters, our clients, governments and our communities are now more sensitive about climate-impacting activities than ever. While coffee roasters make up the tiniest of fractions of carbon emissions around the world, we are still part of our local communities and want to bring our part in providing a sustainable future for our children.
There are two major parts of smoke removal: Visible and odorous. Visible smoke can be seen from afar and it can quickly turn a community against you if that smoke lingers around or is seen to enter the homes or offices around you. Smoke is of course carcinogenic, so it is not something that anyone wants to have pumped into the living rooms or offices during the day. Odour on the other hand is something that many new roasters think of as a romantic, coffee flavoured scent. But this is far from the truth. Coffee roaster smoke smells nothing like real coffee and is considered an irritating odour by most. Especially if you have to smell it day after day. Both visible smoke and odour need to be treated, but some methods are better than others at treating one or the other.
Roaster Compatibility of Filtration Devices
It is very important to remember that a filtration device, such as an afterburner or an electrostatic precipitator (ESP) filter, is compatible with any roaster. You do not have to buy a manufacturer’s specific unit. It is like a trailer for a car. Any manufacturer’s afterburner or ESP filter can work on any roaster. So, when a manufacturer quotes you on an afterburner, it does not have to be used on that particular manufacturer’s roaster; It can be used interchangeably.
There are currently 3 ways to reduce smoke during the roasting process – with an Afterburner, an ESP filter or a Wet Scrubber.
The cost, maintenance, and efficacy of these devices require careful consideration
1. What is an Afterburner?
The more traditional way of minimising smoke in a coffee roastery is with an afterburner. An afterburner is essentially an insulated tube with a high power gas burner. Smoke enters the chamber and is incinerated by the burner into carbon. Nearly all of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and smoke particles are reduced to carbon, leaving virtually no visible smoke or odour.
Catalytic Afterburner or Catalytic Converter
A catalytic afterburner or catalytic converter is the modern upgrade to an afterburner. One of the main advantages of a catalytic converter is that they reduce the operating temperature of the afterburner. Afterburners require about 700 to 800°C to reduce smoke to carbon. By using a catalytic converter, you can reduce the temperature to about 350 or 400°C, which means that you also use far less gas.
These unique devices reuse the hot air from the afterburner for roasting. After the smoke and odour are burned off, the hot air is fed back into the roaster to roast the beans. This is by far the most energy-efficient smoke abatement system on the market and Genio Roasters is investing heavily into getting technology to market. Companies like Loring and IMF have already implemented such systems to good effect although the cost for such systems can still be prohibitive to most.
Capital Investment and Gas Usage
The initial capital investment for an afterburner is high and if you add a catalytic converter to that it is even higher (but a cat almost halves your gas bill). By increasing your initial investment, you can decrease your running cost on the afterburner by using a catalytic converter. Catalytic converters do have a shelf life, so they do have to be replaced at some point and the manufacturer of the unit can give you some indication of when that should happen.
Efficacy and Sustainability
Afterburners can reduce 90-95% of the visible smoke and odour from your roastery. However, from an environmental and sustainability perspective it is unfortunately not as ideal, because it is simply displacing your carbon footprint from one point to another. You are reducing your own smoke, but the gas usage also creates a carbon footprint, and you are simply displacing that to whoever supplied your fossil fuel to create the gas which you used to reduce your own carbon footprint.
We cannot get away from the sustainability issue, but we can at least reduce the impact that smoke has on our immediate community by filtering out the smoke that our coffee roasters produce. Just remember that a coffee roasting machine in itself does not produce smoke. It is the coffee that you put into the roaster that produces smoke.
Bear in mind that afterburners can be susceptible to fires. Because of the high operating temperatures, any buildup of coffee oils in the pipes or chaff that is blown into the unit will immediately be set alight. So while the afterburner itself is low maintenance, the system around it still needs to be maintained, although this is always the case for any roaster.
2. What is an Electrostatic Precipitator (ESP)?
The second way of reducing smoke is through an electrostatic precipitator (ESP). An ESP works by producing an extremely high voltage current that passes on the electrons to the smoke, charging the smoke negatively and allowing magnetism to do its magic in filtering out the ions.
Let’s put our science hats on for a moment: Think of creating tiny little magnets from each and every smoke particle, and then introducing a ground plate (usually an aluminium plate) that is positively charged (Earth is seen as “positive” in this scenario since it is not “negative” as such). The electrons are negative, the ‘ground’ is positive, and the little magnets that you have created, that is the smoke that passed through this super-high voltage area, charges the little smoke particles negatively, and they then stick to the earth plate.
In other words, an ESP device is a big box with wires inside, typically tungsten wires, through which a super-high voltage is run, that creates a high-density electron field (called a corona). When the smoke passes through it, the electrons attach to the smoke, charging the smoke negatively, and they stick to the ground plates - meaning that all the smoke and volatile organic compounds and all the dirt that goes into the smoke, stick to the plates and thereby filtering out the smoke.
Maintenance and backpressure
Firstly, there is a lot of maintenance required to keep the ESP filters clean. The plate that now has all the smoke particles attached to it, needs to be washed and can be very time-consuming and labour intensive. Your maintenance schedule will depend on your roasting load and frequency. Again, your ESP manufacturer can give you advice on how often this will be required. A pressure washer is ideal for this, but you will need to put in the time and effort to make it work.
The second problem is that an ESP filter creates backpressure, and normally roasting machines don’t like backpressure. Think of it as a resistor that has been placed into your chimney system. We want to get the smoke away from the coffee to avoid a smoky flavour. If we introduce a resistor into the smokes’ pathway, we create resistance against this smoke, and it pushes some of that smoke back.
Lastly, ESP devices are not nearly as effective as afterburners on larger coffee roasters. While a 6kg machine may still get away with 2x ESPs in series, a 15kg will need 4x ESPs in a 2x2 grid configuration to be as effective as an afterburner. Even 4x ESPs will still be cheaper than a single afterburner, but the time that it will take to clean out the ESPs with a pressure washer may well be worth the additional investment.
To get past the backpressure problem, you may need to install an inline booster fan after the ESPs to help the roaster’s fans to get the air past the resistance introduced by the ESPs.
3. What is a Wet Scrubber?
The third way of reducing smoke is with a wet scrubber. When the hot air from the coffee roaster enters the wet scrubber filtration system, it flows through a chamber containing atomized water that flash-evaporates on contact, cooling the contaminants to a temperature low enough that they condense from vapour into droplets. The centrifugal force inside the cyclone then draws the droplets to the walls where they are caught by a flow of water and flushed downward.
The wet scrubber’s main claim to fame is the handling of gaseous emissions, which are assumed to be the primary culprit of odour transmission. They also reduce the risk of fires by maintaining a clean cyclone and stack.
A well-known roasters’ forum describes wet scrubbing as follows: “It is basically a device that takes air pollution and turns it into water pollution”. By only trapping the pollutants in the water, you run the risk of contaminating the wastewater system with corrosive and harmful partials, which requires further treatment to meet wastewater regulations.
All of the science and all of the theory behind volatile organic compounds and smoke prove that wet scrubbers do not work. It is my professional opinion that they do not work and cannot do the work that is required to effectively reduce smoke.
Bringing it all Together
Afterburners are expensive considering the initial capital investment, and they are also expensive to run, because of their high gas consumption; they typically use twice as much gas as the roaster itself. Therefore, your gas cost is high, and your initial capital investment is high. If you go with a catalytic converter, your initial capital investment is even higher, but your running cost is far lower. The result: your efficiency of reducing smoke in your roastery is very high, between 90 - 95%.
An ESP, on the other hand, has a lower initial capital investment, it has a very low running cost, but it requires regular maintenance and cleaning. It is not as robust or as effective as an afterburner.
I urge you to speak to your manufacturer and compare the initial investment, together with the running cost and maintenance, before deciding which filtration device is the best for your business.
In closing, accept your responsibility in reducing pollution, and stay mindful of eliminating smoke during roasting.
The World Barista Championships gathers the best baristas from around the globe to compete on coffee’s biggest stage. Due to COVID-19, the 2020 Championship is finally taking place in October 2021 at HOST Milano in Italy. Our SA Champion, Winston Thomas, had the choice to compete or defer to Melbourne 2022. He chose to defer to next year, which opened the door for runner up, Stevo Kühn of Urban Brew, Bloemfontein, Free State to represent South Africa this year!
Why are global competitions like this important? Well, as in sport, we learn more from being part of the global community and the more individuals we can expose to the international scene, the more benefit our local community gains.
So the whirlwind planning has begun! Because this was an expected and unmissable opportunity, Stevo needs our help to fund the expense of going to represent South Africa. Any support will be appreciated. For him to put on the best possible performance we’re asking the coffee community to come together to support.
Funds raised will be going towards covering expenses such as; flights, accommodation, coffee for a world stage, some small equipment and the stage set up to ensure a smooth set. You can support here.
Stevo is one of the most passionate and humble coffee professionals in the industry and we know he will do us proud. He has this to say about the experience so far!
"What a crazy time.
With less than 3 weeks until comp, I managed to get a coffee, a team and now get buckling down with the set. My recent trip to Kenya proved to be very valuable in my story, so very excited to be sharing that to a bigger audience. I will only be happy when I feel that I’ve represented myself and SA well, so here we go. Seeing that this all happened so quickly I had to rely on a few people for support:
Alessandro Morrico - Morrico Imports
Dario - Bluebird Coffee Roastery
George Karatzas & Shawn Cloete - Equipment Café
Team Urban Brew for really behind me and enabling me to do this while they run things back home."
Let's do this!
The first thing you notice when you walk into Egg in the new Cavendish Mall annex in Cape Town is the Deluxe Coffee Bar greeting you. And this is necessary! A caffeine hit from a perfectly extracted espresso from the brand new La Marzocco GB5 is just the ticket to get you pumped for a very cool, very unusual shopping experience! Shout out to Sedick for the awesome cortado.
I’m not one for malls at the best of times and I’m not really one for shopping either. But give me some cool brands, showing off just a few pieces of their very best stuff, and I’m in! The closest experience I’ve had to this previously was in Yokohama, Japan in a collaborative surf-concept store, where each brand just had a very small space to show off their best stuff - it’s like a curated shopping experience for people who want some thing different and something limited edition!
The other thing I noticed (and this is something that anyone in coffee will really appreciate!) the staff in Egg are very cool people, who are invested and knowledgable about the products on display. Like a barista who can tell you all about the coffee origin, the processing and the farmers… these guys can you about the latest sneakers, who designed them, why they are special and how few were released!
There is all kinds of cool stuff in there, but also good food, health and wellness, and beauty products. My only criticism would be the purple lighting which I found weird, but other that that, I guarantee, if you visit, you’ll come away with a retail experience unique in SA.
Moses and Philip pictured here with Jono Robinson of Bean There Coffee Company, who features in their Episode on Direct Fair Trade
Phillip Theletsane and Moses have been learning about specialty coffee over a number of years and instead of keeping all that knowledge to themselves they decided to create a platform to share it with the ever-growing coffee community in South Africa. We saw they chatted to A Shot in the Dark 3rd Placed competitor Rory Lambson of The Black Sheep Coffee Company and were so excited to hear the interview.
We are all about Specialty Coffee based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Our goal is to have conversation about Coffee in the most fun and accessible way via our podcast. We review coffee beans, brewing methods, highlight the stars behind a cup you get at your local café, discuss the coffee culture and issues in the Specialty coffee industry. We believe coffee is for everyone, regardless of race, gender, background and age. Join us in this journey, as we share our experiences and learn about the world of coffee. Nothing beats a black cup of coffee, believe us when we say that!
Originally published in Issue 35 of The Coffee Magazine
You miss travelling? Food and coffee can take you where you wish to go…
Words by Kamini Pather
Foodie culture is an exploration of flavour and shared experience through the wonderful world of food. As we explore the flavours of coffee, we realise more and more that different origins have different flavour characteristics, much in the same way as tasting the traditional dish when visiting a new country represents a lot of what you have to look forward to. Take a whirlwind tour through the world of flavour with Kamini Pather, Masterchef Winner and accomplished food writer. She also put together a coffee-infused recipe especially for you!
During these Covid times, one is reminded of a world where we used to travel to far flung places, eat food that made one’s toes furl with excitement and drink coffee with beautiful strangers in holes in walls. A coffee-infused tryst always felt like it was just around the corner until a year ago when the rules of the world got flipped on their heads.
Since winning Masterchef South Africa in 2013 I have been lucky with my travel itinerary. On the show we visited Ethiopia, where I learnt that the green coffee bean and popcorn share food pairing notes. The green-ness of the coffee bean and the popcorn kernel taste similar. I did not know that before that trip.
I then travelled to 10 international destinations while on shoot for my TV show, Girl Eat World, where I met with food bloggers who hosted me in their cities with gusto. We ate everything we could find and I jumped off a building and out of a plane and lived to tell the tale (only just!). I cooked risotto with a Milanese chef who didn’t speak any English; and I don’t speak Italian; but we knew the food names and the recipe so we connected through the food. I ate ice-cream in Dubai made with a carpet-cleaning root that gives the ice-cream a nougat-esque texture and allows it to withstand the temperatures of the Middle East. I went to a restaurant in Berlin that utilised only “ugly” vegetables in order to reduce food waste. I walked through the Ginza district in Tokyo which is home to high fashion and rooftop bee hives. The hives are a prized possession in the city and the honey is used to make a very fancy honey cake that is sold at the premium chain stores. I went to wet markets in Bangkok where I regret not eating a local delicacy called Dancy Shrimps, which is a street food of finger-digit-sized shrimp that are eaten while they’re alive. They DANCE down your throat. Yes, I ate some crazy things and don’t regret it for a moment!
On some personal travels, I visited Berlin to run the Berlin Half Marathon and curated my travel diary with breakfast, lunch and dinner plans of places that I had researched for weeks before my arrival. I ate at my first Michelin Starred restaurant with Tim Raue. He actually sat with me and talked to me about his food and his thinking around his recent feature in Netflix’s Chefs Table series. (He wasn’t as intense as the TV show depicted him but then most male chefs have a penchant for starry eyed women, I have learned). On that very trip I took a train to Amsterdam, where I spent my birthday. It was my first birthday alone and it was an exquisite experience because I got to be completely indulgent and do whatever my heart desired, which included perusing the shelves of grocery stores identifying random ingredients and brands of food that I had never seen. I got to spend hours at organic markets and eat ice cream multiple times a day from the places that I’d found to be noteworthy. I made contact with a Dutch musician who gifted me a ticket to his show in Amsterdam on the night of my birthday. Even though my bicycle chain broke on the way home, I got to walk the cobble stoned paths between the canals during a crisp Amsterdonian evening - I was in heaven.
At some point I went to India where I completed a yoga instructors course in Kerala. I am a 4th generation South African Indian and expected to have the “motherland epiphany” (the kind that American rappers seem to have in SOUTH Africa when most of them hail from the North) but instead I felt very South African. I learnt that culturally, we are very different but that the joy was found in the food that I sampled from street side vendors. I ate ice cream in the cold Gujirathi winter, but the milk was creamier than I recall from back home and I couldn’t get enough of the fresh fruit flavours mixed with earthy spices like cardamon and nutmeg. The Indians make flat bread, chapati, that puffs up like a Blowfish when cooked on an open gas fire element. They scoop up unctuous dhals and mostly vegetarians food in the North. While the South is full of seafood imbibed with coconut and sometimes tamarind. That sweet-sour taste of South Asian is similar to what I grew up with so it reminded me of home but also broadened the horizon of my palate. It gave me insight to a culture of people through their food. Food that I consider to be my own even though I was born so far away.
Over lockdown, I found myself back in my hometown, Durban. I got to cook and eat with my family, which meant that I ate dishes I had only eaten in childhood. During lockdown we all became Master Chefs because we were bored and we had to eat. This was one upside of the Covid-19 pandemic, people started to cook again. I mean, who didn’t make a banana bread or attempt some sourdough starter? It was over this time that I got to slow my life down and cook because I felt inspired. I started cooking the way I did before this whole food journey began. I cooked as a creative outlet and I cooked with whatever was in my fridge and pantry. I cooked my feelings and the result was damn delicious! The recipes I ended up cooking often were those that had a South African Indian crossover with global food culture. I cooked in small batches so that my housemate and I didn’t have to eat the same thing for days on end (my nightmare) and I decreased the sugar in desserts and cakes, while also decreasing starch in the food. When applied to South African Indian food, that’s a big step because the food is often irrelevant with its double-carb-life. South African Indian food is not shy to throw in potatoes, rice and beans with bread. I am a runner, yogini and generally sporty person. I believe that one should always trust the skinny chef because they understand the balance about food and life. Food serves people and allows them to live their best lives, much like coffee. Literally. Not in the Millennial way of speaking. That led me to produce my ebook, Eat Glocal. It’s a concise collection of a few recipes that I cooked during lockdown. Cauliflower Rice Lamb Biryani, Bacon Dhal, Cardamon, White Chocolate and Sunflower Seed Blondies, to name some of the highlights.
The recipe I’ve created especially for Coffee Mag is a spiced coffee rub that I’ve laced a very Hipster-cut of beef, The Skirt, with. It’s part of the Flank that is intensely flavour, being on the underside of the beast. Another upside of this cut is that it is super quick to cook after a little overnight marination which doesn’t need more than a sprinkle of the spice mix and some time in the fridge.
This rub is a sweet, smokey, spicy combo. I chose Skyline Coffee’s Neighbourhood Blend because it’s a Guatemalan/Ethiopian blend (a throwback to my visit), with grapefruit, dark chocolate and plum undertones that work beautifully with the warm earthy spices I’ve paired it with.
Spiced Coffee Steak Rub
900g skirt steak
2 tbsp salt
3 tbsp dried chipotle powder
2 tbsp Skyline Coffee’s Neighbourhood Blend, ground
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp cayenne
1 tbsp black pepper, whole
1 tbsp coriander seed, whole
½ tsp cumin seed, whole
½ tsp dried red chilli flakes
6 cloves garlic, sliced
600ml oat milk
4 tbsp coconut oil, melted
The day before you serve the steak, trim any excess fat. Pat dry. Sprinkle with salt.
Mix all the dry spices together. Using a pestle and mortar, grind the whole spices and add to the mix. Apply the dry rub to the steak and place on a wire cooling rack with a tray underneath. Place the steak in the fridge, uncovered overnight.
Take the steak out of the fridge at least 2 hours before you cook it. It needs to be at room temperature before you cook it.
Using a mandolin, slice the garlic. Divide the milk into 100ml portions and boil the garlic in 100ml of oat milk, 3 times. Each time, strain the milk and keep for cauliflower puree. After the 3rd boil, drain the garlic slices and dry on kitchen towel. The garlic should not have any excess milk on it.
In a small, deep pot, heat the coconut oil. Fry the garlic in batches until golden. The garlic will burn early and turn bitter so don’t take your eye off it. Drain the crisp garlic on kitchen towel and reserve the oil.
Heat a cast iron pan until it starts to smoke. It needs to be HOT. Brush off the excess dry rub from the steak. Using a pastry brush, brush the steak generously with the garlic-infused coconut oil. Fry for 3-5 minutes per side. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with some cauliflower puree, greens and sprinkle with garlic crisps.
One of the important decisions we made about this year's CCW was that we wanted to make it available to everyone. Through the YouTube feed we were able to share the knowledge and through the Experience Kits we were able to bring the flavours of the week to anyone in the comfort of their own homes or roasteries! They were a hit!
We are giving one of these incredible CCW Kits worth R3000 away to one lucky winner! All you need to do is fill in the Entry Form below, winner will be announced on International Coffee Day, 1 October.
These would not have been possible without the incredible Sponsors of this event.
Thank you to each and every one of the speakers who gave generously of their time and knowledge to grow our SA industry.
Fill in the form below to enter, the answers can be found at the Creative Coffee Week links above!
What's so special about a KeepCup? Well, the thing is, KeepCup have been doing this reusable cup business for a lot longer than most and remain market leaders in the category. They've used their experience over the years to make sure that everything they do is within their ethos, no matter which material they use in their ever-expanding range of eco-conscious designs. They've been pretty iconic and synonymous with the reusable cup movement.
This particular KeepCup (pictured above) is part of the "Brew" range - it is made for the more discerning customer and for baristas themselves. Designed to enjoy the craft and sensory pleasure of coffee on the go. KeepCup Brew is a durable glass reusable coffee cup that's barista standard for the perfect pour. It's lightweight, easy to carry and with a press fit sipper lid it's lovely to drink from - lid on or off.
Are you a coffee lover? Visit Tipto to order your KeepCup now.
Are you a Cafe Owner? Get in touch with Ashleigh to talk Wholesale!
Check out this video where we use the KeepCup Brew in a home barista demo with SA Champ Winston Thomas: