Looking to buy an espresso machine for home? We unbox the Breville Barista Touch

Friday, 11 June, 2021

We get asked this almost weekly by you, our readers: "Which espresso machine do I buy for home?" and the fact is that there is no simple answer that fits everyone's needs. It really is about you, and you need to answer these three simple questions before you buy:

1. How much money do you want to spend?

2. How invested are you in learning the process?

3. How much time do you want to spend making coffee every day?

Like all things in life - you pay for what you get. What we've found over the last 9 years of working with the best espresso machines in SA is that you get a lot more value, the more you pay. 

The good news is that there are some budget friendly options that really box above their weight class and one of those is the Breville series from @home.

Up till now, we have always been huge fans of the Breville Barista Express, (R9999 from @home) for value-for-money, but the new Breville Barista Touch, as you'll see from the video below, packs so much more punch for the price of R19 999.

Watch the video and you'll see why!

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WIN for Fathers Day with Red Espresso!

Tuesday, 8 June, 2021

Celebrate your cappuccino buddy and WIN this epic prize for your Dad this Fathers Day!

WHAT CAN YOU WIN?

1 x Ground Rooibos 1kg pack

1 x @aeropress Coffee Maker

1 x latest issue of The Coffee Magazine

A prize worth R1250, fit for the Best Dad Ever, wouldn't you say?

HOW TO ENTER: Follow this simple two step process:
Follow @redespresso and @thecoffeemag

Comment below and tell us why your Dad is the BEST!

For an extra entry, share this post to your story tagging @redespresso and the @thecoffeemag

The winners will be announced on our page on 14 June 2021. T’s and C’s apply. Winners must be based in South Africa.

Good luck you guys!

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Fight the cold snap! Hot Toddy Recipe with Red Espresso

Thursday, 3 June, 2021

The change of the seasons brings with it new challenges for our bodies to cope with. I don't know about you, but I definitely need an extra cup of coffee to get going in the dark mornings and we could all use a few extra vitamins and antioxidants to keep our immune systems strong as the cold seeps in! We love this comforting recipe at the end of a busy day for a boost of goodness.

Kick that cold with this antioxidant loaded version of an old favourite.

Ingredients

  • 25 ml honey liqueur or whisky
  • 110 ml red espresso Rooibos
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 slices ginger
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 large mint sprig

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small pot and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes.
  2. Serve immediately and drink warm.

Where can you find Red Espresso?

Order it online direct from the Red Espresso 

Find it in store at @Home, Woolworths, Dischem, Pick n Pay, Checkers and Spar and many more.

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What is Cup Of Excellence?

Wednesday, 26 May, 2021

One of our favourite coffee farmers, Tesfaye Bekele Degaga, who joined us in Durban for Creative Coffee Week 2019 has just in awarded 3rd place in the 2021 Cup of Excellence competition! This is an incredible achievement and we are so proud of the amazing work they're doing.

We thought this was a good opportunity to explore what the competition is about and what it means when you see this on a bag of coffee.

 Programs like these are changing the fates of farmers all over the world and affecting the quality, and price, of the final cup that you buy in your local café. Michael MacDonald, of Sevenoaks Trading was selected to participate in Rwandan Cup of Excellence 2013 judging panel and shared his experience with us to give you some insight into this prestigious competition.

Words by Michael MacDonald


Cup of Excellence is one of the most revered awards given out for high quality coffees. The awards are determined by a strict competition with a panel of skilled judges that selects the very best coffee lots produced in that country for that particular year. The quest for the perfect cup, some would argue quite a subjective thing, is best described by the competition’s co-creator, George H. Howell.

“The Cup of Excellence® competition cycle was conceived with the purpose of finding masterpiece lots of coffee from hundreds of entries. This requires a dedication to key details and an unrelenting repetition in the cupping search process that has become the unique signature of the Cup of Excellence experience. We all become students again and share in the rejuvenation of the true discovery of quality”.

The process I am about to describe is replicated in coffee producing countries across the globe. A pre-selection process, performed by the enthusiastic and persistent national cuppers of Rwanda, reduces the number of entries to approximately 105 coffees through visual inspection and cupping analysis. 

Cupping is one of the coffee tasting techniques used by coffee professionals to evaluate coffee aroma and the flavor profile of a coffee. To understand the minor differences between coffee growing regions, it is important to taste coffee from around the world side-by-side. Cupping is also used to evaluate a defective coffee or to create coffee blends.

The pre-selected coffees are then cupped at least five different times during the competition process. Only coffees that continuously score high enough are allowed to move forward in the competition. The final winners are awarded the prestigious Cup of Excellence® (COE) and sold to the highest bidder during an internet auction.

I was fortunate enough to participate in the CoE in Rwanda. Our home base was at a Hotel about 50km east of Kigali (a place of cold showers, dysfunctional toilets and beds that suddenly break while you’re sleeping-nonetheless it was a fantastic experience with amazing people). It was about a 20-minute bus drive to the cupping lab. There were 17 international judges, 2 national judges and 6 observers (first timers to CoE). The group consisted of coffee professionals like roasters, company owners and green bean coffee buyers from the likes of the US, UK, Germany, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Norway, Japan, South Korea, Russian Federation, and Australia. This vast array of cultures really added a layer of deeper perspective on these incredible coffees.

Opinions on the quality aspects of a coffee’s profile might be slightly different dependent on the culture. This does not refer to the method, because of course there is a standard methodology behind coffee tasting but different flavour attributes will be held in higher esteem in certain cultures. Having a group of international judges analysing these top coffees creates a more suitable grounding for these coffees to be sold on an international level, with so many palates to please from Japan to Germany, the coffee that performs well across the board will be exceptional. Being a judge is about being able to discern between these differences and being able to choose which direction to lean towards with regards to the actual scoring.

To give you an idea of what this judging cupping scenario was like: of the 40 cups per table, at least 2 sips were needed of each cup; one to prime the palate and the second to taste. We then had to taste the coffees as they cooled- this ended up being at least 6 sips of each cup, which amounts to 240 sips in one round. Spitting is important, unless you want caffeine poisoning. The duration of one round is an hour. After a round we would all head for the discussion room and the head judge, Sherri Johns, would accumulate and compare scores, and we would discuss the coffees flavour profiles and quality levels.

On the first three days we had three of these tables a day, as there was an unforeseen problem: the power had tripped while the guys at the lab were roasting the competition coffees. On top of that, the generator they had as backup also failed. A normal challenge in an African city.

This ‘unexpected’ problem took a little while to get sorted out, and so the amount of coffees to be tasted piled up. On the 4th day, we had a couple of extra tables to squeeze in. We did 50 coffees then- the most I’ve ever cupped in my life in one day.

Clarity of thought became difficult at the 5th and last table of that day. Everything became mechanical. Slurp…spit…slurp again…spit...brief ponder…..separate aspects of profile…record…double check…move on. In this situation you learn just how important it is not to over-analyse. In this state of mind, coming across an exceptional coffee is like seeing an annoying ‘pop-up ad’ on a computer screen after staring at it for hours, except that in this situation it’s not annoying, it’s the complete opposite, it’s enthralling; your tastebuds have found excellence. 

The following day we had one round to taste the Top 10 up against each other. This was exciting for everyone involved. The only problem was discerning excellence between excellent coffees. It was fun, intense, stimulating, and slightly stressful, the fate of the farmers and the price they will fetch at the auction lies in your hands. After one long, hard hour had passed, Sherri, the head judge, announced that time was up.

We all went into the discussion room and the usual happened but with a great deal more excitement. These would be the top coffees in Rwanda for 2012 and flavour profile descriptions had to be written for the auction, which would take place near the end of September. All the judges chipped in enthusiastically with descriptors they thought stood out for them. All this was done ‘blind’, which meant we had no idea which farmer’s coffee we were tasting.

Much like the selection of the award-winning wines we have out there, the Cup of Excellence program has created the availability of exceptional coffees for those consumers who have a discerning palate and growing appreciation for the craft of coffee. Inevitably, CoE and competitions like it will raise the bar in the coffee industry globally. The very presence of carefully crafted CoE coffee is enough to get anybody questioning their morning cup.

Where a coffee has placed in a CoE competition will determine its overall quality and therefore value to the general market. The coffees are then auctioned- the bidders are people normally heavily involved in the coffee industry and are willing to pay high prices for mind-blowing coffee. For consumers the Cup of Excellence award is a guarantee that these are great coffees that have been judged by professional cuppers to be the best coffees from a particular region for that year. The payment to the farmers for their coffee is far more than fair. There is no other program that is as exciting for the coffee lover, the roasters and especially the farmers whose monetary reward often changes the lives of their entire family and the rural communities where they live.  This effect was evident the next day at the awards ceremony.

The Awards Ceremony took about 2-3 hours by bus getting to a large open field in the northern province, quite close to Musasa Cooperative, probably about 1600 metres above sea level. ‘Important people’, farmers, friends, judges, local TV news reporters, kids, performers, etc.: all amassed in this beautiful space to await the results of what is now Rwanda’s 4th Cup of Excellence competition. Rwanda is a country steeped in coffee; even the National Currency bears the beans!

The ceremony started with a very energetic song and dance play of sorts-not sure what it was actually- I did however hear the word ‘Ikawa’, coffee in Kinyarwanda, a number of times sung with such fervor, that it made me realise just how serious the Rwandans are about coffee. It was a great show and was followed by lengthy acknowledgements and an introduction by Grant Rattray (managing director of Alliance for Coffee Excellence).

The awards were then announced in ascending order, and I managed to see Epiphanie, who owns BUF Cafe get awarded 7th position with a scoring of 88.22, jump up out of her seat near to the front row in a mustard-yellow dress uncontrollably waving her arms in the air shouting with joy. It was a beautiful sight.

1st position was awarded to GITESI, a co-operative in the Western Province, with a scoring of 90.19.

An Elder was chosen from the small group of farmers involved and dedicated to this particular lot to represent GITESI- his name was Gahizi Alexis. He held the trophy high above his head, dancing and singing with the other farmers while cameramen, judges, government officials and everybody else who wanted to partake in this unique scenario encircled the winning farmers.

In the background another coffee song was brewing. This time, I’m sure I could understand what they were singing about.


Cup of Excellence is the most prestigious competition and auction for high quality coffees. The level of scrutiny that Cup of Excellence coffees undergo is unmatched anywhere in the specialty coffee industry. Each year, thousands of coffees are submitted for consideration, with winning coffees sold in global online auctions at premium prices, with the vast majority of auction proceeds going to the farmers.

The Cup of Excellence competition has pioneered integrity and transparency in the coffee industry, ensuring the value of winning coffees. Each sample entering the competition process is assigned a number known only to the auditor for each competition, and each jury member cups the coffee blind. In addition, each lot is documented through the entire process so that winning coffees are traceable to the farm and exact micro-lot.

Since 1999, the Cup of Excellence (COE) program has set the standard for the increased premiums that farmers have been able to receive for their exemplary coffees. It continues to build a much more transparent infrastructure and gives farmers the tools needed to improve the economic model of their farms.  COE raises funds for coffees farmers in coffee growing countries incentivizing and motivating farmers who know there can be a recognition and financial reward for their hard work and effort.

Competition Process

The competition is rigorous, with cupping evaluations conducted over a three-stage process by industry experts: first by a National Jury of about a dozen qualified jurors from the origin country, and then by an International Jury, comprised of approximately 20-25 experienced jurors from around the world.  A competition with 300 entries yields an average of 9,000 analyzed cups, with each “Top 10” coffee being cupped at least 120 times. This process ensures elite top-quality consistent coffees enter the COE auction.

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Know where your coffee comes from! Have you tasted a coffee from Nicaragua?

Wednesday, 26 May, 2021

This coffee roasted by Backyard Brew is versatile as its subtle sweetness can be enjoyed over various brewing methods.

THE STORY
Datanli El Diablo by Don Byron is one of four coffee farms under the Campesinos Coffee Collection. The project promotes fair payment to producers, teaching them how to care for soil, recycling, protecting the biodeversity of land and improve relationships between neighbouring farmers. Don Byron Herrera is a young farmer who loves his land and his work like nobody else. His father taught him field work as a child and when he grew up he decided to study agricultural engerneering to take his farm to the next level. El Paraiso is the property of Don Byron and located inside the protected nature reserve of Datanli El Diablo. The coffee is cultivated with good agricultural practices and under the agroforestry system that maintain the ideal microclimate for coffee. Since Don Byron has dedicated himself to the coffee world, he has invested time and effort in uniting and training other farmers in his community.

THE FACTS
Producer: Don Byron Herrera
Farm: El Paraiso
Region: Isabelia Mountain Range, Jinotega, Nicaragua
Coffee Grade: Washed
Altitude: 1200 m.a.s.l

CUP PROFILE
Deep chocolate flavours, walnuts, citric acidity with balanced sweetness.

We will be exploring the amazing coffees included in this box in the coming weeks! Get yours now!

Infood Roastery - Coffee Society - JBay

This single origin Nicaragua will entice your senses with a deep toasty aroma of walnuts on the nose, a medium citric acidity on the tongue and good body all around your mouth as you savour the chocolaty notes and lingering cocoa aftertaste with each sip!

The Roasters Mug - Dundee

The Dundee Blend from The Roaster's Mug is a silky, full bodied coffee with notes of chocolate and nuts. This roastery in Northern KZN roasts small batches by hand and is dedicated to putting fresh coffee into people's hands at an affordable price.

Backyard Brew - Cape Town

This exceptional coffee from Nicaragua Sajonia Estate is versatile as it's subtle sweetness can be enjoyed over various brewing methods. You can expect deep chocolate flavours, walnuts, with a bright, citric acidity and balanced sweetness.

Rise & Grind - Durban

The Rise & Grind ‘Good Morning Blend' is slightly sweet with undertones of caramel and almond, finished off with a lingering dark-chocolate aftertaste. This two-bean blend from Colombia and Brazil is medium-roasted for a perfectly smooth morning brew. Enjoyed as an espresso or in milk-based coffees.

Brüder Coffee Roasters - Klerksdorp

Ethiopia Adado Yirgacheffe is a Natural Processed Coffee. This coffee is sweet, soft & easy drinking in a milk beverage with medium acidity and hints of blueberries. Adado is at it's best in Filter Methods (Especially Chemex or Pour Over). Slurp the coffee untill it reaches the back of your palet and you will get a burst of Blueberries!



 

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Win A Bialetti and Rise Up Africa tee

Thursday, 27 May, 2021

It is a very special time of year, especially for coffee lovers in South Africa.  

Not only is it the beginning of the winter, which means warming up with a delicious, hot coffee at home or at your local cafe, but it is the time of year when we celebrate the coming together of two Geographical regions that heavily influence the coffee world. 

Africa is considered the birthplace of coffee. While Italy is considered the birthplace of espresso and the espresso machine. 

Africa Day and Italian National Day are exactly one week apart. 

Africa Day, also known as African Unity Day, is celebrated annually on May 25. It commemorates the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the precursor to the African Union (AU), on this day in 1963 

Festa della Repubblica  is the Italian National Day and Republic Day, which is celebrated on 2 June each year, with the main celebration taking place in Rome. The Festa della Repubblica is one of the national symbols of Italy

In recognition of these two significant dates, and all that they hold dear to us, we are giving away an appropriate prize! 

A set of two Coffee Magazine “Rise up Africa” tees and a commemorative tricolour version of the Moka Express from Bialetti. 

One depicts the coffee journey from seed to cup through the hands of our African brothers and sisters, the other A nod to the ritual of making real Italian coffee, an iconic product that has been the undisputed symbol of Made in Italy throughout the world since 1933. 

Fill in the form below to stand a chance to WIN!

Remember you can get a 15% discount on the Bialetti store when you use the code CM15% at checkout! Everybody wins :)

Proudly Italian Moka and Rise Up Africa Tee

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Have you ever tasted a pacamara coffee?

Friday, 21 May, 2021

Taste a special Pacamara coffee today! 

Did you know there are just over 100 species of Arabica Coffee?  You may even have heard of some of the most popular ones like Bourbon, Typica, Gesha, Catura or Catuai.

Think about it in wine terms - some common red wine varietals are cabernet sauvignon, merlot, shiraz etc and coffee is no different. They have a distinct and unique flavour! 

We have a very special varietal in this edition of our Discover Great Coffee Club box…drum roll please!  Have you ever tasted the Pacmara varietal? According to World Coffee Research (WCR)  “Pacamara is capable of producing exceptional cup quality.”

Our friends at Faber Coffee in Durbanville were gracious enough to roast this special coffee for us for this edition of the coffee club and it has been a big hit! 

“Maximus”  is the Latin term for the "greatest" or "largest" says Jarrod at Faber Coffee.  “The farmer is Max Perez of Finca La Hermosa Farm in Guatemala. This coffee truly lives up to its name as the Pacamara varietal is one of the largest coffee bean varieties cultivated and with a SCA score of 88 it is not only large but exceptionally great” 

We tasted it, and it is exceptional! 

Grown at an altitude of 2000M ASL coupled with its Natural process is what attributes to this phenomenal flavour profile of creme caramel and whiskey.

If you’d like to taste this delicious coffee, then click here. We only have a few boxes left and we will courier it straight to your door! 

We will be exploring the amazing coffees included in this box in the coming weeks! 

Infood Roastery - Coffee Society - JBay

This single origin Nicaragua will entice your senses with a deep toasty aroma of walnuts on the nose, a medium citric acidity on the tongue and good body all around your mouth as you savour the chocolaty notes and lingering cocoa aftertaste with each sip!

The Roasters Mug - Dundee

The Dundee Blend from The Roaster's Mug is a silky, full bodied coffee with notes of chocolate and nuts. This roastery in Northern KZN roasts small batches by hand and is dedicated to putting fresh coffee into people's hands at an affordable price.

Backyard Brew - Cape Town

This exceptional coffee from Nicaragua Sajonia Estate is versatile as it's subtle sweetness can be enjoyed over various brewing methods. You can expect deep chocolate flavours, walnuts, with a bright, citric acidity and balanced sweetness.

Rise & Grind - Durban

The Rise & Grind ‘Good Morning Blend' is slightly sweet with undertones of caramel and almond, finished off with a lingering dark-chocolate aftertaste. This two-bean blend from Colombia and Brazil is medium-roasted for a perfectly smooth morning brew. Enjoyed as an espresso or in milk-based coffees.

Brüder Coffee Roasters - Klerksdorp

Ethiopia Adado Yirgacheffe is a Natural Processed Coffee. This coffee is sweet, soft & easy drinking in a milk beverage with medium acidity and hints of blueberries. Adado is at it's best in Filter Methods (Especially Chemex or Pour Over). Slurp the coffee untill it reaches the back of your palet and you will get a burst of Blueberries!



 

Got something to say? Then leave a comment!


Recipe: Blondie Oat Latte

Friday, 7 May, 2021

Yes, it is 100% as delicious as it sounds.

BLONDIE OAT LATTE

INGREDIENTS

210 ml Alpro Oat
1 espresso made from fresh beans from your local roastery
35 g White Chocolate  

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Put the chocolate in a glass and add the espresso

  2. Stir until the chocolate has melted

  3. Froth the Alpro Oat and add to the espresso


WAVE: AN ‘EVERYONE WELCOME’ PLANT-BASED CAFE AND COFFEE SHOP IN LONDON’S HACKNEY CENTRAL Meet co-founder, Cait Badham-Thornhill

All vegan locations are still a bit of a rarity here on the Souther Tip of Africa, but if you're looking for inspiration or support in making the move to plant-based, there are some amazing international examples. When ocean-loving Cait and travel addict Sophie first set up shop, it seems almost too right that it should be in an upcycled shipping container! Cupcakes and Shhht started life as cake and coffee stop, selling their to-die-for home bakes out of suitcases. Now, nine years later you’ll find their latest success story, WAVE, in a huge, bright and airy space, all white walls and blonde wood. And all grown up and 100% plant-based.

What made you take that plant-based step?
We didn’t start out vegan. But when Cupcakes and Shhht got to the stage where 80% of our food was meat and dairy-free, plus Sophie and I had both become vegans, it made sense to make the business 100% plant-based, too.

So what’s so good about plant-based?

We are on a mission here! Number one, plants taste great. They’re good for our health. And it’s better for the planet if we all eat even just a little more plant-based. Everyone seems to walk out of our door smiling, vegan or not. Job done!

What does WAVE stand for?

WAVE stands for We-Are-Vegan-Every- thing. And that means ev-er-y-thing! From our ‘Save the Salmon Bagel’ (actually carrots, totally yummy!) to our standout pancake stacks with plant-based cream.

What’s your food philosophy?

We want to serve food that’s delicious, comforting, ethical and honest, in its most natural form.

We love adding healthy twists to familiar favourites. We aim to prove to everyone (vegans and non-vegans!) that eating and drinking plant-based doesn’t mean missing out on a single mouthful of pleasure!

How do you choose your suppliers?

Every ingredient we use has to be the best we can get. We’re lucky here in this foodies’ paradise part of London to have amazing markets all around us, and stores selling stuff from all over the world.

We always look for suppliers who share our values, who care as much as we do about humanity and this little planet we live on. We don’t use meat substitutes – we like the taste and texture of the ingredients to shine through. What’s wrong with beans and pulses just the way they are? We do use plant-based drinks, especially soya, almond and coconut in our bakes. Alpro ticks our boxes in all sorts of ways. The variety of products, sustainable sourcing, energy and waste management. Even their packs are going plant-based.

Anything that takes a little more plastic out of our eco-system is fine by us!

And in your coffee?

Plant-based alternatives for coffee have come such a long way since we started. One regular refused to believe he’d been drinking oat for weeks – until I showed him the carton! It’s got that good. And we love the choice of flavours.

Any tips for start-ups?

Get a good accountant straightaway! Sounds so dullsville, but so important. Stick in there, stick to your values, keep going and something good WILL happen. Eventually!

Where next?

Definitely plant-based! WAVE is our baby and we’re looking forward to watching it grow even bigger and better.

>>>  @we_are_vegan_everything

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