If there's one thing we love about Africa it is the diversity of our natural flora and fauna. We are so lucky to have such amazing access to the bush, the ocean, the mountains and all of the natural splendour of these biomes right here in South Africa, usually within a few hours of wherever you might be!
This week we ventured out to one of our favourite game reserves and, well call it a combination of cabin fever thanks to Lockdown and the fact that we had a new coffee gadget, the Pipamoka to play with, but we felt like little kids let loose in the wild! So we made a video of our first try with this gadget. We followed the instruction manual, as that is always a good place to start before you get into experimentation.
Come join us on a game drive as we discover the unique Pipamoka...
Here's what we love about the Pipamoka on first impressions:
1. You can brew and drink from a single device. That means less stuff to pack and all the things you need are contained in one place.
2. It's simple and sturdy. Perfect for the rugged outdoors and it won't get damaged.
3. You have incredible control of your extraction thanks to the control ring and the Pipamoka gives a very clean cup of coffee that stays hot in your flask for hours!
4. This brewing ritual could become addictive! The twist is completely unique and strangely therapeutic.
The Pipamoka comes in a handy little carry bag. All you need is fresh coffee, hot water and a good grinder for the perfect bush coffee-break!
The coffee stays nice and hot in the stainless steel cup and the robust rubber vacuum lid seals in the heat and the flavour!
For more info visit
Coffee tasting, like wine tasting, can seem pompous and overwhelming as an onlooker or if you’re just starting out on your coffee journey. If you told me 10 years ago that I would taste lemon creams and smell jasmine blooms in a cup of coffee, I would’ve told you you were straight up crazy. But we're here to tell you that coffee tasting can be fun and you will taste some things you never thought possible!
The gist of this article is: Keep it simple, stupid! Stick to the basics. With over 800 unique aromatic compounds contributing to the flavours and aromas found in coffee, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed with the countless ways coffee profiles are identified and described. It’s best to take a few steps back and start off focusing on the five basic tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami (also known as savoury). Take a sip of your coffee, and ask yourself if the coffee has sweetness, sourness, bitterness, etc… Just look for the presence of those tastes to start, and once you’re able to confidently identify them, start asking yourself how sweet, sour, bitter, salty, or savoury the coffee is. Eventually, as you feel more confident with these basic tastes, you’ll be able to take it a step further and ask yourself what kind of sweetness (or sourness or bitterness, etc...) you’re tasting. For example, you can go from tasting that a coffee has sweetness, to tasting that it has a chocolate sweetness, or that it not only has sourness, but a lemon sourness more specifically.
Professionals use tools like the SCA Flavour Wheel (click here for a run down on how to use it) and Le Nez du Cafe kit to improve the senses for tasting, but those are super intense and often inaccessible. One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given in tasting coffee, was to completely ignore anything you’ve learnt about flavour descriptors or stop stressing about not tasting exactly what you’re ‘supposed to’ taste. What?! Seems completely counter-intuitive, right? But let us explain. As your palate becomes more refined – through active tasting, and building your own kind of flavour memory library – you’ll need external reference points less and less. Ignoring the ‘official’ flavour descriptors, either printed on your bag of beans or listed on your cafe’s menu, gives you an opportunity to discover them for yourself, and the more often you challenge yourself to find those flavours, the better developed your palate will become.
Also you don’t have to test your skills on black coffee only. Milk beverages can be the most fun! When we were in Seoul for the World Barista Championship, Winston Thomas’ milk beverage tasted like strawberry yogi-sip. We were like, all South Africans will know this flavour, but we had to use strawberry drinking yoghurt and hope the judges had all tried that at some time in their lives! It was so distinct though, all of us in the team couldn’t believe it! When Lovejoy Chirambasukwa won the National competition in 2013 his cappuccino tasted like dried apricots and cream and my taste buds were in heaven. Of course at that level (the level of coffee competitions) the coffees being used are the best of the best, but ALL coffees are unique and have there own flavours. It’s pretty fun to get into.
African coffees in particular can burst with fruity nuances. The Ethiopians are usually characterised by bright florals and citrus fruits, while the Kenyans bring that deep, red berry and chocolate to the table. There are so many to explore (so ask your barista to tell you what’s in the hopper next time you visit - they will be glad to see you’re interested!) But how do you start to pick up these flavours?
Well, here’s a wacky idea: Grant Harrison of Specialty Coffee Exchange suggests you use jelly beans to train your palate! You can pick up that the white jelly bean is litchi, orange is, well, orange, yellow is lemon. But they all taste like jelly beans right? It’s the same for coffee, they all taste like ‘coffee’ but there are definitely some distinct flavour nuances, and it doesn’t matter if you don’t get the same flavour descriptors as someone next to you, part of the fun is discussing what each person tastes! We’ve sometimes tasted some way out flavours - things that remind us of bovril, leather and malt (like at boarding school when the matron spooned each child a big treacle tasting heap of malt in winter time!) Other times it’s grassy, lime and green apple (my sour glands at the back of my throat are pumping as I write this!)
No matter if you’re just beginning and are eager to learn or if you’ve been tasting coffees from around the world for a while now, the more you taste, the better you get as you build your taste bud’s memories!
So break out the jelly beans and get tasting!
We were very excited to receive a special little sparkly present from the team at Father Coffee in the form of a beautifully packaged box of Jamison Savage's Diamond Geisha! The pictures don't do the box itself justice, but it literally glistens in the sun, a more stunningly packaged coffee you will struggle to find.
The Panama Geisha has become known as one of the world's finest varietals and jamison Savage has become known as one of the world's best producers of this varietal, because of meticulous farming and processing care that the coffees undergo.
The 100g box is beautifully designed with metallic specks that sparkle and glint in the sunshine!
This particular coffee is one of a pair of coffees known as Spectrum and Prism and this is the Spectrum - a carbonic maceration fermentation processed coffee.
The team at Father Coffee give us a bit of insight into what this means: "In this process, perfectly ripe coffee is hand-sorted, pulped, then placed in sealed, temperature-controlled tanks flushed with carbon dioxide. Within this anaerobic environment yeast production and the breakdown of sugar is carefully manipulated to build intensely sweet fruit characteristics and a rich mouthfeel in the cup."
We used the Clever Dripper and followed the recommended brew ratio : 15g coffee to 250g water at 91 degrees C for 3 minutes.
This is a very delicate, wonderfully layered coffee, with notes of lime and nectarine. It has the distinct jasmine tea profile that we know and love of the Panama Geishas with an even more highly polished finish.
What a delicious coffee and an amazing experience! A huge amount of effort has gone into this coffee from farm to final packaging. This is an exciting offering and every coffee lover should try this!
Win an incredible hamper to experiment with your own creations at home. All you need to do is watch the very cool video below and help us come up with the best name!
The Flavour Genius has out done himself with this delicious mouth watering drink. Combining the natural flavours of oven roasted apple and cinnamon with the DaVinci Gourmet salted caramel flavoured syrup binding together with the beautiful Frappease powder, this decadent desert like shake is nothing short of a perfect balance of flavours and textures. Name this drink and like/follow DaVinci Gourmet South Africa on Facebook and you stand a chance to win a DaVinci Gourmet product hamper worth R1500!
DVG Salted Caramel Flavoured Syrup x 50ml
Frappease Powder x 1 scoop
Oven Roasted Apple and Cinnamon pieces
Milk x 200ml
Ice x 1 large cup
*Please note that the flavours in the prize may vary
What’s the difference?
Ever wondered why the rooibos in your red cappuccino® tastes so much stronger and richer than the rooibos you’re used to from a teabag? Here’s why…
It all starts with where and how the tea is grown
4 hours north of Cape Town lies the Cederberg Mountains, an ancient place where time stands still, best known for its craggy rock formations that have thrilled rock climbers for decades. It is here where rooibos grows in a 110km radius amongst the fynbos, and nowhere else in the world. This is because rooibos is part of The Cape Floral Kingdom and strictly speaking is a herbal infusion, or tisane, and NOT a tea. If you’ve ever seen rooibos, it certainly looks like it belongs with fynbos. The bushes have fine needle-like green leaves that, when cut and left to ferment in the sun, turn the reddish-brown colour you are familiar with.
Most rooibos is grown at the foot of the Cederberg Mountains in lower lying regions to make large scale mechanized farming and irrigation an option. But this is not where the red espresso rooibos story begins.
If you continue to travel further up north along dusty dirt roads, you will arrive at the top of the mountain passes and here you will find their tea lands. In this semi-arid isolated area, their tea grows slowly, as nature dictates. Mechanization and irrigation are not possible here and so, with much less rainfall, their rooibos bushes must work harder to survive and therefore grow a lot slower. It is this struggle for survival combined with traditional farming methods that holds the secret to their bolder, richer tasting tea.
After 2 years, their rooibos is hand harvested and then transported back down the treacherous mountain passes to be specially cut to size. It is then laid out on the tea courts, sprayed with fresh mountain water and left to ferment and oxidize overnight to turn from green to rich, dark red.
Carefully cut to meet the specifications of the grind
Once the tea arrives at their factory, it is carefully cut to meet the specifications of their patented grind. This is what ensures maximum flavour extraction from the tea within the optimal time to make the perfect rooibos espresso.
Every batch of the tea is analysed and sensory tests are carried out on final in cup quality.
Everything is done by hand
Hand sewn, hand harvested, hand packed and at last hand crafted into a red cappuccino® by your local café barista for your enjoyment.
An award-winning innovation
It’s no wonder this incredible tea has won 6 global awards since launching in 2005. And not only did it win the SCAA Best New Speciality Product Award in 2008, but it was the first tea and also the first South African product to ever win at SCAA! A proudly South African innovation indeed.
Check out this recipe for the low-down on how to make the perfect red cappuccino®.
Discover the Crop to Cup Journey of this special tea here:
You can buy red espresso® rooibos direct from them online.
Next week, the A Shot in the Dark 2020 Winner will be announced. Mike MacDonald of Sevenoaks Trading has been instrumental in refining the scoresheet we use in the competition. Everyday he works with the SCA cupping scoresheet which helps coffee professionals in their work with getting you the best coffees. In the following article he breaks down how to use this resource.
The SCA cupping sheet is an effective internationally recognised cupping form used for assessing coffee flavour characteristics and quality.
The digital download for this sheet is available here;
Alternatively, if you’d prefer going digital you could try using the app – Catador on Android and iPhone. The low cost for the app is totally worth it. The app also allows you to easily share your sheets as a pdf.
Also, for protocols relating to the scoresheet and its scoring system have a look here;
I’ll go over each category on the sheet to in an attempt to give a little more perspective, which should only be considered supplementary to the protocols defined by the SCA.
The Aromatic bouquet
What’s interesting to note about aroma is that there are currently over 800 different aromatic compounds found in coffee which significantly contribute towards the overall flavour perception. Realistically though, humans only experience a fraction.
Assessing the bouquet in the beginning will give you an idea of what to expect in the cup. You can use this part of the cupping process to be mindful of any faults and note them down, whether they are green quality or roast related. Likewise, great coffees will inform you of their presence.
Anything noted down for flavour should be from the overall flavour experience including aroma which would be experienced retro nasally (On the nose, in reverse through your olfactory epithelium)
A good way to think about how flavour can be perceived is to consider the 5 basic tastes and their composition in coffee. These would be considered the gustatory attributes (everything experienced in the mouth)
– Caramelized sugars and amino-acid complexes. Experienced on the tip of the tongue.
-Various mineral oxides. Experienced on the anterior sides of the tongue, just above where you perceive sweetness.
-Various non-volatile acids. Experienced on the posterior sides of the tongue, just above where you experience salt.
-Caffeine, Trigonelline, Quinic Acid, Chlorogenic Acid, and Phenolic complexes. Experienced on the back of the tongue.
A Japanese word which literally translates to delicious. Derived predominantly from the amino-acid L-Glutamate
Umami is not typically known and used in flavour modulation musings, but it certainly is present.
For a much deeper dive into all of this I would recommend this book;
Flavour perception is greatly affected by the quality and type of acids inherent in the brew. A coffee with a brighter acidity profile will produce a higher level of distinctive fruit notes.
Common Acids that we look for as defining characteristics in coffee. –
Of course, there are many others which don’t typically get used on the SCA scoresheet, but as a roaster, it might be something you would like to start looking for and training towards identifying, particularly when it comes down to optimising roast profiles.
As an example, an unrefined acidity profile with bitter and metallic notes could represent high levels of chlorogenic acids- something that you can augment in roasting. This is one you might want to look out for when developing a new roast profile or enhancing an already existing one.
Is the aftertaste long and positive- score higher. Short and negative- score lower.
Body is the ‘weight’ of the coffee that can best be sensed by allowing the coffee to rest on the tongue and by rubbing the tongue against the roof of the mouth. Coffee body ranges from thin, to light, to heavy and is a result of the fat content (The lipids inherent in the bean). The viscosity or mouthfeel, however, results from proteins and fibres in the brew. The Mouthfeel can be described as creamy, buttery, smooth. etc. Medium and dark coffee roast styles will have a heavier body than lighter roasted coffees, but conversely will generally have less acidity. Different coffees can have different body characteristics too. The fatty acid composition in coffee likely affects how body is differentiated in this way. Coffees fat composition is actually very similar to butter and cotton seed oil.The enzyme- lingual lipase, that gets secreted in the mouth when we consume fat likely has a role to play in the sensory experience of body in coffee.An easy way to think about this would be to think about the textural quality differences between consuming something cooked in one fat versus another.
Defining body quality can be difficult for some and should be practiced regularly, just as seriously as all the other characteristics in coffee.
Uniformity, Clean cup and Sweetness
You’ll use these sections more so if you’re working with lower quality conventional coffees as it pertains more to adjusting the score based on defect spread. Actually, for the average roaster I wouldn’t fret too much about these sections. Q-Graders, Green buyers and people in similar roles are normally the ones who use these on a daily basis.
Nonetheless, becoming more aware of uniformity is likely the first aspect to be focused on with these three categories. If there is anything different about a cup, mark it down, go back and assess. If you are marking this section down, there is the chance that you’ll have to mark down Clean cup and Sweetness too, but that will depend on the defect that created it.
If you are working with Specialty coffees only- then you won’t be using Uniformity, Clean cup and Sweetness (they’ll have full marks by default).
That being said, you can still buy a great value conventional coffee that hovers around 80 points that will score perfect in these areas too.
How do all the aspects of the flavour profile interact with each other? If anything seems out of balance, this should be scored lower. Reviewing what you scored and noted down in each section will give you a good idea of the balance in the cup.
Consider this section a personal appraisal of the coffee. This should be filled out last, after you’ve assessed all the other attributes. Scanning over what you’ve scored and said about the coffee should play into the scoring of this category. Does this coffee represent its terroir in an excellent fashion? Consider scoring a bit higher, if not, score it a bit lower.
Thanks for reading, we hope you found this information useful, and remember;
Roast, cup and refine.
Completely innovative coffee brewing methods come about very rarely. In 2005, the AeroPress was revolutionary. It was plastic. It was a weird shape. It made a pretty fantastic cup of coffee with very little effort. Since then numerous brewers have emerged, none with quite so much impact as the aforementioned weird coffee gadget. Now, over a decade later, the Delter Press put its brewing design into the public eye and it looked a little familiar…But other than being, in this publication’s opinion, a very clever marketing decision, the Delter Press is unlike the AeroPress in all the ways that count. It has gained much attention due to being compared to the AeroPress and in this case, the attention is, however got, well-deserved. It will never replace the AeroPress, one of the most popular brewing methods of the modern age, but it is in its own way unique.
The Delter Press is a completely new alternate press that has been designed from the ground up to solve two major factors that can turn your favourite brew into something a little more lackluster – channeling and agitation. This is ensured by the patented Jet Seal at the bottom of the press that keeps coffee and water completely separate until the moment you decide to press, creating an effect similar to the shower screen in a traditional espresso machine – evenly dispersing water across the entire coffee bed.
Secondly, the plunger isn’t just a plunger; when filling with water, the plunger should be fully inserted into the main chamber – pouring directly into the center of the plunger. At the bottom of the plunger you’ll find a few small perforations and a rubber seal that allows water to flow into the main chamber only when the plunger of the press is lifted.
The clearest, cleanest coffee can be achieved by following the recipe insert that is included with the Press, or by watching one of the many instructional videos at: https://deltercoffee.com/pages/brewing-guide
Being an opinionated coffee nerd, and with the impressive variation of the press, I’ve adapted the original recipe by Delter to something that suits my palate a little better;
It’s never been a better time to be a coffee geek, with hundreds of new gadgets and toys released every year. Often these innovations are flash-in-the-pan ideas that fall flat in usability, practicality and quality of brew. The Delter is not one of these fickle trends. Sure, the Delter isn’t going to replace any of your existing brewing methods – it is completely different and will make a great addition to your coffee arsenal providing you with a completely different coffee experience.
The Delter, for me, is particularly useful while hiking or exploring – due to the accurate level markings and dosing cap – it’s quite possible to use the device accurately without a scale or goose-neck kettle. For those in a rush, the coffee can even be pre-ground and stored securely in the dosing cap – all you need to do is add your hot water.
We know the idea of a Beetroot Latte sounds totally weird but trust us when we say its flavour will surprise and delight you! And what’s more, its health benefits are plentiful. Apart from being naturally caffeine-free, it also helps in the fight against colds and flu and is great at replenishing your body after a workout. According to registered dietician Jessica Kotlowitz:
“Beetroot is fast becoming renowned for its superfood properties and I couldn’t be happier about it. Beetroot contains nitric oxide compounds which help to dilate blood vessels, thus naturally lowering blood pressure and improving athletic performance.”
So give your body a nutritious boost. We’ve been drinking the red espresso® Beetroot Latte Mix. They’ve added ginger for extra health benefits and a touch of organic coconut blossom sugar to give you the ultimate, great tasting Beetroot Latte blend. 100% pure plant-based goodness that you can drink as a latte and also add to your morning smoothie or breakfast bowl.
How to make a Beetroot Latte:
Add a teaspoon of red espresso® Beetroot Latte Mix to your cup
Add 30ml hot water and stir well to combine the ingredients
Top with steamed milk of your choice
Beetroot Berry Smoothie Recipe
In a blender add:
1 tbs red espresso® Beetroot Latte Mix
250ml plain yoghurt
Handful of raspberries
1 tbs chia seeds
1 tbs goji berries
60ml coconut milk
Blend and serve