How to make a caramel vanilla frappe at home in less than 2 minutes!

Friday, 24 April, 2020

Find out how you win the ingredients used in this recipe (and more!) below

While we're all stuck at home during Lockdown, we thought we would share some fun, easy to make beverage recipes that you can prepare at home. In this video, Dale Parker from Da Vinci Gourmet, shows us in less than two minutes how to make a delicious caramel vanilla frappe.

The drink is called a Caramel Vanilla Frappe:
Da Vinci Caramel Sauce x 30ml
Da Vinci Vanilla Syrup x 10ml
Da Vinci frappe powder x 30g
Instant coffee x 2 tsp
Milk x 100ml
Ice x 1 cup

You can get all of the above ingredients from www.davincigourmet.co.za who will deliver to your home, even during lockdown!  Place your orders at the link above. 

WIN with DaVinci Gourmet:

Like this page and tag two people in the comments who you'd love to share these delicious products with. Don't forget to use the hashtags: #DVGHomeEdition      #FlavourGeniusAcademy 

2 DaVinci Gourmet prize hampers valued at R1500 each. 

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Tips on boosting your immune system: Rooibos

Friday, 24 April, 2020

Red cappuccino. So good. And good for you too!

Nutrition and boosting your immune system are top of mind for everyone at the moment in an effort to stay as healthy as possible against COVID-19. And beverages can be a great way to help you do this by getting some extra antioxidants into your diet. Until further studies have been done, we don’t know whether nutrition plays a role in helping people to prevent or recover from COVID-19. But we do know that good nutrition has so many benefits for your body including better immune functioning which may help to prevent you from getting colds and flu (amongst other things), and helping the body to heal from any trauma. So making the choice to focus on better nutrition at this time seems like a good idea.

We’ve been asked if our rooibos tea can help to boost the immune system and just how much is the right amount to drink every day. So we thought we would share our advice here with you too:

What the science says

Rooibos tea contains a unique powerful antioxidant called Aspalathin. Antioxidants fight free radicals in the body that are natural by-products of oxidation and which weaken the body’s natural defences. This can lead to premature ageing, the decline of the immune system and the onset of diseases such as heart disease; all of which are exacerbated by stress, smoking, poor diet and pollution. 

Antioxidants are measured in ORAC’s (Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity) and their ORAC value is a single number that reflects a food’s ability to reduce free radicals in the body. A 60ml double shot of red espresso® rooibos meets a significant part of the ideal ORAC requirement for your day – with 4720 protective ORACS per 60ml double shot. 

An antioxidant powerhouse

As researched by the Antioxidant Research Unit at INFRUITEC, one 60ml shot of red espresso® rooibos has the same amount of antioxidants as 5 cups of green tea, 1 cup of blueberries, 6 cups of beetroot juice or 20 cups of carrot juice. It also has 10 X more antioxidants than traditionally brewed rooibos tea (per ORAC measurements) due to its patented grind and espresso method of preparation which means the health benefits of rooibos are concentrated tenfold in a 60ml shot.

The miracle tea?

In addition to being filled to the brim with immune-boosting antioxidants, there are many more reasons to be drinking rooibos. And when added to steamed milk for a red cappuccino®, you are doing so much more for your body than simply reducing your caffeine intake. 

Here’s a list of 10 super health benefits we bet you didn’t know you were getting when you drink a red cappuccino®:

  1. It has a soothing effect on the central nervous system and is highly recommended for people suffering from irritability, headaches, disturbed sleep patterns, insomnia, nervous tension, mild depression or hypertension. 
  2. It boosts the immune system and may help to fight infection
  3. It is age defying
  4. It has anti-carcinogenic properties (red espresso® rooibos has been endorsed as a CANSA Smart Choice product since 2015)
  5. It has anti-spasmodic properties and can be used to relieve stomach cramps. It also aids digestion and relieves heartburn, ulcers and constipation
  6. It contains zinc and alpha hydroxy acid which helps to promote a healthy skin
  7. It has anti-allergenic properties that reduce the effects of allergies such as hay fever and eczema. 
  8. It is believed to help the respiratory system and reduce the effects of asthma
  9. It has a low tannin content, so is not bitter-tasting like other teas. This also means that absorption of iron and proteins into the body is less affected, making it particularly good for pregnant women and people who are anaemic
  10. It contains no oxalic acid (a toxic acid found in certain plants) and is therefore a good choice for those prone to kidney stones

Rooibos is naturally caffeine-free and suitable for the whole family to enjoy, including children, pregnant and breastfeeding moms and the elderly. Buy online direct from red espresso®

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Coffee Processing Basics: Washed

Tuesday, 4 February, 2020

So what does it mean when you see 'Washed' coffee on a bag of beans you purchase? A basic run through for aspiring coffee geeks!

Washed is the process of removing the fruity outer layer of the coffee cherry to leave the seeds that will become what we know as coffee beans.

Crazy right?! We always strive to keep coffee consumers informed and inspired by just how much effort goes in to their daily cup of coffee and this processing method at farm level is used worldwide. 

Ripe cherries are picked from coffee trees during harvest season. A lot of small-holder farmers tend to belong to co-operatives, which means a central Washing Station is utilised to process the cherries. A washing station requires machinery, space, water supply and other infrastructure. Estate farms will have their own dedicated processing station.

Cherries picked are weighed so each picker/small holder can be remunerated. Then they are loaded into the shoot ready to go through the depulper.

They are first put in a tank of water for cleaning and density sorting. Ripe fruit sinks to the bottom and unripe, over-ripe and foreign matter floats to the top and is removed. The ripe fruit is then routed through a depulping machine.

A coffee depulper is a large machine that strips the fleshy fruit from the seeds, by squishing them against each other and pinching the beans out of the cherry leaving them sheathed in the mucilage - a sugary, sticky layer of goo.

The seeds are then soaked in fermentation tanks and pushed through channels as seen below to remove this mucilage from the parchment that holds the seeds together.

The washed seeds are then laid out to dry in the sun. This can be on raised drying beds, as seen below in Ethiopia, or on concrete patios. 

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Brewing Coffee at Home: A COVID-19 Series - The Clever Dripper

Friday, 27 March, 2020

Welcome to the Lockdown!  Hopefully you have stocked up with enough delicious coffee from your local roastery and are ready to have some fun learning new brew methods and ways to extract your favourite coffee! Try out The Clever Dripper, it is so nifty!

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Brewing Coffee at Home: A COVID-19 series - The Moka Pot

Thursday, 19 March, 2020

What a time to be alive!

We can't stress enough that you should continue to safely support your local coffee spots, but social distancing is necessary so you will likely be brewing more coffee at home. Have you used your moka pot recently? This is my (editor, Mel Winter) go-to method for home coffee. Consistency, ritual and history, all ingredients for a delicious home brew!

We'll be sharing videos from us and from coffee professionals around the country and world. Have fun and take care out there.

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Variety is the Spice of Life: How your Roaster's coffee selection impacts everything

Tuesday, 10 March, 2020

And more than that, the benefits of a diverse coffee line-up at our favourite coffee roasters reaches all the way to farm level. 

Words by Jesse Dodkins


It is becoming more common to see coffee roasters offer more than just one flagship blend that gives the consumer the generic flavours of ‘coffee’. Roasters are providing choice with a range of single origin coffees and therefore a variety of flavour profiles. This variety at your local roastery showcases the the complexity and qualities unique to each origin and can satisfy a wide range of tastes and preferences whether you enjoy "nutty, rich" profiles over "floral, fruity" profiles. Specialty coffee has something for everyone and that is its ultimate value.

It is important here, that we don’t define specialty coffee as a flavour profile. I often speak to business owners and consumers alike who at the very mention of specialty coffee wince as if they have bitten into a lemon when they imagine tasting when drinking a cup that lives up to their idea of specialty coffee. So, if specialty coffee is not a specific flavour profile, then what is it? It is a grade of quality for coffee (scoring 80 points or higher according to a qualified Q-Grader) and it is made up of an industry of individuals and businesses who are all concerned with the value in this relationship chain. This includes producers, roasters, coffee shops and coffee drinkers but also includes machine manufacturers, logistics companies and even dairy and alternative milk companies. 

The specialty sector has been incredibly persistent and has grown solidly over the last 10 years. According to a report by Allegra, the specialty market has been growing at 12% year on year and is expected to continue following this trend. Part of what enables this market expansion is the consistent supply of coffee grown at specialty grade. A lot of work has to go into go into increasing cherry yields at origin year on year while maintaining this quality. To do this, it means looking at often tiny and unique details that will end up making the difference. Take the development that occurred in the small region Copan in Honduras, for example. A number of smallholder producers in collaboration with agronomists from Falcon Specialty managed to increase the ripe cherries picked from 55% to 85% leading to an overall improvement in quality and saw over 60 000 USD paid in quality premiums in the region. This wasn’t because of a big wholesale change but rather changes in the little details, in this case, correct ripe cherry selection. Key areas of improvement were in cherry selection and picking, processing and drying. Ripe cherry selection is key to producing quality coffee, and the standard in Honduras is generally quite poor. However, through the development of a micro-lot picking team shared by the 25 producers, they saw huge results.  Falcon also provided training for the technical staff at the mill on a range of processing methods, and how to use the solar driers to control drying time and temperature in order to maintain quality and longevity.  Small details like this can be repeated over and over to get the same results.

One of the incredible things about specialty coffee is the diversity of flavour profiles available which opens up a world of exploration and opportunity outside of the specialty coffee shop. Recently multi-Michelin Starred Chef, Alain Ducasse, has launched his own specialty coffee roastery so that he is able to create better continuity between the high quality food that he offers and the coffee that comes after it. You also see specialty coffee being introduced in hotels where you can really show off the diversity of specialty coffee by building a coffee program that changes throughout the day (Fancy!). For example a rich chocolatey Minas Gerais Brazil filter coffee to go with breakfast, and a delicate floral, Guji Ethiopian Cappuccino for “afternoon tea”. 

But the complexity of a naturally processed Gesha village is not for everyone, some crave the malty, chocolatey goodness they’ve come to love in their morning flat white. I would argue that specialty coffee can offer the best version of a familiar chocolatey and nutty profile that they’ve ever had. 

The little details between how each lot is treated is ultimately what drives differences in flavour profiles. The first time this really hit home for me was on my origin trip to Nicaragua to visit the Mierisch family. Each lot was separated thoroughly by varietal as well as harvests separated by days. Processing was extremely meticulous, including parabolic dryers (similar structure to a greenhouse) and every sorter you can think of. I tasted the effect of the tweaks in detail on the cupping table where coffees from the same lot were vastly different in their flavour profile. As a roastery, when we are sharing coffee with customers over the bar or with our wholesale customers in their own coffee shop, it is the vivid experience of the distinct flavour profiles between coffees that allow us to point to the skill and tremendous value that the producer adds. Producers have had to adapt to become strategic business people using their expertise to create value. By highlighting the valuable work that the producers do, our broad range of consumers can see greater value in the cup they are drinking and become more familiar with the idea of paying more for coffee and therefore growing value in the industry even further. 

The big question recently while the coffee price crisis rages on is how can we positively impact what happens to the people within the system, most of all the farmers. I believe that by encouraging a diverse range of flavours from origin we can assist with this as consumers and roasters. This diversity in flavour profiles can only be achieved by looking at the little details as they’re doing at farm level. As roasters we can measure roast curves and create roast profiles to get the best out of the beans. This also means that it can continually be improved year on year.  Having a diverse range of coffees showcases the value of coffee roasters. It shows that their role is more than just making coffee consumable, but requires a thorough understanding of the mechanics of roasting that they can apply to a diverse range of coffees each requiring minute adjustments. Like with coffee production, this comes with measuring details for repeatability and improvement. This trust that comes from consumers with this value means that roasters end up becoming the gatekeeper for coffees that consumers end up being exposed to. This gives them a responsibility to showcase a range which is inclusive of all preferences (specialty coffee is a grade of quality not a preference) and showcase the value of expertise of producers. 

What about the baristas (both home and commercial)? In my first few months of being a barista, I was given some great advice from a coffee professional: “Taste everything”. By tasting everything I could get my taste buds on, it really accelerated my learning curve about flavour being linked to origin because the answer to every question was always backed up by taste. I wouldn’t have been able to do this if I did not have a roastery in my neighbourhood that provided a diverse range of coffees. A wide line up of coffee not only grows a barista’s knowledge but also increases their value to the consumer in a coffee cafe. As they taste coffees with different flavour profiles questions arise about what it is that creates that particular distinction, or why is it that the coffee tastes so delicious? Why do these two coffees from the same region in Tolima, Columbia taste so distinct from each other? Is it the altitude? Is it the processing? Is it the varietal? All of these questions lead to understanding coffee in so much more detail. This means they are able to give customers a more rich and valuable coffee drinking experience. This takes the customer out of a habitual low value consumption of coffee to a high value ritualistic consumption as they gain more than a caffeine hit, they gain new information and a connection with the value of the barista, the roaster and the producer. I’m sure a lot of baristas have had the same experience, where a customers attitude towards them changes as soon as they are able to provide them with insight into the coffee world that they didn’t have before. We can play around with and perfect recipes which means that quality can be repeated and coffees appreciated. Ask your local roaster about recipes for espresso and filter!

The distinction between coffees is ultimately a built in mechanism for education around coffee, as we can’t explain what makes it different and unique without introducing consumers to the work of producers, roasters and baristas in a more intimate way. So the benefits of roasters having a diverse line up of coffee means producers can be promoted in the cafe space and consumers can understand their value better, roasters can showcase their skill and value and it also grows and highlights the value of baristas. Everyone wins! 

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New Brewing Device: AeroPress Go!

Thursday, 13 February, 2020

If you, like us, were wondering why and how the AeroPress Go could differ or improve on the original AeroPress, we got our hands on one from MoreFlavour to put it to the test and answer those questions.

We've taken our AeroPress all over the world and we already think it's a pretty great device for travelling because it's totally unbreakable even in the most clumsy hands (like mine). The tag line of the AeroPress Go is the 'Better Travel Coffee Press' and the reasons for it being better are that this slightly smaller brewer comes in a neat travel container that keeps all the bits together and doubles up as a cup.

What are the bits that you get? 

The brewer still makes delicious coffee, which makes sense because it is exactly the same but for losing a little length and the additions for travel are great. If when travelling you are like me and don't use a scale you will have to get used to adjusting the amount of coffee you usually use down a tad. I am very used to sight-filling the chamber and getting a great result in the original, so I think on my first go, I over-dosed a bit.

Quick Guide

PROS

More compact for travellers, great for hikers especially

Convenient filter compact to keep filters dry and uncrinkled

Cute mini paddle (love a good mini-me)

Funky design

CONS

Brewer does not fit perfectly on cup unless in a specific position

Cup is a bit of an awkward shape (totally preference based)

You have to finish coffee and dry cup before you can pack it all up again (but the coffee is so good, it's easy to finish quickly ;)

If you've never used an AeroPress before, then this conveniently packaged Go version, may be a great buy for you if you've always been intrigued and do a lot of backpacking. If you already own an AeroPress and are expecting something wildly different, that's not what this is, like it says on the packaging, it's just the 'Better' travel press. As always so much fun and so easy to use.

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Coffee Basics: What does 'Strong Coffee' really mean?

Thursday, 10 October, 2019

How many times have you had a really tough morning and walked up to your local barista and asked for a really strong coffee. Maybe it's the start of the school year and everyone is trying to get back into routine. Maybe you're back from a relaxing holiday and work has hit you like a ton of bricks. Maybe it's just the pace of life in general. We need our coffee to help with that!

As simple as it sounds, asking for a 'strong coffee' really is up for interpretation. So here are a few facts to help make your next order a bit more specific.

'Strength' generally refers to the kick you're going to get from your morning pick me up ie the amount of caffeine your coffee delivers, but that isn't really related to how dark your coffee beans are, but more importantly how your beans are brewed. Though dark roasted coffee beans taste 'stronger' because they generally have that bitter, eye-twitching edge, this doesn't necessarily mean you're getting any added caffeine benefit. 

If we're talking espresso based beverages, your barista will likely add an extra shot of espresso to your chosen order to give it that extra kick. And while you may think that adding more milk is diluting caffeine, it's not! While the coffee flavour is altered to be smoother, the caffeine remains the same and as the milk fats take longer for our metabolisms to break down, the caffeine  may even stay in your system for a bit longer than if you drink it black. 

When it comes to filter coffee, the longer the water is in contact with the grounds, the more caffeine is able to be extracted, so full immersion methods like the French Press contain more caffeine than the equivalent amount of coffee brewed through a pour-over, where the coffee passes through the grounds quickly to the carafe below.

If you're after coffee designed specifically for caffeine strength, you're not alone, apparently there is quite a demand for the stuff! The 'Strongest Coffee in the World' title was long held by Death Wish Coffee from the United States, but over the years this title has been won by newcomers to the market. We get the jitters just thinking about the kick these coffees can administer, but whatever floats your boat! There's even an SA company in there making waves.

The secret to most of these extra-strength coffees is in the varietal of coffee they use. Robusta has a higher caffeine content /mg than the Arabica strain. A lot of the Italian brands like Illy and Lavazza have great success with blending Arabica and Robusta to consistently deliver crema and caffeine to their brews.

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