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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Recipe: SA AeroPress Champion shares his secrets

Tuesday, 26 November, 2019

Ken is one of our favourite coffee professionals. Always ready with a smile and advice on how to brew better coffee, he recently beat out the field at the SA AeroPress™ Champs to become the National Champion for 2019!  We caught up with him to hear about his journey and he reveals his winning brew so you can try it at home!

How did you get into the world of coffee?

My friend Lovejoy Chirambasukwa [former SA barista champion] introduced me to this amazing industry in 2010.

I started working as a runner at Origin Coffee Roasting. My duty was to help the waiters to clear tables and take food and coffees to the customers . After two months I had the privilege to train as a barista and that is how I fell in love with coffee.

I worked at Origin for two and half years. 1st of April 2013 I joined Tribe Coffee Roasting as a barista and their Cafe manager. That is where I got the opportunity to learn more about coffee and roasting and became familiar with different types of coffee brewing machines and methods.

How long have you been at Tribe and what is your role?

I have been with Tribe for six years. I am a Head Barista Trainer, Cafe Manager and quality control team member. 

You have been competing for a long time both in SCASA competitions and the AeroPress, how does it feel when you’re on stage? Do you get nervous?

I entered my very first Barista competition in 2012, It was western cape regional Barista competition. I had no idea how it felt to be on that stage. I will never forget that day.  I was so nervous but the fun part of it was that I made it into the top six. It was a great moment to hear my name on top six list. This competition allowed me to develop my skills a lot, and I just kept going from there.

It's not easy to be on stage competing against best Baristas in the country. You are so nervous and especially so if the first competitor set the bar very high. Its normal to have stage fright but it does not have to stop us from doing what we love the most. Perfect practice makes it perfect.

What is your favourite thing about being in the coffee industry?

My favourite thing is meeting different people from around the world with different backgrounds sharing knowledge about this most loved beverage in the whole world.

We were gutted to hear that you weren’t able to go to represent SA at the World AeroPress Champs this past weekend in London. But we hear you have a cracking recipe! Please can you share your recipe and method with our readers?

I’m staying positive and am keen to try again for next year.

OPHEN KEN MACHENJE AEROPRESS RECIPE 2019

POSITION   INVERTED

FILTER         PAPER

PREPARATION  RINSED

COFFEE

COFFEE   GUATEMALA

ORIGIN    MARIA ZELAYA     

ROASTER  TRIBE COFFEE ROASTING

WEIGHT   32g

GRINDER  DITTING

GRIND   [fine] 0 1 2 3 4 5 67 8 9 10 [coarse] - USE NUMBER 6

WATER

WEIGHT  250ml

TYPE         FILTERED WATER

TEMP         84 DEGREES

                                                      METHOD

PLACE THE COFFEE INTO THE INVERTED CHAMBER (Inverted position as seen in photo above)

POUR 100ML WATER

STIR WITH THE AEROPRESS PADDLE

ADD ANOTHER 150ML

SCREW ON THE AEROPRESS FILTER CAP

FLIP THE AEROPRESS OVER AND PRESS

ADD 17ML OF WATER TO YOUR CUP AND STIR

SAVOUR THE FLAVOUR 

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Gadget Alert: This device promises best espresso without an espresso machine

Friday, 22 November, 2019

We've always got our ears to the ground for interesting new gadgets on the coffee scene. This one, COFFEEJACK, makes some bold promises! The best espresso without an espresso machine, it claims. They also say it would replace or 'save' us from going to coffee shops. But we LOVE going to coffee shops, not just for the espresso coffee, but for the ambience. Using technology based on the hydraulic car jack for changing tyres, hence the name.

Despite our skepticism,  it has been fully funded on Kickstarter by a long way, so this 'dream' product is on its way to becoming a reality. 

For now, our favourite option for espresso on-the-go remains the Wacaco Nanopresso, but this idea obviously appeals to a lot of people.

The founders have this to say of the inspiration for the CoffeeJack:

"We grew tired of investing in expensive portable coffee makers and never experiencing the same quality espresso we could only get from a coffee shop. Therefore, we would still go to expensive coffee shops every day! Second to that, we were guilty of using disposable cups, purely due to convenience (hands up!). We knew we could engineer something better, something that fulfilled our desire for great coffee and helped the environment at the same time. We cannot express the level of passion and tenacity that has been invested into this project. It is factually the smallest espresso machine on the market (only 100mm high). But most importantly it ACTUALLY produces coffee shop quality coffee. This has been no easy task to achieve and we refused to stop until it met our high standards and of those in the coffee industry. 

392 prototypes, one filed patent later and we've finally done it!  We are now seriously excited to make COFFEEJACK™ a reality!"

You can find out ALL the details on their Kickstarter Page

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Home Barista: Get your water right!

Wednesday, 13 November, 2019

Did you know that magnesium is at the top of the list of important water-soluble minerals for brewing the best coffee? 

When you get a cup of bitter coffee, we often think there’s something wrong with the brewing process. Actually, it’s more likely that the water has spoilt the taste.  That shouldn’t be surprising – a cup of coffee is 98% water after all, and water is the key extraction medium for the 800-plus aromatic components from your coffee beans. 

The Paulig Barista Institute, based in Helsinki, says that “it definitely pays” to check your water quality and “even manipulate your water a bit to achieve a more balanced cup of coffee”.

Sadly, our tap water contains as many as 750 different chemicals, of which only a fraction is checked during routine analytical programmes. Unfortunately, the processes and pipes that our water goes through before coming out of our taps has a marked effect on its taste and smell. But purifying your water isn’t enough. Distilled water / RO Water “doesn’t have any taste”, says Bob Mahler, Soil Science and Water Quality professor at the University of Idaho.

This is why many of us prefer the taste of bottled water – “companies that sell bottled water will put in calcium, magnesium or maybe a little bit of salt” to improve taste, says Professor Mahler . This is because magnesium is a flavour carrier. Adding magnesium to water allows for the development of even the most subtle flavours – in your coffee and in your food! 

Even the World Health Organisation (WHO) gives the top three key considerations in supplementing minerals in bottled water as “potential health benefits; taste and product stability”. (WHO also estimates that 50% of South Africans are not consuming enough magnesium – and other studies have found that sports enthusiasts are particularly at risk of low levels of this mineral that is vital for over 300 cellular functions in your body).

Correct hydration is essential for good health. Ideally, we should be drinking eight glasses of purified water a day. And the easiest way to get your family to drink water is to ensure it tastes wonderful.

The good news is that the addition of magnesium balances the mineral levels in water and this is especially obvious when you make your tea or coffee with magnesium-enriched, purified water. Purifying your water and adding magnesium means you get an almost neutral pH value that makes for high-quality water with a unique flavour and delicious taste. Plus you’re replacing essential minerals like magnesium that you lose through day-to-day activities. It’s a win win win situation!

So, you might think this may be difficult to accomplish at home, but there are some great and easily available products on the market that can assist. Our favourite at the moment is the BWT Magnesium Mineralizer which not only produces magnesium-enriched and purified water, it reduces the limescale content of water as well as aroma- and taste-impairing substances, chlorine and  heavy metals, whilst protecting your valuable coffee machine and kettle. And during the unique BWT purification process your water becomes wonderfully tasty and healthy thanks to being enriched with the precious magnesium mineral.

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The Matcha Story

Monday, 4 November, 2019

Words by Nic Reid, all images red espresso


I first tried matcha in Minneapolis in 2008. I was at the SCAA exhibition and a Japanese matcha company had a large stand with all the bells and whistles. It was their attempt to break matcha into the US café market and they were pretty busy considering they were promoting tea at a coffee show

Matcha is essentially what we know as green tea but the fundamental difference is the leaves are carefully ground to a fine talc-like powder and consumed in your drink rather than brewed as loose leaf tea or in tea bags. There are other differences too, that go into the very nature of how delicate and special matcha is in Japanese culture. Matcha is almost entirely shade grown – the sun is blocked out to slow or halt photosynthesis which has adverse affects on taste. the leaves are hand-picked very young and then deveined and destemmed to remove anything that might affect the consistency of the powder. Even the way matcha is ground is special. Traditional grinding stones are cut out of granite slabs and the grooves and channels hand-carved by expert stone masons. They etch out unique tread patterns that channel and grind the green tea into very fine powder of between 5 and 10 microns. To put this in perspective, a human hair is 75 microns.

As a general guideline,  high quality matcha is a vivid emerald-green colour, has an umami-sweet taste and there is very little astringency (what we know as light acidity or bitterness).

Lower grades are more yellow-green, noticeably bitter or more grainy in texture – made from the left over bits of the leaves or from less desirable leaves

Matcha has exploded over the last 10 years and can now be found on most progressive café menus. This can seem quite surprising as most people trying matcha for the first time aren’t convinced by the taste, myself included. I had to try it a few times before I “got it”. I liken it to my experience with sushi. I didn’t get what the fuss was about when I first tried it but after a few tries I was soon a convert, an expert in chop sticks and even getting sushi cravings. Still it seems matcha is a Love it or hate it thing

Matcha is used in everything from ice cream to matcha lattes. It pairs very well with vanilla and white chocolate so its often found in desserts and other sweet things. One of Nestle’s most popular KitKat flavours is Matcha. Its also a natural food colouring - if you’ve ever seen green burger buns or green croissants at your local bakery chances are they used matcha to colour them.

Matcha has a lot of health benefits going for it too. It has a high concentration of a particular antioxidant called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) which is believed to be have cancer fighting properties, prevent heart disease and even type-2 diabetes. This may all sound amazing but what has really caught the Western world’s attention is its apparent link to weight loss. EGCG can be found in all sorts of diet aids and fat burners and often seen on labels as “green tea extract”. Not bad at all if you already drinking matcha!

A lesser known benefit of matcha is the caffeine buzz you can get – but don’t expect a coffee buzz. Often referred to as Calm Energy or Focussed Energy, matcha offers a more relaxed take on a caffeine rush. Matcha does contain caffeine but what sets it apart is that because you’re consuming the whole  tea leaf, you are also ingesting other beneficial things such as the fibre, nutrients and amino acids. One amino acid in particular, L-Theanine, interacts with caffeine and slows the caffeine spike and the associated caffeine crash. This offers a more sustained energy release and Buddhist monks have been known to drink matcha for centuries before focused meditations.

This may be the perfect solution for those looking for a caffeine boost but trying to cut back on coffee or energy drinks… just make sure you can appreciate the taste!

red espresso offers a 100g Matcha Latte Mix pack which is exceptional grade matcha blended with organic coconut sugar, used to make matcha lattes by cafes or for home use. They also offer pure matcha for bakers and consumers who enjoy matcha prepared the traditional way; and as one of the largest importers of Japanese matcha into South Africa offer 1kg & 5kg bulk to food manufacturers, wholesale and retailers.

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New Product: Cold Brew Kit from GOAT STORY

Friday, 27 September, 2019

GOAT STORY are a pretty crazy little company. They started out by making (and you can still get one) a mug in the shape of a goat's horn as an ode to the origin story of coffee; discovered by goats eating the cherries in the foothills of Ethiopia way back when. Now, my initial reaction to this product is that it is highly impractical, but you know what, sometimes you've just got to go full whimsical, embrace your inner viking/hipster and get a coffee mug in the shape of a horn to sling over your shoulder.

That being said, their follow-on products are both highly practical, the GINA brewer combins three different brew methods in one (which World Brewers Cup Champ, Emi Fukahori, used in her winning set) and now their new Cold Brew Kit aims to allow cold brewing to be easier for people at home. This latest idea continues our theme of Cold Brew for Summer! So they take a very simple idea (brewing tea in this case!) and make it look damn fine and taste great apparently! I mean, it's a stroke of genius really. It may not work for us here in SA with shipping etc, but for Europe, you will be able to order filter bags filled with delicious specialty coffee ready to submerge. Easy peasy. 

"Preparing cold brew coffee can be a challenge for home users, as it needs to be ground, steeped and filtered. And this is where Cold Brew Kit excels", explains Anze Miklavec, CEO and co-founder of GOAT STORY, "Cold Brew Kit simplifies the preparation of cold brew coffee. We sealed freshly roasted and ground specialty coffee in filter bags so the user only needs to add a bag to this beautiful pitcher, pour water over it and wait.

As GOAT STORY's brand strategist and head roaster Dušan Maticic added, it's a simple task: "Simply soak, wait and enjoy the variety of flavours that specialty coffee, which is roasted in our in-house roastery, can offer. This is definitely the simplest way of making cold brew coffee!"

The young team at GOAT STORY has ambitious plans for the future. After launching Cold Brew Kit they will offer a variety of specialty coffees that will be roasted in their in-house roastery. And in the next year you can expect several new innovations as they plan to cover the whole spectrum of coffee preparation.

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Recipe: Cold Brew Popsicles

Friday, 23 August, 2019

Cold Brew Popsicles!

Ingredients

Condensed Milk

Cream, whipped to soft peaks

Cold Brew Coffee to taste

Cold brew coffee can last for weeks without its flavours degrading, so a little bit of time chillin’ in the freezer won’t make a difference, which is excellent news. Additionally, its inherent sweetness is so obvious a match for the popsicle, you just have to try it!

To get your own consignment of indulgent coffee-pops, mix together the coffee and sweetened condensed milk to your level of coffee, fold into the whipped cream and pour into the moulds. Place the sticks, and let sit in the freezer over night.

Cold brew coffee popsicles are simple, giving you that super smooth but strong caffeinated boost. What's better than waking up on a hot summer morning with a ice cold coffee ready to go in the freezer. Or for a fun dessert option when entertaining!

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