Posts Tagged ‘coffee’
by Rob Stewart
My love affair with eating chillies is something that has developed over a number of years; I simply can’t resist the sensation of a good hot chilli! I love exploring the various levels of heat and the subtle unique flavours that individual chillies have such as the ‘Guajillo’, which has a red berry flavour and the’ Ancho’ with its smokey dried fruit notes. This fascination for chillies has evolved into a deep appreciation for Mexican cuisine. I have also come to value that there is more to the country than tequila and tacos, Mexico also grows some pretty good coffee too. (more…)
On the corner of George and Gertrude streets (part of the Gertrude Street boutique/shopping strip) is a smallish café which is part of the Seven Seeds stable [run by Melbourne coffee don Mark Dundon] curiously named De Clieu. Not so curious perhaps when you look into the taxonomy of Mark’s other café names [Seven Seeds, Brother Baba Budan] and see that they derive from the colourful history of coffee and its discovery.
The original De Clieu was a french naval officer who is celebrated for his claim to have introduced coffee to the French colonies of the Western Hemisphere in the 1720s. According to l’Année littéraire of 1774, he arranged to transport a coffee plant (or perhaps several) from the greenhouses of the Jardin Royal des Plantes [which had originally been given to the French King from Holland] to Martinique in 1720.
The story goes that water was rationed on the voyage and De Clieu was so dedicated to his mission that he shared his ration with the seedlings. The story may be apocryphal, but most sources do in fact credit De Clieu with the introduction of coffee to Martinique & thence the Caribbean.
But enough of history – De Clieu is a funky spot where everyone seems to hang out in black jeans [& black jackets, shoes or whatever] but this belies its class – it’s trendy, but it also serves good coffee and very good food.
The menu reveals an elegant simplicity as would be expected from the kitchen of Steven Carr (previously of the Healesville Hotel) and offers a slightly exotic take on otherwise prosaic items – our Pork Neck Roti [sweet roasted pork neck on a spring onion roti, with a fried egg and hoisin-flavoured BBQ sauce] was exquisite.
And the coffee – we had one shot which was excellent and one which was [only] good, which given the general state of espresso coffee, is still very good overall! Definitely recommended.
187 Gertrude Street
(03) 9416 4661
Part 1 of the Coffee Discovery Series
By Paul Golding
The first visit to a favourite origin is always something of a personal epiphany. Kenya was one such visit for me, when I went with a small industry group to Nairobi in February this year to catch the end of the harvest season. Getting out into the countryside to see the crop and meet the people who produce it can really help shed some light on a coffee’s unique flavour and character. (more…)
Widely regarded as New Zealand’s arts and culture capital, Wellington or ‘the windy city’ as it is colloquially known, has a wealth of museums, art galleries, theatres and festivals. There is an innate confidence here, be it borne from the fact that this is New Zealand’s capital city, or perhaps from its role as a cultural and artistic epicentre.
Although a city with a population of little more than 300,000 Wellington has the cosmopolitan vibrancy of a much larger city. This is, in the main, due to the fact that the CBD of Wellington is principally structured to be accessible by foot and, with a civic policy of discouraging generic malls and outlying shopping precincts, it draws a communal breath into its restaurants, cafes, bars and shops, giving a pulse to its streets and a beat to its heart. Venture out on a Friday or Saturday night and you will be greeted by the buzz of the city’s populace in its myriad of forms, all congregated around the restaurant and bar precincts of Cuba Street and Courtenay Place. (more…)
By Rob Stewart
By now I guess you have heard the term ‘third wave’ in coffee. It refers to a worldwide movement whereby specialty coffee roasters and boutique cafes are devoting their efforts to exploring the pure flavour of the single origin coffee and it’s something that the coffee industry and its consumers in Australia have embraced. The movement is also about innovation and patience which is seeing brewing systems like the Clover, Siphon and temperature controlled espresso machines such as the Synesso and Slayer becoming commonplace in our cafe strips. We are also seeing the green bean standard raised with access to Cup of Excellence, micro-lots, Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade and roasters creating direct routes to the farms. One such country I believe has always been able to deliver coffee to the standard we are demanding today is Papua New Guinea. (more…)
Like any large Australian city, Brisbane has a wide range of cafes from the simple ‘mom & pop’ café to those where the focus is on excellent business lunches and great food. However, Brisbane has a large coffee purist element that is bubbling underground and is beginning to show itself to those who are seriously interested.
And the good news is this: from an espresso coffee point-of-view, the Brisbane espresso ‘scene’ rocks, supported by many enthusiastic young professionals eager to share their coffee knowledge and passion. One quick note: it’s not in necessarily in the CBD itself, but in the inner suburbs that you find the best coffee… suburbs like West End, New Farm, Spring Hill and even the formerly seedy Fortitude Valley! (more…)
With the increasing tendency of hip new cafes to use ‘boutique’ coffee brands to make their coffee, it’s probably no surprise that Room 10 uses Mecca [see Sydney’s Best Cafes 2011]. It’s a compact space with no separate kitchen – the kitchen is actually a dedicated area of bench space on the right [as you walk in]of the café. The space is dominated by two things – one a bicycle curiously mounted on the wall at the rear and secondly a shiny La Marzocco espresso machine at the front. It’s not always guaranteed, but it’s usually a sign that they’re serious about their coffee and in this case, the coffee didn’t disappoint, although there was some variability, depending on who was behind the machine. They offer a limited food menu and in spite of the size of the kitchen [or lack of it!] the food was actually pretty good, and if you can get a seat [especially in Summer] the little outdoor tables are a nice option. Room 10 brings a new dimension to otherwise ‘good-coffee-denuded’ Kings Cross.
10 Llankelly Place
Potts Point NSW 2011
by Rob Stewart
I have often wondered what would happen to the world if Brazil stopped producing coffee – perhaps a catastrophic melt down! The price for coffee per kilo would go up, making a cup of coffee cost more than a cocktail at a night club, sounding the death knell of the majority of cafes and coffee companies. Shift workers, parents, students, productivity, and Italy would all come to a grinding halt. It would affect our economy and our way of life, leaving everyone with one giant headache.
Ethiopian – Yirgacheffe
Not too long ago I began to design a tattoo as the urge for a new one had started to grow. I started to think about what I wanted it to represent and inevitably found myself reflecting on the last thirty years of my life. I decided that I wanted the end result to be a manifestation of my origins, where I came from and the foundations that made me who I am. I haven’t booked the appointment yet, I’m still working on it, but the theme of the last month has been my roots, origins, beginnings and how I got to be sitting here writing this article. So, naturally it seems fitting to be reviewing the birth place of coffee – Ethiopia.
As the story goes, in Kaffa Ethiopia AD850, a goat herder observed his goats getting a little silly after they grazed on a native cherry. Kaldi, being the enterprising young goat herder he was, consequently knew he was onto a good thing. The rest of this particular tale is going to take way too long to tell in its entirety so let’s fast track it a bit. Coffea Arabica has been growing wild in Ethiopia since the dawn of time and is known by the Ethiopian people as “buna”. The coffee industry is the seventh largest producer in the world and employs well over 12 million people in some 350,000 farms located in the regions of Harar, Sidamo, Yirgacheffe, Limmu and Djimmah. The traditional way that Ethiopians grow their coffee are included in certifications such as Fair trade, Rainforest Alliance, UTZ and certified organic. The grading system there just recently got a shake up by the introduction of the “Q” grading system for specialty coffees. Up until now coffees would be graded as based on its process; wet receiving a grade 1-3 and dry processed receive a 4-5. Now many coffees can be submitted to a second of round of scrutinising based on cup quality and further grading to receive a specialty coffee classification.
Yirgacheffe holds the title in the wet processed division of coffees. They are renowned for their clean cup with powerful floral and fruit notes, but it can be a little hit and miss sometimes when cupping a pooled style coffee such as this (coffee that is sourced from all over one region and not from a specific farm), but when you strike a good lot of Yirgacheffe it will knock you out quicker than Danny Green. Beginning with sublime aromas of sweet sugary honey and hints of cedar and raisin, it is then followed by a well balanced floral acidity in the cup. The flavours are very up front and straight away there is berry, citrus and soft cocoa with a subtle underlining of Mediterranean herbs. Theses flavours are on the bright side but they bring a well toned smoothness and medium body to the pallet, and as the cup cools the aromatic herbs come to the forefront.
Ethiopian coffee has long been used as the main flavour component in espresso blends, but the Yirgacheffe I feel, is wasted in a blend because there is so much to explore when cupping it alone. However, if you want to add a little extra pizzazz and flavour to your cup it will defiantly add an extra dimension to any blend.