In my last blog, I wrote about the weather-related difficulties which are facing our Primaveral association in Colombia. I also expressed my delight that our friends at Fairfield Trading on the ground were able to round up beautiful coffee despite the weather. However, uncovering the true situation on the ground regarding the upcoming harvest was only one half of my objective for Colombia this year.

A Solid Foundation — Travelling in Colombia

By Jacob Ibarra on Tuesday, 26 August 2014 at 12:17 pm | Origin Trips

I won’t lie – buying coffee can be fairly complicated. Sometimes I am simply astounded that the whole supply chain works and that we receive the level of quality we enjoy in Australia. Last November, I left Colombia ecstatic about the potential of our new relationship with the Primaveral Association. Up until recently everything had gone peachy. We received two shipments of the Acevedo group’s coffee and the feedback was extremely positive.

Come and get a glimpse of the Micro-Mill Revolution with an outstanding line up of coffees from Costa Rica. WA – Wednesday 20 August and Vic – Friday 22 August.

Veer Attikan — the Backstory

By Jennifer Murray on Wednesday, 13 August 2014 at 3:21 pm | Origin Trips

Time flies! I can’t believe we are now into another season of new crop Attikan. My original reason for visiting India four years ago happened after a chance encounter with Sunalini in Rwanda. We naturally got chatting about her specific area of expertise, Indian coffee. Like many of us in the specialty industry, I was apprehensive about what India had to offer – and with good reason.

You often hear that water is the most important ingredient in coffee because it makes up 98% of your drink; but it’s much more than that. Water isn’t just an ‘ingredient’ that you add to roasted coffee seeds – water is the solvent which extracts the flavour compounds from the seed. It has a very active role. To dissolve flavour compounds in water, the water has to form chemical bonds with solids in the seed and carry them away.

Who is Tommy Sugo?

By Charles Stewart on Wednesday, 06 August 2014 at 6:35 pm | Cafe Reviews

Universities are not usually inundated with quality coffee options. Often they’re bound by cost cutting catering deals that tend to produce a caffeinated beverage that tastes like tar and is impossible to hold without thermal gloves. This tends to drive students off campus for a quality caffeine hit. Lucky for some WA uni students a new guy has moved in just around the corner.

Recently our Western Australian site in Northbridge received a well-deserved makeover – and we’re very happy with the way it’s looking and functioning. Seeing the crisp, new space prompted me to reflect on the last two years of designing and delivering training for Five Senses. Things have changed considerably in that time.

At times, promoting a coffee in our hyped up, over-energised, pre-release state may appear (I would guess) to teeter on being a blatantly self-indulgent exercise. This conundrum is what I, and we at Five Senses, feel consistently as the release of this year’s Community Coffees from Costa Rica draws near. We are ecstatic about how they have landed, and the basis of the project has produced such great social yields that we cannot help but gladly — and perhaps in a slightly over-the-top fashion — announce their entry into our line-up.

Café Amalia — Reinventing the Classics

By Brydon Price on Friday, 01 August 2014 at 9:33 am | Cafe Reviews

Café Amalia in Melbourne’s eastern suburb of Armadale has become almost exactly what the owners Christian and Angela imagined when they started on the journey to opening their doors. Completely gutting and renovating a site in the Toorak Station precinct, they saw the potential this space had to become an integral part of the neighbourhood.

Finding an Oasis at The Other Office

By Jeremy Hulsdunk on Thursday, 03 July 2014 at 12:38 pm | Cafe Reviews

The name Nico Brutti holds a certain significance in my life. I started working for Five Senses Coffee back in 2009 and Nico was getting his first (of many) Synesso’s installed. I had seen coffee machines installed before and had helped out on a few as well, but this installation was unique in my life as I had never installed a machine from the famous Seattle manufacturer.

Coffee gets Lucky in the Fashion Zone

By Ben Bicknell on Thursday, 03 July 2014 at 10:51 am | Cafe Reviews

On any given day along the bustling Chapel Street shopping strip, you’ll see an array of beautiful, stylish folk, ducking in and out of stores sporting the latest fashion and accessories. There’s an elegant energy to the precinct and recently there’s been a re-invigoration of the surrounding backstreets with contemporary bars and restaurants popping up with some tasty offerings in the evening.

Those of you who follow the specialty coffee scene online may have read some of the buzz surrounding the Acaia coffee scale recently. If not, you’re about to! The Acaia Pearl scales are an exciting new product that has the potential to significantly impact the quality and consistency of coffee programs both for café professionals and home coffee passionate.

Life Lessons from a Bali Harvest Trip

By Guest Writer on Wednesday, 02 July 2014 at 11:42 am | Origin Trips

‘Life is a journey, not a destination’. We hear this saying quite often, and it resonates with me; however my recent trip to Bali was both a journey and a destination. I’d never had any reason to visit Bali before, until the possibility of participating in one of Five Senses’ Harvest Trips arose. Being a keen traveller and lover of life who doesn’t mind getting their hands dirty, I jumped at the opportunity.

Each year, as most of Australia starts the slow decline into winter, a couple of the Five Senses team pack their bags and head north: not to the sunny shores of QLD but rather to the US of A to attend the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s (SCAA) annual trade expo. The show, which moves around the country each year, hosts the largest dedicated specialty coffee trade show in the world and has become a broader hub for the gathering of like minded folk, the sharing of ideas and the launch of the latest and greatest coffee gadgetry.

Pressure Profiling Using the Synesso Hydra

By Nathan Borg on Thursday, 19 June 2014 at 10:17 am | Technical | Other

This is a practical approach to finding your preferred flavour profile using the individually adjustable pump pressures on a Synesso Hydra. I’ve written this article with the intention of giving baristas a guide to experimenting and finding their own results using the world of pressure profiling. I have added some basic outlines about how these different pressures function and included some suggestions about how to adjust them to achieve the results you are looking for.

With the World Barista Champs for 2014 recently done and dusted, I thought it was time to reflect on the highlights. Many of the World Coffee events including the Brewers Cup, Roasting Comp, Ibrik Champs and, of course, the Barista Championship Finals were hosted in the Italian city of Rimini this year.

Gathered 'Round the Table at Yabba Dabba

By Megan Williams on Tuesday, 03 June 2014 at 11:06 am | Cafe Reviews

“Yabba Dabba — it’s all about the food and conversation”, says Dan Murphy, one of two owners of the new café and kitchen in Dalkeith, Western Australia. Whether you’re on your way home from the beach or have just finished up at the office, Yabba Dabba is the place to stop, relax and connect with friends and family.

Breaking Bread; What's Cooking at the Bakers Wife

By Adrian Dart on Tuesday, 03 June 2014 at 9:33 am | Cafe Reviews

Joseph Stein’s novel-turned-musical, The Bakers Wife, is set in a provincial township which is in a high state of anticipation. The villagers have not had a baker in town for quite some time and their usually upbeat mood is slowly falling, like the autumn leaves around them. When the new baker finally arrives in town, the villagers rejoice and sing, “Fresh, warm bread, with a bit of butter, spread!” Perhaps the novelist had the little ‘township’ of Camberwell in mind when he was writing, because since The Bakers Wife eatery arrived on Bourke Road a few months ago, the locals have been humming the happiest of tunes.

The wait is over, after many months of planning and hard work on the ground, our new Sumatran from our Tiga Raja mill partnership in Silimakuta, Simalungun is ready for release. Being able to receive any coffee from this year’s harvest has been nothing short of a miracle. Lisa and Leo have slaved away, working at establishing the new mill and buying the best quality parchment from our partnering supply network. They have tied themselves to the Sumatran production cycle at the mill to achieve what we think is something very special. As I look back on the journey this far, it’s pretty hard to imagine things turning out any better than where we are at right now — both in terms of the quality we have received and the unlimited opportunities we have going forward to further empower this growing region and the farmers within it.

The Trouble with Soy

By Jeremy Hartley on Wednesday, 28 May 2014 at 8:38 am | Technical | Coffee 101

“I’ll have a decaf, no foam, skinny, tall soy latte.” It’s a modern American cinematic cliché, a caricature of the fashion conscious, urban coffee consumer with the conspicuously complicated demands! However, for the barista on the cutting edge of the specialty coffee industry, this order might present more challenges than just remembering the details. The trouble is that soy has a frustrating tendency to turn into tofu right before your eyes — and it’s not a good look.

The dust has settled and the 2014 Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE) is officially over. The Five Senses twitter feed is a great place for us to get small snippets of info out there while we’re on the fly. For those that don’t use twitter, here’s a summary of the MICE tweets. Enjoy!

It’s time for bumping out our stand and our not inconsiderable inventory of equipment. The tech guys are in bright and early to get things underway. The barista posse stumble in at 10, a little weary from the after party shenanigans. Cups of Ethiopian Ardi from the airpot are embraced like long lost friends as tales are swapped of dance floor highlights and the night is pieced back together. It’s definitely a case of many hands make light work as the team start to wear a path out to the truck. A little hung over, a little tired but still managing to crack a joke or two. Personal hygiene is not at an all-time high. Note to self; bring some mints to bump out next year!!

The end of a big event is a bit like the last day of school camp just slightly more hungover. For the interstate crew the dirty washing is starting to pile up, the masses of coffee is only just breaking even with the mounting sleep deficit and the thought of being back in the home bed is starting to look very attractive.

Day three is officially underway and we have crested the hump in fine style! The team are still brimming with enthusiasm (and more than a little caffeine) as we prepare for a big weekend. Its semi-final day for the barista championships and we are all looking forward to seeing Charles (the Handsome Barista) performing. Charles is a bit like everyone’s favourite (and slightly naughty) little brother and we are all super excited to see him up on the big stage.

Hey there coffee people! Day 2 of the multi-faceted extravaganza that is MICE 2014 is underway!! At this early juncture the team are still looking bright eyed and bushy tailed, the amazing coffee on tap more than compensating for the slight (but growing) sleep deficit.