By now you all should know that I was born in Brazil, right? So as someone who was born there, I always pay close attention to Brazilian coffees. Brazil is the largest producer and exporter of coffee in the world, producing approximately 50 million bags of coffee a year.
Cows are endearing animals. I honestly believe that it is impossible to dislike them – and only the cold hearted would not feel affection for them when looking into their ponderous eyes. I first started thinking about dairy cattle while reading the “All Creatures Great and Small” series of books about a British vet. Now, as a cow enthusiast, I realise that it is strange that it has taken me this long to write down some notes about the dairy industry!
As a World Barista Championship judge, I have been fortunate to be able to travel to many corners of the coffee world. This last week has allowed me to add the beautiful African nation of Uganda to that list!
If all good things come to those who wait, then we can expect great things from La Veen coffee on King St. Eighteen months in the making, this is the second venture for the owners and is poised to give Perth that next level café experience which some would argue it is currently lacking. The attention to detail is apparent in every aspect of the fit out, the service model and coffee offerings have been agonized over and the well refined result is a joy to behold.
Over the weekend of the 16th and 17th of November, cafés around Australia and in Singapore joined forces to raise money for the education and support of underprivileged girls in India. Our aim was to extend our current sponsorship of 55 girls per year to 400 girls. Quietly, we thought this was pretty ambitious, but what we didn’t account for was the amazing commitment of the cafés who got behind the event and the amazing people of Australia and Singapore who visited the 12 participating cafés in order to support such a wonderful cause.
Colombia is such a beautiful place. Particularly, in the department of Huila where I found myself. The people are lovely and the coffee is delicious. This trip had a unique flair because we introduced the espresso machine to many who had not tasted before.
Choosing where to have coffee at the weekend is undoubtedly one of the more stressful parts of my life. Although location plays a part, price, quality and service are also to be considered and from there, a decision has to be made. It is the same every weekend. I don’t like it.
As you know, coffee is our life blood here at Five Senses, but we’ve been increasingly aware that we needed to find a world class drinking chocolate to match the quality of our coffee offering. With that in mind, we are genuinely excited about introducing you to our newest partners, Bahen & Co.
Here at Five Senses, we see our fair share of new cafés. Some are built on the excitement of a newly discovered passion for coffee, some with a focus on making the most of a good business opportunity and offering something different, while others are the natural stepping stone for a driven staff member to become an owner-operator. Lolo and Wren in West Brunswick came about from the latter, and also brought with it a new way of life for husband and wife team, Franco and Karen Caruso.
Many factors affect our ability to produce excellent results with coffee but, in my opinion, those individuals and businesses who achieve truly excellent results in coffee brewing share a few common traits such as a willingness to experiment, openness to knowledge and adherence to the details of processes. Such is our drive to understand the coffee brewing process in all its complexity, that it’s easy to overlook some basic practices which can increase the consistency with which we produce top quality coffee.
Would you consider moving to the other side of the world for better wind surfing conditions? Sarah and Pierre Aubault left France to do just that! Luckily for us, they didn’t just bring Pierre’s mad wind surfing abilities to Cottesloe, but also his seven years of baking knowledge and experience from working in his family’s French bakery. Add to that Sarah’s background in architecture, and you get Marie Antoinette, the most delightful bakery, ice creamery and café all rolled into one.
This year I was invited to take part in the Early Harvest Cup of Excellence in Brazil for the second time — and the invitation couldn’t have made me happier. Having been born in Brazil, I grew up listening to stories about how coffee has impacted my country and I always loved hearing old tales about the coffee fields during my childhood. Sure enough, I started drinking Brazilian coffee very early on in my childhood. I now embrace every opportunity to return to Brazil to see how far the industry has progressed, and how special Brazilian coffees have become.
Name something you hope never to see, though when you do, it makes you feel relieved and happy? It’s the sight of your coffee machine technician, tool case in hand, striding purposefully through the front door of your café. You have a problem with your coffee-making equipment and your tech has just arrived, sporting a determined look that says, “I’m here to sort this out — and sort it out fast.” You feel both relieved, and somewhat happier.
What brings me to this region of the world? Why, the hope of finding great coffee of course! I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend an annual event held in Tanzania known as ‘Cupping at the Crater.’ The event is organised by several of the more driven specialty coffee farmers in the region. It brings together coffee professionals from all over the globe to showcase Tanzania as a coffee growing region, and also provides much needed feedback for the farmers about the quality of their produce. This year the three main farms involved in this event were Acacia Hills, Shangri La and APK. The event takes its name from the Ngoro Ngoro crater, which is a famous and beautiful safari destination located close to Acacia Hills and Shangri La.
With the warmer months fast approaching we thought it was perfect timing to explain how to brew cold drip coffee. In this video our Head Trainer, Andy Easthope breaks down the steps:
Ashley Schofield and Gavin Bellinger go way back and have been talking about great business ideas since high school. As they grew older, the childhood friends weren’t sure exactly what they wanted to do. Like many boys in their late teens, they thought it would be fun to incorporate a bar, but they knew that they wanted it to have another aspect as well. In the end, they concluded that they would open a place that was cool enough that they themselves would want to spend time there with their friends.
Since arriving in Melbourne from New Zealand, I’ve been spending lots of time getting to know a wide range of Five Senses’ customers, as well as taking in the culture and vibe that permeates the city. Australia, like New Zealand, shares a love of all things artisan. Melbourne itself is a diverse hub of this culture; from cafés to bars and restaurants, the artisan approach to creating products is astounding and such products are readily available.
After a short but sweet trip, I’m feeling much more in tune with what Ecuador has to offer the specialty coffee world. In terms of size, Ecuador is tiny compared to its big coffee-growing neighbours (Brazil, Peru and Colombia) which is part of the reason we see so few Ecuadorian coffees in our market.
Stepping through the ‘Goods Entrance’ at Truth. Coffee Cult’s lair in Cape Town is like walking onto a film set. You choose the film: Fritz Lang’s ‘Metropolis’, ‘The City of Lost Children’, ‘12 Monkeys’, ‘Van Helsing’, or even Will Smith’s ill-fated ‘Wild Wild West’. All are hallmarks of the ’Steampunk film genre, and cultural touch points for the gob-smacking interior design at Truth.
I was sitting at home last night, it was 7:30 and all the family had gone to bed. For some reason, I was suddenly aware that I felt inspired to write something about coffee roasting. I know — weird. It was enlightening, even inspiring, to work out how I felt about my work. Anyway, attached is what spilled forth…
Juliana Nobre and I have met up in Ecuador and are currently attending the 2013 ‘Aromas del Ecuador’ trade show in Guayaquil. There is a nice mix of specialty coffee and cocoa producers on display, as well as the national barista competition running in conjunction with the show.
This year our South America trip was massive! For the first time, we visited and established a relationship in Peru. After that, we headed to Brazil and visited 3 of Brazil’s more esteemed growing regions and farms we have worked with in the past. If you missed out on the blogs or want the abbreviated version, here is twitter feed that wraps it up nicely…
New cafés open up every single day in Australia and the chances are that there is more than one café within a three kilometre radius of your home or office. Or maybe there are five! But what if you don’t live in the city? Or if you’re out of town for the weekend? Does that mean you have to suffer a service station press button, piping hot, bitter bucket of ‘coffee’?
So many people loved the Verve Coffee Roasters Latte Art tutorial we published last month that we thought we’d bring you it’s precursor video that explains how to steam milk. As Baca says in the intro, “milk steaming is something a lot of people over complicate”. This video breaks it down and explains the three easy steps to get beautiful silk sheets.
For anyone who has travelled or had any type of relationship with someone who lives overseas, it is probably misleading to say that it is easy or straightforward. There’s so much that can go wrong. Toss passion into the mix and things can blow up quickly. That’s why when a relationship turns out to be solid, year after year, it is obviously something special.