This year’s Sumatran season marks the production of the first ever natural micro lot to come from the Tiga Raja mill. This micro lot truly is a collaborative effort between the mill, Common Man Coffee, Five Senses and our ‘Limu Putri’ farm in Sidamanik.
Brews ‘n’ Bats is back for 2015 with an exciting new coffee competition and of course our hyper competitive ping pong tournament, all during the Melbourne International Coffee Expo weekend of festivities.
With a blog that’s been around as long as this one, we’ve managed to cover a lot of topics. However, given how quickly the world of coffee changes, we figured it was time to revisit one of the most basic (and important) concepts in espresso: the brew ratio.
This may be kicking things off on the wrong foot, but I must confess to lying about the Tim Ferriss bit. For those of you who don’t know Tim Ferriss, he’s the author of the phenomenally successful Four-Hour book series. Tim takes a topic and strips away all the customs, traditions, rules and guidelines that make us behave in predictable, boring and sometimes nonsensical ways.
My lunch companions have it right! We struck the jackpot when we wandered into Exquise Patisserie, just off the main street in Freo, and ordered up a table full of treats. The pastry is just delightful – crisp, light and fluffy all at once. You can taste that it’s been made with the good stuff: real butter in the hands of someone who knows what they’re doing.
The weekend just past saw the latest annual edition of the Victorian Specialty Coffee Championships, this year generously hosted by Griffiths Coffee, held in the southern burbs of Mulgrave. Following an in depth day of judges calibration on Friday, we saw across Saturday and Sunday a selection of Victoria’s barista talent test their metal against Latte Art, Brewers Cup, Cup Tasting and Barista Championships.
I’m not going to lie, but I might once have been part of the group of coffee people who assumed that once you have driven past the airport in Melbourne, you are in a cultural wasteland and it’s not even worth searching for a great cup of coffee.
The Backroom programme is our avenue for offering some of Five Senses’ most distinct coffees. Sourced from our travels around the world or purchased from a variety of auctions, these ‘micro-lots’ are offered as a limited release and are constantly changing.
Aromas and flavours are powerful things. On one level they are stimuli for the senses, but on another, they spark things deep in our minds. Memories, ideas and relationships float alongside them and for many of us, the end of each year sees a unique array of foods and drinks spiced and flavoured in a way that clearly shouts ‘Holiday Time!’. And so, to celebrate this time of family, friends and sensory delights, have fun playing with our Spiced Cold Brew recipe below – a great, super easy way to get the day started as the weather warms up.
Our Curated Cupping series, held at both the Victoria and Western Australian Barista Academies plus one of our partnering cafes in Sydney, is an opportunity to showcase a few microlots from of our exquisite range of coffees. More so, beyond just tasting or cupping the coffees it is also an opportunity to share about relationships forged, various cultures experienced, and the nuances that these coffees represent in a tangible form.
Two weekends ago the 6th and 7th saw an intense couple of days with top baristas from NSW and ACT coming together to showcase their skills at joint ASCA Coffee Championships. There was a great turnout and day 1 shaped up with a crazy 15 competitors!
Sometimes it seems like there’s more coffee toys than you can poke a stick at. Whenever one pops up, we put it through its paces and see what kind of deliciousness it can help us deliver. Pourover devices have been a staple in our toolkit for a while now but after some further experimentation, we’ve decided to focus on supporting scrumptious gravity fed brews from the Kalita Wave 185.
While the dust is settling on our screening of ‘A Film about Coffee’ over here on the westside, I can honestly say that the almost 300 guests who came along to the Octagon Theatre experienced an evening which truly engaged the five senses (pun slightly unintended!)
Guatemala has a rich history of growing coffee. Not only has the country been producing coffee for over a hundred and fifty years, but it has a unique coffee governing body called Anacafe, which has tried to bring greater identity to its varied producing regions.
If you’re looking for a great life lesson to follow, you should definitely drop into Hopper Espresso and have a chat to Chris, because Hopper is the epitome of the ‘Persistence pays off’ attitude!
Summer is here — hooray! Quick everyone, grab your sunscreen, put on your thongs and sunnies, pop on a hat, get in the car, we are off to the … Dandenong Ranges. This is not how one would normally expect the script to go, but now that Burnham Beeches estate has completed stage one of its revival and The Piggery café is in full swing, your outing plans are slowly being re-written.
At this time of year, you may start noticing a few changes at your local café. As the temperature begins to increase, so too does the number of gleaming little brown glass bottles and intricate glass devices on display – which look as if they came straight out of Breaking Bad.
When contemplating a visit to somewhere called The Secret Garden, plan to be surrounded by bright coloured petals, green foliage and the aroma of fresh flowers. And if it’s The Secret Garden in South Perth, you can also expect to be greeted immediately by some very friendly and courteous staff including Nick, the barista, who is friendly, warm and eager to please with his beautifully presented coffees.
Once upon a time, there was a motor mechanic named Jim. Jim purchased an old milk bar in Thornbury. Eight months later, The Old Milk Bar Café opened, serving delicious coffee and food to the Thornbury and Preston locals seven days a week. This is a happy story!
One of the most satisfying things about sourcing coffee is looking for opportunities to work directly with farmers. Coffees are often sourced with little connection to the hands which have turned the soil and put real sweat and blood into their work. For some time now, we have been considering a small natural project out of Indonesia and the Tiga Raja mill.
The modern grocery store has more or less conditioned us to believe that everything is available at all times of the year. However, the idea of seasonality has recently had a renaissance during the most recent ‘food’ movements. This is due in large part to the re-birth of the idea of purchasing that which is local and in season. When we think of eating what is available locally, it becomes incredibly apparent that consumption will be based on a seasonal schedule.
Ten years ago, filter coffee in Australia was terrible. Defined by poor quality, stale coffee, it was prepared with little understanding of what was necessary to achieve great tasting results. Over the last decade however we’ve seen this all change.
While there are several great producing countries in Central America, Panama arguably sits at the top of the list. Producers are skilled and the farms are organised. Combine that with all the coffee varieties available and the numerous processing and drying techniques and you cannot help but make the comparison to being a kid in a candy shop.
Whipper Snapper Distillery in East Perth combines two of my great loves — quality coffee and quality alcohol. The Distillery came about as the result of a long term passion for both Alasdair Malloch and Jimmy McKeown and has been five years in the planning. It has always been about the product and they firmly believe that if you love your job, you will never work another day in your life!
The tale of mad skillz being sharpened in the cut and thrust of the forge that is the inner city, only to be relocated to the relative peace of the burbs is not a new one. Take these hard won skills and plant them in a sunny corner of Sydney’s inner west and they support the flourishing of an efficient, yet relaxed café experience. Welcome to Excelsior Jones.
- Richard Austin
- Tom Beaumont
- Ben Bicknell
- Ashley Brian
- Henry Brink
- Jordan Brock
- Brad Butler
- Marc Chandler
- Shaughan Dunne
- Andrew Easthope
- Dean Gallagher
- Jeremy Hartley
- Jeremy Hulsdunk
- Jacob Ibarra
- Brett Millar
- Richard Muhl
- Jennifer Murray
- Juliana Nobre
- Katherine Porter
- Brydon Price
- Charles Stewart
- Megan Williams
- Guest Writer