company - education - coffee

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Simon visits US

Photo Courtesy of Erwin ChukThe last two weeks have had a lot of interesting events. From a series of problems with different bits of equipment to getting to play chef for a night as an assistant at the culinary school.

Simon's visit this week continued that as we started with a set of mishaps. After struggling with the injectors to sensitive yet troublesome probes, there was a bit of tension that we were going to lack the time to get everything ready for events at weeks end. We eventually got everything worked out but it took a few days of struggling to get it tuned right.

The first event was to have a lineup of espresso done as close to our approach as possible. To show people the potential in espresso and why single origin shots don't have to be Harrar, wild dirty coffees, or generally unimpressive blends.

These shots were impressive. The lack of strong ferment note and the sweet thick jam notes with a gentle aroma in the Yirg Blend just blew me away. The Esmeralda was intense and showed the potential of roasting for aroma and how a direct flame setup can control a monster coffee.

Photo Courtesy of Erwin ChukThe sheer volume of people that came in for the espresso event and the amount that showed up in the first hour was not only unexpected, it was a reminder of the potential for espresso in this region. Sure vac pot is great, but the espresso is what emphasized the sweetness, the aroma, and the complexity with the intensity only espresso has.

The vac pot event was much lower key. I think fatigue from preparing the two events was catching up to me. Simon brewed what felt like a dozen vac pots one after another, sometimes multiple at once. It was interesting and I know I need more practice. The great thing about vac pot is the instant feedback it gives. A clarity in taste you can't get in paper filter. The other benefit is if you tune the roast right in Siphon, you can translate it to espresso easily.

I know there is fascination with vac pot and yet many of the industry elite profess it's 'too hard' or 'takes too much time to learn' which I really don't get. With all the blogs and forums, is it about finding shortcuts or better cups? Maybe it's all talk.

Overall, I can say the events went over well and the espresso event left me wanting to do more. Soon...