Yuk & Yum – The ups & downs of Palate Training & Sensory Analysis.

What a fascinating weekend.  I took part in the Palate Training & Sensory Analysis of Coffee course at the William Angliss Coffee Academy in Melbourne.  Jill Adams & Lindsay Corby have put together the course, and it has proved popular amongst participants.  As I haven’t had much cupping experience, I saw the value of developing my palate and learning some sensory analysis skills to better understand coffee.

Lindsay in action.

Lindsay in action.

Lots of green bottles, ready for us to pour....

Lots of green bottles, ready for us to pour….

On day 1 we analysed brackets of compounds.  The first bracket consisted of soda water; cold tea; cold coffee; orange juice; white wine; vegie juice; and milk.

This gave us an idea of how different Tastes present themselves in beverages.   We then moved onto acids; acids in different dilutions; and combinations of different acids.  Then we went through sugars, bitter compounds, various aromas and then various combinations of all of the preceding, followed by coffees with various added compounds in isolation and various combinations.  Are you following?

Lindsay prepares solutions in coffees.

Lindsay prepares solutions in coffees.

Pouring solutions.

Pouring solutions.

Ready for action.

Ready for action.

Luca thinks it's just a little bitter!

Luca thinks it’s a little bitter!

Solutions for coffee.

Solutions for coffee.

Various compounds in coffee.

Various compounds in coffee.

It was overwhelming for my palate, particularly some of the bitter compounds (I never knew how bitter Caffeine is……. YUK!).  But I certainly feel that I’m better equipped to efficiently isolate the main tastes, and therefor more effectively discern “Balance”.

Intense discussion.

Intense discussion.

On day 2, we used our newly enhanced skills to cup coffees.  We started with 5 Aceh coffees.

Some of the Aceh samples.

Some of the Aceh samples.

Jill Adams told us about a program in Aceh (Indonesia) where they’re evaluating various Varietals and processing methods to ascertain the best options for the future.  They are still rebuilding after the devastation of the Tsunami a few years ago.  Each of the 5 coffees was processed in one of 2 ways – Full Washed or Wet Hulled – making for 10 coffees in all.

Pouring the Aceh samples.

Pouring the Aceh samples.

Aceh samples.

Aceh samples.

Then we moved on to 1 coffee roasted 5 ways.  Andy Freeman (Coffeesnobs), talked a little about the different roast profiles used to roast one of his favourite coffees – Malawi Mzuzu Khanga Gesha AA.  Each roast had the same start temp, turn temp, 1st crack temp and dump & cool temp.  However, the ramping from turn was different so he had roasts lasting from 16 to 30 minutes (including cooling).  The varied results were noticeable.

Malawi samples.

Malawi samples.

Sniffing samples.

Sniffing samples.

After lunch, we cupped 17 different coffees.  They included a Cup of Excellence Guatemalan; a couple of blends; 2 different Harrars (one was FTO); a Mountain Water Decaf; a Yirgachefe roasted 2 ways (1 roasted on a sample roaster, the other on 20kg roaster); and a couple of coffees that contained defects.  After that it was time for a beer or glass of bubbly.

Peekaboo!

Peekaboo!

Ann checks Luca's dosing.

Anne checks Luca’s dosing.

Luca demonstrates the correct tamping method..... NOT!

Luca demonstrates the correct tamping method….. NOT!

Luca, Hazel, Anne and Ed.

Luca, Hazel, Anne and Ed.

My palate was worn out after all of that, but I can thoroughly recommend the course.  I discussed the course with fellow participant Luca Costanzo (who’s already posted a comprehensive blog on this too!), and we agreed that we think the course would also benefit from a bracket that contained a “Neutral” coffee that was then “Flavoured” with various flavours (eg. strawberry, peanut, melon, apple etc.) in isolation and/or combination.  Perhaps that could be part of “Return of – Palate Training & Sensory Analysis of Coffee”.

Cheers!

Cheers!

Palate Training & Sensory Analysis

Jill Adams has scheduled another Palate Training & Sensory Analysis workshop on Ocotber 4th & 5th.

I missed the last workshop, and from all accounts it was excellent.  So this time I’m booking in.

If you’re interested in attending, contact Jill Adams at the William Anglisss Coffee Academy (Melbourne) on (03) 9606 2401 or jilla@angliss.vic.edu.au

More cupping at Brother Baba Budan

Wow, 2 posts in 1 day!  I can’t help myself after my visit to BBB today.

I dropped in at First Pour and caught up with Luca Costanzo.  I was going to go onto Andrew Kelly’s (relatively) new cafe The Auction Rooms in Errol St North Melbourne.  But Luca was going to Brother Baba Budan for the Saturday Cupping, and he was armed with some George Howell (Terroir) coffees.  Hmmm, The Auction Rooms can wait.

Emanuele Muratore from Perth was at BBB (amongst a few others), and Mark at BBB prepared 8 coffees for us to cup:  BC espresso blend; an El Salvador natural and an El Salvador wet; Terroirs’s Costa Rican “La Minita Estate” and Kenyan “Mamuto”; a Sumatran Kuda Mas; and an Indian (not sure??).

Well I’ll cut to the chase!  The Kenyan Mamuto was STELLAR!  No wonder it scored a 97 at Coffee Review.  I can’t say that my description of the flavours I experienced was the same as those of the Coffee Review, but it was certainly sweetly powerful, with a smooth balanced finish.  But I got blackcurrant aroma with stewed apricot in the cup.  A very tasty coffee!

If you didn’t know already, Mark has regular cuppings at BBB on Saturdays, so check it out.

Sightseeing & Cafes in Copenhagen.

 

 

Copenhagen

Copenhagen

 

 

 

I’ve finally finished uploading our Copenhagen photos onto Flickr.  I’ve still got to load photos from the rest of our trip, but I’ll post on Copenhagen in the meantime.

Apart from the WBC, we spent most of our time wandering the wonderful sights of Copenhagen.  It’s a great city to get around, with incredibly regular bus & train services throughout the day.  We purchased a 3 day Copenhagen Card, so we had unlimited transport and access to all of the most popular sites.  Our favourites were Rosenborg Castle; The Round Tower; the impressive Gefion Fountain; the original foundations of Absalom’s Fortress underneath Christiansborg Palace; the stunning Baroque Vor Frelsers Kirke; and just walking around the city centre.  Copenhagen’s architecture is beautiful.  There are no high rise buildings, and all of the buildings compliment one another, both in structural design and colour.  Even the ultra modern Opera House seems to fit in.

Because it was mid Summer, the days were long.  We had bright sunlight from 5am until 8pm, and the sun didn’t set until after 10pm – great for sightseeing and photography.  We were staying in the city on Vesterbrogade, so we were close to the WBC venue and just about everything in the city.  Most importantly, we were close to Estate Coffee.  The coffee was great.  Excellent espresso with lovely fruit flavours and balanced acidity.  Lattes were impressive too, and all coffees are served with a piece of Valhrona chocolate.  The Baristas are impressive to watch – Incredibly consistent, and highly skilled.  The food was great too (my mouth waters at the thought of their salmon roll – YUM!).  We also visited The Coffee Collective, but that was a bus ride out to the North of the city.  The coffee is great there too, as the espresso was so beautifully sweet and balanced.  Klaus introduced me to the Shakerato (espresso, sugar syrup and ice, shaken in a cocktail shaker), for which I’m eternally grateful – Summer coffees will never be the same!  Klaus, Casper & Linus were wonderful hosts, with so many Baristas visiting their cafe.  I can’t believe they fitted so many people in and still managed to roast, brew and socialise.  I also spent time at Risteriet with David Makin.  Risteriet have a FB80, and generously allowed David to do some preparation for the WBC.  They also have a great range of espresso machines, and all the kit you need to make great espresso at home.  The staff are great, and so is the coffee!

The coffee in Copenhagen really is great, and different from the coffee I’m used to drinking in Melbourne.  Melbourne coffee is typically more “Chocolate”, with a bold, gutsy presence.  In Copenhagen, it was more “Fruit”, with more “Caramel” than “Chocolate”, and a refined sweetness that I think is more appealing to a wider audience.  I still love my Melbourne coffee, but I’d love to see the “Scandinavian” style more readily available here.  I would also love to taste the same Copenhagen coffees through a HX machine.  All of the above cafes use a La Marzocco GB5/FB80, and I’d love to see how the flavours develop in HX extraction.

I’ll post on London soon.

Back from Europe and the WBC in Copenhagen.

WOW!  Ysolde & I arrived back from Europe last Sunday morning.  After Copenhagen, we went to London, Lille (France) and Laze (Slovenija).  I didn’t have convenient internet access in Europe, so I didn’t post during our trip.  Now that it’s 3 weeks after the WBC, I’m sure everyone is over the whole thing.  However, I am loading my photos onto Flickr over the coming weeks (about 8 gig to sort through), and I’ll post my thoughts & stories here between photo sorting.

In brief, Copenhagen is sooooooooo beautiful, and the coffee is great!  In particular, the crews at The Coffee Collective, Estate Coffee and Risteriet.  Not only was their coffee great, but they provided invaluable assistance to Australian Champion David Makin, and many of the other National Champions.

In London, I got a tour of the Monmouth Roastery (thanks to Steve), and had great coffee at Fernandez & Wells, Flat White, Milk Bar and Monmouth.  All these cafes are in Soho & Covent Garden, and all use Monmouth coffee!  I also had a coffee at Nero’s (Victoria Station) for balance, but the less said about that the better ;-).

More soon………

African Champions at the WBC need some machine time.

Several Baristas (including me) are volunteering their time to assist the 4 African Champions with their preparations for the World Barista Championships in Copenhagen.

We’re looking for machine time in Copenhagen, prior to competition.  “Estate Coffee” in Copenhagen have generously offered some machine time, but it clashes with the competitors briefing on June 18th.

If anyone can offer or suggest a location (FB80 preferred, but we’ll take anything), it will be greatly appreciated by these Origin Champions.

Suggestions/Offers in the comments please.

Preparations for the 2008 WBC in Copenhagen.

 

 

My wife Ysolde and I are going to Copenhagen to watch the 2008 World Barista Championships.  We’re looking forward to seeing a high standard of competition, and of course cheering on the Australian Barista Champion David Makin, Australian Cupping Champion Catherine Ferrari, and the Australian Latte Art Champion Con Haralambopoulos.  I’ve been to a couple of David’s practice run throughs in the last week, and I’ve enjoyed some great coffee (I finally got to taste his signature drink, as I missed out on that in the lead up to the Victorian and Australian Championships – damned competition ;-)).

While we’re there, I’ll be doing a stint on one of the machines, making coffee for the audience.  There’ll be many Baristas volunteering for this role, and all proceeds from the sales of audience coffees will go to a local Danish charity.

If possible, I’ll be blogging from Copenhagen and posting photos on my Flickr page.

I’m also hoping to attend some of the Barista & Roaster workshops at the exhibition during the WBC, but I’ll have to see how they clash with the competition schedule.

We arrive before the Championship starts, so we’ll be heading to the Coffee Collective to taste some fine coffee to get us over our jetlag :-), and hopefully catching up with some of the Baristas I met at the WBC in Tokyo last year.

Drop me an email or post a comment if you’re going to Copenhagen, and you’d like to meet up.

 

$10 cup for Carlos

I’ve only just found out that First Pour are serving brewed cups of FVH today for $10 a pop

All of the proceeds will be sent to support the family of Carlos who was tragically murdered earlier this year.

If you’re reading this and you live in Melbourne, please get yourself down to First Pour and try some of the FVH.

2008 Detpak Australian Barista Championships Results

1. David Makin – Victoria

2. Con Haralambopolous – Victoria

3. Jen Murray – Western Australia

David will represent Australia in Copenhagen at the 2008 World Barista Championships.

It was a thrilling weekend, with Catherine Ferrari from WA winning the Cupping Championship, and Habib Maarbani from NSW winning the Latte Art Championhip.  They’ll join David in Copenhagen, to represent Australia.
BTW, I placed 4th in the Open Heat on Saturday (Which Con Haralambopoulos won).  I’ll post soon with more detail about my experience of the weekend.

 

I’ve got photos of the Sunday night After Part on my Flickr.

Bin 549 follow-up.

Unfortunately, I missed out on this gem.  Well, I got to smell and taste a cup that had not been dialled in, but that was as close as I got.  Although it hadn’t been dialled in, it had an exquisite blackberry jam aroma, and great sweetness in the cup (but I can’t remember any specific flavours).  Another batch of 549 has since arrived at Veneziano, but it’s from the new crop which (apparently) is not fit for roasting yet.  I was at Veneziano today, training for next weeks Open Heats of the Australian Barista Championships, and David Seng had some of the new crop roasted for espresso.  I have a cold at the moment, so my nose and palate aren’t great.  The aroma smelt a little enzymatic, but I didn’t get to taste the espressos (those that did were spitting them out REAL quick – it wasn’t great).  David Seng ground some up for French Press, and the aroma changed completely – Much sweeter and fruitier, but the cup tasted charred to me.  I’m told we have to wait a few months before it’s good to roast………. here’s hoping.