Bella Barista
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    by Published on 07-02-14 11:13  Number of Views: 1985 

    Please welcome aboard Cornwall based Origin Coffee Roasters as new Coffee Forums UK sponsors.

    Origin Coffee can be contacted via their website or via Twitter @origincoffee

    Please drop by their website, buy some beans and enter the discount code shown when purchasing their Buziraguhinwa beans from Burundi.

    click the origin banner above to go to the Origin Coffee Roasters website
    by Published on 02-12-13 11:59  Number of Views: 5511 

    Brewing great coffee also requires the best tools, so who wouldn’t want a beautifully designed scale to complement their brewing equipment.

    The Acaia Minimalist Coffee Brewing Scale is able to be used with most filter brewing methods (including French Presses, V60 dripper, Chemex, Woodneck etc) and as a device for weighing grounds.

    The Acaia Minimalist Coffee Brewing Scale has been designed to provide the precision & consistency you need for brewing the perfect cup of coffee

    To see a video of the Acaia Coffee Brewing Scale in action visit and the Kickstarter page

    Do let us know if you have pledged towards the Kickstarter goal. I'd love to hear about your experiences.

    I will also have a unit for review in early January.
    by Published on 12-10-13 01:06  Number of Views: 6548 

    On Sunday 10 August 2014 I will be pedalling my way around London and through the beautiful Surrey countryside - taking part in RideLondon-Surrey 100 for Asthma UK.

    As a child I developed Asthma so this is a huge challenge for me and I'm determined to complete this event to raise as much money as I can for a cause close to my heart.

    Three people die every single day because of asthma and Asthma UK is the charity dedicated to changing this. All the money I raise will help to fund research to find new treatments for asthma and ultimately a cure. Asthma UK's dedicated nurses and award-winning information gives people the help and support they need to understand their condition better and ensure no-one ends up in hospital or dies from an asthma attack.

    One hundred miles is no mean feat and training will be both physically and mentally draining, but I'm right up for a challenge which will put my lungs to the test.

    I'm committed to putting in the miles, so that children and adults everywhere can get the chance to lead a normal life, without fear of an asthma attack or sustained loss of breath.

    Your support really would mean a lot to both me and to the people who suffer with asthma and any donations for this fantastic cause would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much in advance for supporting me in my challenge.

    Throughout the build up to this event I will be sharing my experiences - the highs and lows, the thrills and hopefully not too many spills! - on my cycling blog

    You can donate by clicking this link and pressing the big yellow Donate button on the page - or by clicking the Asthma UK logo above

    All Coffee Forums UK Members who donate to support me will go in the draw to win a KeepCup and Coffee Forums UK Cupping Spoon
    Simply leave a comment below and add your forum username when donating
    by Published on 15-09-13 12:02  Number of Views: 14077 

    Following the successful event in 2012 with more than 4000 people through the doors, Pull Brew Melt returns for it's second year at The Glasshouse, Waddesdon (near Aylesbury - Buckinghamshire)

    In addition to coffee there are also tea and chocolate stands, with baking, sculpture and metalwork activities and plenty of fun to keep the family entertained

    The list of Coffee Exhibitors is here

    Click here for directions

    If you do make it along on the Sunday please come and see me for a Coffee Forums UK badge.

    A lucky forum member who introduces themselves to me on the Sunday of this event will also take home a Coffee Forums UK KeepCup
    Published on 13-09-13 05:39  Number of Views: 2343 

    Dear All

    You may be interested to know that the BBC World News programme about kopi luwak, "Coffee's Cruel Secret", first airs in the 'Our World' slot on Friday 13th September at 23.30 GMT. I was personally responsible for creating this trade, and am horrified by what it has become. So I very much involved in the research and the undercover investigation for the BBC, and appear in the programme being interviewed in Sumatra.
    Details are on BBC World News - Our World, Coffee's Cruel Secret


    The programme is scheduled to repeat on BBC World News around the world many times over the weekend - consult your region's schedule on

    It'll also be possible to play the programme on the "Our World" web page at some stage very soon. OUR WORLD. That should work wherever you are.


    That is 00.30 on Saturday 14th, UK time. It will be available to view on BBC iPlayer in the UK shortly after that, and, unless you have satelite or cable with BBC World News, iPlayer will be your best option to see it in the UK. There will be news coverage, and the programme will be repeated on BBC 1 London at 7.30 ' Insideout' Monday 16th.

    BBC London News will be doing a short report at 6.30 and 10.30 this evening. That will be available on iPlayer.


    I am starting a Facebook campaign, under my name, to try to get this cruel trade – for too long a stain on the face of the coffee trade generally – banned. Go to "Kopi Luwak: Cut the Crap!" on FB Tony Wild. If you like what you read, then literally 'Like"it! By doing so, you'll pledge to help get rid of this scourge.

    Thank you for listening!

    Tony Wild, former Coffee Director of Taylors of Harrogate and author of "Coffee: A Dark History".
    by Published on 21-07-13 03:42  Number of Views: 1639 

    SPIN LCF 2013 is a pre-XMAS cycle and coffee collaboration between the organisers of SPIN LDN (the urban cycle show) and Allegra Events (organisers of The London Coffee Festival)
    ‘The’ ultimate Christmas shopping experience for the discerning rider and coffee aficionado, ‘SPIN X LCF Xmas’ will run over Friday November 29th to Sunday December 1st 2013.

    The event is free to attend but only a limited number of tickets are available, so those interested are urged to register their interest online prior to tickets going on sale. Join the SPIN LDN mailing list for entry details.

    Celebrating the synergy between urban cycling and the vibrant coffee scene, SPIN X LCF Xmas will showcase smaller independent makers and forward thinking brands, with a selection of handmade frames, emerging cycle fashion brands, off-the-peg bikes, accessories and cycle-wear – and a fine selection of single origin coffees and blends, brewers, grinders and espresso machines.

    SPIN X LCF Xmas has teamed up with Brewers & Union to serve its own craft beer from the event’s heated outdoor beer garden – a limited edition unfiltered lager on tap. Mulled wine, DJs, art, entertainment and street food will provide a lively backdrop to the event.

    Confirmed coffee brand exhibitors for the Christmas event are Union Hand-Roasted, Make Decent Coffee and Ozone Coffee Roasters.

    Ludovic Rossignol, head of events at the London Coffee Festival, explained the connection between cycling and coffee to Event.

    He said: "Coffee has been embedded in the cycling trade since the start of major cycling events such as the Tour de France or The Vuelta - and coffee brands have a long history sponsoring cycling teams such as espresso machine manufacturer, Faema.

    "Nowadays, we see a return to craftsmanship in both the cycling and coffee worlds. The number of independent roasters and quality artisan cafés is fast increasing and so is the rise of quality independent bike shops and bespoke bike builders.

    "London has become a mecca for the "made by hand" and with the return to simplicity, authenticity and clean lines, the link between coffee and cycling has never been stronger, and we believe there's never been a better time to launch the very first caffeine-fuelled Christmas shopping event dedicated to coffee and bike aficionados."
    by Published on 17-06-13 06:59  Number of Views: 1889 

    London 17 June 2013 - After an incredible four days of coffee celebration, the visitors of The London Coffee Festival were asked to vote for their favourite stands, festival experiences and most innovative products.

    With more than 1,100 people taking part in the survey a clear set of winners emerged including Union Hand-Roasted, Starbucks Coffee Co. United Coffee, Ozone Coffee Roasters and teapigs.

    Union Hand-Roasted took home both the Most Engaging Stand Experience and Ultimate Coffee Experience awards. The artisan roastery, based in East London, bought its legendary San Francisco roaster to the festival to conduct live roasting on-site.

    We are thrilled to win not one but two London Coffee Festival visitor awards. The festival was a really great experience and the level of enthusiasm from the visitors was infectious. After each demonstration so many spectators stayed behind to ask questions and discover what makes speciality coffee a genuinely unique experience. We’ll definitely be back next year!” Said Jeremy Torz, Director, Union Hand-Roasted.

    After live roasting sessions the team from Union Hand-Roasted invited visitors to taste the coffee and take part in a pro-triangulation taste test; creating an experience that allowed visitors to see the coffee journey from green bean to cup.

    The Best Stand Design award went to Starbucks Coffee Co. who brought the Guatemalan experience to London, with the launch of their first single origin espresso from Guatemala. The Starbucks stand, which was designed to replicate a Guatemalan farm, was completed with photo booth and various interactive activities throughout the weekend.

    The Make Decent Coffee Lounge was another festival favourite, winning the Favourite Festival Feature award. Make Decent Coffee invited visitors to sample the same coffee using four different home-brewing methods (the V60, Chemex, Aeropress and Cafetiere) to show the effects preparation methods have on taste.

    ROK Espresso was awarded Most Innovative Product for their ROK Espresso Maker - the manual espresso maker that lets users feel the experience of pulling the water through the coffee grind and prepare it to personal taste.

    Coffee was not the only order of the day, tea companies were out in full force at the festival and for the second year running teapigs received the prize for Best Tea Experience. The tea experts were showcasing their range of tea pyramids with an iced tea offering as well as sampling the renowned Matcha, which is said to have 70 times the amount of antioxidants as orange juice.

    The Favourite Artisan Market Stall prize was awarded to Alchemy and the Roast Hog took home the prize for Best Street Food Stall.

    Ozone Coffee Roasters were awarded the Best Newcomer award - a category added by festival organisers this year to recognise overall exceptional feedback for first time exhibitors.
    “Exhibitors at this year’s festival really raised the bar in terms of stand design and creating engaging visitor experiences. We really encourage our partners to think outside the box and get creative – coffee is a vibrant industry and we wanted the event to represent that”, added Ludovic Rossignol, Head of Events for Allegra Events.

    The London Coffee Festival took place from 25-28 April reaching unprecedented attendee levels of 16,209 (a 38% increase from 11,728 in 2012), attracted more than 160 exhibitors and raised more than £50,000 for Project Waterfall, the charitable initiative delivering clean drinking water in African coffee-making countries.


    Favourite Key Feature
    Make Decent Coffee Lounge

    Ultimate Coffee Experience
    Union Hand-Roasted ‘Roastery on Tour’

    Most Engaging Stand Experience
    Union Hand-Roasted ‘Roastery on Tour’

    Favourite Stand Design

    Best Tea Experience

    Favourite Artisan Market Stall
    Alchemy Coffee

    Street Food Market
    Roast Hog

    Most Innovative Product
    ROK espresso maker

    Best Newcomer Award
    Ozone Coffee Roasters
    by Published on 26-05-13 08:31  Number of Views: 925 

    Clean Sweep for Team USA in Melbourne as Pete Licata is crowned 2013 World Barista Champion and Erin McCarthy is awarded the 2013 World Brewers Cup.

    Team UK's Sang Ho Park made the final and came 4th in the World Brewers Cup. Such a fantastic achievement in a strong field.

    Congratulations on your achievement Sang Ho!

    WBC Finalists
    Winner: Pete Licata (USA) 631
    Runner Up: Matt Perger (Australia) 619
    Third: William Hernandez (El Salvador) 596
    Fourth: Colin Harmon (Ireland) 561.5
    Fifth: Nick Clark (New Zealand) 540
    Sixth: Francesco Sanapo (Italy) 535

    Team UK's John Gordon made the 2013 WBC Semifinal and came 10th overall with a score of 518.

    Thank you to Sang Ho and John for representing the UK in Melbourne. We must also give a huge thank you to Jessica MacDonald for the countless hours of hard work behind the scenes as both colleagues from Square Mile Coffee Roasters prepared for the UKBC, UK Brewers Cup and ultimately the competitions in Melbourne.
    by Published on 24-05-13 10:05

    Late last night the 2013 UK Barista Champion - John Gordon (Operations Manager at Square Mile Coffee Roasters) - competed in the first round of the 2013 World Barista Championships.

    In a routine similar to that crafted in UKBC Regional Heat 3 at Bury St Edmunds and perfected at The London Coffee Festival in London, John wowed the audience both on livestream and those standing around the WBC competition arena at the Melbourne International Coffee Exhibition.

    John next competes at 2:05pm Melbourne time (05:05am UK time) on Saturday 25 May.

    You can catch up on John's Round One routine (recorded) and view the stream live at

    We wish John all the best and hope he can make the top 6 finalists who will compete for the title of World Barista Champion on Sunday 26 May.
    by Published on 11-05-13 06:15  Number of Views: 1867 

    The review below is a summary of my thoughts and not intended to be a full in-depth analysis of each machine

    Today I had the pleasure of spending a delightful 4 hours at Bella Barista, hosted by Claudette and her team.

    The aim was to evaluate the R58 vs Alex Duetto Mk IV (aka new Alex Duetto III in the US) side-by-side and walk away with the winner.

    I had previously narrowed my search to replace my home machine to either of these dual boiler espresso machines.
    click to enlarge

    Also on the bench was the ECM Heidelberg espresso machine (HX), which I used to dial in the grinder (the Eureka Mignon) and pull reference shots on, for a coffee that I was familiar with.
    This machine was so forgiving and produced not only lovely espresso but some of the best milk I have steamed in a long time - a glossy paint finish which was perfect for latte art.
    I would have happily parted with £1099 if I was in the market for this type of machine.
    Of the 3 machines this had the best drip tray too, shallow and wide, with plenty of cup clearance and ample room to move cups around.

    I initially pulled shots using the stock basket before switching to a 20g VST basket for the evaluation of the R58 and Alex Duetto Mk IV.
    The same coffee, grinder, basket, portafilter, tamper and milk was used for all tests.

    The Rocket R58 was up next. The first shot ran a little too fast, so a tweak to the grind was required, and the next shot was sublime. Easily one of the cleanest espresso's I had tasted this year. You could pick out the individual flavours and the aroma was more intense than on the ECM. With a rotary pump the Rocket R58 was also quieter than the ECM. There was no 'whine' as reported on earlier models and the pressure was pretty steady - no flickering of the manometer needles at all.

    Both the Rocket R58 and the Alex Duetto Mk IV were set to the same service boiler temperature and held steady at 93c throughout the evaluation period.

    Changing the settings using the external controls on the R58 was easy and the interface is fairly intuitive, but I wasn't a fan of the coiled cable connecting the control box to the chassis, cluttering up the workspace. If you intend to 'set and forget' then this is not an issue.

    The Rocket R58 is a real looker and wins the beauty contest - but I wasn't judging beauty so tested the steam capability to see what I could achieve.
    Better than expected is how I would describe the steaming on the R58. Noticeably more powerful than the ECM the steam through the standard 2 hole steam tip was consistent and handled different volumes of milk with ease. My second jug was the best from this session. I would have liked to spend more time adjusting steam boiler pressure to see how the different increments affect the milk. This however would be best achieved when I could focus on the one machine.

    The shots and milk I enjoyed would have justified the £600 price difference between these machines.
    After spending 20 minutes on the machine, tweaks and changes to the grind produced some lovely looking (and tasting) espressos and my wife was starting to feel the effects of the coffee.
    We took a quick break and Claudette roasted some Tanzanian coffee on the Gene Café roaster. I was genuinely surprised at how little smoke there was. My wife was showing a lot of interest in the Gene Café roaster as well, which is encouraging! Although for the time being I'm quite happy to let the experts roast and discover the fruits of their labour.

    After a pint of water later and a quick tour of the Towability factory next door it was time to evaluate the Alex Duetto Mk IV. I pulled a shot on the R58 then tried to replicate on the Duetto.
    A minor tweak to the grind was required (again a fraction finer) and the resulting shot was excellent - with more crema and viscosity than on the R58.

    I had to check this was no fluke and pulled several more in quick succession - each tasting the same - rich and silky smooth. I could have had another but needed to evaluate the steaming capability so set about preparing my milk jug. The Alex Duetto Mk IV steam is very dry. Plenty of power behind it and that's with the no-burn steam arm insert still in. I have been told by a couple of owners that I spoke to earlier this month that one of the first mods to make after getting to grips with the machine is to remove the tube - giving you even more steam power.

    However, putting aside those thoughts I gave the steaming a shot. I hadn't expected such power and too many bubbles were created. Starting afresh I adjusted the angle and depth and turned the steam knob. Not as easy as the R58 but I'm glad that no 'radiator tap' retrofits have been made as some distributors in the US have done. This jug was pretty good and I could see what to do to make the next one even better. Several small adjustments later (this biggest change to me was steaming on the left instead of on the right like I'm used to) and I could produce lovely milk time after time. I still have a way to go but already notice an improvement on my previous technique.

    So, the Alex Duetto Mk IV was producing nicer espresso than the R58 and milk every bit as nice as the ECM. Although I think the R58 has the edge in milk steaming (that is until I remove the no burn steam arm and evaluate again)

    The R58 won on looks and had better cup clearance than the Duetto. However removal of the drip tray was not as smooth on the R58 compared to the Duetto (which also holds more water / liquid).

    The rotary pump on the Alex Duetto Mk IV was even quieter than the R58. I hadn't anticipated the difference would be so tangible.

    By this stage I had written out the cheque in my mind, and nearing the edge of my caffeine tolerance levels (I think I pushed them a little today) decided upon the Alex Duetto Mk IV as my new home espresso machine. After informing Claudette of my decision all that remained was to choose the box from the stock room and get the machine bench tested.

    The bench testing process was very thorough and Bella Barista's techie Jordan ran me through the PID settings and set the defaults based on testing undertaken by their reviewer. The factory defaults are also provided for future reference.

    After the great service provided of loading the machine into the car, carrying an awkwardly shaped 44kg+ box containing the machine and accessories up 3 flights of stairs by yourself isn't fun. But after mounting the feet and warming up the machine, pulling a shot was the best reward.

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