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Blog Entries posted by Glenn

  1. Glenn
    A big thankyou to all Coffee Forums UK members who attended the Grindoff at Rave Coffee in Cirencester - arranged by coffeechap (Dave)
    With 16 grinders on the benches to evaluate, we split into teams of 3 or 4 to carry out selected tests on each of the grinders, recording the results on a master sheet (details will be posted over the next week)
    Grinders evaluated:
    Anfim Caimano
    Brasilia RR55 OD
    Compak K10
    Compak K6
    Eureka Mignon
    Fiorenzato F5
    Iberital MC2 Doser
    La Cimbali Magnum
    Mahlkonig K30
    Mahlkonig Vario
    Mazzer Major
    Mazzer Mini
    Mazzer Royal
    Mazzer Super Jolly
    Nuova Simonelli MDX
    Torr tampers (with lovely titanium bases) were also on display and also glass hoppers for Mazzer grinders, along with Teflon portafilters and spouts were available for purchase.
    In addition to the grinders being evaluated there was a Mazzer Kony, an OE Pharos and other hand grinders, plus Rocket Giotto, Vibiemme Domobar and Expobar coffee machines to use. One of the draws was a Bosco lever machine, sat alongside the Sanremo Verona TCS for espresso evaluation.
    Breaking the coffee focus was a barbeque lunch and then cupping commenced before the taste evaluations at the end of the day
    Rave Coffee's 'Java Jampit' was the coffee on offer and many kilos were used or consumed.
    Please support Rave Coffee who supported the Grindoff and opened their entire operation to Coffee Forums UK members
  2. Glenn
    I received this infographic earlier this week from Kafevend - leading suppliers of vending machines and it got me thinking about my coffee drinking habits

    I normally drink mine before 0900 and after 1800, very rarely at work unless I make my own filter coffee or espresso from a mypressi TWIST.
    Of interest to me would be what types of drinks were consumed at the different times of the day, so I will commission a survey and post a link in the next couple of days.

  3. Glenn
    In 3 weeks time the first heat of the 2012 UK Barista Championships takes place.
    One of the best ways of getting involved is registering as a volunteer for a heat. (view dates)
    Even volunteering your time for 1/2 a day helps out the hosts and competitiors.
    Being a volunteer gets you right up close to the action, in some cases even being on stage during the event as Timekeeper or drinks-runner.
    You'll get to meet the competitors and learn about competing - which is brilliant if you intend entering in years to come.
    We are looking for all types of roles to be filled, from videographers / AV - to help with livestreaming of events (*where possible*), photographers (contact Glenn), drink runners to help clear the judges table, machine cleaners and also ushers to help seat people.
    To register as a volunteer - check out the UK Barista Championships Dates and then email Jamie Banwell to indicate availability and also highlight any special skills that you might have.
    San Remo - sponsors of the 2012 UK Barista Championships - are also looking for roadies (a paid gig) to help with setup and breakdown of the stage. Please contact David Wilson for further information.
    Please mention to either Jamie or David that you are a Coffee Forums UK member too
    It would be great to see as many people as possible come along and help out or support by simply turning up
    There will be some great coffee available to try on the day and you'll leave with a smile!
    It woudl be great to see as many Coffee Forums UK members along to the events as possible
  4. Glenn
    I've just arrived home after a thoroughly enjoyable day at Taylor St Baristas' Old Broad Street coffee shop where the UKBC Judges Calibration took place for those judges who couldn't attend the calibration session held last November.
    In 2010 I qualified as a UKBC Technical Judge having been a timekeeper the previous year and enjoying being a part of the UKBC. Last year I judged and also photographed a number of UKBC regional heats and the final.
    The day started with introductions and an overview of what we were going to cover for the day - then the real work began...
    I had the chance to pull shots for judges evaluation on a lovely 3 group Synesso Hydra. The machine was just the right working height for me. Being quite short, I find some coffee shops place their machines on a high bench, making it a challenge to use the machine repetitively. So I was a very happy barista today, and was at the right height to evaluate my shots.
    At my disposal was a Mazzer Robur, an Anfim Super Caimino with mods, and beans from Union Roasted (the Rogue espresso Blend for Taylor St Baristas), Base Coffee and also some of Pennine Tea and Coffee's beans supplied by fellow technical judge and judges mentor Ken Cooper. Also available for use was a Nuova Simonelli Aurelia and half a dozen tampers used by the team.
    The morning session lasted for a couple of hours, which flew by. I got to experiment with shots, times, grind sizes and different extraction temperatures, pulling shots of varying quality (some intentionally breaking every rule in the book - for evaluation purposes and some lovely high scoring ones too)
    After the first session I was required to evaluate run through after run through of the espresso and cappuccino making process, so one of the regular baristas took over and banged out espressos and capps for a few hours whilst we invaded his space and deconstructed his routines, identifying faults and inconsistencies.
    The debrief sessions were interesting as feedback was given about the shots we had pulled and capps produced, to simulate the UKBC competitor environment, and some of the questions that might be asked about the scoring.
    Judges had travelled from all around the country to attend today's event and many of them have a long journey home tonight (a fellow judge from Cornwall should be home by 3am...)
    I had a great time today and look forward to next weekends Barista Information Day being held at Fix Coffee in London
    If you are intending to enter the UKBC this year then visit this link for further details about how you can attend and have some hands-on time with a San Remo set to UKBC spec
    Thanks again to Taylor St Baristas for being great hosts and congratulations to the owner Andrew Tolley on becoming a qualified Head Judge.
    Further reading:
    UKBC Regional Heats
    UKBC Judges and Calibration
  5. Glenn
    I'm currently enjoying a selection of Union micro-lots from Colombia, Costa Rica and Ethiopia and will be showcasing them over the next week
    The first of the coffees I opened was the Asprotimana, from Huila, Colombia
    This coffee is different from many I have enjoyed from the region in the past.
    It starts off with a very dry, crisp taste when you first sip the espresso, drying the mouth out temporarily, before a jammy sweetness envelops the tongue and lingers for a while, making you want another.
    The grinds have a reddish colour to them and smell quite rich when being ground, with a distinct molasses aroma. Although the description on the Union website mentions licorice I couldn't pick this out in the bag I had opened (approx 10 days past roast date)
    Adding a splash of milk for a macchiato brings out a little more chocolatey sweetness up front and elevates the winey qualities for a second or two, before the jammy stickiness starts to coat the tastebuds.
    As a flat white this coffee cuts through the milk but I personally prefer it as a shorter milk drink, a piccolo or cortado size, where the milk doesn't take away from the experience, but helps highlight the sweetness and tempers the dry/winey notes
    This is a great example of how a coffee can transform from winey to jammy in the space of a few seconds.
    If you have a developing palate then this is definitely a coffee to buy and add to the memory bank.
  6. Glenn
    My motto for 2011 will be "Making Coffee Accessible"
    Coffee Forums UK has come a long way since it started in June 2008, reaching 15 members in it's first month - and recently welcoming our 1200th member
    We slowly found our feet and engaged with coffee enthusiasts via Twitter and word of mouth - methods largely relied upon today
    As our Google ranking for keywords has improved so too have the member and visitor numbers, and recently we have had over 400 visitors per day on the site and now over 440 Twitter followers too
    The introduction of coffee industry banner advertisements has allowed us to steadily improve Coffee Forums, upgrading our forum software to a Content Management System (Articles/Wiki/Forms/Blogs/Gallery/Classifieds etc) and this in turn has allowed us to reach a wider audience
    More and more people are discovering good coffee, and viewing the posts and replies to questions asked on a wide range of topics
    Problems are being solved very quickly, and new/improved brewing techniques are being documented all the time
    This is all helping to raise the profile of coffee in the UK, and in 2011 we hope to take this message to a wider audience
    So as 2010 draws to a close and we celebrate the achievements to date, we also have an eye on the future, and where coffee is heading
    The hunger for information is growing, there is a lot of work to do to help people understand what effort goes into making a good coffee, and we are all playing our part.
    In 2011 I will be holding a number of workshops to compare coffees side by side via different brewing methods, and hopefully introducing more people to the world of speciality coffee
    So finally thanks to everyone who has played a part in "making coffee accessible" in 2010 - here's to a new start and even more success in 2011
  7. Glenn
    If you like whipped cream then make a bee-line for Vienna, where it can be found everywhere. In the coffee, on the coffee, next to the coffee... you get the picture.
    Cafe Demel

    Cafe Pruckel

    Cafe Sacher and the famous Sacher-Torte

    The roundup of my Vienna trip can be found on the 5M Coffee Blog
    This week you'll find me at the gym!
  8. Glenn
    Following on from last weeks post highlighting my alternative setup I take when travelling, this week I am featuring my usual kit that travels around the UK with me and will probably make its way to NZ when I go next year too.
    The photo below was taken earlier this year and posted to my Twitter account, prompting a number of people to ask which hotel has mypressi TWIST's in their rooms. The answer to that (sadly) is none that I am aware of.
    All that is required to make a good espresso is hot water (available in most hotel rooms), a hand grinder and freshly roasted beans
    The only downside (for some) is that the mypressi TWIST does not steam milk, but if you have a lovely single origin bean that tastes great then milk is not required.
    Next week I will post my outdoors option, lightweight, durable and extremely portable too. Keep an eye out for the blog post next weekend
  9. Glenn
    My first blog post on Coffee Forums UK is inspired by Brian Jones

    I spend a few days each month on the road and always take coffee with me.
    Normally I take an Aeropress, or a mypressi TWIST, and make coffee in my hotel room, at the motorway services, or even on a train (I'm yet to tick off plane, ferry and bus... but thats another blog post in itself)
    This week I am taking along my Hario V60, as the coffee complements it perfectly.
    Shown above is my setup, consisting of;
    Hario V60 (pourover) plus filter papers
    Hario Ceramic Slim hand grinder
    12oz Jug
    Union Roasted Kenya Karimikui mill AA beans
    I am already looking forward to my first coffee upon my arrival in Manchester tomorrow.
    What do you take away with you?
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