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brewing coffee news roasting

Best Coffee Subscriptions in the Netherlands

One of the better things that Corona has brought to the world is the increasing availability of fantastic, fresh roasted, coffee bean subscriptions to all those who value excellent coffee when working from home! There are so many coffee roasters that have popped up as well and they sometimes bring you true gems from the coffee world to your home.

A coffee subscription brings you freshly roasted coffee beans to your doorstep on a regular basis. Some let you choose the frequency at which this happens, others deliver it to you every other week or month. Often, you can choose the “profile” of the coffee, which means you can decide if you want to the coffee roasted for espresso (a little darker) or for filter (a little lighter).

Most coffee subscriptions give you a fixed set of beans that will rotate regularly. A few promise to occasionally send you a surprise coffee or a special coffee as well, as a thank you for your loyalty. This means you get a reliable source of great coffee beans sent to your house. The quality level is above and beyond what you can get from the supermarket or your local coffee store, despite the latter already offering a much better bean than the supermarket. Local coffee roasters simply have access to better green coffee, take more pride in their (artisan) craft and take more care to roast the beans slowly, which greatly enhances the flavors in the beans. (source)

Another benefit of getting a fixed set of beans on a rotating schedule is that you don’t need to complete redial your brew settings all over again. Each bean often has a unique recipe: the setting on the grinder, the weight of dry coffee you use for the best flavor, the temperature of the water used to brew the coffee and maybe even the number of pours used to make filter coffee. If you write down your recipe (I highly recommend you do!) then when you get a known coffee again, you can simply reach for your last recipe and use that instead of having to go through several runs to optimize the recipe for taste.

Rarely, these coffee subscriptions give you a different specialty coffee every time they send you your subscription. And understandingly so. It’s a lot of work to source coffee beans on a regular basis, roast them and taste/cup them, adjust roasting profile, weigh and package all the subscriptions and do it all over again a week (or so) later. That’s something that only a handful people manage.

Here is my list of recommended coffee subscriptions in the Netherlands.

Not a subscription, but an honorable mention: Black and Bloom’s filterbox. They really should offer a subscription plan because they roast excellent coffee and have a nose for finding small lots with exotic coffee!

Update: the filter box by Man met bril coffee also deserves an honorable mention!

If you are a coffee roaster, you offer a subscription as well and would like to be included in this list, please get in touch with me!

Categories
coffee competition news

Participating in Dutch Brewers Cup 2022

I’m proud to say that after a lengthy postponement due to the global Corona Crisis, I’ve decided to participate in the next year’s Dutch Brewers Cup 2022!

I’m teaming up with a colleague in coffee, Dave from hetkoffieverbond.nl, who’s not only an accomplished coffee brewer but also roasts his own beans and works as a Cup Taster on quality control at a larger coffee roaster. We will both compete although in different categories! I’m very excited to both work with him and learn so much more about brewing coffee, beans, roasts and how to win competitions 😉

I also miss working with coffee. While I’ve spent my time useful and succeeded in making excellent coffee at home while working from home, it feels good to be amongst coffee fetishists in the near future and having the smell of fresh roasted coffee in the neighborhood.

Funny, it was a 104 weeks ago (exactly 2 years) that I was present at the preliminaries of the Dutch Brewers Cup 2019 so gain insight into the competition, meet some people and familiarize myself with it. But it seems much sooner.

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news

My Favorite Coffee Roasters in the Netherlands

Roasting coffee beans is easy. You just need a metal pan and fire.

Roasting coffee beans well is slightly harder. You need to pay close attention.

Roasting coffee beans excellently and consistently is both art, talent and science. It requires great skills and experience.

When you roast the coffee beans, the Maillard reaction creates a multitude of chemical compounds from around 145 C and caramelizes sugars present in the bean.

Roasting specialty coffee beans is on another level because they are of higher quality and you are trying to highlight, enhance or bring out certain flavors and tones that make that particular (micro)lot or harvest shine. Do it once and that’s luck. Do it twice and you are good! Do it more than twice and you are a true artist.

coffee roaster
Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas on Pexels.com

In light of celebrating those true coffee artisans and artists out there, here is my highly subjective list of the best coffee bean roasters in the Netherlands:

In alphabetical order:

  • Black and Bloom, Groningen
  • Boot Koffie, Baarn
  • Capriole, Den Haag
  • Giraffe Coffee Roasters, Rotterdam
  • Lot61, Amsterdam
  • Man met bril, Rotterdam
  • Manhattan Coffee Roasters, Rotterdam
  • Nordkapp Coffee, Utrecht
  • Single Estate, Den Haag

Why are they the best? Because they procure excellent beans and are able to create a roast profile that brings out the best of the bean.

They make great every day blends that are always outstanding, but also produce time-limited special editions of simply brilliant and out-of-this-world (micro)lots from somewhere special that just blow your mind.

Drinking those is more like enjoying a fabulous bottle of wine than drinking coffee…

Categories
coffee news

Watch how “washed coffee beans” are produced

Washing beans removes the skins of the berry of the coffee bean and leaves it clean and green.

https://instagram.com/stories/goldmtncoffee/2499313378821181523?utm_source=ig_story_item_share&igshid=1lgf3lch0yctz

After washing, the beans have to be dried to remove excess water from the beans before they can roasted or transported. Drying has various techniques and styles, each producing different flavors and tones in the bean. You can also ferment the bean before roasting, very popular and trendy at the moment.

Fermenting introduces a wealth of different and unique flavors in coffee. Very similar to how grape juice is fermented to wine.

Categories
brewing coffee news

Ideal water composition for espresso extraction

The Coffee Science Education Centre (CSEC) in Australia tested the impact of a range of tap, artificially modified, and purified waters on the flavors of coffee in an espresso. The chemistry of the resulting brews and brew waters was analysed scientifically through gas chromatography with mass spectrometry, inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry, a bank of photometers, and a series of pH/conductivity multi probes.

What a brilliant idea! I have long asserted certain differences in the flavors in a cup of coffee to the water used, but never really thought about it scientifically. Sometimes my favorite coffee tasted completely different when brewed at a friend’s home. Other times I simply couldn’t replicate the same great taste for a coffee I’d had at work in my home. I varied the recipe, tried to compensate for certain differences but never really solved the problem…

The study looked at how three elements of water affected flavours in extraction: hardness (the amount of calcium, magnesium, carbonate, and bicarbonate in water), pH levels, and total dissolved solids (TDS).

The biggest effect on flavour was achieved by modifying the hardness of the water

Dr Adam Carr of Seven Miles Coffee Roasters

They brewed an espresso on an industry standard machine from La Marzocco and then measured the concentration of chemicals in the coffee that are attributed to certain flavour characteristics, such as nutty/roasted (2-methylpyrazine), fruity (furaneol), vanilla/caramel (vanillin), and caffeine/bitterness (caffeine).

They found what I had sort of self-analysed by drinking coffee made with desalinated water, some mineral water and very hard (dH) water in my hometown in Bussum (dH around 9-10).

source: Seven Miles

Lessons learned:

  • Minimum hardness of 50 ppm for “best” flavors
  • Higher than 60 ppm has little effect on flavors
  • pH tends to concentrate flavors, much like salt enhances flavors in food
  • Higher pH tended to concentrate stronger flavours in coffee, though not to the same extent as hardness. However, higher pH levels also led to issues in the extraction process.
source: Reddit

Read the whole article to find out the recommended pH and what the effect on TDS was…

Source: https://www.beanscenemag.com.au/ideal-water-composition-espresso-extraction/

It just so happened that the water quality you want for coffee is what Sydney Water is pumping out of their stations!

Dr Adam Carr of Seven Miles Coffee Roasters
Categories
coffee news

So what kinds of coffee are there?

Just so it’s clear:

Great simple explanation of the different kinds of coffee drinks
Categories
brewing coffee news

The math of brewing a better espresso

Scientists have finally answered a burning question of mine: why should an espresso be brewed in 25 +/- 2 seconds and use approx 15-22gr of dry coffee to yield 50ml of (a double) espresso?

Who came up with this rule and why? Not that I have a specific problem with it but it seems so arbitrary. Also, once you start to make espresso’s a day long, you’ll notice that it’s really hard to dial in the equipment a certain way and maintain those rules for every cup. Sometimes it’ll be 21 seconds, sometimes 29. The grinder is pretty accurate. The beans are practically the same. So where does this high variation come from?

Well, it turns out that brewing your espresso differently yields the same great taste and flavors while achieving this with much greater consistency and reducing the cost per cup of espresso!

How did they do it? Well, they started by reducing the process to a proper model with solid mathematics behind it. Brewing an espresso is basically fluid dynamics of a bed of particles. The “puck” being coffee grinds of varying sizes and water is pushed through this bed at a certain pressure.

These mathematics are very well understood and accepted. So the scientists started with this model, created equations for everything and solved the equations using differential equations. That resulted in a few parameters and then they found the optimal solutions.

Sounds easy enough but believe me the math is pretty impressive, yet their logic is sound.

Turns out if you lower the pressure to 6 bars instead of 9, use 7-15gr of dry coffee, ground more coarse then tradition tells you to and aim for an extraction of 8-15 seconds, you will get a beautiful espresso that is much easier to reproduce!

Don’t believe it? Read the articles:

Categories
news

Best Coffee Beans in the Netherlands

We all need good coffee beans.

We all want good coffee.

So what are the best coffee beans in the Netherlands? Well, that depends a little on personal taste and favorites, but I can tell you who roast amazing coffee beans in the Netherlands and sell their coffee online!

Traditionally, there are a handful established coffee roasters in the Netherlands who have been producing specialty coffee since it wasn’t called specialty coffee. These are oldskool roasters who’ve always been on the lookout for great green beans and who know how to source these beans and treat them well. In my opinion, these are:

  • BOOT koffie (since 1963) in Baarn
    boot.nl
  • Bocca in Amsterdam
    bocca.nl
  • Capriole Coffee Service, Den Haag (1975)
    https://www.capriole.nl/

However, the whole third wave coffee movement have sparked a bunch of great newcomers with new routes, difference sources, smaller batches and that great newcomer creativity and curiosity. The get beans that are “off the beaten path”, if you will, or from non-traditional coffee producing countries. These are, amongst others:

They are sometimes pretty large scale roasters already, roasting every single day to keep production and delivery going. But some are small artisan roasters, roasting green coffee beans to order once or twice a week.

I’ve had excellent coffee beans from all of these sources, but two that stand out for me and who’s taste I can still recall are:

#1 Giraffe

Fabulous lush sweet yellow fruit tones combined with a medium to full body coffee, just enough bitters and everlasting flavors. And the smell when you brew is intoxicating!

#2 Black and Bloom

Super super sweet Summer berries!

#3 Nordkapp

Super tasty creamy coffee with red fruit tones and a full body. But the peculiarity is the thick fermented “wine-like” notes you smell when you open the package.

What’s the best coffee I’ve had from a non-Dutch source, you ask?

Amavida Coffee! ❤ Price was high but the rewards were too!

But don’t take my word for it! Check (the sadly discontinued) “Koffie Top 100” which ranked the 100 best places to drink coffee in the Netherlands. Ranking was made by a professional coffee jury and each venue was visited at least 3x to see if they were consistent. Very impressive list, even today.

Categories
coffee news

The road of a coffee bean

This post on Insta by GoldMountain Coffee shows you very clearly the road a coffee bean takes from being planted to harvest, sorting, washing and so on. Very good pictures!

View this post on Instagram

We've now shown you what our specialty farming group's coffees go through before reaching your roasteries… 👉🏾 Swipe right for a quick recap 👉🏾 🌱 Planting—Your coffee beans first start as seedlings, which take 5 years to become strongly-producing coffee trees 🌿 Growing—Coffee beans grow inside of cherry-like fruit. After five years of growing to maturity, each tree can produce only 1-1.5 pounds of coffee per year (harvests happen just once/year)! 🍒 Picking—For maximum sweetness and development, we pick only the reddest coffee cherries, leaving green ones for another day 🤏 Sorting Cherries—After we pick the ripest cherries, we sort through them again to remove imperfections! ⚙️ Depulping—The “depulper” separates the outside fruit from beans inside. This is part of "wet processing" 🍷 Fermenting—Next, a naturally occurring honey-like layer (mucilage) outside each bean is fermented with no additives! ☀️ Drying—After we remove mucilage by washing with water, we dry your coffee at the dry mill (a trip down the mountain)! 🚜 Hulling/dry processing—A “huller” is a machine that removes parchment (a paper-like layer) from around each bean. At this stage we use light sensors, density tables, screen size sorters, and more to remove imperfections from your coffee! 👀 Sorting again—If any imperfections make it through all these processes, a room full of people (or at tables when we need social distancing) pick the remaining bad beans out! 🚚 Shipping—Last, we ship your coffee to warehouses in the US and Europe, from where we can ship to roasters anywhere in the world in big or small amounts. Much of it just arrived, with more fresh crop afloat and on the way! . . . Need to know more about our coffees or just want to say hi? 📱 Check out the link in our profile. . . . #greencoffee #specialtycoffee #sca #naturalprocess #thirdwavecoffee #coffeesourcing #worldofcoffee2020 #beyondfairtrade #directtrade #directtradecoffee #cupping #qualitycontrol #coffeeprocessing #sustainablecoffee #coffeequalitycontrol #coffeeprocessing #coffeeroaster #coffeeroasters #coffeeroasting #coffeeroastery #coffeefarm #goldmtncoffee #besocialbegold #coffeefermentation #anaerobicfermentation

A post shared by Gold Mountain Coffee Growers (@goldmtncoffee) on

Categories
brewing coffee news roasting

De energie van een kop koffie – NRC

https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2020/05/29/de-energie-van-een-kop-koffie-a4001234

Dutch newspaper NRC did an investigation into the total energy it takes to produce a cup of coffee. By total they mean the LCA, Lifecycle Assessment, from growing to harvest to transport and roasting to you making your cup.

You will be surprised to learn what the most energy efficient type of coffee is. I.e. the least amount of energy required to make one cup of coffee…