I’ve been waiting for a good reason to do so, but now that my beans are gone, there are no visitors scheduled to arrive anytime soon and I really don’t enjoy local supermarket coffee, I had to find a new supplier.
Now, from my experience at the Marketgarden supermarket, I know that Carib Bean Company in Antigua is a good, local and reliable supplier. They make fabulous blends that have stood the test of time, roast on-demand and deliver via airfreight. Fast, but expensive. So I need an alternative. Maybe it can be achieved cheaper, better coffee or faster?
So I ordered a couple of small 8-12oz sample orders from Amavida in Miami. I use a US mailbox address that can repack multiple orders into one small package and forward that via boat, DHL or Fedex. MyMalls is fast and reliable but also not as cheap as using local shipping companies such as SCS, Tropical or the Mailbox. However, for fresh roasted coffee it must be fast.
The tropical heat and humidity kill off roasted beans in 15 min when left exposed to air!
So Amavida it is and I’m very excited! They were awarded “Roaster of the Year” in 2018, so my expectations are very high! I hope they equal or surpass my experience with the Ethiopia single origin from Evermore in Rotterdam!
So happy to finally have received my Baratza coffee grinder and Bonavita water kettle!
With the grinder, I can finally start grinding my own beans for brewing with my Aeropress or Hario V60. I’ve had these beans for months already so I’m glad I can use them at last. Most fresh roasted beans are beyond their peak after 3 months, so sadly they won’t be as good as they could have been.
I’m starting with Ethiopian beans from Nordkappcoffee.com in Utrecht, my friend Jasper also supplies coffee to the Koffieschool where I got my training and Jasper is a King in roasting. Ethiopian coffee is fresh with citric notes and green flavors, so that is something completely different from the dark roasted Ethiopian coffee I get from the local supermarket!
Next in line is the beans from Man met bril in Rotterdam! Can’t wait!
If you are serious about coffee and want to learn and experiment more, I’ve put together a list of items on Amazon that will help you getting started.
You basically have a choice to make about which brewing method to start with:
If you prefer an espresso-style (stronger) cup of coffee, then choose Aeropress. If you prefer a more smooth, rich bodied cup of coffee.
Next, you will need to get a coffee bean grinder,a scale to measure the grinds with a precision of 0.1 grams, a water kettle with precise control of the water temperature and ideally also a thermometer to check the water temperature. But if you choose one of the kettles I’ve listed, they have a built-in thermometer so you can forgo that.
If you’re the only person drinking coffee at home (I sympathize with you) then you might want to get a great hand grinder and skip the more expensive Baratza grinder for now. You always get them later and then use the hand grinder for your travel needs!
Ideal coffee water is fresh and pure in taste and has no discernible odors. It should be mineral-rich, yet have a balanced mineral content. A total hardness of 7–12° EH, a carbonate hardness of 3–4° EH and a pH value of 6.5–7.5 are ideal. Only then can coffee develop its full aroma.
Read more about the meaning of EH or Eh, as chemical literature calls it, here.
What does this mean for anyone on a small island making coffee?
Don’t use tap water!
Don’t use water that has been desalinated!
Don’t use Reverse Osmosis (RO) water!
Don’t use just any mineral water but pay attention to pH and “dissolved minerals” per liter
If you do get RO water, get some tablets from Third Wave Water and you are fine!
Update: Chemists at MIT and 2 UK baristas have made a deep dive on this subject and analysed why soft water is particularly bad for making coffee.
I’m about ready to try out different recipes for making filter coffee and sampling various coffees. But I could use your help with this! I simply can’t drink all the coffee myself.
On Friday 24th, Sunday 26th and Monday 27th of November from 10 AM – 1 PM, I will host small coffee tastings at my home. Only 4 seats are available each day, so make sure you sign up if you’re interested!
You will taste coffee made by a coffee maker (OXO on), the espresso-style Aeropress and the ultimate filter brewing method Hario V60.
There is no cost for this. I will supply the coffee, tea, water and juice that day and will also bake one or two cakes so you can keep your blood sugar levels at a reasonable level.
I have WiFi at home, so you can work from my home instead of yours that day and enjoy the company of other coffee lovers, good conversations on coffee making and what goes into a great cup of coffee! You’ll learn something about coffee, I’m sure of that.