Monthly Archives: December 2007

Like an excited little kid again

Remember that totally excited feeling everyone had a Christmas as a small child. You know, the one that showly builds up for about a week prior to the big day, beginning withChristmas Tree that warm tingly feeling inside and ending up on Christmas Eve with so much excitement that you almost miss out on the night before Christmas fun because you cannot wait for the next morning. Just before falling asleep you really did hear Santa’s sleigh bells, didn’t you?

Like many, I suspect, the excitement overflowed in our house at about 3am on Christmas morning after no more than a couple of hours sleep, when I used to wake up and see that Father Christmas had been and the frenzy began. Well almost. I actually used to wake my Mum to ask if I could open my presents! The look of utter exhausted confusion on her face as she peered through half open bloodshot eyes year after year will be etched on my mind forever. She used to let me open one or two items and then it was back to bed until the far more sociable hour of 5am, or six if she was lucky ….. then it all started again!

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Oven Roasting

We tried a bit of oven roasting this week. Our only other experience of this was some time ago and involved a batch of Colombian La Manuela. From memory it was lovely and even but there was a bit of a chaff storm when the fan-assisted oven was opened.

This time we used some regular pulped Bourbon from Cachcoeira Farms in Brazil. The temperature was set at 240C and the oven pre-heated, which is what we thought had been used previously, and the cooker hood employed at full-pelt. Continue reading

Sweet Coffee

This year’s crop of Brazil Perfetio Espresso Blend is amazingly sweet; more so than any other year that I can remember. Three people have commented© CakeBoy 2006 on the wonderful sweet tones over the couple of days that we have had a bag. It has what I describe as that sunny Brazilian character to it, with smoothness and great balance that is neither too heavy, nor too light. Sunny, I hear you ask? Well it tastes just as I expect a sunny day would if you could eat it, all lovely and warming. I think another bag of this will be a must over Christmas.

Irn-Bru Snowman Advert

This really made me laugh when I first saw it the other evening. It actually made me laugh loudly. I think it came across even funnier because it initially appears to be an excerpt from ‘The Snowman’ original. Brilliant stuff, well worth a look and guaranteed to make you smile.

It’s Christmas …….

Well not quite, but it is that wonderful time of year when Steve Leighton at HasBean releases his Christmas Blends. Yes, you heard right: Blends, plural!

Not content with issuing the industry de facto single festive blend, Steve lovingly crafts two fantastic© Bean_Believer 2006 offerings; an espresso and a filter. They never disappoint. Available as whole bean roasted only, the blends contain beans that would not adapt well to pre-grinding. These are beans that really do need to be ground then prepared immediately. It’s a special time of year (yes, I’m a big kid at Christmas) which demands special coffee.

This year’s espresso blend has good body and lovely spicy cinnamon tones. It’s very nice in milk and amazing as espresso, with a rich, long lasting aftertaste. If this year is anything like twelve months ago, I’ll be drinking this and its filter brother almost exclusively before it is withdrawn forever once Christmas arrives. Oh, the bittersweet pain of it all.

Printer pain …….

This is nothing to do with coffee. It’s about big companies, poor customer service and even worse training.

We have a printer produced by one of the World’s largest and most respected manufacturers of office equipment. It’s not a cheap one, because we wanted to avoid hassle and have really good on-site support in the event of a breakdown. This week our seven month old, lightly used colour laser printer broke down. To be exact, it started clicking and not printing properly. We called the UK warranty line which is manned, it turns out, by a third-party company entrusted by the manufacturer to look after its warranty business, and reported the fault. This was where the real problems began. Continue reading

Rock Star Barista!

Well okay, but the title got your attention didn’t it? A while back, around the time of this year’s World Barista Championship, I was laying in bed unable to sleep after yet another late night watching the fun on http://www.zacharyzachary.com thinking about the differences between celebrity chefs and so called rock star baristi.

Years ago when becoming a chef wasn’t considered all that desirable by most and the likes of Gary Rhodes had not yet been invented, the world of cooking was probably not all© Bean_Believer 2006 that far from the place in which coffee finds itself now. People would compliment the chef, but no-one would recognise him/her and fame was not a part of the equation.

What then for coffee? The logical answer would seem to be that in twenty years the likes of James Hoffmann and Sé Gorman could expect to be attending book signings and giving public demonstrations of their artistry. Or is it? Continue reading