Coffee Genome decoded

So they’ve decoded the coffee genome.  Or at least for Robusta coffee, not the more common (and better tasting) Arabica.  (Read about it HERE.)

What does this mean for the average consumer?  Not much.  But it does give me some comfort to know that people care enough about it to do this research.  Then again, when you read the article it says that the researcher drinks his morning coffee at Tim Horton’s  with “three creams and three sugars”.  I’d have to argue that the result is NOT coffee at all.  Let’s hope his associates have a better appreciation for it.

 

Coffee tattoo on arm of customer

Some people LOVE their coffee

 

Kawa Coffee – Kyoto, Japan

After leaving the Imperial palace grounds in Kyoto, I discovered the “Kawa Coffee” cafe, just across the street from the South East entrance.

 

 

I’m always up for a hot cup of coffee, even on a scorchingly hot day like today, when most would prefer it iced.  The name also intrigued me.  In Polish, “KAWA” (pronounced Ka-Va) means COFFEE.  So I read this as ‘coffee coffee’, which seems quite funny!  I was sure that a Polish person was running the shop.   I had to investigate!!

Once inside, I was greeted by the owner, who I quickly realized was not Polish.  Instead he’s a craftsman of fine leather products.  In addition to running the cafe, he also makes and sells these products.

Kawa Coffee cafe interior

After placing my order for a pourover coffee and some delicious sweet beans on toast, I spent some time with the owner.  His level of English is about on par with my Japanese.  Pretty much ZERO.  With the aid of Google Translate, I told him about the ‘coffee coffee’ Polish/English name.  He laughed and told me that he wasn’t aware of this when he named the store.  He simply wrote the English sound to the word Leather, which in Japanese is Kawa.

It took some time, but it was a slow day with few customers.  We spent half an hour “talking” about various things.  Why I came to Japan, how long he’d been in business, etc. etc.  Quite a good experience, but typical of all the stories I’ve heard from friends spending time in Japan.  Initially a bit shy, the Japanese open up quite quickly and before you know it, you’re having a laugh and sharing stories as if you were long lost friends.  (I’m told that alcohol consumption speeds up this process.)

I’ve got to spend more time in this country!

If you’re in Kyoto, you’ve got to go to the Imperial Palace.  And if you’re going to the Palace, why not stop by and have a coffee at the Kawa Coffee cafe?

<–  Previous article “24 hours in Kyoto”

 

Schooled by My Espresso Machine

[UPDATE, Nov. 2014:  What a fool I was for even trying to use the ‘dual wall’ filter.  If you’re new, skip this step and go straight to the ‘normal’ filter.  You’ll probably make some mistakes, but you’ll learn what NOT to do with your espresso machine *quickly*.]

I’ve just spent the past hour teaching myself how to tune an espresso shot.  What?  An hour!?!

For several months, I’d been using the cheater’s method of a “dual wall” portafilter.  This is basically a normal filter, with many tiny tiny holes, covered by another layer of metal with only ONE tiny hole.

When using a normal filter, the tamping (or pressing) of the ground coffee must be packed evenly and firmly to build enough pressure that the water passes through the coffee equally.  Even the smallest weak spot will allow the water to ‘channel’ through and throw off the flavour of the shot.  The dual wall’s small outlet ensures that a high pressure is reached every time.  It may not be perfect, but for the beginner, it’ll do.

Double Dose Dual Wall and Single Wall Filters

Dual Wall Filter vs. Normal Espresso Portafilter

I read recently that the crema produced by these filters is not “real” and that you can’t achieve top results this way.  I decided it was time to put on my “big boy pants” and try making REAL expresso.

They were RIGHT.  For the first time since getting my Gastroback ‘Pro G’ last year, I saw the pressure needle approach the top of the indicated range.  It had never gotten anywhere close to this in the past.

It took a few tries to really get it tasting right.  First it was too bitter.  Then it as too sour.  Then it was…JUST RIGHT…  Nice thick, beautiful crema.  This also explains why my Latte art attempts with the dual filter were such horrible failures.  Now making a proper crema, this too was easier to do!

One invaluable tip for using this machine, since it has no temperature control:  If you want to brew with a lower temperature, wait a few minutes after the machine is ready.  If you want a higher temperature, run the steam wand for a few seconds before pulling your shot.  This will ensure that the heater is ON and at max output while pulling your shot.

Now go grab a cup, your espresso is ready!

Gastroback Pro G/Breville Barista Express - NEW out of the Box

Brand NEW, out of the box!

 

Gastroback Pro “G” / Breville Barista Express:  Unboxing

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