maanantai 22. maaliskuuta 2010

The new blog!

I made myself a new blog in Wordpress, here's the address:

So, I won't be writing here any longer so you'd better check the new one!

maanantai 15. maaliskuuta 2010

Coffee, coffee & coffee in Stockholm.

                          There's nothing this critic doens't notice.

A few weeks ago we went to a typical day-in-Stockholm –cruise with our fellow students. However, I and Niki decided to focus in coffee rather than just partying. We had planned our route through Stockholm and we even managed to visit nearly all the cafés we had planned to check. Some were bit of a disappointment, some enhanced my impression of Stockholm's superb coffee scene compared to ours – 10 years ahead of Helsinki, one could say. Here's a small review of our picks.

V Street Coffee (Vasagatan 36)

 Being one of the newer coffee-oriented cafés in Stockholm and hyped in the Internet our expectations toward this stylish café were high. Coffee by DaMatteo, La Marzocco FB-80, 2 Mazzer Robur grinders and stylish interior but the coffee was a disappointment.
Niki's espresso was, according to my notes, aggressive, acid and bitter. Not very good, that is. My cappuccino was too hot. The microfoam was good but the espresso was slightly watery. Some notes of caramel but mostly the coffee was overpowered by the milk – not as harmonious as it should be. The barista rushed the coffees and obviously had no passion in coffee.

Espressino (Götgatan 9, Södermalm) 

Having visited this very stylish and chic café last summer, Espressino was a definite pick. They have the largest coffee machine I have ever seen, a 5-gruppo Linea (2- and 3-gruppo Lineas fixed together, though only three group heads were in use). Mazzer Robur seems to be very popular in Stockholm as also Espressino had two of them. The coffee was roasted by Johan&Nyström.

               Mr. God Shot wasn't around at Espressino today.

I knew our espressos would not be any special as soon as the barista started to make them. Although there was not any queue he didn't give any attention to distributing or tamping the coffee. The result was a thin crema. The coffee didn't seem very fresh and the taste of the espresso was sour and stale, although I found some reminiscent of milk chocolate. Compared to last summer's visit when I had an amazing shot, this was quite miserable. At least I enjoyed the decoration.

Drop Coffee (Wollmar Yxkullsgatan 10, Södermalm. T-bana: Mariatorget)

Having wondered around the city with icy wind blowing from everywhere we were delighted to find this tiny café. The place was exactly what I was looking for this trip: great, variable coffees from numerous micro roasteries, beautiful espresso (both the machine, Synesso, and the coffee itself) and stunningly nice and friendly coffee people. Unsurprisingly we ordered espressos. Even for my taste buds it was a bit too ristretto; the intense aroma of liquorice overpowered the more subtle notes that the coffee (I would not know for sure) had.

                                             Coffees from Swedish micro roasteries.

                             Some seriously good coffee.


 We chatted with the staff for a long time and ended up trying several of their coffees, many of them were pretty good. I was curious to try their beautiful Synesso and they kindly let me. That shot was, in my opinion, better. I don't remember the exact taste profile because of all the excitement and buzz, but it was good. As they said, the Synesso is very nice to work with. A must for any coffee enthusiast visiting Stockholm!

Johan&Nyström concept store (Swedenborgsgatan 7, Södermalm)

                                These J&N photos are from last summer.

This great corner space is a great location for the concept store (=café with a gorgeous 3-gruppo Synesso, training space and small roastery) of the largest and best-known fresh coffee roastery in Sweden, Johan&Nyström.

                               One of the best espressos in my life.

We arrived just in time for the daily cupping, today's coffees coming from Asia. Sumatra natural processed, Monsoon Malabar from India and some other from Indonesia, can't remember exactly. Rather drinking lighter coffees these medium-to-dark and dark roasts were not my all time favorite. The lightest coffee from Sumatra was alright in the cupping table but as espresso it was something else.

I have never had so balanced and sweet Single Estate –espresso in my entire life (though the amount of SE-espressos I've drunk can be counted with two hand's fingers). Their espresso blend called Five Estates (the coffee coming from five different estates, hence the name) was interesting but didn't bring anything very exciting or unusual. The barista told us that because of the numerous coffees it had the tastes can be completely different even by small adjustments to brewing parameters.

Very interesting coffees and nice people with a good knowledge of their coffee, J&N's concept store is indisputably worth a visit.

I guess I should also include a word of warning here: having drunk some 10 cups of coffee during the day we suffered the worst caffeine hangover ever but it was definitely worth it! The coffee scene of our dear Nordic neighbor is miles ahead of ours and I reckon that every coffee enthusiast should make a pilgrimage there, not to mention other towns like Malmö, Göteborg (or Gothenburg) and Helsingborg (disclaimer: I have visited these cities myself so don't blame on me if you get disappointed!)

sunnuntai 7. maaliskuuta 2010

Coffee from London, finally!

 I haven't been writing here very much lately because I'm setting up a new blog that'll be more professional (like I would be pro blogger...), more user-friendly and the most important thing - better-looking. I hope we manage to get it up next week. All the previous posts will be moved there. I'll let you know when it's ready!

Square Mile's Aida's Grand Reserve arrived, finally! I had ordered it alongside La Linda from Colombia but they first only shipped the Colombian deliciousness, obviously someone had not drunk enough coffee when packaging the parcels... I sent Mr. Hoffman a tweet and he almost instantly answered me via e-mail and promised to ship me the GR alongside some extra coffee that's not for sale yet.

Tanzania, El Salvador, Colombia.
Tanzania, El Salvador, Colombia.
I'll post review of these coffees as soon as I've got to taste them properly. I'm also writing something about Stockholm's coffee scene in the new blog as soon as we get it rolling! There was some pretty damn good coffee there (and also the worst caffeine hangover, ever...)

torstai 25. helmikuuta 2010

Something to dream about.

I first started dreaming of my own café while in NZ. Wandering around the city of Auckland, visiting all those interesting and exciting cafés, chatting with the owners and drinking wonderful coffee gave me already a clear vision of my own café. Last summer, on our InterRail –trip, I wrote down my thoughts, ideas and visions of my dream café. The list ended up being four Moleskine-pages long…

Here’s a little bit revised concoction of my thoughts. It ended up being fairly long, though.

There would be…

-3- or 4-gruppo Slayer espresso machine

Slayer espresso machine with Mazzer Grinder. My daydream.

-Mazzer / Anfim / similar grinders, grinding on-demand.

-“Slow Coffee” - French Press by order, dripper (Hario V60) station – maybe a siphon also.

20,000$ Japanese siphon brewer at Blue Bottle Café in San Fransisco, CA

-Fresh roasted coffee. Various single estate coffees and own blends for both espresso and milk based drinks. The coffees would be changing by the season and harvesting times.

-Consistency. Every shot of espresso has to be great, an experience for the drinker. Every employee should be able to produce amazing coffee, so constant training and aim for better would be the norm. “Think that every shot you make is your competition shot in WBC going for the judges.”

-Workshops. Coffee expertise shouldn’t be any kind of secret, it should be shared. The more you give, the more you get.

-Seasonal products – we would not be serving asparagus imported from Peru in the middle of the winter.

-Outstanding chocolate such as Amadei or Chjoko-pralinés.

-A coffee menu (as in Tim Wendelboe’s and in Third Floor Espresso) – no coffee would be served outside daily changing menu.

Coffee menu at Third Floor Espresso, Dublin, Ireland

-A large communal table as well as a few smaller ones.

Who could resist eating around the same table with these two little princess? Dida's, Auckland.

Delicious, vibrant and healthy salad from Sydney.

-Fresh, tasty, organic and diverse selection of foods and pastry, changing weekly or so.

Something I would serve in my own café, too. At Dizengoff, Auckland (check the review in previous post). Note the Phoenix Honey Cola in the back, a damn good drink.

-Organic, fresh and not-so-sweet lemonades, e.g. Laitila from Finland or Phoenix from NZ or Bionade from Germany, to name a few.

Phoenix-lemonade from NZ. The perfect compliment for hot summer's day.

-Nice, smart and clean toilets with individual towels (as in Michelin restaurants – a small luxury).

-Design furniture, tableware, lighting (Louis Poulsen’s lamps) etc.

-Ergonomic and comfortable tables and seats. Wooden tables and chairs made in Italy alongside leather sofas.

-Small selection of fine alcohols, for example a few great beers in tap and NZ wines by glass.

Wine list at Bill's, Sydney. Notice the leather sofa and elegant wooden tables.

-Selection of foreign magazines, including Vanity Fair, the Economist, Monocle and Wallpaper.

-Passionate staff, both about coffee and food.

-Nice and funny details, such as this Buzz Lightyear table queue "number"

The place would be…

-Mixture of bright, vibrant and energetic colors with some shady and lighter colors to balance.

-Comfortable and cosy while still being trendy.

-There would be lots of light, at the evenings some cosy and soft lightning.

-Open also on Sundays. Here in Helsinki there is no place open on Sundays I could go and have a coffee (that I could enjoy).

-Different materials used in the decoration and design.

I do acknowledge that this café is quite hypothetical and that the budget would have to be enormous, but hey, it’s just on the dream level! Maybe someday there would be a place like this..

keskiviikko 17. helmikuuta 2010

Kaffa Roastery and other stuff.

I know this may sound like advertising because I work there, but you should definitely visit Kaffa's espresso bar in Punavuori if you haven't yet. I guess it's one of a kind, the only roastery/espresso bar in Finland. Great place to try new coffees and brewing methods or buy some coffee stuff for home brewing. Pretty much the freshest coffee you can get in Helsinki.

Check out the workshop we held at the roastery a few weeks ago. There's even a picture of me there. Looks like I've drunk a little bit too much coffee.

Square Mile's La Linda a few days ago. I haven't had time to taste it proprely yet, but I'll post something about it here later. Aida Batlles Grand Cru should arrive this week, I'm really looking forward to get to taste it.

I have a few longer (and more meaningful) posts coming up. I'm moving this blog to other site and I'm really excited about that. So, keep tuned and follow my more frequent updates on Twitter, either kahvimies or Gaffe.

torstai 4. helmikuuta 2010

New Zealand Coffee Memoir

Last night I browsed through my old photos and I found some mean coffee pictures from my NZ time that I hadn't posted here yet. I thought I'll put here a few reviews also, so if your heading Down Under you'd better check out these places! They pretty much all use fresh coffee from small roasteries.
(Disclaimer: I just began my learning of coffee while there so I wouldn't know how these cafes would satisfy my coffee buds nowadays. At least they are worth a try, I think!)

256 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, Auckland

If you want to have your Saturday brunch here (the common practice in Auckland), you'd better be there early. Their Jewish inspired menu was pretty good ( 2 years ago at least) and coffee wasn't bad either. They've got 3-gruppo Linea there.

Reslau 39 Elliot Street, Auckland Central

This used to be my favourite café and hanging
spot in Auckland. Run by two brother, James
and Tom, and their mother who does all the
eadible stuff, this small-but-cosy café was chosen as the best café in Auckland. I used to admire their 2-gruppo Linea, but I noticed that their lattes-in-a-glass were slightly more bitter than in other place. Dunno how their coffee would taste now, but it was great back then.

Axis Coffee Company 91 St Georges Bay Road Auckland

Definitely one of the best cafés in Auckland. Such a shame that I only went there twice or so, their latte was superb and the atmosphere is nice and cosy. Check out that latte art!

They've got a 3-gruppo La Marzocco FB-80, as you can see.

Sierra Coffee
Various location, but eg. 18 Victoria Road, Devonport, Auckland

Check those prices! 1 NZD is about 0,50€...

Despite being a franchising cafe chain, Sierra used to be my local favourite cafe. Nice, fresh food and superb coffee. They've got a 4-gruppo FB-80 at Devonport and coffee from the chains own roastery.

lauantai 30. tammikuuta 2010

A few great videos

Those of you who read regularily James Hoffman's Jimseven may have seen at least a few of these videos. This first one made me want to go to California...

Espresso, Intelligentsia from Department of the 4th Dimension on Vimeo.

This syphon/vacuum brewer seems so interesting that I'm seriously thinking of buying one. I've never tasted but I'd really love to. Does anyone living in Helsinki have one?

Syphon, Intelligentsia from Department of the 4th Dimension on Vimeo.

These guys (and a girl also?) must have been very high becuase of all that caffeine. I guess I'm going to do the same thing when I'm (hopefully) going to London in June.

Java goes to London from Tomas Jensen on Vimeo.

Hario's V60 pour-over is so great. I don't own one yet but Kaffa will get them for sale, hopefully soon. I think this is quite good example of a V60 video. The difficulty with pour-over is that you need a pouring kettle, without one it's really hard to brew great with it.

Hario V60 Brewing from pouredover on Vimeo.

I just love those Intelligentsia's videos. Pure deliciousness. If I ever go to California I'm going to make sure that I'll visit that place.