A Taste of Green

A taste of green - The Discovery Coffee visit: March 04, 2006
by Adam Tindale

What is the difference between good coffee and great coffee? Details.
What about consistency, you say? I say that the things you are
striving to make consistent are the details. Water will pass over
ground roasted beans. Where do the beans come from? How hot is the
water? How much water? How much beans? How fine the grind?

There are lots of happy accidents in the coffee world. Sometimes the
moons align and all the details are perfect. The difference between
good and great is realizing this and striving to learn about these
happy accidents and make them the norm. We all know this takes years
of dedication to the details.

A clover coffee machine has been delivered to Sam Jones' Discovery
Coffee. The coffeecrew was on hand to try it out. The clover has been
espoused as the greatest leap forward in coffee since the E61 group.
Big shoes.

Sam brought out four of his single origins for us to try:
Yirgachaffe, Peruvian, Mexican and Guatamalan. We tried varies roast
qualities of each bean. This was a serious round of tasting and when
it was all done there is one word to describe the clover:
transparent. This machine does not impart any of its character into
the coffee, it is all bean. Not only that but it is so adaptable. We
were able to change the brew time, temperature, grind and amount of
coffee ( in this round we only varied brew time and amount of
coffee ). The machine changed immediately. Incredible.

It was absolutely stunning to experience the change in the cup with
minute changes to the roast quality and the clover settings. This is
simply not possible on any other machine in existence. This allows
two major things: experimentation and customization. You can now come
into a receptive shop with a clover and ask that your coffee be
brewed at a specific temperature for a specific amount of time and
all the barista has to do is dial it in and smile! Well, maybe the
barista can also make some pleasant about what a lovely (or poor)
choice of settings you have made. This potential alone makes this
machine worth the sticker price.

Not only did I learn about a new machine and a lot about how I taste
coffee, I came to appreciate more about the details of coffee. If a
shop has a happy accident that is one thing, but truly great baristas
and shops will deliver consistently across their whole product line.
That takes dedication and deserves respect. Sam and his staff have
earned even more of my respect. Sam is now roasting coffee at
Discovery Coffee. Now you have many reasons to go in: try the beans,
the clover and to appreciate a master of details.

Adam Tindale is a Victoria resident and Phd candidate at the University of Victoria. Discovery Coffee is on Discovery Street on/near the Northwest corner of Douglas Street. The cafe is open Monday through Satirday.

Buon Amici's revisited

Buon Amici's Cafe - Drop-in

buon amici's cafeVictoria is a great place for the coffee enthusiast. There are numerous small caffes and roasteries that succeed in bringing top quality coffee to the customer. This summer we lost our Torrefazione but some new cafes have come into play to fill the void.

Enter Buon Amici's Cafe. Good food and good coffee - could you ask for anything more?
Buon Amici delivers. I have had one drop in visit for lunch and was pleasantly surprised. I had a fresh sandwich on foccacia served hot.

Coffee shop food isn't normally this good - a very pleasant surprise.

The Coffee. I had three coffees: an espresso, a macchiato and a latte. All of the drinks were prepared by the owner Derek.

The espresso was big and bold without being overbearing or creamy. There was plenty of crema and lots of flavour. The macciato was possibly the finest I have had on the island. It was made mini-latte style, although I am not fond of this it tasted marvelous. This was the first of such drinks that I have had that was sweet enough to drink without any additives. The latte also shared this quality.

That is my personal prerequisite for a good latte and this one hit the mark. The natural sugars in the milk complimented the coffee ever so nicely.

There are other great coffee shops in the world and in Victoria. So, what sets Buon Amici apart? The traditional way to prepare a drink is behind the bar. Sometimes it is hard to see and other times it is on display.

Have you ever been to a cafe and been talking to someone but you keep track of the action in your head; the length of the pour, the sound of the steaming, the whir of the grinder, the knocking of the tamper. These are the little things that are necessary to making
good coffee and we all monitor when first stake out a new coffee shop.

Ok, I will stop stalling. At Buon Amici the coffee is prepared behind the bar but the milk is poured at your table. It is a nice touch, especially in the age of latte art. Oh yes, they pour latte art at
your table. If you have friends who are new to coffee this is a great hook.

For a first visit, this was an impressive showing. Drop by and tell them that the coffeecrew sent you! Buon Amici's is at Unit 110-645 Tyee Road, Victoria, B.C. Canada

Adam Tindale is a Victoria resident and Phd candidate at the University of Victoria. He loves coffee and cafe culture... and here at the Coffeecrew, we are pretty sure it loves him back!

The Innova/Ascaso revisited - i-1

For some background on the Innova/Ascaso saga, read all about it here.

Thought I would follow up with my Ascaso/Innova i-1 Coffee Grinder that I ordered. Mine was shipped from the US distributor from Medford, Oregon. It arrived double-boxed, (maybe Glen's article had something to do with that!).

They could really use some Styrofoam packing in that box due to the weight of the grinder. I can see where it is very prone to damage, with just that one piece of cardboard securing the whole top of the grinder. My unit is a brushed silver model with a black doser. I popped the top and checked out the worm gear and the burrs and the burr threading. My unit arrived undamaged, and the tolerances seem very tight.

Introducing the Aeropress coffee maker!

Express coffee -- the Aeropress way

aeropress parts listIn over 25 years of playing with coffee and espresso brewers and machines, I thought I had seen it all. Over the last few years I have come to accept the fact that, at best, coffee is a messy process that takes time. My time... and lots of it. The readers at CoffeeCrew will agree - Coffee and espresso is a hobby that, like home or a boat ownership, becomes a money pit after a while. All you can do to get a better experience is spend more on a machine or grinder.

This was a good time for a wake-up call.

Consider this, a good cup of coffee is really about fresh basic ingredients - coffee and water (heated to the right temperature), infused for the right amount of time... and consumed. Simple huh?

According to the Aeropress website, the Aeropress is the result of several years of applied research by inventor/engineer Alan Adler. Adler has about forty U.S. patents and an equal number of foreign patents. He is President of Aerobie, Inc, Palo Alto, California and a lecturer in mechanical engineering at Stanford University. Adler's best-known invention is the Aerobie flying ring which set the Guinness World record for the world's farthest throw (1,333 feet).