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Monthly Archives: March 2014

It’s funny how things change, isn’t it. Quite fast if you ask me. No, I’m not complaining, it’s just hard to handle sometimes. I’d never even thought I would get this far with Room 409, I just like coffee. Then my “liking” turned bigger and bigger till I started calling it “passion”. And now my passion is leading me to lengths I haven’t even imagined I would get to.

Some filter, anyone?

As I get more and more into coffee, I see how in the end everything comes to prestige, money and power. It’s not right, but who am I to say it. Anyway, from now on it will be me against the system  – sounds like I’m going to war, haha. No, I’m just going to put my target on the word “coffee”. There’s so much more to learn, so much more to explore, so much more to accomplish. And I’m going to do it, for coffee. Sounds simple, right? This will also mean I need to act smart instead of impulsive and keep being independent. I’m talking about all these things happening between roasteries, especially when a coffee competition comes. I thought it would be nice to belong to something, to represent something, but I’m also afraid of loosing my identity. Of course, I would love to find this magical place where all the ethics, values and beliefs I have are encompassed, but this would most likely be my own company in the far future. For now I am happy, I have friends who help me develop my knowledge about coffee, my understanding for it and not to forget my most important source of coffee comprehension – the Internet 😀 What would I do without you

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Yesterday was a great experience. I took part in the first ever Swiss Aeropress Championship and got disqualified on the second round! Semi-finals! Can you imagine? As a newbie I was definitely the luckiest, because to this round continued Janine Landolt, Daniel Sanchez, Shem Leupin, Kai Keong Ng, Florian Wicki, Nina Rimpl – all big names on the coffee scene and me. There were also Janet Ilgenmann and Tom Wiederkehr, who I also’d like to thank for participating! It was totally worth it!

From these people on the finals went Janine Landolt, Kai Keong Ng and Tom Wiederkehr from which the winning cup was Kai Keong’s of Bear Brothers & Cow in Zurich! Congratulations Kai, now you really have to go to Rimini for the World Championships, I’m afraid you don’t have a choice anymore.

I want to thank everyone for participating, or just for being there and making the event so awesome. Also to the team of Café Frühling for being such a wonderful host, to all the organizers and one big thank you to Shem Leupin, who gave me the opportunity to practice at Stoll Kaffee.

 

This is the newest and freshest addition to the coffee scene in Zurich – Benzin und Koffein Café Bar Accessoires – and as I found out it’s the perfect place for a coffee break.
Opened by passionated coffee roasters of Gipfelstürmer Kaffee – Denise and Simone, the café is an utter success and serves well its purpose – being the linking point between the roaster and customer. In this way they can stay in touch with their customers, raising awareness among the people and promoting higher quality coffee.

Simone
As brewing methods they offer aeropress and chemex. There is also a La Marzocco GB/5 espresso machine ready to use, which has an interesting story I’m eager to tell you about. Denise and Simone had the amazing idea to install the espresso machine in a bus and offer coffee catering around Switzerland. So what the girls did was a little bit like in the “Pimp my ride” TV show if you know it. This is the famous Gipfelsürmer bus.

   

The coffee offered at the moment is fully washed typica from Ecuador – with which Denise competed in the finals of the Swiss Brewers Cup this year, and a pulped natural from Brazil. Aromas of chocolate, caramel and a bit of citrus fruits. Nothing too funky, with more of a traditional tasting profile.

Denise and Simone
More photos from my visits can be seen on the Room 409 Facebook page.

I remember last year watching the videos from the Swiss Coffee Championships 2013. I was enthusiastically explaining to Karla and Snehaa and making them watch with me. I clearly remember when we were watching Nina Rimpl’s routine. She did extremely well in spite of all the complications during her stage time and I was stunned at how well she held her presentation till the very end.

 Nina’s setting for the competition


One year later, with more than 200 points difference from her previous result, she’s the new Swiss Barista Champion. That’s the outcome of a lot of hard work, dedication and passion. She’s got the gold, but also the big responsibility of representing Switzerland at the World Championships in Rimini this summer. A very important and complicated task involving also other people helping her with planning, sponsoring, or just supporting her mentally. Hopefully, there are even more people to be involved, as this is a big opportunity for promoting a higher quality coffee in Switzerland. Rising the overall standards of the coffee beverages served in the country and simply showing people what good coffee is, because it’s funny how many people drink coffee every day and don’t know anything about it. This is also a part of Nina’s mission as a barista champion – to raise the awareness for higher quality coffee, that’s why everything around her preparation for the World Championship will be made public. Every Tuesday after 5pm at Henauer Kaffee, where she works and practices, will be open for visitors who would have the opportunity to watch her routine. Of course coffee professionals will visit too and give their feedback, but I want to point out that everyone can participate in this process, everyone would be asked for feedback. The dialogue will officially start next Tuesday, 25th of March, 5pm  at Henauer Kaffee. Everyone is welcome! I’m going to follow Nina’s journey , you can do it too! Start by liking Nina’s facebook page here.

Some intensive coffee brewing lately? Oh, yes, very intensive indeed. You can call it training for the Aeropress Championship, but to be honest that’s my most enjoyable activity at the moment. Especially when I go to practice at Stoll Kaffee and Shem’s around checking up on me and giving me feedback. He’s like a living refractometer to me, he’s got such a palate. I hope I’m not abusing him too much, as I give him to try all my brews and ask questions. He’s helping me reach the most desirable extraction for each coffee I practice with. I learn what to do when and how, so I can get the desired result and the most important thing is that little by little I learn what a desired result is.

Meanwhile, I’m fed up with the coffee grinder I have. I’m using the Porlex Mini, but I started to get annoyed, because the grind is not very even. How is it possible to grind 20grams and after sifting to end up with 15? That’s ridiculous…I don’t like wasting coffee, especially good ones. The coffee fines not only leave sediment at the bottom, but they also tend to give unpleasant taste to the coffee. And since I found out myself how important the grind is when you want to get an even extraction I decided to set off on a hunt for a good manual coffee grinder. I’ll miss the weird glances I get from friends when I’m sifting my coffee though. As they say, I’m not normal anymore. I don’t know, they might be right. But the way the blog is going soon it’s going to be…uninteresting about the general public, because it’s getting too specialized. Oh well…I cannot help it.

Now back to grinding. As for electric grinders, today I got my hands on a Bodum Bistro Coffee Grinder, the bigger one from the Bistro line. It’s a burr grinder so the beans should retain more of their aromas and flavors when ground. It seems very convenient for home use since it’s small the size of the grind also can be set. Unfortunately I cannot try it till tomorrow…

In this post, dear boys and girls, you’ll get acquainted (if you’re not already) with a new kind of a coffee bar in Zurich, namely – Bear Brothers & Cow. I’m saying new kind, because that’s the only place in the city dedicated solely to specialty coffee.

The coffee bar opened in the summer of 2013 because of two brave coffee lovers  – Benny and Kai Keong – with no previous experience as baristi, but with unabated passion for coffee and under the influence of the thriving Australian coffee culture. The cafè is very small and there’s not such a big clientele like some of the other coffee shops, but their business is at that stage that they have to talk more with the customer, explain why the coffee is tasting “sour”. There are not many people (for now) who expect this fruitiness and acidity from the coffee and with the price they are paying for it, it better have a good explanation, right? The guys seem to do their job quite good, because business is going well and their customers are getting more and more sophisticated.

Benny


Bear Brothers & Cow work with Swiss as well as foreign roasteries – Stoll Kaffee, Henauer Kaffee, The Barn, Bonanza Coffee Roasters, Square Mile Coffee Roasters and more. Except the capabilities of the beautiful La Marzocco, Strada ready on the counter, the brewing methods offered in the shop are V60, syphon and aeropress. You can choose the coffee you’d like to drink, the way you’d like it to be brewed and then just stand by the bar to watch the magic and ask all your questions (and I’m not sure about Kai Keong, but Benny is already taken, sorry ladies!). You can buy a bag of beans for home, I guarantee you, they’ll be fresh, and also if you’re missing something from your coffee brewing kit you can buy it here. There is all sorts of brewing gear for sale.


You might have seen Bear Brothers & Cow featured in some older posts of mine. There are very cool events organized there – coffee cuppings, workshops and even concerts. The best way to stay updated is to write your email address in the small notepad in the shop so it can be added to the mailing list. These events are often attended by coffee enthusiasts and professionals alike, that’s why I strongly recommend going to such an event, especially if you’re more keen on coffee.