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Discussions > Regional > Australasia > My COFFEE  
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CK
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Joined: 8 Nov 2005
Posts: 51
Location: Melbourne
Expertise: Professional

Posted Thu Feb 16, 2006, 7:14am
Subject: Re: My COFFEE
 

Traditional ways does not mean the best way Peter.

For example the romans had out houses to sit in and do the business.
someone used to come along every night or once a week and collect it from every house.
After 2, ooo years someone else created sewerege for every home..

It does not mean because the Romans created outhouses and it was a very traditional way for people to do their business for centuries.. that it could not be improved upon.

Youll find that even Illy.. no matter how old their beans are .. still think robusta is not important in an espresso.,

Dd these people hypnotise you Peter when they sold you this stuff about coffee???

Just curious.
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wogaut
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wogaut
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Posted Thu Feb 16, 2006, 8:01am
Subject: Re: My COFFEE
 

IMO the whole discussion about whether to use Arabica or Robusta is nonsense. There are excellent beans and not so great ones, some have this flavor profile, some another, some produce these characteristics in espresso, some don't. Roasters sample these coffees and create the desired flavor/characteristics profile for their espresso coffee. There's a huge variety both in Arabica and Robusta and I don't think the discussion should be about Arabica or Robusta (that's almost "Coffee-Racism") at all, it should be about characteristics of certain SO coffees in general and their contribution to the desired flavor profile in an espresso blend. Doesn't matter if Arabica or Robusta. What counts is in the cup. And that really doesn't just depend on the coffee species. If one judges a coffee by the species, they are denying themselves access to some great coffees, one really has to look at each coffee farm separately to find a good coffee.
Just like with wine. There's extraordinarily good Merlot and there's absolutely crappy Merlot. If one tasted the first one, they would decide only grow these grapes, if one looks at the latter one, they might decide, that Merlot grapes need to be avoided. Or maybe even get the idea (since Arabica and Robusta are species with a wide variety) that one should obandon Vitis Vinifera, the "European Vinegrape" all together and just use Vitis Californica, as they just happened to have had an overwhelming wine tasting at a vineyard who used these grapes exclusively.

Wolfgang
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stinkyjones
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stinkyjones
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
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Posted Thu Feb 16, 2006, 9:36am
Subject: Re: My COFFEE
 

wogaut Said:

IMO the whole discussion . . .

Posted February 16, 2006 link

See, I guess my point is that I don't think that Peter cares what your opinion is. Or mine. There's a preconceived notion of what espresso is supposed to be, and anything that deviates from it is a waste of time.

In my part of the world, there's a half dozen espresso bars, and each is run by a crotchety old italian guy making bitter shots with stale imported beans, because *THATS* what espresso is.  Each one of them was probably taught this by a crotchety old italian guy who makes bitter shots with stale beans and was taught by a crotchety old italian guy who makes bitter . . . . you get the idea.

What I'm trying to establish in my previous post (hoping Peter notices and has time to respond), is that Peter, in fact, is a crotchety old italian guy who was taught by a crotchety old italian guy and could really give two s*&ts what the rest of us think because espresso is supposed to be bitter, overextracted and made with stale beans that MUST contain robusta.

If my theory is true, a lot of these ridiculous circular arguments can be easily resolved by pointing the discussion to the "Communicating with pstam/Peter in Beijing" thread.

--Scott

 
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pstam
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pstam
Joined: 27 Jan 2004
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Posted Thu Feb 16, 2006, 9:43am
Subject: Re: My COFFEE
 

wogaut Said:

I'm also curious about that, Peter.

Posted February 15, 2006 link


OK, this was what I missed in my post.

People can know this world better and better, and it always grow as time goes.  But, getting further should be done based on a real understanding of the experience and skills for the past.  As I know about the coffee industry around the world, it is not the time for it yet.  Of course, anyone can try.  But we would not do it.


wogaut Said:

This doesn't answer my question. With the proper technique you can get some decent crema of really bad espresso roasts/blends. Your answer is mainly about brewing of espresso.

What I (and I assume Mike too) was wondring about is the BLEND/ROAST. And your response didn't provide any answer at all.

Posted February 15, 2006 link


Yes, I do "place a lot of value in the length of time a company has been in business" because they jointly created the espresso as it is now.  For this reason, I believe that they know espresso much better than me, and maybe also many people around the world.  We are still in the position to learn from them.  Not to create something based on their result, at least not right now.


wogaut Said:

But I have another question about espresso brewing for you: I haven't seen you writing anything positive about any Chinese coffee shop (at least if not trained by you). As a matter of fact you had this one message thread about your little "report" concerning quality of coffee shops around you. Does that mean you're the only one in Beijing or China in general being able to 'properly' prepare espresso?

Posted February 15, 2006 link


Yes, that is really a hard question to answer.  Many people asked me the same question.  if one would find a good espresso in Beijing, I can suggest them few of the coffee shops.  But, I do not guarantee the result, because most of them cannot guarantee the consistent result, and it all depends on your luck.  That is quite normal for those baristas who are experienced to make espresso, but not know why and how.

For other coffee shops, they can make good coffee quite consistently, but they do not have the good knowledge and taste ability to choose a good blend.  So, they can make their espresso drinkable, but not so good.  On the other hand, such coffee shops are very few.  Till now, I know only one in Beijing.

For others, they do not even heard about what you mostly talked about here, and in other forums or places.  They can find some book in China, which is mostly about the decoration of those coffee shops, or decades of coffee reciepts, which are almost all confused.  In China, the situation is much worse than other part of the world.

 
Peter in Beijing
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http://www.kaffa.cn/
-------------------
I am looking for the way and the place to extend our trainning courses.
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pstam
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pstam
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Posted Thu Feb 16, 2006, 9:59am
Subject: Re: My COFFEE
 

GRB Said:

18 months?  3 years???  I just don't believe it!  This is a joke, right?  

Posted February 16, 2006 link


No, I am not joking.  Our coffee shop (an Italian style restaurant and bar) have got very good sale for their coffee drinks.  Even better than most normal coffee shops in Beijing.  It is called "Pass By Bar", which can be found in the Tourist Guide book of Lonely Planet for Beijing, or China, I do not remember.  As I said in another thread, their pure espresso sales per cup takes 22-23% of the total sale of all coffee drinks per cup.  That is a good sign of the quality for espresso type drinks.


GRB Said:

At the same time, on separate pages, the Molinari website appears to claim they DO inject nitrogen and DON'T inject any gas.  So which is it?

Posted February 16, 2006 link


They DO inject nitrogen t clear the oxygen in the tin, and then put in the beans and draw the nitrogen out.  Before sealing, no any gas in it.  Since the roasted beans release dioxide carbon, it will fill the tin and increase the pessure to a definite degree until it is balanced by the pressure inside beans.  In this way, the dioxide carbon will kept in the beans together with the smell.

Why not nitrogen?  It damage the eans, by the joint research work of Caffe Molinari and the Chemistry Department of Modena University.


GRB Said:

Does anyone know if we can get this in Australia?  

Posted February 16, 2006 link


I do not know.  You may contact Caffe Molinari for their samples, directly through their website.

www.caffemolinari.com

 
Peter in Beijing
-------------------
http://www.kaffa.cn/
-------------------
I am looking for the way and the place to extend our trainning courses.
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pstam
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pstam
Joined: 27 Jan 2004
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Posted Thu Feb 16, 2006, 10:11am
Subject: Re: My COFFEE
 

CK Said:

Peter we have a saying in Australia... "oils aint oils".. and the same can be said about bean...

Now have you tasted every single arabica in the world and decided theyre all "light and sour"?
Im seriously interested...

Also.. do you like the taste of burning rubber???

Are you a smoker??

Posted February 16, 2006 link


I do not have to taste all of the arabica beans because I am sure that Italian roasters did that long time before.  And, I just jump over those distance to reach to a point, where I can get good tastes of espresso.  Theoretically, it can be a risk, but I did it and believe that I was right about it.  It saved me a lot of time.

I never like the "taste of burning rubber", and it must not be the result of robusta beans.  If our coffee have always that, our clients would like it that much.

Yes, I am a smoker.  Honestly say, I am not a good taster for the typical and small different tastes for the coffee.  But, I can find out the problem of a shot, and know if it was made right or not.  So, we do not call it cupping, but a typical judge of quality espresso by baristas.  When necessary, I always call my friends, who are good tasters, to taste special coffee for us.

As a researcher, I do not have to be good in all respects, but know how to solve the problems and get the right results.

 
Peter in Beijing
-------------------
http://www.kaffa.cn/
-------------------
I am looking for the way and the place to extend our trainning courses.
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pstam
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pstam
Joined: 27 Jan 2004
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Posted Thu Feb 16, 2006, 11:08am
Subject: Re: My COFFEE
 

stinkyjones Said:

Hi Peter:
I'm trying to wrap my head around your opinion of espresso, so please bear with me.
From reading a large number of your posts over the past year or two, this is my take on your view of espresso:

Posted February 16, 2006 link


Thank you very much.  I am really appreciate your time and patient to read my posts.  I am not sure how much it makes sense to others, but I am sure that it is hard to reach to agreed point for most of us.  But, we are thinking.

The following points were mentioned by me, but better to understand them in terms of my own explanation strictly.


stinkyjones Said:

Italians invented espresso, so therefore they set the standard and continue to set the standard for what espresso is and how it should taste.

Posted February 16, 2006 link

The first half is ok, but not necessarily the second half.  Since we are mainly learning at this time, we still have to know more about their results and experience from their history.


stinkyjones Said:

You learned your trade from Italians and you have, in your mind, an "ideal" taste profile for the perfect espresso, and it is a derivitave of what you experienced in Italy.

Posted February 16, 2006 link

From my experience in Italy about twenty years ago, I go t almost only trivial experience of drinking espresso and cappuccino and so on.  I learnt to do business from an Australian Chinese and an American company, Cole-Parmer International, at the beginning.

As we started to do the business of coffee, we learnt a lot from Caffe Molinari together with our own study and experience.  This is mainly benefited from my experience of science study, and the spirit of Peking University, specially for the Physics Department.


stinkyjones Said:

Your supplier has been in business for 200+ years, so they certainly must be doing something right, and must produce quality product.

Posted February 16, 2006 link

They had been in coffee business for 100 + years, 1880 on.  It was almost the whole history of espresso.  That is why I would believe that they had been jointly created espresso with a lot of other Italian enterprices together.

About their products, their blends, we had samples, in fact, from more than six Italian roasters, and at last we fixed to their blends because we believe that their products are the best, at least among those six.


stinkyjones Said:

Experimenting with other blends/taste profiles/etc. of espresso is fine for others, but is a waste of your time because you have found a product that matches exactly your "ideal" taste profile, and, as mentioned, they've been doing it for 200+ years.  Why spend time trying to reinvent the wheel when Molinari has been making perfectly good wheels for a long time.

Posted February 16, 2006 link


I have no "ideal" taste profile in my mind.  I just compare.  But, I cannot, neither would compare all of blends.  First, it is impossible, and second, that is not the way to do it.  When you have some experience and understanding, you have to know where to go to your target as straight as possible.

At this moment, I can be sure that we cannot do better than Caffe Molinari, at least about blending and roasting, not even similar.

When I talked to my friends, or if they asked for my advise, I always tell them that never try to blend, specially for espresso.  For them, I know how much they know about coffee and/or how much they can do.  But, for others, I can only tell my understanding, and they can have their own idea.  I cannot say too much about it.


stinkyjones Said:

The work and experimentation being done by micro roasters and artisan coffee houses in the US and other parts of the world not within the borders of Italy is encouraged, but the product will never be true espresso in the classical sense of the term because it doesn't fit the classic taste profile or contain the classic ingredients of an Italian espresso blend (i.e., a "chocolate fruit bomb" shot might be good to some folks, but it is not espresso).

Posted February 16, 2006 link


That is my understanding about their blends, according to what I heard/read about.  If only they are well made, they are espresso.  But, they do have different taste profile.  If they make 100% arabica blends, I would not choose it as the standard espresso.  It might be as an alternative for espresso, but never for espresso based drinks, like cappuccino and caffe latte.

In Beijng, some roasters are influenced by us, and would make their blends with some robasta beans.  It is not a easy work to do, and I've never seen a successful example.  They are always not strong enough and not full bodied.  For this reason, they roast it till carbon, and almost not drinkable.


stinkyjones Said:

100% arabica single origin roasts or blend are perfectly acceptable for drip or other coffee methods, but not espresso, because 100% arabica is always too soft and mild.

Posted February 16, 2006 link


Especially for single origins of arabica beans, the best way can be drip coffee.  To make espresso, it loose its typical tastes and not give very good taste of espresso.


stinkyjones Said:

Are my assumptions correct?  
I'm not trying to stir the pot here, I'm just trying to establish a baseline with which everyone in the group can use when communicating with you regarding your choice of beans and attitude toward espresso.  

Once we've established the baseline, perhaps we can create a new thread with it called "Communicating with pstam/Peter in Beijing", and then maybe we can convice the mods to "sticky" it at the top of every forum as a reference.

Posted February 16, 2006 link


Sorry, if it is for my poor English communication skill.

 
Peter in Beijing
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-------------------
I am looking for the way and the place to extend our trainning courses.
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pstam
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pstam
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Posted Thu Feb 16, 2006, 11:23am
Subject: Re: My COFFEE
 

CK Said:

Youll find that even Illy.. no matter how old their beans are .. still think robusta is not important in an espresso.,

Posted February 16, 2006 link


If you read my posts carefully, you won't say that I believe the time only.

I know Illy, started about coffee from 1930, and also how much they can have their clients do about their coffee.  If I cannot be sure about other blends, I can be sure about theirs, because we can make better espresso with their blend than they or their clients can do.

This is an old story.

 
Peter in Beijing
-------------------
http://www.kaffa.cn/
-------------------
I am looking for the way and the place to extend our trainning courses.
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pstam
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pstam
Joined: 27 Jan 2004
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Posted Thu Feb 16, 2006, 11:29am
Subject: Re: My COFFEE
 

stinkyjones Said:

What I'm trying to establish in my previous post (hoping Peter notices and has time to respond), is that Peter, in fact, is a crotchety old italian guy who was taught by a crotchety old italian guy and could really give two s*&ts what the rest of us think because espresso is supposed to be bitter, overextracted and made with stale beans that MUST contain robusta.

Posted February 16, 2006 link


It is not a words game only, but real business.  I know our clients opinion about our coffee not through what they say about our coffee, but how much they pay for our coffee.  In a restaurant and bar, clients would not drink much coffee if they do not like it.

The sale of coffee drinks is only less than main dish, but more than wine, more than bear, more than kocktail, more than fruit juice, more than diserts, more than anything else.

 
Peter in Beijing
-------------------
http://www.kaffa.cn/
-------------------
I am looking for the way and the place to extend our trainning courses.
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stinkyjones
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stinkyjones
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Posted Thu Feb 16, 2006, 5:51pm
Subject: Re: My COFFEE
 

pstam Said:

It is not a words game only, but real business.  I know our clients opinion about our coffee not through what they say about our coffee, but how much they pay for our coffee.  In a restaurant and bar, clients would not drink much coffee if they do not like it.

The sale of coffee drinks is only less than main dish, but more than wine, more than bear, more than kocktail, more than fruit juice, more than diserts, more than anything else.

Posted February 16, 2006 link

As someone who is passionate about espresso, you will certainly agree with me that there is often no correlation between price and quality.  Perception yes, but quality, no.
If there is no frame of reference for the masses, they will believe anything . . .

--Scott

 
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