Archives For Nathan

I love that with my PR/Marketing background I’m true to type according to this infographic. But I feel sorry for the scientists out there.

It’s not a particularly quantitative analysis. Scientists could drink twice as much coffee as me.

The data comes from a Dunkin Donuts survey or something. So it sounds pretty reputable.

Here’s what the data actually represents

For the second year in a row, Dunkin’ Donuts, the national leading quick service retailer of hot brewed/flavored and iced coffee, according to The NPD Group/CREST® for the twelve months ending in June 2011, and CareerBuilder, the global leader in human capital solutions, partnered to determine the latest coffee consumption trends brewing in the U.S. workplace. The survey was conducted from August 16 to September 8, 2011, and included more than 4,700 workers nationwide.

According to the results, the professions with the highest proportions of workers stating they are less productive without coffee vary widely.

Via Mashable

Dear dear reader,

You, dear reader, are very special to me. I feel like we have a bond. A deep and dependant bond. I feel like we’ve established some sort of rapport. I feel like you’d like to know some of the stuff I’ve learned in my years of coffee snobbery.

I put a book together for a seminar I’ve run a couple of times, then I added a bunch more content, then I chose some fonts (Helvetica Neue Ultra Light, in all caps, and Palatino), then I made the book into a PDF, made a fancy 3D cover, and finally uploaded it to this place that lets you sell ebooks with PayPal.

You can now totally buy this book. For $5. Which, at the price of a cup of coffee (or slightly more) is a bargain.

Cover jpg

Having been very much impressed by my stops at Uncle Joe’s Coffee House in Coorparoo, it seemed logical to check out a fellow client of 3rd Crack Coffee Brokerage when we ventured to the Gold Coast on our day off this week. So we drove down to Nobby Beach, and walked past a bunch of more visually obvious cafes to this little gem.

Stephanie, the owner, was very happy to let us park our pram next to the big wooden table inside her eclectic and colourful little shop, which is currently serving up a delicious blend featuring a Guatemalan Finca San Rafael Urias.

The only real let down coffee wise was that Canvas is only licensed to serve takeaway coffee, so it was served up in a paper cup. The almond croisant more than made up for that though…


The coffee lived up to the hype, but was especially good as the “barista’s choice” – so few cafes make obvious recommendations about how you should sample their coffee, but there, on the board, was the recommendation to try the blend as an off the heat short long. So I did. And it was fruity and sweet.

Stephanie was very excited about the coffee, she was also very keen to know that we’d enjoyed it, without being intrusive. It was such a warm and friendly little shop filled with colourful bits of arts and craft, and decked out with clever furniture like wooden milk crate seats, and skateboard deck tables. It appears from their website, and beanhunter reviews, that they’ve only recently switched to 3rd Crack. That decision appears to have paid off. Also, when almost every (very positive) review on Beanhunter mentions the friendly service, you know you’re on a winner.

We had a lovely hour or so reading the paper, sampling the wares, and enjoying the coffee. You can find both 3rd Crack and Canvas on Facebook.

This is kind of epic.

From Online MBA Programs.

This is a pretty fun, and informative little history of the espresso machine, from the very first patent.

“Though there were surely innumerable patents and prototypes, the invention of the machine and the method that would lead to espresso is usually attributed to Angelo Moriondo of Turin, Italy, who was granted a patent in 1884 for “new steam machinery for the economic and instantaneous confection of coffee beverage.” The machine consisted of a large boiler, heated to 1.5 bars of pressure, that pushed water through a large bed of coffee grounds on demand, with a second boiler producing steam that would flash the bed of coffee and complete the brew. Though Moriondo’s invention was the first coffee machine to use both water and steam, it was purely a bulk brewer created for the Turin General Exposition. Not much more is known about Moriondo, due in large part to what we might think of today as a branding failure. There were never any “Moriondo” machines, there are no verifiable machines still in existence, and there aren’t even photographs of his work. With the exception of his patent, Moriondo has been largely lost to history.”

We’ve been driving past the old Red Rooster on Cavendish Road for about six months with the knowledge that it was slated to become a pretty special cafe. Brisbane, let me introduce you to the newest addition to our specialty coffee scene. Uncle Joe’s Coffee House. It’s pretty close to where we live so I’m very excited about the prospect of these guys opening on Saturdays (coming soon), and serving food that matches the quality of the coffee (also coming soon).

Adam, who was flying solo today because his business partner had a bit of a breakdown en route to work, is one of the nicest coffee people I’ve met. And coffee people, because caffeine is pumping through their veins, are generally some of the nicest people in the world anyway. He was busy, single handedly manning the beautiful and heavily customised Kees Van Der Western Mirage – it’s got longer than usual pre-infusion and enhanced temperature stability. Adam’s excitement about that was enough to mark him out as a guy with industry experience that is matched by the type of passion that keeps you getting up for an early morning commute from the Gold Coast to your brand new Brisbane cafe… for a 7am start. He weighs his shots and does other hallmark coffee geekery stuff to make sure the coffee is pouring sweetly and without too much cluttering bitterness or cloying roast-produced body. These guys are committed to getting the best shots out of the best beans. And I love that.

Here’s a Mirage in all its glory… just so you can see how special they look.

And here’s Uncle Joe’s Mirage in the wild.

The Supafly Blend isn’t named for the famous Joe Cartoon character – more for Adam’s reaction to tasting it once the decision was made to include the Rwanda Mig Maraba that rounds out the blend. The guys are committed to sourcing sensational beans from around the world, roasting them through their 3rd Crack Coffee Brokerage (and selling them green for keen home roasters like me).

The fitout was nice, full of earthy tones, nothing too cold, and full of bits and pieces of carefully chosen coffee paraphernalia.

The coffees were remarkably good. The blend was well balanced and delicious in milk, the Guatemalan was roasted light, just how I like it, so the characteristic sweetness wasn’t drowned out in a see of body and roastiness. And the coffees – as the sign says – were served at around 65 degrees. Perfect.

They’re also starting up a brew bar in the next few weeks, and Adam whipped us up a delicious Aeropress today on the sensational Guatemalan Santa Felisha that’s their current Single Origin (it was delicious in milk, outstanding as an espresso, and mind blowing as an Aeropress – Adam gave us a timer so we could track the changes in the flavour profile as it cooled, he said the 15 minute mark was the sweet spot – so we waited. And he was right.

The Aeropress coffee goes into the funky pouring kettle.

I’m thrilled to have a cafe producing this sort of coffee sourced from around the world by a world class sensory judge – Joe Hsu from Osir in Taiwan, who the cafe is named after – and blind tasted so us consumers are getting coffee that tastes good, not coffee sold on reputation alone. They’re still waiting on some top quality, high brow, porcelain cups – so they’re serving dine in coffees of all varieties in glassware at the moment – but this will be my local (alongside Grindhouse and Dramanti obviously).

Definitely check this place out. Add it to your coffee crawl itineraries. This was one of the best first time experiences I’ve ever had at a cafe, and I’ve been to lots. They’re only going to get better too as the fitout is finished, and the menu expanded. I seriously can’t think of a negative thing to say, even the music was good. Oh wait. Parking appears difficult. We parked out the back because we didn’t see the “tenant parking only” sign. There you go. But there’s a supermarket with plenty of space across the road, and the Coorparoo market next door, which also has heaps of parking. And people were just rocking up and parking out the front while we were there – so that’s not even really a negative.

They’ll be selling Aeropress kits with Able Disks and these funky kettles soon.

You can hit up Uncle Joe’s Cafe on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Micro-roasteries are popping up all over Brisbane, but until Fonzie Abbott opened its doors on Racecourse Road, one of Brisbane’s glamour strips was largely devoid of a decent cup. We spent a couple of years living on Brisbane’s northside, and working in Clayfield, and there was no way we were going to drive past Dandelion and Driftwood at Hendra, or the Coffeeguy at Wooloowin to one of the cafes in Hamilton.

Enter Fonzie Abbott, a roastery that operates as an annex to popular breakfast institution Vagelis.

We stopped by for a coffee and croissant earlier this week. And weren’t disappointed.

The fit out is pretty funky – and I was a big fan of the antique scales.

The white Wega didn’t fill me with confidence – it’s not my favourite type of machine, and the art on my flat white left a little to be desired. But it was tasty. Very sweet. Especially the single origin which I kicked off with, a Nicaragua La Bastilla, which was an absolute cracker. So rich.

The picolo and the flat white on the house blend were sweet and tasty.

The croissant was tasty. The staff were friendly. The beans I took home (well, to my parents), a Guatemalan, were great… It was a nice little stop, and if you’re looking for a coffee when you’re in the neighbourhood – I’d definitely endorse Fonzie Abbott.

You can find Fonzie Abbott on Facebook.

Dramanti has a cafe in the busy Brisbane CBD (which I’m yet to get to), but I was particularly excited when a friend on Facebook shared a picture of the machine that has just been installed in the freshly minted roastery in Wynnum. Brisbane’s first La Marzocco Strada. A machine of rare beauty, elegance, and ability.

Now that I’m a south sider a trip to Wynnum isn’t a daunting prospect anymore, but I took a car full of other lads with me just to see what we could see, and taste.

The roastery is situated in the heart of Wynnum’s town centre. Or what looks like a town centre, I’ve never really been to Wynnum before. It’s tucked behind Blockbuster. It’s a great setup. A low-fi fit out, with found wood, and recycled odds and ends used as furniture. We set ourselves up at the table which I think is what you’d call a “distressed” door – an old white door with the paint artistically sanded, stuck on a few 40 gallon drums. It might sound odd, but it works.

The roaster, a shiny Has Garanti, sits in the back of the mini-warehouse, and pumps out the cracking smell of roasting coffee (that’s a little roasting pun right there (beans crack as they roast)).


What really brings the fit out together – if you’ve been watching some renovation show like the Block – is the Strada. I can’t stress enough how beautiful this machine is.

But I can show you some pictures.

The owner, whose name, according to Facebook, is Dragan (who was an incredibly friendly chap, but more on that below), said he’d been waking up looking at photos on Stradas online while he waited for delivery. La Marzocco build these bad boys to order. He’s incredibly proud of his machine. Obviously. And rightly so.

I had ordered two coffees – both flat whites – one on the Brazilian Single Origin, A Fazenda Santa Ines, and the other on the Hit Me Baby (One More Time) House Blend. Which, for a blend named after a Britney Spears song, had a surprising amount of substance.

The tragedy of this visit for me was that thanks to a bout of man flu that I wasn’t quite over, I couldn’t really taste anything past the obvious. Which made me sad. The coffee was clearly tasty, the milk probably wasn’t quite as foamy as I’ve come to expect in a flat white, though was what a traditional flat white should be. If I wanted foam I should’ve ordered a cappuccino.

We got to Dramanti at around 3pm, on the second day of trading. It wasn’t hugely busy, I’d say it was steady. But in between bouts of salivating over the machine, and drinking my coffees, we had some of Dragan’s time and attention. He gave us the run down on the fruitiness of the Ethiopian Guji in the blend, and a bit about the Strada, and then he made us a pourover for our table to share. Which was terrific – both as a gesture, and in terms of flavour.

In short, I’ll be back when my nose isn’t blocked, probably multiple times. Even if it’s just to ogle the curves of that beautiful Strada one more time. My mates rated it, one of them is going back tomorrow, another said they served up one of the best hot chocolates he’d ever had.

Check them out on Facebook.

How to store coffee

by: Nathan

The team at Hasbean produces good videos, and apparently good coffee – though they’re based in the UK, and I’ve never tried it.

Here’s some important advice on keeping your coffee fresh.

My latte art is sporadically impressive and depends largely on how good the milk I’m using is (and how well I’ve textured it – but if that’s wrong it’s just easier to blame the milk).

This slideshow from Serious Eats, perhaps more than anything else, made me more consistent because now I think I know what I’m trying to do.

“To begin, we have to lay a foundation of liquid milk underneath the crema. Start by pouring a thin stream of milk from about three inches above the top rim of your mug. The thin, liquidy milk will sink below the foamy coffee and create a supporting base for it in the bowl of the mug.
Think of the milk at this stage as being like an Olympic diver, making her body as thin as possible to pierce the surface of the pool water without creating ripples.”

Then, skipping a few steps to you have to click the link…

“When you bring the pitcher down low and increase your flow, you should see a dot, or halo, of white foam collect on the top of the coffee. This is your artistic belly-flop, and is also the genesis of the rosetta.
To begin forming what will become your leaves, you should start moving the pitcher from side to side at this point. Be sure to do this by using your hand only, not your whole arm: You’re not simply “painting” on top of the latte. Instead, imagine yourself riding a bicycle with hand-brakes, and “pump” the handle of the pitcher with your fist as though you were trying to slow your bike down on a hill.”

There’s also a guide to tulips

“When a white circle or ring appears on the coffee, lift the pitcher up again and stop pouring milk. Practice will help you get this first white blob looking neat and symmetrical.
The cup should be about a third of the way full at this point.”

“Repeat the bring-it-down-low step one more time to create the smallest top part of the flower, and then “pierce” the design to bring it together by slowly lifting the spout of the pitcher while pouring the last bit of milk in a thin stream through the middle of the circular blobs you’ve placed on the coffee.”

Handy stuff.