Thursday, 12 July 2012

Café Biz, Melbourne 2011  
                An El Salvador COE #9 at three venues over the Café Biz weekend saw my inquiring tastebuds in an euphoric caffeine, flavour state – repeatedly.
                First sample of this magnificent bean was at a new Café venture in Kensington, ‘The Premises’. My long black welcomed gentle waves of syrupy mint and anise. A beautifully balanced extraction of a gorgeous amber liquid with a staunch Crema and unmistakable river Nile down its centre, provided that even stroke of the entire pallet with no unnecessary grabs and bites of the tongue.
                This experience (at this soon to revisited Café), was to be matched with the divinity of the tightest textured soy milk to mingle in the glass with a double ristretto El Salvador base from the larger than life Duchess of Spotswood. Excellent barista skills! I was very impressed by the many coffees I inhaled, matching the sensationalism of the simply English masterpiece of a breakfast.  A jab of Stilton with the poke of competitively crunchy Rosti encouraged me to delay the coffee experience in order to keep two perfectly crafted taste experiences separate; lengthening my stay and pleasure…
                ‘Seven Seeds’ sent me on the long drive home to Robe in enlightened spirits with the same strong soy latte as requested at Duchess, however the extraction at this North Melbourne hub brought sweeter mint from the bean, lending a concentrated front and side pallet poke.
                Aside to the external food and coffee pleasures of Melbourne was the purpose of Mahalia and I’s trip to the Smoke for the annual Café Biz Expo. We were blessed by the company of wonderful individuals, providing equipment and assistance and direction in our set up. The Expobar brothers decked out a beautiful two group, temperature controlled machine for our ease of operation over the three days. Their regular visits to our stall were enjoyable and appreciated ones, as all were aware of how ridiculously busy those fellows are! Present in many places, I’m sure of it.
                Greg introduced us to the Melkhonic grinder. Very steady gramage control that would reliably stay put as the grind was tweaked as required throughout the day. Such a lovely machine to cooperate with. A two hopper machine was a grind on demand grinder with a difference. A find that was sad to part with.
                Upon set up on the Friday, Mahalia and I witnessed the intoxicating, runny honey pour s from our beans consistently after much fiddling. This was a sweet start to the Expo, for the mind and taste sensation. Some over indulging of the Blend # 4 Piccolo ensued until late afternoon.
                The darkest roast and Golden Bean winner took on new dimension at the Biz. Always a syrupy, punchy blend of sweet, smoothly dissipating finish, the beans juice danced into the cup from the Nakeds with much vigour. The prominent spice of aniseed and cinnamon adopted the fine tannins of a young Shiraz. There existed a kick that was mellowed by a sticky palm sugar sweet finish. Molasses, but not quite molasses. Alluding whiffs of Chicken broth.
                A ‘Mystery Bean’ idea that was of a last minute decision calibre saw a regular stream of talented palettes mill to our stall. The Ethiopian Sundried Bench Maji Grd 3 has typical berry aromatics and flavour. Blueberry similar to the Harrar. Sophisticated citrus, bordering lemongrass. Wild African bean smells were nurturing drunken states, minus the alcohol.
                Such a healthy mix of passionate coffee proffesionals, mingled in a space dappled with sexy machines, tamping forearms, beautiful packaging and persistent and perusing quality hunters. I was baffled by the knowledge that looped the room and the knowledge I was able to both gain and share. For a first time Coffee Expo goer, I’m confident it was the pick of the crop for a learner like I.

Cannot forget the final pit stop at the 'Duchess of Spotswood' for almighty fine salmon fish cake with a spinach
puree, baby basil and beautifully, badly buttered sourdough.

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