Friday, 31 August 2012

Never visited before

Terribly tough evening stroll by The Pass. Being anonymous alike to a feeling encouraged in a city, but in a destination as spectacular and quintessential as Byron Bay. Nice and due perspective. I have been intently reading a local writers magazine of the nature of her surfing and poetic existence here in Byron and abbroad. I envision furious Surfers here once upon a time. Some secrets we would prefer to be kept as such.

Campos Coffee, Superior blend - 'Byron Fresh Cafe.' Consistent, great espresso. Beautiful position, watching the world pass. It could have been Eddie Vedder on his Ekulele before me.


'Kinoko' Sushi bar, Byron Bay - Nikon Ichmonji Sake. Melony, sharp, direct rice wine. I devoured the Isoba Age (Tempura scallop), Eel with tamago and shitake mushroom, Dengaku eggplant (Peanut miso) as thoroughly as the peering at the chefs doing their calm rolling thing within the bar we sat.


Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The West
New West suburb additions since a previous visit were a welcomed treat. If ever to return to this glorious part of Melbourne, I can be comfortably assured that a magnificent caffeine brimmed cup can exist.
'The Milking Station' - Padre coffee, Padre's self titled blend. I love this concept roasteries have with naming blends that are like a reassuring gesture from the roasters and baristas themselves. Enjoyed my black. Bouncy. Milk based weaving past me didn't appear tight. Busy place! No groans from neighbouring customers, just lots of smiles and 'Mmm's' at the food. Beans, guac, hot sauce (El Yucateco). Beans not bubbled soft, still retaining some crunch texture, a rare 'bean side' trait that I treasure.
'Common Galaxia' - Decor of such straight lines. The flare of their coffee is given a fantstic space to flourish. Market Lane - Guatemalan La Perla as a black. Apricot. Tart syrup mouthfeel, alike to the skin of the stonefruit itself. Buttery. Anna's pour over Panama Don Pepe Geisha was a walk back in time to cupping at MICE at the Proud Mary niche. I've been on the road for almost a week, tasting a taste each day. This cup is magnificant. 'Common Galaxia' - Seddon. Hope its still there in a week from now.
The evening before the flight, following the paved path of excellent coffee. A night in with far too many bottles of red and an 'all hands on deck' approach to dinner, preparing a traditional Czech potato pancake. Everybody took a roll. You could have been the teary, tipsy onion dicer, the egg cracker for carefull sniffing of the ripeness of the interior, the potato juice mopper with the chux, or the muscle for the folding. 
Between Byron
Commencing the adventure to northern NSW began with a beverage. Most predictably, the excursion will conclude with one. Byron Bay is to be the height of our trek by plane, then indulging in the ease of a meandering road down the coast in a Van, usually home in the Forth Valley of Tasmania. Two weeks away from the Roasting house and the decadent calm rhythm of the winter existence of Robe, SA. It is due that I shake up some candid complacency and I've loaded my ipod with some Dirty Three, Nick Cave and Michael Brookes to venture into some break to the predicted.

Ballarat - 'The Mallow' A bar with the most encouraging of dim lighting. Incredible globes that paint warm hues over any bottle or glass you may grasp. I left my fingerprints over a 'Mornington Peninsula IPA' and 'Two Birds Sunset Ale'. The IPA was a bitter lemon, rich brew. Definite malt, great to smooth out all that citrus rind. The 'Two Birds', brewed in Yarraville was a syrupy, fruitier pint. The bitter factor very subtle after the IPA. Fruity beer but big.
'The Cornershop' - Yarraville. Favorite first stop consistently when entering Melbourne from the West. Hawthorn brewery 'The Flavour Merchants' struck gold here with a Czech styled Pilsner. My pic out of the three for the day.
Chef Simon in the kitchen worked his piano fingers over the stove to produce the prodable beef ribs nestled atop soft polenta, Celeriac strips and parsley. Side kicked by slow braised green beans, in tomato and cumin, Goats fetta.
Post the dense dinner, the delightful Harry extracted a soy latte from the Slayer, using Supreme's Supreme blend. Diligently dosed, diligently tamped, diligently poured. With contageous enthusisasm, he explained the behaviour of the coffee and the machine for me of the day that I had chosen to be Cornershop cornered.
I could sleep in this place - nestled amongst the pressed tin, people and pots. Nestled like the ribs on the polenta.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

05 August 2012

Aero press - endless fun of differing variables that influence the cup profile. When I thought I had found a fool proof dose for the press, particular roast style and brew time and technique, another bean was roasted, ground and brewed to dazzle. Typically, the darker roasts are very particular in their older age of colour, in regards to how they are chopped, plunged and how much of them we decide to weigh in. Lighter roasts seem to have a bounce of youth on their side - they are more forgiving with the boundaries we set them in the Aero press.

Here I've tried a medium roast Costa Rica. At home with no measuring aids at the time, it was a brew bred from belief in feel rather than numbers. Ok for a mid morning play - nice body, silky like a fluid stream of velvet. Dissipated fast into a disgruntled acidity that dominated the orange zest and spicy dessert syrup. Nice young bark lingering to make this cup not a sweet tooths only.   

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Pour Overs this morning

Aligned by a frost bitten glass window, at a solitary sea side, winter hour of 7 am, I sampled three lovely, differing beans with a pour over. An Ethiopian Limukossa grade 3, a yellow bourbon Brazil Amerallo and a Nepalese Supreme. 

General 8gm, 150ml.

I confess that little Robe didnt serve my impatience for the need for filters suddenly, so I continued my dabbling with this infusion using some paper towelling. No cringing allowed, as it proved to suffice - for me - for now. Filters should arrive shortly...

Limu was as fresh as a daisy - less than 24 hours out. Bouncing around straight after the extraction, but quick to gain some weight and concluded with rich berry, alike to young wine. The prominant blue berry in espresso wasn't so with this pour over. The soft extraction makes me think pinot noir rather than simmered summer fruit in sugar. As the liquid cooled, the acidity was not elegant and no body to even make ammends. This drop I decided to try as the pour over can stay as its destined espresso competitor. Roasted in the Mr big Diedrich.

Loved the heaviness.

Brazil was a roast from a Mr big Diedrich roast, that dropped out far to soon for our espresso level requirement. High temperatures for these beans in the drum. The cup proved expectantly lively. Still the orange in flavour, diminishing however, as no bold caramel there to keep it strong. The candied peel in a glaze was dominant in the dry aroma, dissapearing once infused. The cleanliness of this brew stood staunch, but the bounciness became a rough, grassy 'want to be' asset.

Loved the flavour.

Well, Nepal was what I didnt expect to shine. Roasted in the Sample Roaster. Smelling charasmatic through the valve of the bag. The oldest of the three roasts and roasted to temp for espresso. How I should know that all of these factors can at times be proven wrong. Quite hoppy in the dry. A strange battle between some cedar, treated timber and delicately toasted nuts. The balance between all created a perfect web. Moderate acidity, but trully made to be ideal for the pour over with the velvet, linger. Short roast time - roasted to colour of what could be suspected as espresso...

Loved the balance and the compatability for it to last as it cooled.

This Nepal will have to meet an Aeropress. Perhaps a little longer in the drum and a long black through the expobar nakeds will be meeting my soft spot.

Walked the dogs - half hour later returned to luke warm cups. Nepal then Brazil then Limu to satisfy.