Simon Fell > Its just code > Coffee

Saturday, January 3, 2009

You can now get fresh (with roast dates) Ritual Coffee Roasters coffee at Whole Foods, (at least at the Whole Foods on California St in SF), this is a big deal most supermarket coffee is both gross and stale, having no roast date marked, and no idea how long its been sat on the shelf. I just picked up some LifeSaver espresso that was roasted Dec 30. Nice work by the Ritual crew. I also believe you can get the excellent Barefoot Coffee at Whole Foods in the south bay.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

There's no shortage of bad coffee choices next to Moscone, but if you can drag yourself away from all the conference action and walk one block, (mint plaza, mission & 5th) you can avail yourself of some of the best coffee in the bay area, or indeed the west coast. The Blue Bottle cafe opened earlier this year in Mint Plaza, go check it out, you won't be sorry.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Over on Chow, Blue Bottle barista Arno Holschuh explains why pre-ground coffee is the work of the devil!.

Sunday, June 3, 2007


Anyone for a gibraltar ?
  • WRBC Champ Heather Perry went on to win the US Barista competition in Long Beach.
  • Ritual Coffee Roasters opened a second store, this one inside Flora Grubb Gardens, the entire place was packed out for the opening weekend, I took the opportunity to try out a couple of different coffee's brewed on their Clover, Wahoo!, San Francisco finally gets a Clover (2 in fact, there's one at the Valencia St store too).
  • While at the Ritual opening I picked up some of their Ethiopian Limu, which they used in the WRBC, I never got around to trying it as espresso, but it made an awesome french press, one of the best I've had in a long time.
  • Barefoot are now doing coffee tastings twice a month, here's your change to have a professional walk you though the ins and outs of coffee.
  • Blue Bottle are kicking some serious butt at the farmers market, one of the best gibraltar's you'll ever get, every tuesday and saturday.
  • Home-barista.com are running the Titan grinder project, weighing up the latest and greatest in conical grinders.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Sulawesi Toraja
Yikes, Its been quite a while since I last roasted , I fired up the iRoast this weekend, and roasted a batch of Sulawesi Toraja, it didn't turn out quite as consistent as i'd liked. I tied it in a cup of drip today, and it was quite drinkable, but kinda flat, based on the Sweet Maria's blurb, I think next time I need to let it get to 2nd crack. Today, I tried making my own blend, 50% of the Sulawesi Toraja and 50% Ethiopian dry processed Ghimbi, which should add some good aromatics and more of an earthy / chocolatey flavor. I let this one run longer than yesterdays batch, and the resulting roast looks more consistent, will find out in the week how it tastes.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Saturday, March 24, 2007


Chris Baca of Ritual Coffee Roasters

Last weekend was the 2007 Western Region Barista Competition, held in sunny Petaluma. We went up sunday to watch the finalists in action. There seemed to be a good turn out of spectators, more than last year i think. Both Heather Perry and Eton Tsuno made the finals again this year, and the Ritual posse also did great with 2 finalists with Chris Baca and Crystal Yeaw, (and just like last year, Ritual had a big crowd of supporters cheering them on), Nick Griffith and Kyle Glanville being the other 2 finalists.

Strong performances all around led to what we were told was a really close final scores (for some reason the scoring is not public), and Heather Perry took first spot again, Kyle Glanville took second, and Chris Baca took 3rd, congrat's to all. Single origin coffee's made a strong showing with 3 of the finalists going the single origin route, including both the Ritual competitors (compared to last year, when i can only remember a single competitor in the entire competition using a single origin coffee), big props to the folks going the SO route and trying to make the coffee the forefront of the competition. I say this, because the format of the competition strikes as a little odd, so much of the score is tied up in presentation, service, the speil and technical aspects. I say its odd, because if you've seen on of these 15 minute sessions, you'll know it bares absolutely no resemblance to the real world coffee experience, whether it be at a high end restaurant, or at one of the top notch coffee shops that these barista's work at.

Logistics this year seemed better, at least for the crowd, the addition of the camera and projector screen meant it was actually possible to see in pretty good detail exactly what was going on with the drink preparation (at one point you could clearly see one of the competitors had an off-level tamp, something that probably cost them technical points). ESI who provide the machines also had a GS3 there which I spent some time drooling over, I can't wait for it to be finally available here in the US (yes, I'm jealous that Teme already has his GS3), finally one last thing, the event is primarily sponsored by local coffee roasters, yet you can't buy beans there, it seems like such a wasted opportunity.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Teme blogged the details of the Mazzer doser sweeper mods, I saw this this ages ago, but only got around to trying it out on the Major this weekend, its an impressive improvement, there really is no grinds left in the bottom of the chamber, next time I won't take so long to try it out. I wonder how long it'll take Mazzer to start fitting some kind of rubber skirt on the sweeper vanes in the factory ?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

As I mentioned the other day, CoffeeGeek are running an auction fundraiser for CoffeeKids. On the auction page I'd noticed that Stumptown was listed as one of the sponsors, I'd figured they perhaps have a coffee of the month, or perhaps some of the cool coffee brewing gadgets they have in the Annex, but no, In the forums I found a post from Mark (chief CoffeeGeek) that says that Stumptown are going to be offering an expenses paid trip to Guatemala with Stumptown head honcho Duane Sorenso to visit finca el injerto in HueHue, the farm that won the Cup of Excellence this year. Yowzah!, that's absolutely completely insane, what an amazing once in a lifetime opportunity for someone, Stumptown once again take things to a whole new level, way to go.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The guys & gals over at coffee geek are busy running an auction benefiting the CoffeeKids charity, now's your chance to pick up something for the coffee lover in your family, and donate to a good cause all at the same time, there's all sorts up for grabs, from beans, tampers, cups, grinders to 1 on 1 training session with top notch baristas. Check it out.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Friday, November 17, 2006

The movie every coffee drinker should see is on in San Francisco, yes, the wait is over, Black Gold will be on at the Roxie starting today. Panel discussions will be held after the 6:15 and 8pm showings Friday and Saturday nights this weekend featuring local Fair Trade activists, roasters, etc. I believe a bunch of the Ritual folks are going to be at tonights 8pm showing.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

We went to see Black Gold at the weekend at the Mill Valley Film Festival, it was only in a pretty small hall, but had a good turn out, and seemed to get a good response. There was a lady from Oxfam there at the end and there was a short but interesting Q&A session that covered fair trade certification, farming susidies and other issues. It made me just a sad and angry as the first time I saw it, if you haven't seen it yet, you've got to go see it, no its not optional, for the bay area folks you still have chance, its showing again this sunday as part of the Mill Valley Film Festival, and will be showing in November at the Roxie in San Franciso.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

When I brought Tom last year I picked up some new burrs at the same time. The grind always seemed ok, so I never got around to putting the new burrs in, finally this morning I took the adjustment collar off and took a look at the state of the burrs. I've seen worse, but it seemed like now was going to a good time to put the news one in. Shouldn't have to change these again for at least a couple of years.

Once you've spun the adjustment collar off (remembering that its back to front, so spin it clockwise to remove it). you can pop the top burr carrier right out. Keep count of how many turns to takes before the collar comes off, will make dialing the grinder setting back in when you're done easier.
Both the top & bottom burrs are mounted by 3 screws each, so easy to change. You can see in this picture and the one before that old coffee grinds will accumulate and grunge up every nook & cranny they can find.
Woah!, grinder carnage after taking out the bottom burrs. I brushed this out and down the main exit shoot, but a little vac might work better.
New burrs ready for mounting, watch your fingers.
After the new bottom burr's been mounted, all nice and clean.
Put the top burr carrier back in, and spin the adjustment collar back on (remembering its back to front). Hopefully you remembered to count when you took it off, so you can get it close to the right setting when you put it back. I used some old beans to dial in the grind again, I was surprised to find that its about a 1/4 of a turn more corse than before, that's quite a difference.
Take the crappy old beans out, put some fresh Black Hand Blend in (Kudos to Tony @ Caffe Fresco, this is one of my favorite espresso blends right now). Fire it up, yummy!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Good news for bay area folks that want to see Black Gold, its showing as part of the Mill Valley film festival, check it out. The Green LA girl has been running a series of posts on what you can do once you've seen the movie.