Espresso Tips (and a video on How to make a good Flat White)

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What IS a flatwhite? 

Flatwhites are made with a double espresso in a 5-5.5oz cup with heated textured milk. The origin is debatable whether it's from NZ or Australia... but since Australia claims most good things and I'm a kiwi, can we side with my country this time on this gem please?!  

The milk should be smooth, creamy and have s velvety texture. The milk should be thinner than a latte and "flatter" in head volume.

A flatwhite should be a short, strong tasting coffee with milk. Thats why its so good! 

Espresso TIPS

  • Use good quality specialty coffee beans – often found at a good independent café (or you can order some from my online shop here)
  • Your grind should be fine, more like fine sand than a powder (Turkish)
  • Your coffee should look dark, thick in consistency and trail down like a mousetail (thick at the top and taper down).
  • Espresso should extract at an even speed – not too fast, not too slow
  • When your espresso starts to look thinner and more watery, “blonde” (a lighter browny/yellow) or starts to “pulse”, wait a second or two and switch the water flow off.

You want your espresso to have a balanced taste and flavour. 

Recipe guide

  • 18-20g Ground Coffee in (I use these scales)
  • 30g liquid coffee out
  • 25-30seconds

Like all recipes this is a guide only. The biggest problem when your espresso isn't extracting well, is the grind size. Especially at home, many people don't realise their grind is still far too coarse. I would suggest grinding your coffee finer than you would normally think to, if not just to see what happens. Invest in a good espresso grinder (quite different to a filter grinder). 

If your grind is very fine, and is running very slow, then you have two options:

  1. Lower your dose (don't put so much in the porterfilter)
  2. Or slightly coarsen your grind

Do the opposite of this if your espresso is running too quickly.  Only do one of these two options at a time so you can see what difference it makes. 

Milk TIPs:

My next blog...

Copenhagen Stories

Copenhagen Stories

By Celeste Wong

From

The Girl in the Café

For years I’ve wanted to visit my Danish friend in Copenhagen – so off I set.  Unfortunately Roar was working a lot while I was there, but I’m glad we got to hang out a bit and it was great to have a local to help suggest places for me to visit.

I actually get anxious when I know I’m about to get on a plane (not because of the actual flying itself) – but I suffer from the fear of not being able to pack everything I think I might need in my suitcase! Luckily this time I packed a couple of extra hoodies into my beautiful and roomy luggage (thanks Eastpak!) because Copenhagen turned out to be a lot chillier than I anticipated. 

I’m a bit in-love with my bright juicy-red apple Tranzshell (by Eastpak) because of its shape and colour. It’s always a relief to see it roll out on baggage claim.  So it appears, my anxiety is becoming less and less…

One thing that surprised me about Copenhagen was the fact that you can practically walk everywhere. It’s amazing. No wonder everyone cycles, because it’s flat with designated cycle lanes that are so clear and safe – unlike London (You can hire them everywhere). Though, I decided to walk instead of cycle so I could really take in the sights at my own leisure. 

I was impressed by the variety of cafes and restaurants there. Obviously expectations were high, being the home of NOMA (a restaurant I am still dying to go to). But fortunately there are plenty of great alternatives.  Manfreds is one restaurant that I had been told by so many people to go to, so how could I not? It’s the alternative to Relae (across the road) which is the more fancy and expensive version. But Manfreds was perfect for me and probably more my style. After a long day of coffee and sight seeing, I treated myself to a 7 course chef’s selection so I could try a bit of everything. Expecting the dishes to be small, I feared I might still be hungry after – but I wasn’t. It was fantastic. All the dishes were interesting and varied. I’d highly recommend a visit (the steak tartar is a favourite there too).

Meyers Bagleri (Jaggersborgard) also lived up to its reputation for their famous cinnamon rolls (the bread version, not the pastry) which are to die for.  I made the most of this place, eating one almost every day, strolling through the close by autumnal Assistens Cemetery with a coffee in hand of course. The cinnamon rolls are soft and substantial, yet not too heavy and the cinnamon is tasty but not overpowering nor too sweet. Perfection.

Coffee

The Coffee Collective Jaegersborggade

The Coffee Collective Jaegersborggade

Despite Denmark’s coffee consumption per capita declining, coffee culture in Copenhagen is definitely growing, Like their neighbours in Berlin, people tend to sit in and take time to drink their coffees but it seems the takeaway trade is getting a little more popular here.

I’ve been wanting to visit The Coffee Collective café for a long time and it's probably the most reputable café/roaster in Denmark. It’s long standing quality reputation in London didn’t disappoint. I visited all three sites; Their original café on Jaegersborggade, is tiny and very lo-fi. Charmingly low-key, it’s like walking into someone’s house or kitchen. Their second café in Torvehalle is very slick with dark wood, glass, and silver equipment that suits the busy nature of being in a famous indoor specialty food market. It was buzzing - very much a haven for travellers wanting to get out of the cold and grab a decent coffee.  I met up with Rasmus who I met years ago at a London Coffee Festival. Even back then he fascinated me with his natural enthusiasm for coffee and killer smile. It was great to see he was still continuing his work with The Coffee Collective, overseeing all three sites. He gave me a tour of their roastery (and their newest café). Serene and sophisticated, serving a small but attractive food menu. I was not only impressed by their technology and processes but mostly impressed by their ethos and company structure. We spoke a lot about the London trends and the differences between being a barista in London and Copenhagen. I met Klaus Thomsen briefly (World Barista Champion 2006 ) who told me about their direct trade structure and about the riots in Ethiopia which are making trade dangerous for roasteries to travel to.

I particularly enjoyed Prolog Coffee Bar which is a quirky tiny coffee bar in the meatpacking district of Vester Bro, that has many other good eateries around. It’s a cool area to wander around. I really enjoyed chatting Sebastian, one of the co-owners who made me a lovely Honduras coffee, he roasted himself. Other cafes that I also enjoyed was Democratic Coffee (that retails new coffee roaster (Patrik Rolf's) April Coffee Cph), Atelier September  (frenchy chic) and Coffee Lab (Dark and cosy).  I missed 108cph because of the rain one day – but it gives me an excuse to visit again!

Louisiana (Museum of Modern Art) is about 40 minutes by train from Copenhagen city centre and is a MUST to visit. The building was incredible and overlooks the ocean. There were 3 exhibits going on inside, as well as many sculptures displayed on the picturesque grounds outside to explore with a terrific café and gift shop. My favourite exhibit was French artist Louise Bourgeois with her “Structures of Existence – The Cells”. I found her exhibition very powerful and emotive. 

Louisiana is also conveniently close to the Ferry Docks to Helsingborg (Sweden) where (the famous swedish) Koppi Café and Roasters happens to be! So I popped over to say hi. There were very few people walking around Helsingborg, but as soon as I stepped into Koppi Café it seemed as if I was magically transported into another world of warmth and vibrancy. The space is beautiful and the vibe was jolly and alive. It was kind of strange because you look outside and it’s a ghost town!

After a refreshing Coffee Tonic (a classic on their menu that was delicious) I had a long chat with Klaus (the manager there) about the realities of using technologies like the Marco SP9, different brew methods and service.

Aware that it was getting late and dark, I walked down to their new roastery in a super industrial part of town and had a blast catching up with Blazko (their head roaster) and watching him roast whilst talking about where they get their beans, their processes and plans ahead. They made me a V60 pourover with their favourite Costa Rican import then it turned quickly to beers…

If you are in Copenhagen, it’s such an easy trip to visit Koppi in Helsingborg, Sweden. You should also take a trip to Malmo from Copenhagen too, as it’s supposed to rival Stockholm for its famous scandi design asthetic aswell, Koppi have just opened a new café there this week!

The thing I love about travelling and exploring is that by seeing and talking to different people along the way, I get a really unique insight on what really goes on within a place or culture. We’re all shaped by our experiences and the more we push ourselves to learn by doing and asking, the more connected we can feel to the world and others. I’m also getting much more efficient at packing my luggage/daypack and better at navigating around foreign cities. Cant wait for the next trip - I hear there's great coffee in Prague...

Below I’ve set out a possible itinerary by area so that you not only get caffeinated by some of the best cafes Copenhagen has to offer but you also get culturally fed as well. You can see Copenhagen in around 3 to 4 days comfortably and use good cafes as a destination point to go explore the surrounding sights on the way. Enjoy! 


Nyhavn

Nyhavn

Day 1: by areas

Coffee CollectiveGodthåbsvej

Head to meat packing district Vester Bro.

Go to Democratic Coffee bar and/or Prolog coffee bar

Nyhavn to see the boats and colourful docks

Head over the new footbridge to Christiania (where Noma is)

Café 108 is there too.

Then on the way back you can visit Radhus, Tivoli Gardens (and fun park) and other food places surrounding.

Famous Assistens Cemetery

Famous Assistens Cemetery

 

Day 2: Jægersborggade

(A super cool boutique street)

The Coffee Collective (their first café)

Meyers Bageri

Grod (famous porridge café)

Manfreds and Relae are on this street

Famous Assistens Cemetery

 

Round Tower

Round Tower

3. City Centre

Torvehalle nekbh specialty food market (one building is sweet, the other is savory) – The Coffee Collective is here too.

Round Tower (about £5 to walk up to the rooftop)

Rosenberg Castle

Atelier September Café

Coffee Lab

Illum Department Store and main shops.

 

Louisiana museum - "Cells" by Louise Bougouis

Louisiana museum - "Cells" by Louise Bougouis

 

Day 4. Louisiana & Koppi Coffee

Louisiana museum of modern art (Central station to Humlebaek station)

Then 10 minutes to Helsingor Station where you can catch the 30minute ferry to Helsingborg, Sweden and visit Koppi Coffee Roasters - or do a day trip to Malmo, Sweden on the fairy to see their brand new cafe! (Plus, I hear the design & shopping there in Malmo is amazing).

The Worlds Easiest guide on How to grind coffee

How to grind coffee at home

Of course there are variations, but the easiest way to get your "perfect grind" is to turn the dial of whatever you are using to both extremes to "fine" or "course" and grind about 5 grams of beans of both extremes - just to test it out. Then you will know by seeing and doing, how your grinder actually works. This can be applied to all hand and electric grinders. It's just an interesting thing to do. As a barista, I would do this in the cafe too, if I got a new grinder. You need to see how sensitive the grinder is, and how it works. 

This is a diagram I came up with that I think most simply represents whatever grinder you are using:

Fine = Espresso Coffee                                                                                                                            

Medium = filter coffee (V60, Aeropress etc)                                                                                           

Course = Cafetiere/French Press Coffee                            

Examples of different GRINd sizes

You can see that there is a "window of variance". You should be able to change your dial in the direction of “course” or “fine” which is within the “variance” to safely fit whatever desired brew method you want. By experimenting within this 'window of variance' it should help you better gauge your grinder more quickly.

Coffee is subjective, but if you can get familiar with what coffee grind gets you to that cup that you like (within the window of variance) then you can play around with other variables (such as dosage or water volume)

Grinders I recommend & use at home

  • The Hario V60 Electric Grinder has just come out and it's awesome! It's one of the few home electric grinders at home that is simple to use, but is very accurate. You'll feel like you're a real barista at home! Check it out. I also have a product review here.  
  • Hario V60 Electric Grinder YouTube VLOG here.
  • I also use the Hario Mini Mill which I've had for years. I take it with me when I'm travelling to ensure I always have freshly ground coffee! I love its quality and accuracy. 
  • I also have the Baraza Encore electric grinder. It's very basic and simple to use. 

*To try a 250g bag of MY TGITC COFFEE BEANS click here

 

Some Tips:

  • Start with one recipe first. Then only experiment with your grind size for your first few 5 or so coffee brews. You will hit a sweet spot.
  • When making a single cup V60: once you have hit your optimum volume weight (250g-280g) try to aim for your hot water to finish draining at around 3 minutes.

EG: If you’ve poured all your hot water to reach a 280g, and its only taken you 2 minutes, then try turning your dial (1-2 clicks) slightly towards fine. Then your next brew should take slightly longer to filter. 

  • You can start playing around with dosage (amount of coffee beans in) and yield (end weight of your cup of coffee) after you have a better understanding of how to grind your coffee.
  • Make sure you regularly clean your grinders (both electric and handgrinders)

The best thing to do is have a go! Play and feel free to get in touch. 

*Exclusive handmade ceramic TGITC collab with  Studio LVU V60's

*Exclusive handmade ceramic TGITC collab with Studio LVU V60's

“North East by Southwest”

AROUND THE WORLD IN 8 WEEKS

Here's what happened...

For eight weeks I curated a host of world coffees at Stone & Crow. I started in London with Alchemy Coffee Roasters (which was available throughout the duration) then I featured:


Week 1: Nomad Coffee (Barcelona)

Week 2: Five Elephants (Berlin)

Week 3: Coffee Supreme Melbourne (Australia)

Week 4: Coutume Coffee Roasters (Paris)

Week 5: DoubleShot (Prague) 

Week 6: Reunion Island (Toronto)

Week 7: Rich Coffee Roasters (New Zealand)

then finished with my last weekend in London using a few of my favourite London roasters…

What an incredible 8 weeks I had at Stone & Crow.

Leytonstone has been my home for the past couple of months and an amazing place to hold my pop up café. The local community have been incredibly supportive. I really enjoyed meeting so many locals and others from around London, making you coffee and discussing all sorts of coffee and non-coffee related stuff with you!

I really hope over the past few weeks I was able to introduce some new ideas as well as provide access to some top-grade coffees that London has never had before. There were so many interesting coffees, I was blown away with everyone that I had and worked with.

Look out for these roasters, as they are all developing and doing some really interesting work in the coffee world and remember coffee makes a great xmas prezzy! 

In my last weekend I finished off Around the world in 8 weeks in “LONDON”.

As I love film, my concept for the last weekend paid homage to Leytonstone’s most famous resident, Alfred Hitchcock. It also gave me an excuse to have some of my favourite London roasters in the hopper.

I called the London-Weekend “North East by Southwest” after Alfred Hitchcock’s famous film “North by Northwest”.

North: Vagabond Coffee

East: Squaremile Coffee

Southwest: Alchemy Coffee

 

NORTH LONDON: Vagabond

Having three locations (N7, N5, E1) I got my coffee from their Holloway Rd (N7) café/roastery. It was a nice place to visit with the roaster out the back of the café where you can dine in whilst watching them roast. As an espresso I used “Balzac’s cup” which was a blend of Brazilian and Columbian coffee. Having not worked with their coffee before, I really enjoyed using it. It made for a juicy and smooth cup, which was easy to drink with milk and lovely as an espresso.  I was especially impressed by their Ethiopian Guji that I ran as a batch brew. It was so good - sweet, super clean and tasty. People really enjoyed it.

East London: Squaremile

Most of you will know Squaremile to be one of the best roasters in London and for good reason. But rather than get their house blend “Red Brick”, I asked them to get me what ever they thought was their “best”, so they sent me their Kenyan Espresso Kangunu AA (the AA refers to bean size which is bigger than other beans). Kenyan AA is typically very good so it was a bit special to have. I came in early and had a play around with different doses and grinds and got it where I thought it should be - it tasted great! It’s quite different using a Kenyan as a single origin espresso. I often enjoy blends because you can use the different origins to bring out certain profiles in an espresso, but this was really interesting to drink and probably a little different from what most other places are using in cafes around London. It tasted of deep red fruits but was quite light and bright at the same time. A very tasty number!

SouthWest London: Alchemy Coffee

Alchemy coffee is one of my favourite roasters in London. They first caught my attention a few years ago with their Guatemalan range – they source some of the best guats I’ve tasted. So of course I used a Guatemalan single origin of theirs from San Sebastian.  It didn't disappoint. It was beautiful, and again quite bright but with caramel undertones that gave it a nice finish with milk. Incidentally, I had Alchemy coffee on throughout the duration of my pop up as filter coffee as well as the other coffees I was using from around the world. I was particularly fond of their costa rican brewed in various ways; batch brew, V60, Chemex and aeropress. Their El Salvador is good too.  Alchemy coffee roasters are super easy and accommodating to work with.  I really enjoyed using their coffee at my pop up regularly and I find their coffee consistently reliable. We have a good laugh and they seem to put up with my regular questions and general cheekiness.

I can honestly highly recommend all of the roasters I used during this time, so if you do happen to be in any of those countries or cities, do look for them as you’ll be able to reliably drink them. I know only too well how hard it can be when you’re travelling, need coffee but don’t know the good local coffee suppliers – so I hope this helps when you’re in Barcelona (Spain), Berlin (Germany), Melbourne (Australia), Paris (France), Prague(Czech Republic), Toronto (Canada), Wellington (New Zealand) and of course, for those who were only able to follow the journey via social media, London! (when you visit)

Karma Cola were dope too, as I had their deliciously fun sodas at my popup. They’re such a great company and do amazing work not only through their products but their philanthropic work too which is award-winning (See my earlier blog on them here). I really appreciate their support and encouragement for me and my work too. I love working with such great people and companies with great products. 

Without Julian from Stone & Crow it wouldn't have happened. It was wicked to work with him and I'm super grateful to him for welcoming me into his amazing space. Every week I would come in to find him running around like an excited animal with all the new (vintage) things he had acquired. There was always a story or a history to tell about each item. Julian has a great eye and cool taste. He has an amazing knowledge of vintage furniture and artwork which was awesome to be around and chat about. Super generous, I couldn't have done this without him. I had so much fun.

The biggest thanks goes to so many of you for popping in and to Leytonstone. It’s always great to see people come visit from around London and see friends and people in the coffee/hospitality industry, I really appreciate your time and the love. An absolute pleasure. It's the first time since my Soho days that I really felt such an amazing supportive community. I got real buzz from seeing you and I’m grateful for your support – in person and online. Thank you.

Stay tuned, for my webseries and more cool stuff coming soon. I know its been ages, but sometimes, good things take time.

Peace out xx

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