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Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Quaffee Newsletter Vol 1 Issue 1

Welcome to the first edition of the Quaffee’ s newsletter. We will strive to only send these newsletters when there is actual news. This means that we anticipate that there will be typically four newsletters a year.

A lot has been going on at Quaffee, but probably the most exciting news has been that Mzukisi, our well-loved driver, is now a certified trained roaster. We took a trip to the Northern part of the USA to go and see our new hand built roasters, and to do some training on the roasters. We have two Diedrich roasters that are on their way to us, and so we though being trained by the master and designer of the Diedrich roasters was a must if we are to maintain if not better our quality in the years to come, more about the trip and the roasters later.

We also have our own direct sourced Columbian’s arrive at the beginning of the year, one of them the Los Naranjos has already received a lot of acclaim. And some of our most popular coffees are back. We have a number of new blends. Blends are our way of introducing the high quality coffees we source to everyone. Also we have learnt that single region, origin or estate coffees are to some people’s tastes, while blends seem to work for others.

We hope you enjoy our newsletters, which we hope to keep short and to the point. If you are looking for day-to-day news remember to like us on facebookor follow us on twitter.

 Post a picture of you enjoying a cup of Quaffee on our Facebook wall, and you could win a gift voucher from Quaffee to the value of R500.00, which you can spend online.

 Regards, The Quaffee Team

Reflections on the states, Part 1: Diedrich

Reflections on the states, Part 2: Seattle

Mzukisi, Frog Q and Steve and Becky DiedrichMzukisi, Frog Quaffer and I went to the states; for training, to see our roasters being built and to see how things are done in Seattle, the capital of coffee in the states.

 First stop was Sandpoint, ID where Diedrich are. The training was 5 days, and we learnt about their roasters, about finding the prefect profile for each coffee that we want to roast, and how there are over 1,800 chemical components that make up coffee, and we can manipulate 1,500 of them during the roast. We spent a lot of time learning about what makes a good, great and bad roast. How something as simple as the humidity and ambient temperature can change the way a green unroasted coffee bean roasts, and tastes after that roast.

We spent time playing with how air flow across the bean, affects such variables in a coffee as brightness and when done properly flavours are retained by the coffee and can be enjoyed by all once it is brewed.

If we had to choose three things to remember, it would have to be firstly get your roast profile right up front, secondly make sure your roaster is always clean, and thirdly plan your roasts two minutes into the future for each stage of the roast. Mzukisi did very well on the course, and was even told he will make a great master roaster, by Steve Diedrich, who is the inventor of the Diedrich roasters.

 We must have cupped (tasted) close on 50 roasts during the course, and got great experience in identifying nuances created by each roast profile. We also picked up valuable cupping experience, something we are keen to pass on in our future plans.
After spending a week in Sandpoint, we popped in to Spokane, the second largest city in the state of Washington, before visiting the largest one Seattle. Seattle is the espresso capital of the states. There are more roasts per person in Seattle then anywhere else in the states. More machines are sold in Seattle than are sold in Milan, where many espresso machines are made. 

We had the fortune to visit a large number of them, mostly concentrating on the third wave of roasters. On the first day after drinking a few filter coffees, to start the process I stuck to espressos, having 13 by day end. We had coffee roasted in wood fired roasters, electric roasters, open flame and infrared roasters. And there were many lessons that we learnt from visiting these roasters.Espresso on the go The first thing that was obvious was quality is a first principle. No matter the roast philosophy quality is a core principle, quality coffee, quality roast and quality brewing. The Synesso and Strada espresso machines are the machine of choice. We saw more of these than there are in the whole of South Africa, in the first morning we were in Seattle. One place we went to weight every single dose of grind, and then even weight the espresso once it was pulled. And that was one special coffee. 

 The next thing that is apparent is passion drives these roasters. They have all been to coffee farms, and are driven to only sell coffees they can trace back to the farmer. All the roasters we went to had at least tertiary qualifications, and where in coffee because they loved coffee. 

They were knowledgeable and where excited to meet people that where passionate too.

Diedrich Roasters Why?

Why did Quaffee choose a Diedrich Roaster? Well to understand why the best place is to look at why there are Diedrich roasters. The Diedrich family owned a coffee farm in Guatemala in the 30’s the one brother moved to the states to start a coffee company where they would sell the coffees grown on the family farm. His son felt that the roaster was a weak link, and hence started tweaking the roasters. In the words of Steve Diedrich “when I was a kid, I would come into the lounge and find bits of roaster all over the floor”. Steve’s passion was aeronautical engineering.

He went off and followed his dream and one thanksgiving, almost 30 years ago, came home to visit the family and got so fixated with sorting out the roaster for his dad (the son of the original Diedrich who sold coffee) and his brother, who was working in the business that he re-engineered the roaster, so that it was easy to clean and used clean infra-red heat. In Diedrich's plant Today almost all the modern roasters are moving away from direct heat, and using the infra-red clean heat. Since this is firstly more efficient and secondly keep the heated air pollutant free.

The Diedrich roasters, were the first roasters to concentrate on making things to aeronautical engineering standards. From the barrel to the chassis everything is made precisely and to and exacting standard.

The end goal of the roaster is to produce a clean control roast that imparts the best to the bean, showing respect to the growers that spend most of their year growing the coffees, we roast.

So we choose Diedrich roasters since they are a pure exhaust fume free roaster, with a controllable air flow, and rugged barrel engineering.

Want to see what coffees we have in stock then click coffees in stock, you can sort by price, category and country.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

South African Coffee Industry numbers

Just got sent the BMi report for the end of 2010. South Africa rate in the bottom 100 when it comes to coffee consumption world wide. But as South Africans it is interesting looking at the current data. BMI segments the coffee market into four categories:
  • Mixed instant coffee
  • Pure instant coffee
  • Pure ground coffee (also includes coffee beans sold as is)
  • Mixed ground coffee
The mixed coffee variants include an element of chicory within the composition, In more recent years there seems to have been more consumer shifting within the coffee category itself, with conversion from instant to ground coffee variants as palates become more sophisticated. These figures may be over a year old, but they are the most recent we have.

Coffee Category Breakdown 2010 Coffee by Category Breakdown 2010 South Africa - source BMi

Mixed instant coffee continues to dominate the total market in volume terms. The substantial 64.7% volume share that it commanded for 2010 meant that the 2.5% annual growth seen for the category automatically put the coffee market growth into the black. Furthermore, positive performances by both mixed instant and pure ground coffee served to bolster the base line growth already achieved.

The mixed instant volumes saw only limited growth during 2010 with this category experiencing significant price increases in the last two quarters as it is believed that producers attempted recover sales late in the year.

In terms of the mixed ground category, there was good growth of 7.0% for the year. Price increases slowed as less established players lowered their sales prices in order to compete with the larger producers.

One category recorded a volume drop during the base year; pure instant coffee. It is believed that there was a level of traffic to pure ground from pure instant variants as consumers explored competing products. This movement may have been encouraged by the value proposition offered by pure ground coffee as tremendous price increases were recorded for pure instant.

Pure ground coffee noted tremendous growth in volumes in 2010, particularly on the wholesale front. A flood of imported beans and packaged ground coffee bolstered South African volumes by 17.8%, this being the single largest growth percentage recorded historically throughout the analysis. The retail trade remains the single largest consumer of coffee with more than half of the market volumes being channelled through this sector. The regional consumption of coffee is skewed to the Western Cape and Gauteng, being metropolitan areas.

 The coffee market is expected to show limited growth in the short term. Increases of 2.9% and 2.8% are anticipated for 2011 and 2012 respectively.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Coffee Tasting Glossary

A useful except from The Signet Book of Coffee and Tea by Peter Quimme Although the word acid has been largely misunderstood we do use it here. Acid tastes is brightness in the mouth. We have also added the Umami or body taste that is in the middle of the tongue. This is where body or strength is perceived. tongue tasting
Tongue sensory zones

A Coffee Taster's Glossary

Acidity High acid (or acidy) coffees have a sharp, pleasing, piquante quality that points up their flavour and gives them snap, verve, liveliness in the cup. Acidity may be high, medium, light, low, or lacking altogether in coffees, in which case the coffee tastes flat and dull. Acidity is characteristic of high-grown coffees. it is the brightness in the coffee See sour.
Aroma Refers to the odour of the prepared coffee beverage. It may be lacking, faint, delicate, moderate, strong, or fragrant (also called aromatic), and distinctive as to character. In cupping the Aroma is referred to as the odour after adding water, Fragrance before.
Baked A taste description given to underroasted coffee, or coffee roasted too slowly at too low a temperature, so that the flavour is underdeveloped. See green.
Bitter A harsh, unpleasant taste detected on the back of the tongue. Found in over-extracted brews as well as in over-roasted coffees and those with various taste defects. Also a method use by cheaper brands to confusing the tongue in perceiving body, is to force bitterness in a coffee.
Body The tactile impression of weight and texture in the mouth. Coffees may be watery, thin, slight, light, medium, full, heavy, thick or even syrupy in body, as well as buttery, oily, rich, smooth, chewy, etc., in texture. Easiest to detect in full-strength coffee.
Burnt A bitter, burnt flavour characteristic of dark-roasted coffees. Another method used to create fake body by cheaper brands.
Buttery Said of an oily body or texture in the mouth. Denotes full flavour and richness.
Cinnamon Underlying spice accent sometimes detected in the aroma of fine coffee, a flavour nuance. Not a common description. (Also, a term describing a very light roast).
Clean Opposite of dirty. Characteristic of all fine coffees. Does not necessarily imply clarity of flavour impression (see natural coffee and wild). Associated with washed coffees.
Cocoa Characteristic sweetish smell of completely stale roasted coffee. See stale.
Dirty An undesirable unclean small and taste, slight to pronounced. Dirty implies a defect, such as sourness, earthiness, or mustiness. See natural coffee and wild.
Earthy A highly undesirable dirt odor and flavour taint picked up by coffee when dried on the ground; also called groundy. See musty.
Flat A dull lifeless quality due to lack of acidity, commonly associated to stake coffee.
  • The total impression of aroma, acitidy, and body; if the impression is strong, fine, and pleasant, the coffee is described as flavoury or flavourful or ranked on a scale from poor, fair, good, to fine-flavoured.
  • Specific taste flavours may suggest, spices, chocolate, nuts, or something less complimentary - straw, grass, earth, rubber etc.
Fresh Opposite of stale. Applies to fresh roasted coffees, i.e. no longer than a week from roast.
Fruity Can be a flavour taint said to come from overripe fruit pulp. Or from a variant of Arabica found to produce this.
Grassy A flavour taint from use of swamp water for washing, or from improper drying. Also used as synonym for green and past-croppish.
  • A flavour taint found in coffee harvested before fully ripe.
  • Characteristic taste of underroasted coffee; pasty.
Hard Opposite of sweet or mild; harsh. Description of Brazils between soft and Rio-y. not to be confused by the grading.
Harsh Crude raw taste; used to describe certain Brazils and robustas.
Hidey Smell of hides or leather from improper storage.
Light Used to qualify aroma, acidity, or body; a light coffee would be delicate in flavour.
Mellow Full, well-balance, satisfying coffee; implies low or medium acidity. See winy.
Musty A smell and taste taint caused by mildew; similar to earthy.
Natural coffee Aroma and flavour characteristics of coffees processed by the dry method. They are often blander than washed coffees and may lack clarity of flavour and pointed acidity; some may have intense complex flavours and full, thick body. See wild.
Neutral A characterless, flavourless coffee, inoffensive to insipid; without virtue (safe for economical blending) but without defect.
  • Said of coffees that lack coffee flavor; also peanutty.
  • A specific flavor nuance, suggesting almonds, and so on.
Past-croppish Not to be confused with stale. Said of coffees that have deteriorated in the green state before roasting and thus taste as if from a past crop. See strawy and woody.
Rancid Extremely sour and very unpleasant. Found in tainted coffees.
Rich Indicates depth and complexity of flavour and full, buttery body; overused.
Rio-y A harsh, heavy medicinal or iodine flavour typical of the poorest grades of Brazil's but encountered in other coffees as well. Said to be caused by allowing berries to dry on the tree.
Rubbery Burnt-rubber odor characteristic of Robusta. Used to create fake body.
Soft Low-acid coffees are described as soft, mellow, sweet.
Sour Not to be confused with acidity. A distinctly sour, rank, or rancid taste is a defect, often due to improper processing. See wild.
Spicy Said of fine aroma or flavour suggestive of spices.
Stale Roasted coffee that has faded in quality after excessive exposure to air. Aroma of stale coffee changes from flat to rancid and finally to cocoa like; the flavour of stale coffee changes from bitter to rancid and tastes cardboardy. Not to be confused with past-croppish.
Strawy Characteristic scent of past-croppish coffees; hay-like. See woody.
Strong Term used to indicate intensity of either defects or virtues (as in "a strong, sour taste" or "a strong, fine aroma"). A strong-flavoured coffee is therefore not necessarily a fine-flavoured coffee.
Sweet Said of a smooth, palatable coffee, free from taints or harshness. Also soft.
Thin Said of coffees with watery body and lack of flavour; typical if low-grown coffee.
Wild Coffees with extreme flavour characteristics, or odd racy, tangy nuances in aroma and taste. Usually applied to natural coffees. These characteristics may be intriguing or undesirable. See dirty.
Winy Sometimes used to indicate thick body and mellow quality, but also used to denote a sappy, vinous acidity. Characteristic of certain fine coffees.
Woody A flavour taint caused by over-lengthy storage in warm wood sheds; also characteristic scent and taste of old, past-croppish coffees.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Our Kagumo PB, their neighbour was in the top 10 worldwide

The coffee we sell that is the Kagumo Peaberry comes from the KAGUMO-INI MILLING STATION.
worker on the Kagumo-ini farm
worker on the Kagumo-ini farm

Kagumo-ini milling station or ‘factory’ as they are known in Kenya is a part of Mugaga Farmer’s Cooperative Society (MFCS) found in Nyeri district Kenya. Nyeri lies between the western slopes of Mt. Kenya and the eastern side of the Aberdare Ranges. Both of these are volcanic formations. This means that the region has red volcanic soils and lies on an altitude of above 1600 metres. This makes it very ideal for growing coffee.
MFCS is made up of five factories namely;

  • Kagumo-ini
  • Kieni
  • Gatina
  • Gathugu
  • Kiamabara

Coffee in this Co-op is produced mainly by small scale farmers with holdings of about 1 hectare each. These farmers grow their coffee among other crops like bananas, and trees.

Trees like macadamia and eucalyptus help to provide shade for coffee plants. MFCS trains members regularly on sustainable farming practices. They have incorporated a system of transparency and therefore all members are able to access data to see sales progress and turnover for each harvest.


Co-op:Mugaga Farmers Cooperative Society
Processing factory:Kagumo-ini
Producers:Small holders
Harvest:June-July 2011
Origin:Nyeri kenya
Altitude:1600-1700 metres
Soil:Red volcanic soils