Worldind Days, Bristot Coffee, and Spice Mills
Posted June 4, 2002 2:05pm
Worldwind days are here. And I am lost.
It's true. My life is pretty hectic, much because of my own doing, and I rely on my PocketPC to tell me where to go, at what time, and what locations. But I'm currently without my PocketPC - I sent it off to Compaq yesterday for service because it died on me. And I'm so completely lost, it's not funny.
So much so that I picked up a Sony CLIE T415. Yes it's a Palm Pilot instead of a Pocket PC device, (different operating systems), but hey, I need a Palm device anyway for a new development for this website, for CoffeeGeek, and for our company - mobile channels. That's some cool stuff, and I hope we can get it out the door soon.
Anyway, this is the CafeTalk Coffee Rant, and I do have lots of news.
First up are some of the coffees I've been trying since SCAA. One major surprise for me (and a pleasant one at that) is the Bristot Whole Bean bag that Owen Doorly of ProCaffe SpA gave me at the SCAA Show. The whole bean blend's name is Tiziano, and it is roasted to a "Full City" style roast (a roast descriptor that Owen finds amusing, given that Bristot is located in the Dolomite mountain range, far away from major cities).
I really enjoyed this blend and roast. And I'm not the only one. I gave out samples to a few people and the comments I got back were almost entirely positive about the bean. One of the people I gave samples to called it an exceptionally smooth blend that lended itself to a variety of brewing methods. Another person thought that the notes and flavours of the blend were docile, yet present, which in layman's terms means the blend was mellow but flavours did come through the cup.
I like a coffee like that. So much so that I've asked Owen to send more samples of the Tiziano so I can distribute more of it to a few people around Vancouver, people who may be interested in importing it. As far as pre-roasted, prepackaged whole bean, there's not many I've had in recent memory that were more satisfying to me.
If you're in the States, you can get this bean from Spinazzola Direct, but I don't know the pricing. The Bristot Page with the Tiziano is a bit buried, but can be found here.
Another coffee I tried from the show is one I've always liked, and I guess I just used my mooch status to get some free. Those who have tried this bean will know it is a good one, but in case you haven't tried it yet...
You should check out the offerings from the Kauai Coffee Company. I got to roast samples of their Estate Reserve (most expensive and best overall quality), Estate Reserve Peaberry (also right up there), and the very good Estate Prime and Peaberry Prime.
I did notice a slightly better taste from the Estate Reserve when compared to the prime, but really, the difference was miniscule, and you have to really work and cup them to notice it. I didn't cup, but I did compare side by side batches in real brewing methods.
Kauai coffee beans never let me down. It is a chocolatey note bean, mellow (can you tell I like the more mellow coffees), very well suited for vac pot, drip, and press pot brewing. In espresso blending, it would be your equalizer bean, adding chocolate and sweet notes, but also balancing out the more bright or more body beans.
Green goes for around $7 per lb direct from them, and if you buy in bulk, you can save even more money. And very important for me - the farmers involved with Kauai are paid some of the highest wages in the coffee world. Spend your money on this coffee, and not only do you get a great bean, but you get the satisfaction of knowing people are being paid a decent, living wage for getting it to you.
I attended the Tea (ugh) and Coffee Expo in Vancouver this past Sunday and Monday, and really enjoyed the show. I got to meet a lot of great folks in the business, including the next president of the SCAA, David Griswold. I saw some good products, and even managed to get a lot of samples for an upcoming article on the CoffeeGeek site for frozen drinks. (yes, I'm flush in Smoothie and Frappuccino-style drink mixes at the moment).
One really cool product I have never seen before was at the Asian Family Foods booth, a booth primarily pushing Tea (ugh) products. Tea didn't catch my eye, but a new product from a revamped line they carry certainly did.
They sell a line sugar and spice mills under the brand "taikoo voyages". That's right, sugar and spice mills. I liked them so much, I actually bought their show display models - a chocolate and sugar spice mill, and a cinnamon and sugar spice mill. The chocolate one has crystal sugar chunks and what looks like 3 or 4 types of hard chocolate bits in it. Turn it upside down, twist the handle, and you have fresh milled toppings for cappuccinos and desserts (we also tried it on a Tiramisu cake Jeanette made).
The cinnamon one has broken up bits of cinnamon sticks and several types of unrefined sugar chunks, the crystal clear type and others. It works great, and it's a nice little finish to your cappuccinos when making them for friends, and the bonus is, you can show off your latte art to people unadorned, then let them use these mills to top off their drinks at the table. The retail is, I think, $12 Cdn. They don';t list them on the website, but if you call, you can probably find out more about the product line.