Monthly Archives: March 2009

DIY a Knockbox under RM10


This is a DIY project from our friend Irving.

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This is what I call a savvy. I always have this admiration for people who can DIY. I’m really one of those DIY idiot who can seems to make anything with my hands.. except coffee 🙂

I remember when I was in secondary school, my best friend Oliver who is another DIY genius, gave me one of those air-craft model that came in many plastic pieces. I totally make a mess of it. My best result is an airplane similar to the one from LOST, if you know what I mean.

Ok, here’s the step to a functional and cheap knockbox.

From Irving:

Anyway, as promised, here are some pics of the knock box I’ve made for under RM10 I told you about. Here are the list of materials:
1) Swordman plastic container RM3.90
2) Handle of a cheap pine-wood spatula (Spatula costs about RM3 from pasar malam).
Problem is I’m not sure where to get them now
3) Rubber tube from a car door edge bumper – I replaced mine for RM6.90 (for 4),
and I used the old one for the knockbox. So you can say it’s RM1.75 for this

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Knockbox in Action.

Hey Irving, make me one lah… pleaseeeee… I compensate with a pack of 250g Supremo blend ok ar?

Providore @ Solaris


Good Espresso and cappuccino is so hard to find in Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur and PJ included) that whenever someone recommend a cafe of good coffee, it’s hard not to check it out.

PROVIDORE,
13A Jalan Solaris 5,
Solaris Mont’ Kiara, Kuala Lumpur

It is quite easy to find, it is the same block facing Cold Storage.

Went there on Saturday with Wee Chuan. One of the reason why we wanted to give this place a try was because we  were told that providore served some decently fresh coffee from Australia, the Genovese Super Brazil.

Interestingly, on Genevose website, regarding the Super Brazil blend, they have these to say:

“Aside from the Barista and his capabilities,
the difference in producing the best in a cup of coffee
is in the blending and roasting, which take years to master.”

Continue reading

Le Passion Coffee Bar @ Sri Hartamas


Excerpts from weechuan.com:-

faema

Le Passion Coffee Bar was started a year ago by an Englishman, David and an American, Rick….

Le Passion is using a special coffee blend, Tiziano 1919 Reserva Domenico Bristot and it comes in a vacuum tin, just like Illy’s…. (Read more here)

Coffee Ritual – The 3rd Coffee Lovers Gathering


On March 8, we had our third Coffee Lovers Gathering at Coffee Ritual.

This time though, it was a bit different. Instead of espresso and cappuccino, we had Syphon’s brewed coffee instead. Thanks to Chin for inviting us to his place for a FREE sampling of Syphon coffee. It was a first experience for a few guys here.

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The Crowd… including the cute lil baby girl that brightens our day.

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Coffee ready to brew. This is a single origin from Columbia.

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As the water begins to boil, the top part which holds the coffee will be properly attached to the lower parts that holds the water.

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The moment the top part is attached, hot air inside the water compartment will have no place to go. Due to pressure differences, most of the hot water will be pushed up to the compartment containing the coffee. As the water wet the coffee, it is stirred to ensure all the coffee are properly saturated with the water. It is then allowed to steep for about 50 seconds.

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Once the fire or heat source is removed, in a few seconds, the air inside the earlier water compartment cooled down. The coffee will gushed back down to the lower compartment.

We actually tried 3 types of single origin beans from Columbia, Brazil and one that I forgot (getting old, if anyone remember, do let me know).

I find that the Syphon way of brewing coffee to be quite romantic. You have the gadget, the glass, the fire…

Ok, how does it taste? I have to say the Syphon brewed coffee is quite nice. It is clean (as clean as the Aeropress), able to bring out the delicate flavour of the beans (if you have good beans and freshly roasted of course).

It is very comparable to the Aeropress (base on memory, not that I have a chance to really compare side by side). Both can brewed very tasty, delicate coffee. Aeropress is the most convenient. The Syphon is way more romantic and appeal to more than the taste sensation. But, you can drop the aeropress and no sweat but if you drop the syphon there goes your money… hahaha. In fact someone told me he is reluctant to get a syphon because there are many clumsy people in the house.

Do give them a try and check out the location here. Certainly the Best Coffee Place in Petaling Jaya.

Coffee Lovers’ Gathering – Last Minute Ad-hoc notice


This is truly a very late notice but our friend in Coffee Ritual made us an excellent offer.
Many of you never tried a Syphon brewed coffee before. Now’s the perfect opportunity.
After that, you can order your favourite coffee….espresso, cappuccino or latte.

Since I’m meeting Wee Chuan for coffee and chit-chat, you are all welcome to join in.

The Offer: Free 1 cup per person
The Coffee: Syphon brewed single origin
The Password: Mention “Coffee in Malaysia” for the free drinks
The Duration: Whole of Sunday and Monday (8 – 9 March 2009)

I’ll only be there from 2pm to 4pm Sunday.

The Map:

Please drop your name or nickname in the comments.

See you guys there.

Second Hand Espresso Machine


Lately, few visitors has mentioned about looking for used, second-hand espresso machine.

Here are a few thoughts of mine:

1. Generally, commercial espresso machines are very well-built and can last for years if properly maintained.

2. They also have very good resell value due to the quality of their built. Hence, if your reason to look for a used machine is that you wanted something cheaper, you may be disappointed. Any thing that has good resell value means that the used product will not be cheap.

3. Instead of seeking out a used espresso machine to cut cost, it would be better to work out in your business plan the money you are willing to spend.

4. If for example, you only willing to spend RM10K, therefore you thought of finding a used 2-group espresso machine for RM10K, it would be better to consider a new 1-group machine that cost RM10K.

5. I have seen SO MANY small or independant cafe using a 2 group espresso machine WHICH are VERY MUCH UNDER-UTILIZED. In fact, they could have bought the Vibiemme Domobar Super HX and still under-utilized them. With its’ 4L water tank, you can make almost 50 cups of espresso before you need to refill. And if you are making 100 cups of espresso based drinks a day, you are running a very successful cafe business already. Many cafes don’t even sell 50 cups a day. And a machine like Domobar Super or the La Scala Eroica 1-group model, they hardly break a sweat making 100 cups continually.

6. The problem with single or 1-group machine is that you can make 2 shots or 1 cups of coffee at a time. Let’s say it take 1 minute to prepare 2 cups of cappuccinos at a time, it will take you 5 minutes to make 10 cups. Therefore, if you have a single order for 10 cups of cappuccinos, your customer will need to wait 5 minuted. Therefore, if your business is like Starbucks with many people lining up to order, then make sure your use a 2-group machine. But if you think you rarely get more than 4 cups per order, a 1-group machine can handle sufficiently well.

Summary:
Don’t start by thinking what type of machine you need.

Start by imagining your business, the type of crowds, the maximum you are willing to spend and etc.

Horror Story:
I have seen a small cafe using a 3-group used machine that cost them around RM18K (if I remember correctly). They closed their business after about 9 months, serving probably an average of 50 cups a day. Why did they get themselves a 3-group machine? Well, the sales guy tell them it is a good deal. A new 3-group machine probably cost around RM30K.

For RM18K to RM20K, you can get a new and decent 2-group machine .

For RM10K to RM12K, you can get a new and decent 1-group machine.

Go figure.

Disclaimer: This post is not to be seen as an accurate description of budgeting process of your business plan. The decision on how much to spend on a machine, the type of business you visualised, the growth process is more complex than the above. I am merely attempting to demonstrate that seeking for a used-espresso machine to cut the cost of starting a business may not be the best way to start business. More importantly, get reliable consultants. Sometimes or some sales people may not have your business best interest in mind other than fulfilling quota.