Category Archives: Cafe

dr.CAFE @ Solaris


Update:

This is like a quiz. Anyone can tell from the procedures below, what did they do WRONG.
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Happenned to be at Solaris, Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur today and saw a nice looking cafe.

dr.CAFE
“The best coffee in the world”

That of course is their Tag line lah.

They originate from Saudi Arabia.

It was very well decorated. And they sells some very interesting stuff… mugs, cups, thermos, thermometer, french presses, drip coffee makers and ready for this… The Eva Solo coffee maker.

The Eva Solo is a really cool and sexy looking coffee brewer man. Wee Chuan should really do a review on it.

The pastry bar looks good but I can’t be spending so much on them. You guys give them a try and tell me if they are really as good as they look, ok.

They also have quite a selection of single origin whole beans. Guatemala. Costa Rica, Sumatra, Ethiopia, Columbian and their own espresso blend too. And surprising there is “manufacturing date” on the packaging.

The “manufacturing date” is SURPRISE! SURPRISE! July 2009!!!!

JULY 2009!!!

Can you believe that?

Ok, I thought to myself, if the “manufacturing date” (which I hope it really meant roasting date) is only 2 months old, maybe the coffee should be pretty good.

So I ordered an espresso and cappuccino. From the way I was looking through, they asked if I’m a coffee lover and i answered affirmatively. I ask the barista how many seconds is their standards of espresso extraction and he says 17 to 23 seconds. O-Oh… red flag… then i remind myself, “Don’t be so judgemental. Even Barista Competition also states between 18 to 26 seconds. See first”.

Then I stand right next to the espresso machine and squeezed myself into the corner to take a good look at the preparation process. I have my camera out and ready to snap some pic.

But alas, the “barista” says.. no, no… cannot take pic and point me to the “no camera” sign. Sigh… ok.

Well, if I’m not allowed to take pic, all my attention will be on how he is going to prepare my drinks.

Here’s the procedure:-

1. Pour milk into pitcher (30oz pitcher I think)
2. Flush the portafilter with hotwater.
3. Immediately dose into it.
4. Tamp, knock-knock, tamp again.
5. Lock in the portafilter to the group head.
6. Start frothing milk
7. Finish frothin milk
8. Start brewing from the portafilter in step 5.
9. Sink the shots and try again saying the shots is not good.
10. Repeat steps 2 to 5 and 8 again.
11. Repeat step 9 for two more times.
12. Colleague comes and do steps 2, 3, 4, 5 and 8.

Then serves me the espresso. I took a sip and walk to the other side on the counter when they gave me my cappuccino.

Espresso: Lack of crema (doesn’t look like a 2 months old beans), bitter and burnt taste.

Cappuccino: Hard foam on top. I took a careful sip and OUCH… burnt my tongue. Wow!!! Remember the milk already done at step 7. How in the world it can still burn my tongue I cannot tell. Did they re-froth the milk while I was walking around the counter? I don’t know but one patch of my tongue just lost sensation.

If you guys are going there, do tell of your experience.

Btw, Free Wifi available and the seats are REALLY comfortable.

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Caffeinees


Went with Wee Chuan to Caffeinees for a relaunch of their Coffee Initiative.

Check out the proper reporting with photos from Wee Chaun’s post.

We had a good chat with Chris, the owner about Caffeinees’ commitment to offer quality coffee to the market. Obviously, commitment to the training of barista is crucial to improve the quality of coffee.

When we talk about the quality of Coffee, let us narrow down to the few crucial factors in Malaysia.

1. Freshness of coffee
Actually, when it comes to the raw material, it is not just the freshness. The qualilty of the coffee beans, roasting quality and blends, all play a crucial part in the final output of “Fresh roasted, good quality blend” of coffee. But with the reality of the Malaysia environment, pushing the bar too high would be meaning less.

At Caffeinees, they brought in green arabica bean and roast it themselves. There are surely a lack of science, technology and art in the roasting and blending process. But I am happy that at least there is a consistent supply of FRESHLY ROASTED COFFEE. Crema is rich and certainly a very decent cup of cappucino can be done.

2. Barista skills
With the utter lacking of Barista’s skills in almost 99% of all the cafes in Malaysia, anyone who pays attention to good Barista’s skills can offer us a cup of decent coffee. And for any cafe owner who appreciate the value of proper Barista’s skills should be complemented.

And for this reason, I am glad that Chris is committed to the training of barista in his cafe. After all, there is no magic you can do to produce a good cup of coffee if the barista don’t even know how to produce microfoam in the milk frothing process.

3. Espresso Machine and Grinder
This is a area that really seems to be irrelevant to us. Most of the restaurant who offered Italian style coffee have good espresso machine and grinder. In fact, many over paid their machines. They pay few thousands ringgit extra just to have a good looking machine while the barista can only produce crap. Save the few thousands and spent it on Barista Training lah for coffee sake. Just take a look at that extreamly sexy machine in J Co. Donut and Coffee. A state-of-the-art, 3-group Nuova Simonelli Aurelia. It’s like having an F1 race car driven by me (I wanted to say Alex Yoong, but actually, even though Alex Yoong is not great among F1 drivers, but he is actually a professional driver who is way better then any drivers you met on the road.)

So, if you got chance, drop by Caffeinees for a cuppa. Their food there is also quite decent.

Cheers.

Latte Art on Coffee


Not many cafes in Malaysia make their cappuccino or cafe latte with LATTE ART on them.

The word LATTE basically means MILK. So latte art means art made with milk.

Incidentally, many people went into Starbucks and asked for a latte not knowing that they were actually asking for MILK! Well, that how words lost their meaning. Perfectly meaningful words being mis-used. Back to the matter of latte art and cafes.

The only cafes I know of that serve their milk-based drinks with latte art are Espressamente Illy and Segafredo Espresso. And I don’t mean those cafes that shows us latte art only when interviewed by journalists or when they appear on media, or those where latte art only appears on their menu. Seems like Espressamente Illy and Segafredo Espresso cafes are the only that serves with latte art on a regular basis. Well, at least 8 out of 10 times is good enough for me.

Hey, if your cafe serves coffee with latte art, let me know. I want to come and try.

Note: let me qualify… when I say latte art, I meant those free pouring  latte art that shows a heart, an apple or a rosetta. NOT those who simple etched the surface with some chocolate sauce or colouring.

Is LATTE ART important to a cup of coffee? I assure you that latte art does enhanced that cup of coffee. How? Firstly, enjoying coffee is a sensory experience. It involve our whole senses. One of the very few things I like about Starbucks is how very cozy is their environment. (they can’t make a good cup of cappuccino if their lives is depending on it)  A nice cup of cappuccino with latte art shows how much care and details were put into making it.

Latte art on coffee basically enhances 2 aspects of consuming coffee. It is pleasant to the eyes and sweetly smooth on the tongue.

The fact that it is pleasing to the eyes is easy to understand, but there is another reason why it is lovely to the tongue.

In order to pour latte art like this picture (not by me unfortunately), the milk need to be correctly frothed. The stretching amd texturing must be well done and temperature must be ideal.

Actually, when you have correctly frothed milk, even without the art, it will still taste sweet and velvety.

And when you add the art, wow… that is a lovely coffee experience. With lovely milk and art, it can turn a lousy cup of coffee to be bearable. A bearable cup to average and an average cup of cofee to decent. And if you have quality fresh roasted coffee to begin with, you can get a GREAT cup of coffee.

Of yes, LATTE ART works on hot chocolate too.

Finally: don’t go and whacked the barista in Espressamente Illy or Segafredo Espresso if your cappuccino does not come with latte art , ok. Consider it a bonus. It is a difficult skills and take time to learn, practice and perfect.

Espressamente Illy @ Pavilion with Andrea Illy


Espressamente Illy in Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur is one of my favourite place for coffee.

And yesterday (Friday the 3rd, 2009), with a personal invitation from Michael, went there to witness a special event.

Andrea Illy, the President and CEO of illycaffè was there for a press conference.

Founded in 1933 by Francesco Illy, illycaffè produces and sells a unique single blend of premium quality coffee worldwide.

Make no mistake, illycaffè as a company has done tremendous job in educating  and promoting premuim arabica blend of coffee to the public. Their research facility is probably one of the biggest in the world. They even have a University of Coffee as a training institute.

Though among coffee geeks, many tend to whacked them for their apparent lack of freshness in their beans on retail, I can’t really fault them for it. If you want to market worldwide, mass production, storage, international shipping… it is virtually impossible to offer fresh roasted coffee (or anything less than a month). But they did try their best in attempting to preserve freshness. Their 3kg tin of illy coffee apparently has undergone much scientific research to ensure minimal degradation of bean quality.

(But frankly, trying to prevent degradation of roasted coffee beans is like trying to prevent human aging. We all hope for breakthough but it is not happening.)

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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.”

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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)