Category Archives: Highlander

Americano – Rebirth


I’ve never like “kopi O”, and I used to say I don’t like Americano too.

As to re-tell the story, I really like milky drinks. Therefore, cappuccinos and lattes are my so-called staple diet. And these milky drinks are only really good with full cream milk.

Unfortunately, with my middle-kingdom kept expanding, I need to cut down milk intake among other things like fatty food, chocolates, nasi lemak , sugar and etc.

So, the healthiest coffee drink would be “kopi O”, brew coffee from french press or Aeropress and Americano. But they tend to be bitter and I need to add sugar and creamer. That defeats the whole idea of cutting fat and sugar.

And with my wife a little lactose-intolerant, I need to find way to make good coffee that is so good you can drink it on its own (like Gardenia bread in the AD, but I hate roti kosong).

Then suddenly the break through came. As you guys know, I have been emphasizing fresh roasted coffee. Well, my Highlander Supreme Blend of 100% arabica coffee is as fresh as they can get in Malaysia. But I am still unable to produce a nice cup of Americano.

That is until I change the grinder settings. In fact it was an accident. I was actually trying to improve my espresso experience. I normally grind to a certain fineness and give it a hard tamp. Extraction is around 28 seconds. Should be good, but somehow still lacking the complexity in the cup.

So, I change the grinder setting to one step finer but this time i use a softer tamp.

Dang, dang, dang, dang…. all the nuances of flavour came out. The fruitiness, slight acidity, good body and decent after taste. I did it. Lovely espresso. Wait a sec.. how about an americano. Immediately make one… wow… tasted great without milk and sugar.

Is this a fluke??? Quickly make a fresh cup for my wife. Ha… and she confirms it.

Americano that has a fruity and flowery taste of rose.

What did I learn here? Good americano like any other coffee style, you need four important ingredients.

1. Good quality, fresh roasted coffee
2. Good quality grinder
3. Espresso machine (Not toys like delonghi and krup)
4. Barista skills

Nuff said.

FHM2007 = Best Coffee Experience


I attended the Food and Hotel Exhibition at the KL Convention Centre last week.
Did not manage to get much photos. I was too engrossed with all the Coffee Specialist Exhibitors.

All the major coffee suppliers and distributors were there like Bon Cafe, Coffex, Dankoff, ETC Concept, Simplex Maju and some smaller players too. Most of them brought in the “heavy artillery”, meaning… high quality fresh roasted coffee and good barista.

In Malaysia (if you don’t already know), great coffee virtually don’t exist because of the lack of high quality fresh roasted coffee and good barista.

I have never had so many nice coffee in my life, apart from making them myself.

Unfortunately, some exhibitors came less than prepare. Or maybe they don’t expect the competition to be so fierce. I actually tried a few espresso from some “pathetic” companies offering horrible, under-extracted watery espresso. There’s a company promoting their “Elephant Beans”. Yes, the beans are BIG and tasted equally horrible.

Ok, on with the good stuff.

My first espresso, from Boncafe. Their baristas came from Singapore. What do you know? Not bad. But when I asked him how fresh is the beans, he gave me a puzzled look and fiddled with some pack coffee from the back. The pack says 3 months old. Actually the beans were quite fresh (I assume), because those on display in the front all shown to be about 2 weeks from roasting date.
Boncafe at FHM2007
BonCafe. They brought in their best for the show. Don’t expect fresh roasted coffee if you are trying to buy in a supermarket.

Next stop. Coffex.
Brought their barista from Australia. Again, I asked the barista about the freshness of his coffee. Again, not sure. Went fiddled with the coffee bag and told me in a very accented Australian English, 8 days. Had an espresso. Hey, even better than Boncafe. More pronounced and more complex. Tasted fine. I only wish that whenever I come across any food outlet that serves Coffex Coffee in the future will taste as good.

ETC for Home Machine.
Like I always mentioned, you want great coffee, do it yourselves. Here are the beautiful girls selling beautiful home machines.
Jade

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Jade and Tracy

And here are the hardwares.
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Gaggia Espresso Machines. The only brand worth your time currently that is available in the market that is accessible to consumers. Forget about those machine you often seen in Isetan, Metrojaya or Harvey Norman types of retailer. Those are toys in comparison.

I hope more suppliers will bring in other serious home espresso machines like Rancilio Silvia. Some supplier does offer to import specifically for you but the cost is really high. For now, if you are looking for home machines, ETC Concept is the place to go. They are located at the Curve.

Now.. my favourite:-

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DanKoff Coffee Specialist

Their beans are roasted in Singapore. Their associates from Highlander Coffee brought over some high quality fresh roasted blend. Only 2 days from roasting. Makes excellent espresso and just as good for cappuccinos.

The espresso is the best I’ve tried. Smooth, pleasant acidity, detected some fruitiness, good body and a nice aftertaste.

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Here is Boyd, the barista pulling a shot.

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Here you see Jeffrey(left) and Phil(Center) from Highlander Coffee. These guys are passionate about coffee.

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Here is Danny of DanKoff chating with some customer.

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Thanks to Highlander Coffee (Phil, Cedric and Jeffrey) for bringing me some excellent fresh roasted coffee.

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If you want to store coffee properly, put it in a vacuumed container and pump the air out. Then keep them in a cool, dark and dry place. You can store them for a week, at most 2. roasted coffee beans by they nature, continues to deteriorate. You cannot really stop that process. Regardless of how they are packed, you don’t call them fresh after 2 weeks.

HOME
Can’t wait to test them myself.

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Tasted just as good. Well nothing can compare to high quality fresh roasted beans.
My poor attempt of a latte art on my cappuccino. Not very presentable but still tasted fine.

Can’t wait for the exhibition in 2 years time.

P.S: Need contact, reference and recommendations? Drop me a line or two.