Category Archives: Ristretto

An Epic Experience at Epic Espresso


The Epic Espresso Blend has been one of my favourite espresso blend for quite some time. And of course, I had Simon to thank for introducing this lovely coffee to me. And being the true fan of Epic himself, he went to visit EPIC for a coffee spree. Below are the accounts from the man himself:

Adventure at Epic

Finally, after years of drinking the Epic Blend, I am finally visiting the famous café in Western Australia. Can Epic lives up to its tremendous reputation?

We were greeted with the fresh aroma of coffee even as we got off our car. The café is small and sits about 25 inside and another 10 outside. It spots a cool blend of retro and contemporary design. Nothing beats the industrial sound of human and machine combining to make great espresso.


KF Chan: note the price. very cheap if you are an Australian

Since the walkway between the bar and seating areas was quite small I was not able to observe the baristas in action. A few things I noticed though:

  • Every milk drink has latte art
  • They use the huge Synesso machines and Mazzar Robur grinders
  • The baristas adjusted the volume of the milk before doing free style latte art
  • They used the Greg Pullman tamper – and I found out later that the design was a collaboration between Greg and Epic.

Mr & Mrs Simon

First batch order – 1 Flat White, 1 Ristretto, 1 Latte, 1 Piccolo Latte and Affogato. The moment of truth as our orders arrived. The following comments were drinks ordered and consumed by me:
KF Chan: Greedy fella. Consume all by yourself??? Your wife just watch and take photos issit 😀

Flat White

No Sugar Needed

No Sugar Needed

Flat White – 1 part espresso and 5 part milk – incredibly sweet without any sugar yet does not take anything away from the coffee. Best milk based drink I have ever tasted!

Ristretto

Ristretto – The “restricted” shot of about 18ml of double espresso, nice deep red and brown colour – the shot is very intense with caramelised sweet finish. There’s not a single hint of bitterness. Not something I will drink often but a showcase of how good the Epic Blend can be.
KF Chan: Are you sure 18ml for a double ristretto? A single espresso shot is 30ml. 18ml for a double is too short, right?

Latte

Piccolo Latte

Belgian Chocolate Couverture

Then we were offered the “Mojo” – a drink only offered by the Barista to their friends. The base was a single shot espresso, then filled with Belgian Chocolate Couverture and topped with another double shot espresso – then the drink was stirred – taste a bit like liquor chocolate.

Cappuccino

Cappuccino

Mocha

Mocha

The next day I came back (and actually the day after next as well) and I tried their Cappuccino and Mocha. I usually dislike Mocha because it can taste a bit bitter when not done properly. This version was superb and silky smooth although it can be a bit too sweet for those who are used to drinking coffee without sugar.

No Extra Hot

No Extra Hot

KF Chan: Don’t insult the barista by requesting your coffee “Extra Hot”

Truly Epic Café lives up to its considerable reputation. I went to the café three days in a row. There was a slight drop in the quality on day 3 (with a different crew) but overall they displayed an absolute master class in preparing espresso drinks. Three days and AUD150 (RM450) spent – it was a great experience. Epic claimed they could possibly be one of the best espresso café in Australia – based on my experience I would not disagree.

Thank you Simon for these lovely photos and memories.
Note to self: Must visit Epic before I go.

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Great Espresso beans


For great espresso, Australia is one of the MUST GO place. But alas, i have yet to visit the land of espresso Down Under 🙂

Fortunately, 2 friends just ame back from Australia and got me some lovely espresso blend.

brazil-blue pm-blend
From Fivesenses: Brazil Blue blend and the PM blend (now known as Harvest blend).

Brazil Blue Blend:
Consists of beans from Papua New Guinea, Brazil and India. Fivesenses cupping notes follow:-
Greeted by a good depth and a slightly syrupy aroma, this blend urges you to taste further. With a heavy body and a medium-light mouthfeel, its glorious mild sweetness rolls on the tongue, leaving the soft flavours of golden syrup and a gentle sweetness. Think warm toast slathered with golden syrup on a winter’s day, inhale its almond sweetness and savour the dry nuttiness of the finish. With a well-rounded aftertaste, this is a blend to enjoy.

PM Blend aka Harvest Blend:
Consists of beans from Papua New Guinea, Colombia and Costa Rica. Fivesenses cupping notes follow:-
On imbibing a cup of the delicious Harvest, you’re greeted by wonderful aromas of dried fruit and citrus, accompanied by tantalizing hints of timber. Drenched in honey and caramel, this blend is a sensory feast. These flavours are followed by a welcoming bright citrus acidity, which mellows out to a truly pleasant sweetness. Harvest has a delicate, smooth mouthfeel and body, allowing for a great cup, however it’s served. It’s quite bright through espresso with an almost marmalade flavour, and a long lasting, rich aftertaste. The initially sweet caramels fade into a dry nutty mouthfeel.

Five Senses Coffee quality is top notch. Their Epic Espresso Blend is one of the best I have ever tasted. Both the Brazil and PM are also very good. As I am still learning at the learning stage in how to properly describe taste profile, I left you with their own cupping notes instead.

Overall, most of these high quality beans are roasted to medium dark. They are very different from our local kopitiam style (or charcoal style).

To me, they are bright, fruity and sweet. They are intense, aromatic and flavourful as espresso. I enjoy them even more in Americano style. Adding 3 parts water to 1 part espresso, mellowed out the intensity and I am able to separate out the flavour even more, where the sweetness and fruitiness became more pronouced.

obama-blend campos-superior
From Campos Coffee: The Obama Blend and Superior.

Obama Blend:
Consists of beans from Kenya, Brazil and Indonesia. Their cupping notes suggest:-
For those looking for change. Great depth of character, strong, and eloquent. This very appealing blend unites coffees from Africa and the Americas to produce a cup which has gotten us excited. Formidable middle palate flavours, syrupy with an uplifting finish. Excellent drink for going forward.

Superior Blend:
Their cupping notes suggest:-
Our flagship blend and winner of the 2006 Equal ® Golden Bean Award. A True Specialty Coffee Blend. Dominant caramel intonations with fruit highlights of apricots and blueberries. Rich and creamy body. Fantastic dimension.

With all the craze over the US New President Elect, many roaster celebrated the new era with their Obama’s blend. And this Obama blend is very decent. Flavourful and uplifting. As I mentioned above, most of these quality beans are not very dark roasted. Hence, generally they are more acidic and bright. I like them a lot in espresspo and americano. But they are not that great for cappuccino. They don’t seems to cut through the milk enough for my preference. I will do a post later on my favourite cappuccino blend.

Here are some shots on the Obama Blend:

obama-shots
Left side is the americano in 3 parts water and 1 part ristretto. On the right is a single ristretto.

obama-capp
Two cappuccinos made with Obama Blend. The milk is nicely frothed. Smooth and sweet but the coffee is not cutting through. Taste like coffee-flavoured milk 😀

Epic Blend – My Best Espresso Experience


Updated: 24th July 2008
The video

Year 2008 is the year I discovered the Best Espresso extracted in Malaysia.

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Drum rolllllllllingggg…. Introducing… The Epic Blend.
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Simon from Sibu sent me 2 bags of Epic Blend from Five Senses.

I have tried a few of their blends like the Brazil Blue Blend, 24/7 Roast and Alto’s Blend courtesy of Simon.

The Epic Blend is the most expensive blend from Five Senses. At AUS 50.00/kg, convert to our poor Ringgit, it came up to around RM165. Including shipping charges of around RM35, that would be about RM200.

1kg of beans will make you around at least 50 cups of single espressos or cappuccino… which is about RM4/shot. Still much cheaper than Starbucks.

But now, I have to say I’ve just experience the best espresso in Malaysia. It was excellent… god-shots. And the beans were only 3 to 4 days from roasting. Really fresh. And the taste… sweet. Yup, no hint of bitterness. It was sweet with subtle acidity. I enjoyed it over the whole week and at the last day, which makes it about 10 days old, it was still sweet when I made it a ristretto. This is truly the best espresso blend I’ve tried. It is excellent for espresso, ristretto and americano.

On the other hand, it was not that great with milk. The cappuccino I made with it was thin. So far, I have to say for cappuccino, Highlander’s Supremo Blend is still the best.

Ok.. back to the Epic Blend.

A 30 seconds extraction of ristretto. About 23ml, single shot.

Extracting another double ristretto on my Gaggia Baby D.

Double Ristretto in a Bodum-doubled-wall glass.