UKBC – Bristol Heat

At last, a little post on how things went.

None of my worst fears came true – i didn’t freeze up, fall over or forget what i was doing, despite my tamper disappearing mid-set. Being the last entrant for the day probably didn’t help either. The coffee i used was quite a light roast from Finca La Siberia, in El Salvador, a farm run by Rafael Enrique Silva Hoff, brother of Finca La Fany’s Luis Silva. Interestingly, the coffee is grown on the opposite side of the mountain to La Fany, where the weather conditions are somewhat hectic, hence the name Siberia. Unless things were spot on, temperature-wise and dose-wise, then the coffee may not have shined as it should. Unfortunately this was probably the case, together with my nerves, this risky coffee choice was always going to be difficult.

When we first got the coffee in the roastery, profiled and cupped it, we noticed that one of its main attributes was a dry, red fruit/cranberry note which also held up in the espresso, and was nicely muted with milk to make a tasty, chocolaty/sweet cappa.

Sig drink was again based on the cranberry element, where the idea was to augmented that note by topping the espresso with a cool cranberry foam (think macchiato proportions). By adding 0.5% of hy-foamer, a casein based dairy protein, it allows you to whip pretty much any liquid as if it were egg white, and have the result remain pretty heat stable. This is something i really like, but i guess if your not liking the idea of cranberry, then the whole presentation maybe lost on you. Finishing the drink, and to further play on that dry fruit element, a tiny amount of freeze dried cranberries are powdered on the top. As these are freeze dried, the first thing they want to do is suck up moisture from every and anywhere, so by the time the drink is served, the powder in top is more like macerated cranberry fruit, impregnated with the coffee flavour.

I still maintain the drink is really tasty and quite an interesting combination. I particularly like the contrast between the cool, sweet cranberry foam and the hot espresso, plus the bits of intense cranberry fruit which you lick from your lips after each sip. At the end of the drink, there should be a nice little “blob” of the cool, sweet foam at the bottom of the glass, which i think is a really nice finish to the drink, acting as a palette cleanser.

I know the judges didn’t feel my love for this combination, with some score sheets reading “sour”, and even one judge pulling a face (a little unprofessional, no?), so i think something a bit more safe and sensible next time. It was good to have a chat with a few other competitors, though it a shame i didn’t get the chance to see others sets, that would have been really nice. I did however, enjoy the whole experience and though it was brilliant fun, though it is nice to get back to the roasters at work, and I’m looking forward to trying some new samples roasted Friday.

A big thank you to Anni, Peter and the whole team at James Gourmet Coffee (not to mention many visitors – Geoff, Neil, et al.) for being my guinea pigs for the last two weeks ,and getting me confident enough to do my thing. Pictures to follow.


~ by E-83 on January 19, 2008.

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