Archive for August, 2011

Oriole Coffee & Technology Series – ExtractMojo

August 9, 2011 3 comments

By Colin Loh

Termed by some as being “one of the best coffee universities around,” Oriole Coffee is no stranger to technology. Oriole Coffee never ceases to be on the forefront when it comes to leading the pack with high tech toys. Just recently, Oriole Coffee became the proud owner of the first La Marzocco Strada EP in Asia. This blog post marks the first of a series devoted to examining how Oriole Coffee integrates technology to help bring more bang to the consumer’s buck.

2010. Enter Vince Fedele and the ExtractMojo.

Waiting for the espresso to cool before piping it into the ExtractMojo

The ExtractMojo is a small hand-held refractometer which measures the coffee’s refractive index and determines its concentration, which can then be compared against an Universal Coffee Brewing Control Chart. You can read more about this technology on Gizmodo. Naturally, Oriole Coffee’s Chief Geek Officer, Keith Loh had to have it.

Keith and John record the ExtractMojo readings

I spoke to Keith and he remarked excitedly, giddy as a schoolgirl that “now there was a tool to empirically assess the extraction levels of the way that I was pulling my shots and it probably allowed a consistent way to measure quantitatively instead of qualitatively what I was doing. I’ve attended many cupping classes and tasting classes and the one thing I realized is the diversity of opinions when it comes to taste and flavor. After understanding about brew strength and extraction yields, there was finally a tool that could actually produce these results on a repeatable and measurable basis easily through just one small device.”

Keith further elaborates that

“We’ve been using the Extract Mojo for almost 2 years and I feel it’s time to unveil that the Extract Mojo is the secret little weapon we have, or the secret little tool that has helped us to understand what we were doing. It comes full circle because we’re about to launch our VST baskets across all our outlets. In fact, we’ve actually been rolling out the VST baskets at all our outlets for almost a month now. And we’ve been backing up our results with the Extract Mojo as you can see here from our chart. The trickiest one and the one we left to the end was the Strada EP, of which we should be rolling out as we speak.

Keith adds “This is ultimately the means to an end, and not the means itself, the end being the entire product experience, and not just the coffee. When you sit down, how fast you get served, how it looks, how it’s presented, its price and how fast it’s being served to you – the product experience.”

Tight datapoints grouping of the Strada EP using VST baskets

This is the final grouping test we did for the Strada EP on the 22 gram basket. And as you can see, they’re so close that I don’t think we could’ve achieve such tight grouping with normal baskets. So, it’s nice to see that the Extract Mojo has proven that as we move along, we will continue to use technology to improve our consistency and let it work as a feedback loop to maintain our protocols, or to advance our protocols as we increase our volume.”

Last but not least, Oriole Coffee’s resident coffee roaster John Ting adds, “It changes how you looked at espresso extraction and makes you rethink all that you have learned, bringing you back to basics.”

ExtractMojo graph on the Lenovo laptop

Categories: coffee, oriole, reviews

Finca La Fany

August 8, 2011 3 comments
– By John Ryan Ting

unripe cherries waiting to mature

Some of you may have already noticed that we have a new coffee on the shelves. A coffee that gives you a juicy mouthfeel, notes of cane sugar, sweetness of oranges and honey, clean lingering finish.

Majority of El Salvador’s total coffee production is of the bourbon varietal, one of the most desired coffee varietals. It is harder to grow, more susceptible to disease and provides a lower yield than some other varietals, but it also produces some of the finest coffee in the world .This coffee is 100% Red Bourbon and is an example of one of El Salvador’s finest coffees. This shade grown coffee is exceptionally creamy and sweet. The cup leaves a mouth full of creamy caramel.

Baskets of Fully Ripe Cherries

Finca La Fany located in the altitudes of 1400- 1600 meters above sea level. Within the Department of Ahuachapán and in the municipality of Apaneca Ilamatepec Mountains region which translates to ‘River of Winds’; and this is by no coincidence! The winds in this region are very strong, so very tall Copalchi trees have been planted in a grid or waffle like shape to protect the coffee trees from strong winds.

Finca La Fany has been producing coffee in El Salvador since 1870, and has belonged to the same family from generation to generation. Situated on the Santa Ana Volcano, the farm provides work for 24 families in the community in a biological corridor that stretches for 28 hectares from Mexico to Panama and is full of Bourbon and Pacamara coffees.

Fantastic view of the farm

Rafael and his wife Carmen Da Silva have been running the farm for the last ten years, and are the fifth generation of their family to be producing coffee. Rafael is a keen agronomist and takes great care in looking after the farm.

Only just recently, the Da Silva’s installed a wet mill on their property which now gives them much greater control over the coffee from harvest through to export; a very exciting development.

Beautiful and delicate when brewed as a pour-over, sweet and creamy when enjoyed as an espresso.

Categories: Uncategorized

Introducing our latest Yellowbird Seasonal Espresso Blend

August 6, 2011 2 comments
– By John Ryan Ting

A view of part of the plantation of Samambaia

Firstly, many thanks to all who loved our previous seasonal blend created with coffees from Fazenda Lambari from Brazil + Sidamo Valley, Ethiopia. It’s a pity that we ran out of the coffee from Fazenda Lambari sooner than we expected. But fret not, we have got our hands on some lovely, creamy pulped natural coffee from the similar region of Minas Gerais, this varietal of Mundo Novo that has been grown at the altitudes of 1,150 metres above sea level.

Fazenda Samambaia, located in the city of Sul de Minas, is owned by Henrique Dias Cambraia who contributes the success of the farm to a combination of various factors – the geographic location at 1,200m above sea level, steady cool climate averaging 21 degrees centigrade, competent management of the plantations, constant training based on total quality control program that involves the whole team that works on the farm.

Henrique is committed not only to producing high quality coffee, but to farming in a way that is socially responsible and environmentally sustainable. He is happy to say that, during his absence from the farm between March 2000 and July 2001 – when he was studying towards a Master’s degree in International Business in Phoenix, Arizona – his employees demonstrated that they fully understood and were capable of upholding the Samambaia concept of sustainability.

Recently, Henrique Dias Cambraia was elected President of Sulminas-Café. Together with other 20 coffee producers of the Santo Antônio do Amparo region, he founded the Santo Antônio Estate Coffee, to build relationships with the specialty coffee market.

Combining this lot of coffee from Samambaia with our current stock of the coffee from Sidamo Valley, we present to you a combination of; creamy & viscous mouthfeel, balanced sweetness of caramel & honey, notes of hazelnuts & vanilla, finished with a soft orange acidity and subtle floral finish.

Look out for these notes in our Yellowbird Seasonal Espresso Blend that is hitting the shelves. Have you gotten yours yet?

Categories: Uncategorized