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Unveiling the New Yellowbird Espresso Blend

December 26, 2011 Leave a comment

By John Ryan Ting

 

Drying the semi-washed coffee at Fazenda Machado

It is once again time to introduce the latest changes to our flagship Yellowbird Seasonal Espresso Blend. We are proud to introduce the new bean that goes into our beloved blend that most of you have enjoyed over the last two years.

Recently, our Chief Geek Officer, Mr Keith Loh, made a trip to Brazil, the leading producer & exporter of Arabica coffee. He travelled with our esteemed coffee partners from Mercanta to the region of Bahia, located in the north-eastern part of Brazil. The main objective of this trip was to establish contact with some of the farms located in the Chapada Diamantina region as well as to evaluate the quality of the coffees coming out from this region, as compared to the much acclaimed Minas Gerais, Mogiana, Cerrado, Sul de Minas. The list goes on. (Keith will complete the blog about his trip.)

So today, I will be introducing one of the coffees that Keith has tasted and fallen in love with during his trip to Brazil. Fazenda Machado, located 1,240 metres above sea level, the farm extends over 100 hectares in the mountainous Chapada Diamantina region. Some 18 hectares are filled with a selection of Catuai, Acaua, Catucai, Topazio and Bourbon varieties.

Fazenda Machado is owned and managed by Sr. Agnon Aruajo of the Bahia region. As a young man, Aruajo decided to move to Sao Paulo to find work and earn a better living. However, after a few years he missed life on the farm so much that he moved back to Bahia and used all of his savings to buy Fazenda Machado, where he planted coffee and fruit trees.

This thoughtfully selected pulped-natural, mixed varietal coffee from Fazenda Machado is blended with our current selection of Ethiopia, Sidama. Our current Yellowbird Seasonal Blend exhibits notes of piped tobacco in the aroma, rich & intense mouthfeel, flavours of bright sweet prunes, with hints of umami in the mid palate, completed with lingering notes of pomelo in the finish.

Categories: coffee, espresso, oriole

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

Oriole Blend Roasted on 26Nov’09

December 2, 2009 Leave a comment

Kimberly happened to pop by & we just completed a round of cupping.

This week’s roast is slightly more developed, toasted bread in the dry fragrance, granny smith apples in the flavour, caramel sugar in the after-taste.

Do swing by to enjoy this wonderful cup.

Categories: coffee, drinks, oriole

Latte Art ThrowDown II: The Finale!

November 11, 2009 4 comments

Having 17 competitors working through 34 cups of coffee, we still had time for a few more to get their hands on the machine. Kimberly called for competitors to step up, and I was volunteered by my teammates at Oriole to try my hands at impressing the judges. I could only manage a triple rosetta under that tremendous pressure. And that wraps up this round of competition.

Everyone took a short break while our 3 wonderful judges took meticulous effort to tally up the score. And surprisingly we have a tie for the top position. Shin Hao got a high score of 24 from 3 judges, with an average of 8 (max score is 10) and I managed to tie his score of 24. So to decide the winner, we had to do a tie-breaker. It was done in a face-off style. Both of us decide to pour a tulip for the face off. He did a 3 tier tulip while I attempted a 5 tier tulip. (Well it’s not about how many you pour, it’s more of how define the art is) The judges deliberated long and hard, and we were tied again!

So it’s face-off round 2. This time, the judges wanted us to duplicate what we just poured. And the art will be compared to the previous one and it will be judged on the similarities and definition. And I was awarded an extra point for similarity. It was a close call and it’s definitely a tough decision by the judges… Well I guess I walked away with the pot as well as the tamper thrown in by Kimberly, a bottle of red wine, courtesy of Oriole Cafe & Bar which was shared among some of the Baristas present.

Before you all thought that was the end of the night, we had an impromptu finale which is the Blindfold Pouring! Thanks also to Kimberly for throwing in the Reg Barber tamper as a prize! We opened it up to 5 contestants that were adventurous to attempt such a feat. (We had Ian, Raj, Terence, Alif & Danny)

Two thumbs up to Terence who managed to pull off a rosetta while being blindfolded. Well done my friend.

As the event came to a close, many of the baristas stayed on for a few drinks while we caught up after not meeting for a couple of months, we look forward to such gathering again. A round of applause to Kimberly for such an initiative, thank you to Emmanuel for helping to co-ordinate the flow of event. Once again thanks to SCA & Greenfields for helping us baristas & coffee lovers to meet. I’m already looking forward to meeting everyone at the next event.

I’m really glad to see baristas putting effort to improve the level of latte art in Singapore. We believe all this passionate & professional baristas will certainly elevate the coffee scene here in Singapore. Well done guys, keep brewing with dedication.

Categories: latte art, oriole

Latte Art ThrowDown II (part 2/3)

November 11, 2009 Leave a comment

Our coverage continues..

We have Faz from Jones stepping up to the machine, & we have a double heart on display. Good Job! Jocelyn from Spinelli, got ‘forced’ by Kimberly to take a shot at the machine, she pulled a lovely rosetta to give everyone a run for their money…

Faz having a go at the machine

Jocelyn of Spinelli

max smiling for the camera

Next up, we have Max (-the winner of Oriole’s previous round of Throwdown and, currently churning out coffee at Aerin’s). We can feel the pressure he is under to claim another round of bragging rights as he placed a lovely heart on the judges table.

Terence stepping up!

Terence from Kova wows the judges with a showcase of triple hearts. You can see that it went well with the 2 lady judges. Well done Terence.

 

 

 

Danny PangDanny from Espressoul shows what a seasoned showman can do by pouring a nicely defined rosetta with no pressure at all. Fareed of Gloria Jeans gets a rosetta onto the table almost effortlessly.

Fareed from GJIan from CuppaIan Consulta, award winning barista from CuppaChoice, shows everyone why he is one of the best by pouring an angel with a halo. Kudos to him for pulling off such a feat.

 

 

 

 

 

Vic from Oriole did not disappoint by pulling his new design. What should I call it? A two way rosetta? Till I find another name. My dear friend Chris Yeo from Spinelli does what he do best, charming the ladies with a beautiful heart on the top of the coffee. Well done my friend. Shin Hao from Starbucks, putting a very composed display with a HD (high-definition) rosettaVic looking intensely at the coffee.ShinHaoChris preparing his milk

 

 

 

DayardNext up, we have a last minute entry, (I think he’s Dayard, will someone please help me on this!) what a nice rosetta, he poured it and twist it to the side. What a different art he has displayed to the judges. Under the crowd’s insistence, Mr Ross Bright, Vice Chairman of the SCA steps up to show everyone that a Master Roaster can pour a rosetta as well as any Barista. Chris Short calls it a rosetta with a halo. Nice one Ross.Ross, our vice-chair of SCA

 

 

 

Next up, the results!

Categories: latte art, oriole

Latte Art ThrowDown II (part 1/3)

November 7, 2009 Leave a comment

After all the dust has settled, we finally found the time to blog about Oriole Cafe’s Latte Art ThrowDown II.

This time round, we managed to attract a total of 18 participants (although a few of us joined in the fun only at the very last minute).

First & foremost, we would like to extend our thanks to the people who made this possible, Singapore Coffee Association (SCA) for reaching out to all the members as well as coffee lovers, Kimberly who has been running tirelessly seeing to all the mechanics and logistics. Kudos to Greenfields for sponsoring the milk, as well as the representatives from Greenfields who came down to support the event, Mr Gilbert, Ms Carmen & Mr Samson. Special mention must be given to Ms Carmen, Mr Christopher Short of Caffeto & Ms Kimberly Yer who spend their precious time to be our judges.

Carmen, Kimberly & Chris Short
Milk for The NiteBy 7.40pm and after a few rounds of beer and wine, we got the event off to a start. First up, we have Alif who plies his trade at Jones. Nerves set in when you are the first person to step up. Nevertheless, he pulled off a very nice wave heart to the judges. Ivy from Oriole was the next, first time she is pulling latte art in front of such a large crowd, sees a little shivers in her hands. Puts out a lovely rosetta with nice solid foam. I take my hat off to her for being able to withstand the pressure even though she has been a barista only for the past three months.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alif getting ready

Ivy looks on while waiting for her turn

Raj from our sister restaurant, Bedrock, got a little nice rosetta onto the table as well. Everyone can see that he has been putting hard work into training for this. Nizam of Jones amazed everyone by pulling off a swan. It’s definitely a lovely piece of work. Oriole has another barista putting his skill to the test; Astro stepped up and put a rosetta with lovely foam and nice definition.

Astro frothing the milk

Raj getting ready...

Nizam of Jones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In part 2..competitors from Gloria Jeans, Starbucks, Spinelli, CuppaChoice Espressoul and the SCA throw it down!

our roast this week… tasting notes

October 15, 2009 Leave a comment

Roasted: 8th Oct, Cupped: 14th Oct

We are getting some interesting notes out of this week’s coffee, from rambutan husk(!) & sweet musky wood on the dry fragrance to hazelnuts, toasted bread and caramel aromas after brewing. Some herbal flavours (almost like a chinese herbal tea) were present as well as distinct lingering chocolate notes.

Espresso tasting notes: sweet chocolate and burnt caramel on the nose. Lively lime acidity overlaid over dark herbs and ginger root flavours. Syrupy textures with distinct dark chocolate and nutty finish. This week’s roast was quite lively and so we tuned up the brew temperature to 94.5°C and got way more balance. We’ll probably tune it down slightly over the next couple of days as the acidity mellows out.

Macchiato tasting notes: over the top intensity (woah!) with good lime acidity underlined by sweet milk chocolate tones.