Category Archives: Coffee

Espresso, Dub and the Slayer 2.0

The second of a series about the espresso culture at Papi y Papi, a retail shop in Natchez, Mississippi specializing in coffee, cigars and chocolate. The first post is here.

Background of the water used at Papi y Papi

The water of Natchez is tested daily in regards to pH, chlorine and fluoride. In 2013, Natchez Water Works, owned by the City of Natchez, won an award for the  Best Water in Mississippi. The water is from four wells in the Lower Catahoula Formation Aquifer and one well in the Catahoula Formation Aquifer. The water at Papi is naturally low in calcium, which minimizes scaling.
Water is complex, and  rarely possesses the same characteristics over long periods of time. It can change seasonally or because of man-made changes that may not be noticeable unless testing is in place. The water at Papi y Papi was tested and found to be of very good quality, although very slightly alkaline.

Regardless of water quality, every coffee machine requires a filter, and every water filter requires rinsing before it is used. Not doing this important step means that residue or loose fibers can damage the machine and void the warranty. Improper water treatment resulting from poor filtration is the  most frequent cause of espresso machine damage.

Papi uses the SX2-21 Everpure water filter that reduces sediment down to 0.5 microns and reduces chlorine, taste and odor at the rate of 1.5 gpm for 15,000 gallons. Although the water of Natchez is noted for its low calcium-carbonate, Papi also uses a ScaleX2,  is a chemical free technology that inhibits the formation of scale. Untreated scale can build up, making the inside of a machine look like a cave full of white stalagmites and stalactites! 

The Slayer EP Steamer

From the Slayer website:

Unlike the classic paddle system featured in the current Slayer Steam X model to activate volumetrics, what Maico describes as “a programmed electronic dosing of espresso output”, the Steam EP features nine-bar pump extraction with push-button volumetric activation. This is activated with two push buttons that presents four programmable settings per group. Users can customize different volumetric selections, for example a double ristretto and double espresso, or a group head flush and manual extraction. It also includes the option to activate a pre-wetting function. With this setting, much like pre-infusion, users can pre-wet the coffee, like blooming, prior to extraction from zero to four seconds, and determine how long to delay before the extraction starts. This customizable feature allows the barista to control what specific characteristics of the coffee to extract.
From what Dub has said to myself and to customers:

Espresso: the Coffee and the Dosing

Coffee: Honduran lightly roasted

Dosage: 30 grams (subject to change)

Prewet: 4 seconds

Temperature: 201

Extraction time: 35 seconds

The process and specs are constantly being checked and refined. Variables like barometric pressure and humidity require constant monitoring and adjustment.

The Slayer, with its programmable controls and consistent heat controls, allows a barista to finetune variables as efficiently as possible. With the Slayer, a barista can create, as much as possibly, a signature style, and most importantly, do so with consistency.

Espresso, Dub and the Slayer 1.0

This is a collection of notes and technical information about a master coffee maker gaining experience with the Slayer EP Steam, one of the world’s finest espresso machines. This is part documentation of Dub Rogers, part research paper on how to make outstanding espresso. I am not a coffee expert, though I do enjoy researching coffee. I plan on having my own brand of coffee soon. 

This is being written and researched at Papi y Papi, in Natchez, Mississippi.

Papi y Papi Background: Specializing in the highest quality coffee, chocolate and cigars, Papi y Papi is a retail store located in downtown Natchez, Mississippi. The barista at Papi is Dub Rogers. Papi y Papi features Steampunk Roasted Coffee. More than just a retail store, Papi y Papi celebrates and shares the cultures and traditions that gave the world coffee, cigars and chocolate.


Papi y Papi offers the following:

Steampunk Roasted Coffee. Started by Dub Rogers in 2012, Steampunk maintains excellent relationships with a global assortment of growers and distributors. In addition to outlets in Natchez and New Orleans, Steampunk has an online store.  

Before the Slayer arrived, Steampunk’s espresso roasts were calibrated to be made with an Elektra Belle Epoque, a machine in a class all its own.

Dub Rogers, owner, curator and barista at Papi y Papi.

Background of Dub Rogers: Dub Rogers created, and then successfully sold, both Steampunk Espresso Bar, and Smoots Blues Lounge. Both became internationally recognized for their service, their unique and welcoming atmosphere and, of course, for their coffee.

Dub studied the art of espresso in Milan and Seattle, and has won various prizes. He was certified as America's Best Espresso Judge at the 2017 America's Best Espresso Competition.

Before returning to Natchez, his hometown, Dub was a world acclaimed photographer, based in New York City.

Steampunk Coffee Roasters online store
Steampunk on Facebook
Dub Rogers interviewed by Mississippi Museum of Modern Art

The next post in this series is an overview of the procedures that need to be in place before making the first espresso on the Slayer EP Steamer.

FOODHACK! HK Poly June 15-17

EELCOIN! (The foodhack was a weekend full of hard work and hope. I was on a team with Beeno, Ann, Sayuri and Kerong. We worked and ate amongst talented people who shared ideas and experiences related to fixing global food challenges.)

Welcome HK Foodhackers!

My name is Stephen Black and I have worked with food as an artist, as a photographer, a videomaker and someone with an interest in AR. Following are introductions to some of my food-related projects, including books.

Bubiko Foodtour is on her way to becoming an AR superstar! This week I just concluded workshops and presentations about AR, here at HK Poly.

Presentations and workshops by Stephen Black

Bubiko Foodtour is on Instagram.

A summary of the AR presentations at HK Poly

My experiences on a permaculture farm in Bali.

I am an unofficial representative for sustainable organic coffee and tea from Northern Thailand.

http://www.blacksteps.tv/anthony-bourdainstephen-blackstreet-foodan-embarrassing-encounter/

photography as part of book cover design

Furikake: japanese rice seasonings. Food-related short stories.

miso!

A national bestseller in Singapore

i ate tiong bahru on Goodreads.

i ate tiong bahru on Amazon

i ate tiong bahru audiobook

Check Amazon for other food-related books by Stephen Black.

And this book features a protagonist who is an amateur chef specializing in molecular cuisine.

Cupping Steve’s Wild Coffee (part 2)

part 1 is here..

Boss: "Fruit. Westerners eat different fruit than Thai people. So when a coffee description in English mentions the name of a fruit, it doesn't always immediately register."

This is the second statement Boss said after he took his first sip of medium roasted SWC. "Apricot" was the first.

female barista

Neung, from Once Cafe in Chiang Rai, cupping Steve's Wild Coffee.

Then, with Neung, we began a discussion on the many variables related to describing the taste of coffee. The individual's sensitivity, cultural background and coffee-tasting experience for example. How do different machines affect the taste? The water? The weather? The soil, weather and growing conditions are constantly changing; how does a plant respond? It was only after Boss mentioned the word "apricot' that I became aware of the trace of tangy sweetness that he was referring to. And, after some thought, I think a young chiku fruit, not yet sweet, would be a solid comparison.
Coffee beans on a plate

Beans on a plate on a blue and white patterned cloth.

The bottom line for the SWC Medium roasted, for this cupping, is that the texture is smooth and there is a slightly tannin taste as well as a hint of apricot. It is a flavorful drink by itself. Adding milk would likely mask this coffee's subtleties. We discovered peaberry beans among the flatbeans and this was a nice surprise! Peaberry, especially from northern Thailand is recognized as a quality bean.

The SWC dark roast was very similar to the medium roast, but with an additional taste resulting from a longer roasting time. The taste sensation, like so many, is difficult to describe."Burnt" strikes me as being too strong of a word. The flavor is not really "smoky", either. Well-roasted is a phrase that could be used, but it does not contain any specific description of taste. The beans look like smooth glossy stones, and this is because the roasting process brought some of the oil to the surface. An excellent post about roasting is here, on The National Coffee Association USA website.

The last version of SWC we cupped was a mix of 80% dark with 20 percent of an extended roast. The beans were dark and oily, as more oil was brought out because of the longer roasting time.

It tasted energetic to me, a little bit "burnt", a little bit fruity, a smooth but "buzzy taste"; energetic. This latte was made from the 80/20 blend and it was pretty gosh darn good.

Latte Art

Created by Neung, at Once Cafe, Chiang Rai

I will need sometime to think about the short description for SWC. Having no experience, I can't really judge things like Dry Fragrance, Wet Aroma,Flavor, Finish, Acidity, and Body.Let alone the procedures scoring methods found here. SWC is wild, and I am still researching exactly what that means. Overgrown estate? Birds or animals ate the coffee cherries from the government-affiliated plantations and then deposited the seeds throughout the hillsides? The "wild" part of this experience is what interests me. I briefly worked on a permaculture farm, and it seemed that the intent was to simulate an "uncivilized" growing environment, ie the wild". The main reasons for growing in the permaculture style are taste and environmental respect. Now, I do not have the time to see for myself what wild means in terms of SWC, meaning I cannot go to the growing areas.

I will just have to make another cup and sit and write a description.

A photograph of a photograph

A photograph of a Pa O woman in the Coffee Traveler magazine displayed on the counter

Cupping Steve’s Wild Coffee (part 1)

Later, I will talk about my experiences using coffee in my visual art projects and writing. For example, one of my books contains a chapter about coffee. For now, I will simply say that creating my own brand of coffee would combine several longtime interests, including, ultimately, AR. (Presentations about AR at HK Poly. A post about AR and Coffee) This post is about my first cupping experience, which occurred on May 12, 2018, at Once Cafe in Chiang Rai, Thailand. I had discovered Once the day before the testing, by accident. Lucky! The barista was Neung (Matorose Plengsai).
Coffee cupping preparation

Neung (Matorose Plengsai).from Once Cafe in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

She is deeply connected with coffee. Her husband is involved with the production of organic foods, including coffee: at one point he made his own roaster. Neung supervised the creation of Once Coffee, the signature of her cafe. In the course of discussing Once Coffee, it was agreed that I could bring some to Hong Kong, for a tasting event I am planning. Here is my description of Once Coffee: Made from Peaberry beans, Once is light-hearted and slightly fruity, yet powerful-- an excellent choice for lattes and cappuccinos. Organically grown, processed and roasted on a single estate in northern Thailand, Once is a blend of roasts: medium and dark. The blend is constantly monitored and adjusted to maintain Once’s signature flavor. Once treats the people it is involved with fairly. Let the cupping begin! Once was cupped in the afternoon. The cupping for Steve’s Wild Coffee (the name for now, anyway) started at 8:30 AM. Besides Neung, we were fortunate to have Boss (Pattapong Valuvanarak), who manages a restaurant called Kafe Journal.
thoughtful coffee drinker

Boss!

We had three types of Steve’s Wild Coffee (SWC). The beans are Arabica: a medium roast, a dark roast and a mix of 80% medium and 20% dark. Like most coffees, the dark roast and the 80/20 mixture will work well with lattes and cappuccinos. No surprises there. The medium roast was judged to be very suitable for simple, hot coffees. Again, no surprises. What follows are notes on what I learned, observed and thought about. I am a fresh arrival into this part of the coffee world. Also, the wild coffee is almost completely undocumented. So, we were in the rare position of being able to respond to what we were tasting with very few preconceived ideas. I should state that wild coffee is a new venture by a company with over forty years experience producing high grade organic teas. It is not a secret who they are, and I will later identify them, especially on all packaging. They are now applying for a USDA organic certificate.
Cofffe packaging

Once Cafe, in Chiang Rai, Thailand. The first cupping of Steve's Wild Coffee.

So... the cupping! Neung opened the medium roast, and Boss spread some beans out on a plate. He picked something up, showed it to Neung and they laughed. “Elephant ears”, he said. Elephant ears are shells of beans that are empty. I looked, and yes, the shell of an empty coffee bean looks just like the ears of an elephant. Boss showed me another bean that had a tiny hole in it. “An insect ate some.” I made a mental note to find out why this was bad. Psychologically, perhaps it is not good, but in terms of the coffee making process, why is it bad? There was no insect, of course. I wonder if, by eating the coffee bean, the insect allowed air into the heart of the fruit. This would mean oxygen being added into the fruit’s “manufacturing process”. Perhaps this is the reason for the rejection. The coffee is roasted, which kills bacteria and other micro-organisms. Simply, I must learn more about insects eating coffee beans. Is it a cosmetic issue, or something more? No fungus was detected and the other beans which were rejected were chipped, a common fault. But again I wonder if this is cosmetic or something more serious. Could it be that the chipping results in the bean drying out in that area and losing flavor? (PART 2 is here) An Instagram post of the cupping.