Because my presentations were meant to reflect the State of the Art in AR, I had to organize lot of information in a short period of time. Plus, the materials I had gathered previously had become out of date.
The good news is that nearly all of the materials presented were less than a year old, some just a few days old! The bad news is that in the rush, I had to de-prioritize student's work and ended up not showing any. With this post I remedy that, and am thankful to the teachers and students involved with the work below.(Any students, anywhere: I will be happy to post your AR-related work!)
First is the "home team", the Hong Kong Polytechnic University of Design. Dr. Ludovic Krundell helped secure these images, and he was a most helpful resource and source of welcome advice during my time at PolyU. His support, as well as the guidance of Gino Yu,
made my time here an unforgettable experience. OK; the work...
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.
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.
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.
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 Pa O woman in the Coffee Traveler magazine displayed on the counter
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).
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.
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.
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?
My limited understanding of blockchain is that it is decentralized. My experiences with AR have given me the impression that AR is also a decentralized technology, though mobile phone makers can be said to be an international cartel of sorts. As I write this, I am in Chiang Rai, Thailand, close to the borders of Myanmar and Laos, and a few hours bus ride north of the more famous city of Chiang Mai.
I have just spent a few hours with Suphakorn Traisrisin, a 14 year old boy. He is teaching himself how to work with Hewlett-Packard's AR system, Reveal. Suphakorn wants to be a computer engineer, and undoubtedly, when the time comes, he will have a number of geographical options in which to pursue his career. Unlike the businesses of the Industrial Age, the internet has created a decentralized and seemingly level playing field where talent and ideas can take root anywhere and blossom internationally.
I realize this concept/possibility has existed for a while, but it was really brought home watching a 14 year old, very distant from Silicon Valley, teaching himself a cutting edge technology.
in Chiang Rai Thailand, with Suphakorn Traisrisin
HP + AR + tea!
Experimentation with the Reveal AR software by Hewlett-Packard
The intention is to use photography for personal expression, rather than commercial documentation, as well as to create a vocabulary of procedures that allow for spontaneous internet experiences. Plus, the experiences will become a chapter in An Alphabet of Spikes, one of the two books I am currently writing.
In short, we did a lot of stuff and put it online to see what happens in both the art world and the world of people who want to retire in Thailand.
As the beans are harvested in the wild, there cannot be a "single estate" labeling. However, the beans are all harvested at nearly the same time in the same area. They are all roasted within the same time period.
The supervising producer has over 40 years experience with organic teas. Though this is a new venture, they have invested three years in research, education, training and the finest equipment, including a laboratory and a Giesen roaster. Education and training are the foundations of this enterprise.
The beans are harvested, then stored(aged) 8-12 months before roasting.
The supervising producer has extensive experience with international shipping, customs and regulations.
If you love coffee, sell coffee, are a coffee roaster and/or distributor and want to know more, please get in touch. For a long time I have thought of producing my own line of teas and coffees, and this may be it!
The following emails are reprinted with permission. They contain information helpful to those visiting Chiang Mai. More than this, the professionalism and obvious joie de vivre of Olga's emails make them casual,little masterpieces of written communication.
Enjoy Chiang Mai, I like this place. It’s touristy but special. The more I stayed, the more I liked.
We are now on Koh Phangan. It’s a beautiful island, rather quiet despite its reputation for Full Moon parties. It becomes very busy for 3 days for the party before becoming again a sleepy island. Sapphire-blue sea and white sandy beaches, exactly what I was looking for. The only downside is food – the food is almost twice expensive compared to the rest of Thailand, and local food stalls are not everywhere. We drive for 10 min to eat locally (but expensive compared to the prices we used to pay). But well, we have sea in return.
Sure, you can post my recommendations. I have a few more 🙂
Another specialty of Chiang Mai is Chiang Mai sausage. It’s unbelievably tasty, spicy, with a lot of ingredients inside such as lemon grass etc. One of the best is at Isan stall I recommended yesterday. The best sausages are in the places where are not many tourists. Otherwise, they don’t make it spicy as it should be.
· Hideya Ramen: surprisingly great Ramen. It’s a tiny place operated by one passionate man.
· Rosy Cheeks: tasty and very photogenic. A little Asian fusion restaurant.
· Rustic and Blue: delicious and beautifully presented western type dishes. All coming from their farm. But expensive.
But what I really miss is the quality coffee of Chiang Mai. There are many barista style coffee places, with the quality comparable to the coffee in Sydney, the best place for coffee in the world
My favourites are:
· Akha Ama: great coffee, and the prices are very reasonable. They have 2 locations. One is near the Old City.
· Ristr8 is absolutely the must. In Nimman.
· Ristr8to Lab: same owner as above but different in style. They are located close to each other. In Nimman.
· Cotton Tree: great coffee and great place to relax. Quiet compared to other busy places like Ristr8. Try their affogato – coffee with ice-cream, very special. In Nimman.
· Omnia: quality, great coffee with some unusual creations of the month. In a residential area of CM.
· Graph Cafe: stylish tiny place in the Old City with great coffee. Their speciality is Nitro and Cold Brew.
· Ponganes: long-established place in CM, great coffee. In the Old City.
· Pacamara: same as above, long-established place in CM, great coffee. In the Old City.
· Asama Cafe: outside Chiang Mai in a beautiful garden near the lake. Really great coffee in a peaceful setting.
There are also 2 places I find special:
· Begin Again: coffee is not the barista level coffee but the setting in amazing. If you feel like you are in the middle of a jungle. You can find photos on our website https://anywayinaway.com/coworking-spaces-cafes-chiang-mai/
Penguin Ghetto: nice place, quite special, odd I would say, and coffee is very good.
How do you find Chiang Mai? Have you been to Chiang Rai all this time? Was it good? We didn’t stay long time in Chiang Rai, just enough to explore the town and a couple of temples outside.
As for Chiang Mai, renting an apartment is much cheaper than staying in a guesthouse, however, they require at least 1 month stay.
If you want to stay in Old Town of Chiang Mai, we stayed in a few places. We like Nocky House, located very close to a local market with food and vegetables, in a very old traditional house, very charming.
Otherwise, just nearby, there is 9 Hostel – a very different style – very modern, cement walls etc. Quiet and clean. I liked, Errol found it impersonal.
There is also SK 1 – very good price for what they offer (swimming pool), near Somphat market.
If you like a modern area in Chiang Mai, it’s Nimman. We also stayed there but we rented an apartment on a few occasions.
· Chang Phuak Gate (North Gate) – local food market. You should try the “must” there – Cowboy Lady stall aselling Khao Kha Moo (pork legs that melt in you mouth). My mouth is watering just when I am typing…
South Gate Night Market: the most known market among farang. But the food is good, the prices are low, and the variety is unbeatable.
· Warorot Market: Chinatown of Chiang Mai. Interesting food that you won’t find everywhere.
· There is one local place called something Vegetable Organic. They have amazing food (non-vegetarian, their vegetables are supposed to be organic, hence, the name). The specialty of the house is different types of friend rice. I don’t like saying that but this is the best fried rice I have eaten. They are near Burmese Restaurant and Library (you can google to find). There is another restaurant a few step away – a small stall selling Isan food. Great food!