In pursuit of a god-shot!

It took me 10 shots before I could manage to pull a shot that looked even CLOSE! Frustrating. No matter how carefully I tamped, it still came out poorly. The grind was right, tamp was done very carefully, etc. The machine (brand new Simonelli Aurelia 3 group) seemed to be brewing really freaken hot... and I think that had a little something to do with it. I will measure the temp tomorrow to be sure. But compared to the results I was getting on the Marzocco that we modified with PID, there is NO comparison. Seriously, I would get a proper pour with vertually no effort.By the way, I love the 'article' you wrote Eric on naked filters!! It is so true. If it weren't for the naked filter here on thise pours tonight I would never had known what was going on and how "off" the shots were! Very interesting for sure. Check out this little slide show:


The provocatively named "naked portafilter" is also appropriately named, because it reveals so much about your espresso shot . To those who are unfamiliar with this device, it is essentially a standard portafilter that has had its bottom cut away to reveal the portafilter basket.   As a result, the espresso extraction is not routed through or concealed by a pour spout. Instead, the pour can be viewed in all its dynamics and richness, as it develops, presses through and pulls away from the basket's micro-screen.Recently, Jason Prefontaine and myself have been brewing & watching shots using a naked portafilter we jerry-rigged from a standard issue piece.  I think Jason may have made ours using a hacksaw or other tool, although you can buy these pre-cut and nicely finished, at least for LM machines. Anyway, this rough little device is a total arbiter of truth. It reveals for example how evenly we have tamped. If the tamp is uneven, even fractionally, you can see it. The coffee pour will tend to start and concentrate on one side of the basket, before spreading out. Brewing with a naked portafilter also reveals other truths like how hard the tamp was, when the extraction is TRULY complete, and if you are over-extracting from any point inside the basket.


A Different Way To Contribute To Sustainability

Recently we have been discussing the best way to contribute back to the developing world. As coffee suppliers it seems that there are two primary avenues--both revolving around green bean sourcing. One (fair trade) is socio-economic. The other (certified organic or other designation) is environmental. While I like both designations A LOT, since they speak to direct results in origin countries, they do lack something for me on a deeper more personal level. What is missing is the edge of direct involvement with the people and/or the environment of the place designated to receive aid.It seems that often we must gauge our understanding of the success of a program on how much is put into the program, how many dollars are invested, and not on what comes out--what is happening on the other side with the recipients of the aid--in effect the "customers".One of the defining features of Fratello Coffee has been its commitment to Belo Ethiopia. This program is essentially the owners of this company directing and monitoring the results of an 8 year development plan in conjunction with CHFI. The Belo program is designed to direct assistance resources derived from the sale of roasted coffee in North America to this one particular community in Ethiopia. The funds are directed in a way that allows basic infrastructure, like sanitation and water supply, to be developed by the residents themselves. Other funding goes to basic education and literacy. While ten percent of all profits go to supporting these efforts, the ultimate success of the program is measured against particular objectives.Going forward we will present news from the efforts in Belo on this blog. Hopefully we will see progress and continuous improvement. We hope to show how aid money manifests as actual benefit to recipients themselves. Stay tuned.

Top 20 Charities in Canada (% going to admin costs)

Some of you might find this interesting (maybe not?), but I thought I would send this chart out for you to look at. As you will see, Canadian Food For The Hungry (the organization we have partnered together with in the sponsorship of Belo Ethiopia) has BY FAR the lowest amount of money going to administration. This was one of many reasons we chose to deal with them…as most of the money that the company distributes to them goes to those people who need it versus some huge administrative infrastructure. Check out some of the others out there!!? Crazy.