Tag Archives: fiori

Vacuum Brewing with the Cona

the finished product

Vacuum brewed coffee. It’s all the rage on the greater coffee loving scene of late. Mark Prince has been into them for years, they’ve made numerous appearances in barista competitions, St Ali in Melbourne invited a Japanese syphon coffee champion to give a demonstration of the art, and snobs and geeks across the country seem to be getting in on the action in greater numbers.

My first dabbling with vacuum brewed coffee happened after I casually dropped by Fiori Coffee to pay Kam a visit and make a nuisance of myself (as I am prone to doing). Noticing a familiar looking device sitting in a box on the floor I soon found out it was a Cona Vacuum Brewer. Kam, being the gentleman he is, kindly offered to let me try it out, and I’ve been experimenting ever since.

The basic principle behind vacuum brewed coffee is that you have two chambers. Water in the bottom chamber is heated, gives off water vapour, and eventually the vapour expands so much that it pushes the rest of the water up the spout into the top chamber. The ground coffee in the top then brews until you take away the heat source, at which point the water vapour cools and the brewed coffee is drawn back down in the bottom chamber.

I am by no means any kind of expert when it comes to this kind of thing. I’ve been picking up as many tips from other people as I can. So this post is more of just a pictorial guide to one way you could do it, rather than any kind of how to.

The Cona is a very beautiful piece of equipment on it’s own. Shannon Bennett fell in love with it so much that he makes a table side bouillabaisse by infusing fish stock and shell fish using it. The process of brewing coffee in it to me seems more like a science experiment than making coffee, but that’s probably why I like it.

My process is as follows:

Filter some water and fill the bottom chamber up. This is a ‘D’ series Cona, which holds at most a litre or so in the bottom. I fill it with about 750 ml of water, and put it onto a gas burner to heat up. This isn’t strictly necessary, but the Cona’s standard heat source is a little spirit burner, which takes forever to heat this amount of water.

Once some vapours are coming out of the top of the pot, and before it starts to boil, take it off the gas, and lock the top chamber in place on top. Light the spirit burner underneath and add the coffee to the top.

I used a measurement of 8 grams of coffee per 150ml of water (I fudged that from the SCAA standard brew ratio recommendations). Which means 40 grams of ground coffee for the amount of water in this example. The coffee is ground at roughly the same level as French press coffee, though I have been varying it lately to see the effects. Obviously you should be using some nice fresh coffee for good results.

Now you basically let the Cona work it’s magic.

The water will gradually rise up into the top chamber and begin to infuse. When it’s all mostly up in the top, I give it a stir to make sure all the coffee is adequately soaked, which brings out the “bloom” some more. Then when all the water has risen to the top (there will always be some water that doesn’t come up) remove the heat source. The coffee will then slowly start to be sucked back down into the bottom chamber, and the spent grounds stay up the top.

Some people wait til the water had all risen to the top chamber before adding the coffee, namely because it infusion all happens at a similar temperature, but I can’t say I’ve tried enough to tell the difference.

Here is my pictoral view of the process:

Cona - Size DCona - pre brewmeasuringground PNG coffeeSpeeding up the processSome assembly requirednearly readyreally nearly readystarting the brewinvisible flameon the boilcoffee slowly infusingInfusingCoffee risingrise my prettyCritical massThe last dropsthe bloomreversethe vacuum working its magicspent coffeeso elegantthe finished product

Observations

- This is great way to brew coffee, it’s an interesting process and the results can be amazing

- The Cona has a glass filter rod. I’m not sure how it works exactly, but the cups I’ve had are generally very clean and without grounds. I like that it doesn’t need changing and is easy to clean, but not sure how it compares to cloth filters in brewers like the Hario.

- It works best with interesting single origins that are roasted much lighter than espresso to keep their inherent terroir characteristics.

- Measuring the coffee in the top chamber through the brew process showed I was getting temperatures around 90 – 95C, which is not boiling obviously, so should be ok. A more specific approach to temperature management would give more reproducible results.

- My experiments have yet to yield any outstanding experiences, but I think that’s due to roast level
of the coffee, and mastering the technique some more.

- There are lots of other ways to do it, here’s a list of other resources I’ve been using:

Sweet Marias
Coffee Kid
Coffee Snobs
Coffee Geek
Barismo

Also, enjoy the giant photos :)

Menu For Hope

menu_for_hope

Menu for Hope is an annual fundraising campaign hosted by well known food blogger Pim of Chez Pim and a revolving group of food bloggers around the world. Five years ago, the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia inspired Pim to find a way to help, and the very first Menu for Hope was born. The campaign has since become a yearly affair, raising funds to support worthy causes worldwide. In 2007, Menu for Hope raised nearly $100K to help the UN World Food Programme feed the hungry.

I’ve always been a bit blasť about getting involved in causes. I like the idea of helping, but I’m generally happy for someone else to do it. Of course, that’s entirely the wrong attitude to have. For anything to get changed and make a difference, it takes the efforts of lots of people. So this year I’ve decided to get involved and offer a prize, and am pleased to announce Fiori Coffee have kindly donated a great prize, consisting of a barista training course and a gourmet coffee hamper !

Fiori Coffee

The prize pack includes a 2.5 hour professional barista training course for 1 person and a hamper consisting of 6 x 250 gram bags of fresh roasted coffee, 1 bag of chai, 1 bag of hot chocolate and a stovetop espresso maker (moka pot). All up valued at $250.

If you’re a coffee fanatic and that sounds like something you’d like to win (and you live in Perth, Western Australia), then please follow the instructions below in order to purchase some raffle tickets, which put you in the running to win.

My good mate Ed from Tomatom is coordinating the Asia Pacific entries, so please head over to his site to view the rest of the prizes on offer. And if you like mine, then remember to quote reference number AP14 when you buy your tickets.

Donation Instructions:

  1. Choose a prize or prizes of your choice from our Menu for Hope at http://chezpim.com
  2. Go to the donation site at http://www.firstgiving.com/menuforhope5 and make a donation.
  3. Each $10 you donate will give you one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. Please specify which prize you’d like in the ‘Personal Message’ section in the donation form when confirming your donation. You must write-in how many tickets per prize, and please use the prize code.
    For example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for EU01 and 3 tickets for EU02. Please write 2xEU01, 3xEU02
  4. If your company matches your charity donation, please check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.
  5. Please allow us to see your email address so that we could contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.

A Taste of Origin

Gerrado

I was fortunate enough to attend a coffee talk recently facilitated by Kamran and Louise of Fiori Coffee. The talk was given by Gerardo Barrios, a 7th generation coffee grower, roaster, and cafe owner, who’s family estate in Honduras produces wonderful coffee using natural processes and innovation, coupled with techniques and traditions passed down through the years.

Gerado gave us an insight into the world of coffee growing and the importance of the crop to the economy of Honduras, as well as some idea of the work and love that is involved in creating the finest coffees, woven through the story of his families coffee, and his attempts to bring it to the rest of the world.

It’s hard not to get inspired and excited when listening to Gerado speak. His love for coffee is unshakeable, and the romanticism of it all is hard to escape, tempered only by the solemn reality that the livelihoods of so many people rely on this one little bean. As Gerado wisely says… this so called “humble bean” is not so humble.

Grown by:

Also fortunate for me was that I’ve been asked to do a write up for a local magazine, so for now, head on over to Grendels blog, and check out his excellent wrap up on the talk and some of the pertinent issues raised.

Fiori Coffee

fiori-triptych_small

So I said I was going to spill the beans (ha… ha) on Fiori coffee, the latest addition to the gourmet coffee scene in our fair city (Perth that is), so here it is.

Kamran and Louise Nowduschani are the team behind Fiori, having moved over from Sydney a year or so ago after selling their previous roasting venture, they have quickly propelled themselves up to being one of Perth’s best local roasters in terms of quality and consistency, as far as I’m concerned at least.

Kamran is from the old school of coffee roasting, meaning he’s not comfortable letting the machinery do all the work for him. His roasting methods are a work of timing, temperature, and that elusive element that is a feel for the personality of each roast. As much as you’d like to think that roasting is a process of exact measures and maintaining absolute consistency, it’s also a case that no two roasts are exactly the same, not even two roasts of the same bean, so being able to understand how each roast is progressing and coax it towards the desired result is a great skill to have.

Fiori currently have one main blend of coffee, it’s put together with a number of different beans that all serve a different purpose. There are beans used for body, others for acidity, other for floral highlights or spicy qualities, but all coming together to create a blend that is interesting and punchy as an espresso, but still cuts through in milk nicely. It’s also Kamran’s skill as a blender and cupper that ensure this flavour profile remains consistent from year to year, regardless of availability of the beans.

Beans

The coffee is of course, all arabica, not a robusta in sight, although simply saying arabica doesn’t mean much. There are plenty of places using
cheap and average arabica beans that would most correctly be identified as “commodity” coffee. These are beans that are bought from the large markets in Brazil and other countries, and are basically bags of coffee sourced from all over the place and graded pretty low. These are the kind of beans you’ll find most often in major brand label coffee that fill supermarket shelves around the country. Fiori (and any quality roaster for that matter) where possible use estate grown, single origin beans. What this means is that each bag of coffee that arrives at the roastery comes either directly from the estate or through a distributor with a specific bean inside. So instead of the bag saying “Brazilian”, it will say something like PNG Bunum Wo Peaberry, indicating the country, region, and screening of the bean.

If that all sounded like drivel, then don’t get too caught up in it, just get the point that quality comes from knowing your beans and being able to use that knowledge to manipulate the flavour profile of your blend to highlight the best qualities of your beans. Something that you soon realise is a big deal to Kamran after speaking to him for more than a minute. He is meticulous when it comes to tasting and everytime I’ve dropped in to see him he’s been buzzing from drinking so much espresso, definitely a good sign for anyone seriously concerned with producing great coffee.

So after a rapid introduction to Perth last year, I’m looking forward to more good things from Fiori this year, Kamran has recently upgraded his funky French Samiac to a much larger Deidrich, which gives him the capacity to roast a lot more coffee to supply what I envision will be a lot of new cafes in the near future.

Fiori are currently supplying a number of cafes around the city, namely Tiger Tiger in the CBD, Boucla in Subiaco, The Blue Duck in Cottesloe, and a bunch of others I have yet to try but will no doubt get around to soon. Stop by one of those places sometime soon and give it a try, or buy some beans yourself if you’re more of a DIY kinda person.

So whilst we in the Perth coffee scene are far from being spoilt for choice, the future is definitely looking brighter with people like Kamran and Louise coming into the market, who actually care about their product and are open and honest in their approach to raising standards. Which is something I really respect.

Fiori coffee beans

Fiori Coffee
9 Douglas St, West Perth
T: (08) 9328 4988
www.fioricoffee.com