Home Brew Bar: Gardelli

gardelliWhat better way to kick-start a Monday morning than with a bit of home brewing! It makes a change than only brewing over the weekend when there is more time to really relax and enjoy the whole experience. Monday morning pre-work brewing takes some preparation and coordination… and it’s worth it.

Inside my lovely little Bean Bros subscription box were 2 Gardelli roasted coffees – Carmen and Moata. After readying the information on both packets, I decided to start the day in Panama with the Carmen. The taste description says plum, pineapple, orange, raisin and chocolate – what is not to like! For those in the coffee industry, this roast has an SCAA cup score of 90.25.. impressive. So the decision to make this my Monday morning brew was an easy one, which was great considering that I am not really a morning person. Continue reading

2016 in review..

2016. What a year! What story will you be telling your friends and family in years to come as you recall your 2016? It was the year where the world said goodbye to legends including Bowie, Prince, George Michael, Carrie Fischer and the many more. Where acts of terrorisms hit again in magical places like Nice and Berlin. Where we hear of acts of war daily in the news. Where world politics is at a place I can’t understand. Where cool Pope Francis reminds us to love and pray for peace and never loose hope. It was a year of change, of battles to be fought, of reality checks, a year that took courage.

Yep, it’s easy to recall the painful moments. But what about all the wonderful moments? Those sparks, exciting new beginnings, life changing moments, the laughter, those dances around the living room, and the long list of joy from those coffee moments, oh and the news that Brad (Pitt) is single again! In all of those moments, there are many awesome stories. 

On the coffee front, it was what I would call an ultra active year. Coffee took centre stage. From Zurich, London, Milan, Rome, Dublin, Brighton, St Petersburg, Taromina, Como, Sydney and many more places I had the previledge to visit. It was clear. Coffee consumers around the world are being hit with determined, passionate, coffee-high people, who are keen to introduce them to high quality coffee, whether it is known as speciality or not.
Here’s a short look back at what I experienced this year and some insights.

Zurich café fever: New cafes have burst onto the scene in Zurich, most of which are speciality coffee focused. Acid, Bank, Boreal, COFFEE just to name a few. With new concepts, determined owners and teams, and passionate and highly trained staff, they continue to strive to bring Zurich that unique coffee experience that is present in places like Sydney and London. Other cities in Switzerland are also starting to light up, including Basel, Bern and Lausanne. Exciting times to come.

The year of coffee festivals: The world of coffee comes to life around the world, and all you need to know is where to find them and when. I had three on my list – London, Dublin and Manchester, all of which allowed me to gain further coffee insights and experiences, and they were alot of fun too! My first media pass, meeting awesome coffee people, La Mazzocco party and more at London Festival, the buzz of volunteering in Dublin at the World Barista Championship, and well just getting to Manchester. With every event visit comes a new coffee bags, connections and ideas! Loved it and look forward to reporting on more.

The year of coffee competitions: This was the year I moved from observer to participant. The fun and spirit of the Swiss Aeropress Championship and the stress and focus of the Swiss Cup Tasting Championship. Putting years of my own brewing style and coffee knowledge to the test and keeping it fun for me. Such a great experience and the best way for me to get insights on what it is like on the other side. Is the Barista Championship or Brewers Cup next? Who knows!

Its about about sensory: Tasting as much roasted coffee bean varieties as you can and building up sensory skills and knowledge definately became ‘in’ in 2016. Well at least for me. How cool is it when you pick the coffee that you are drinking as originating from Kenya, Guatemala, Sumantra or Colombia. Does wonders for not only hour senses, but also for your geography skills. Learning about the difference between light and dark roast, natural or washed, shaken not stired – oops sorry that’s a Martini! The interest in sensory skills and cup tasting indicates that people are becoming more curious about what coffee they are drinking and more decisive about the coffee they like to drink, whether it is a milk based coffee, filter or espresso. It also makes it kind of fun. Again, it’s all about what you learn and the experience.

Home Brewing is the future: It’s happening. Whether you have your Nespresso or Keurig machines and move on from Voluto to the special blends, or you decide to start grinding and brewing your own coffee using an espresso machine, Clever, Cafflano, French Press or V60. This was the year of starting to promote and encourage the Home Barista. If you look hard enough, you will even find Home Brewing workshops where you can try your stuff with the pros. Home Brewing brings out coffee passion, precision and creativity and is a great dinner conversation with friends. Best of all, it is a great way to learn about the world of coffee and to open up the discussion about what is good coffee. Let’s see where all this leads.

Bring on the roasteries: All I can say i bring it on! I love what is happening right now in Switzerland, which has probably already hit in other countries and areas such as Australia, UK, US and the Nordic and Asia. For a coffee writer and reviewer like me, I love being able to walk into any café around the world and hear about the roastery that supplies their beans. I also love visiting roasteries and hearing their stories and tasting their coffee. Hundreds of wonderful stories and very passionate, coffee roasting freaks who work hard to bring their coffee to the coffee loving world. Bring on the beans, as I’m looking forward to tasting, learning and reviewing more!

The boom of coffee subscription services: They are everywhere. All you need to do is google ‘coffee subscriptions’ or any other related term and whalla! Take your pick. Although I haven’t tried or reviewed any yet, I am looking forward in months to come. Stay tuned.

Wow what a coffee filled year! Time for me to sit back and enjoy the Sydney heat and bring in the New Year feeling grateful and with lots of positive spirit. 

Whereever you are in the world, Happy New Year!! Thanks for following, for the support and sharing. 

Until the next cup… Maria

Oh, and apologies for the bad formatting… it’s the iPad..

What a World Barista Championship 2016!

WBC Dublin

Dublin. Home of U2, Guiness, The Script, Paddy AND the World Barista Championship (WBC) 2016. From June 22-25, the coffee world gathered in the heart of Dublin to experience the coffee event of the year. As Baristas and Judges from all over the world made their way to Dublin to participate in the prestigious championship, I packed my most comfortable shoes and made my final preparations to be one of the 240 volunteers at the week long event. Questions, check. Access to the internet, check. iPhone charger – oops knew I forgot something! A small hurdle in what was to be one of the most active, exciting, information filled, exhausting, memorable coffee experiences I have had to date. Continue reading

Do you FIKA? Coffee web series by Fabian Schmid

fikaTo drink coffee. A tiny little phrase with a whole lot of meaning. Its a cultural thing, so the part of the world you find yourself in will influence your coffee drinking experience. Let’s take Australia, for example. For me, growing up in Sydney in an Italian espresso drinking family meant I experienced two sides to coffee drinking. One, was the home brewing experience, where the ritual of making and having an espresso before breakfast, mid-morning and afternoon was part of daily life. When we had visitors, the Bialetti went on the stove just a few minutes after their arrival, as there was no visit to our house without coffee. Even if it meant instant (yes yes instant, I never said I was perfect). Two, started as I grew up and coffee drinking became part of social and work life. As you all know, Aussies love their coffee. A take away flat white on the way to work. The mid-morning work meetings over a coffee, where some of the best ideas and decisions are made. Then there is breaking the rules with a latte or flat white after a meal – because we can. Continue reading

Re;co Symposium to hit Dublin!


Dublin calling!
No, it’s not Eurovision. It’s time to talk, breath, eat, sleep coffee!  The coffee world is preparing for what is going to be THE coffee week of 2016, starting 21 June. While Baristas are training and brewing, the various event teams are confirming speakers and volunteers, checking lists once on twice, posting on social media and basically getting ready to welcome us all – with coffee and a smile… and Guinness!

Kicking off this incredible week is Re;co Symposium from 21-22 June. What is Re;co Symposium, apart from a cool looking acronym? Here is what Matt Slater,  International Re:co Symposium Director had to say when I asked him. !

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Aeropress? Yes I can!

SAC2016Aeropress. A brewing devices which brings endless hours of coffee drinking pleasure. It looks relatively simply to use, but as we all know, brewing that perfect cup of coffee is an art! It requires skill, knowledge, time and a little creativity.

The Swiss Aeropress Championships took place in Zurich on 23. April. As a first timer at the event, I was looking forward to learning more about this brewing art, and in tasting some of the coffees. Instead, what I was faced with was participating! One participant short on the day, and with Henauer Kaffee willing to sponsor me, how could I say no? (thanks Philipp my friend!)

With 30 minutes of hard core training and tips for some of Europe’s best and most knowledgeable coffee freaks, brewers and roasters, and with my espresso brewing knowledge up my sleeve, I created my recipe and got ready to participate. I decided to follow my own advice too – just give it a go, love the coffee and have fun!
And that I did.

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London – you did it again!

I love LCF2016!London. Home to Buckingham Palace, Prince Harry, Wimbledon, Big Ben, Ben’s Cookies, Shoreditch House, over 215 independent coffee houses AND The London Coffee Festival. Since it’s inception 6 years ago, this festival has grown fast to be come one of the world most popular and most visited festivals. It was time to find out what all the fuss is about. After all, we are only talking about coffee right? Wrong – we are talking about coffee culture, passion, education, industry, craft, engineering, and bearded hipster male baristas.. oh and Espresso Martini of course.

Location, Location, Location – yes this festival is definitely held in one of the hippest parts of East London, Shoreditch. Fabulous cafés and coffees on every corner! The Old Truman Brewery would be home to coffee freaks and fans for a whole week. Move over beer, fashion and photography, it was time for coffee to take the stage again.

With my VIP Press Pass securely fastened to my wrist, I was ready for all this festival had to offer, and more.

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