Saturday, May 1, 2010


My week in Portland was hectic so I waited until I got back to San Jose to load all these pictures.

I went on a 5 day barista class to brush up on my skills at the American Barista and Coffee School.

For day 1, we had lecture and introduction about the business side on opening a cafe, business plan, financials and floor plan.

We were lucky that during the time we were there, we were able to see them roast some coffee.

This is the roasting machine that they use. Here in the photo, they're already cooling the beans, using a mechanical blower to cool them quickly.

It takes a few minutes to cool the beans completely.
Once the beans have cooled, they are now placed in a container and then prepared for repacking in 1 pound bags.

In the school, we are provided with several espresso machines that we can use to make sure that we are able to operate each one with confidence. This one here is my favorite... Victoria Arduino. I've been told that it's like the Ferrari of the espresso machines.
We also have an Astoria,
La Cimbali,

La Spaziale,
Nuova Simonelli - a simple machine and very easy to use too,
A lever type Victoria Arduino,
La Marzocco - another favorite of mine,
and a Della Corte.

Each machine has its own strengths and weaknesses and it's really up to the user which one fits best. So rule of thumb, test the machines first before buying one.
Here I am with Tom, one of the trainors. He's watching me step by step, making sure that I get the right kind of grind,

get my dose right,
tamp my grinds right,
and extract my shot at the right time, with the right temperature, texture, color and flavor.
Here's a class for free pour which is becoming popular in cafe concepts.
To prepare the free pour, the selected roasted beans are ground.
A paper filter is place on the coffee dripper. Hot water is allowed to drip on the paper filter to preheat the dripper and the glass pitcher.
This is the ground coffee. The grinds are more coarse than the grinds for the espresso machine.
Pour the grinds and make a well in the center using your pointer. Then gradually pour the hot water...slowly. The ready coffee drips in the pitcher and is then poured over a mug or a cup.
Here's the coffee from the dripper. The coffee tasted really good.
Here's a class for cupping in the tasting room.

First, the selected green beans from a specific area are roasted then ground. .
They lined up about 5 kinds of coffees. Each kind had three cups with the ground coffee. We tried the Cost Rica,
Coffee from Bolivia,
Coffee from Rwanda,
Another coffee from Rwanda roasted by another roasting company,
and Sumatra coffee.
First, we smelled the 3 cups with the grinds, taking note of the scent from the roasts, which was more fragrant, and which one smelled stronger.
After smelling the grinds, hot water was poured over the grinds.
We allowed the coffee to steep for about 5 minutes.
Using two spoons, the cloudy film is scraped off from the surface.

Then, we smelled the coffee again with the poured hot water.
Costa Rica remained consistent. Still fragrant and had a bold flavor.
The coffee from Bolivia tasted weaker compared to the coffee from Costa Rica and was less aromatic.
This one, I liked the best. It was aromatic and had a balanced flavor.
This one was ok but I found to be slightly acidic.
This one, coffee from Sumatra had an earthy flavor. Not a lot of people liked the flavor nor the smell.
These are my classmates in the course. Cherry and Eric Cruz of Equilibrium Intertrade.
This is me, with my certificate of completion of the the course.
Here we are with the whole class and the instructors.

Here I am with Bruce Milletto, Cherry Cruz, Eric Cruz, Susan Edilo and Matt Milletto.

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