Mystery revealed: Vista del Lago, Costa Rica
For him every stage of growing and processing specialty coffee is important, but the most important for him is the selection and sorting of the right ripe cherries.
That’s why during harvest time the process at Vista del Lago begins with the selection of exclusively ripe cherries to ensure an uniform quality and taste. After the coffee is picked, they bring it immediately to process to prevent the fermentation of the product.
Expect caramel-like sweetness with tasting notes of Cacao, Black Tea, Dried Fruit, Apple.
- Origin: Tarrazu, Costa Rica
- Farmer: Verny Navarro
- Varietal: Caturra, Catuai
The official competition coffee is brought to you by Nordic Approach.
Last year's predictions were fun to write about and we think we had a pretty good hit rate of about fifty percent.
2018 has been kind to us and we hope it has been kind to you as well. 2019 is a bit of a blur at the moment, and hopefully some of these predictions can steer everyone into our own paths.
So here are ten serious and fun predictions for the coming year.
- The Specialty Coffee industry will experience a slowdown internationally & locally, due to economic forces which are out of our control.
- With the unfortunate ceasing of Alpha Dominche, there will be less coffee hardware start-ups hitting up Kickstarter, while established brands will play it safe.
- Asian coffees will slowly gain popularity with Indonesia, Myanmar, and China leading the way (and hopefully the Philippines gaining more traction with relevant roasters in foreign markets). New coffee shop trends will also stem out of Asia primarily from Shanghai, Bangkok, Tokyo, Jakarta & Seoul.
- Specialty Coffee roasters will be adopting a more developed roast profile, rather than keeping it light and tight.
- The Starbucks Reserve & Roasteries will continue to lead the way and innovate in terms of customer experience, and we all shall follow and take cues.
- The C-Market will drag on in its current low, which will continue to pose challenges for farm workers, overall yield and quality, which in turn will create meaningful dialogue within the industry.
- The new wave of accessible coffee formats (Capsules, Single-Serve, Instant) will slowly make their way out of infancy to more roasters and customers in developed markets.
- Specialty Coffee shops and concepts will sprout up in other cities outside of Metro Manila, and these will have to think outside the box for a more sustainable business model.
- In terms of commercial coffee equipment, espresso machines and grinders will take that first leap in incorporating ‘smart’ technologies. Of course, these will be expensive to begin with.
- There will be some changes in how coffee is taught, be it at a professional level or to the general coffee drinker at home. Think social media.
One More Thing --- We might be seeing new formats of Specialty Coffee retail concepts coming out of South East Asia - which will change how coffee is brewed, served, delivered or experienced. These formats will keep overheads low while making better coffee more accessible to a wider group of people.
It's that time of the year again! We have a line-up of Black Friday specials plus an exclusive for those who wait! Enjoy discounts up to 30%. Here's the rundown:
- What I Know About Running Coffee Shops - the perfect book for anyone who wants to start a cafe.
- A Box of Two - 2 bags of 250g retail coffee for home brewers!
- Bonavita Kettle - probably the best thing that happened to coffee in the past decade.
- Barista Hustle Tampers - available in Black or White!
Big Bag of Coffee - 1 bag of 1kg coffee for your home espresso machine.
- Tias Kettle - a brewer that brings it back to basics!
- Snack Box - 80 compostable capsules for you to enjoy at home with your Nespresso machine. Lemon Cherry Bar and Butter Pecan Cookie available too!
- Snack Tasting Set - try 'em all!
- World AeroPress Championships The Annual - all the recipes at your fingertips!
Mystery Deals (Live on Nov. 23)
- La Marzocco
- Rocket Espresso
About 18 months ago, we started to explore the capsule format with our coffees and from other roasters. The very first time our capsule coffees were brewed, the results were far from satisfactory. It was not as simple as getting a bag of beans from the shelves and placing them into capsules. Almost two years later, we think that we’ve finally understood what goes on underneath the hood of a capsule and released Snack, our Nespresso® compatible capsules. We’re still striving to perfect the format but it’s definitely an exciting period for Specialty Coffee.
Here’s why we think you’ll enjoy Snack.
Freshness - whole bean coffee is great for being able to extract espresso-style or filter coffees. These are the most delicious within 30 days from roast and from our experience, only high volume cafes and eager home brewers get to brew whole bean coffees in the right time frame to maximize their flavor potential. With Snack, the coffees were roasted 10 days prior to being ground and packed into capsules, all happening in an oxygen free environment. Further, nitrogen is flushed into each capsule, freeing it from oxygen, and thus extending the shelf life to 18-24 months. The way we think about this is like placing freshly roasted and ground coffee in a time capsule, ready for you to enjoy at your convenience. You can finally hoard and leave a stash of capsules in your home cupboard, without sacrificing the quality of the coffee you drink at home.
Barista-style Brewing - brewing high quality coffee is not as simple as you think, until Snack happened. Behind the espresso counter in the shop, we purge and weigh ground coffee, we measure the ins and the outs, we pay attention to time, the list goes on.. It’s almost like a high school science lab setup. The truth is, not many coffee drinkers have the same set of tools at home to ensure they get to replicate what they drank in the cafe. We teach workshops and sell equipment to aid in the coffee-making process but we don’t expect everyone to be like Kenji at home. The capsule format allows us to control everything for the coffee drinker until the point of brewing, therefore letting you enjoy the coffee the way we intended you to do so. With Snack, just give the capsule a shake, pop-it in the brewing device, and brew to a 25gram shot weight. You can learn how to program your machine by watching this for now before we launch our own Snack brew guides.
Choice - switching from one coffee to another with traditional or automatic espresso machines is not as practical as you think it is. Coffee needs to be ‘dialed in’ to achieve deliciousness. With Snack, changing from one coffee to another is so convenient and fuss-free. Just insert any Snack into the brewing device, press the brew button and you’re good to go. Your mom prefers a different capsule? Pop in her preferred Snack and just press the brew button again. We understand that coffee preference is very personal and we should not subject everyone to be drinking only one kind of coffee. Choice and convenience are what makes the capsule format ideal for coffee lovers.
What about the environment? That deserves a blog post on its own. We’ve been working with a local company to recycle and re-use our capsules. It’s currently in its R&D phase and we should be rolling it out soon for our Snack customers. Stay tuned.
Click here for shop for Snack.
We love visiting cafes and roasters when we travel the globe. Here's eight of our favorite cozy cafes that you need to visit on your next holiday. Don't forget to book it with Traveloka to get the best deals on flights and hotel to these awesome destinations!
1. Artificer Specialty Coffee Bar & Roastery (Sydney, Australia)
Consistently tasty coffees in Artificer. It's the perfect place to grab & go or sit back, relax and people watch.
2. Light Up Coffee (Tokyo, Japan)
Away from the busy streets of central Tokyo, this cafe from Shimokitazawa takes their coffee seriously. You won't go wrong with their filter selection.
3. Atelier September (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Two words - Avocado Toast. Pair that with a coffee from one of our favorite Swedish roasters, Koppi.
4. Brew Bros Coffee (Sheung Wan, Hong Kong)
Melbourne-style coffee with Japanese hospitality. Hit them up for brunch or for a quick afternoon coffee run.
*Special arrangement in CNY* Come and see our Guest Barista on 10 Feb (Wed) to get your New Year coffee with love! Limited drinks and food will be served. Simple breakfast and lunch sets are available from 9-3pm only! We will also enjoy our holidays on 8-9 Feb and 11 Feb. business will be resumed on 12 Feb, see you all! Happy Lunar New Year everyone!
5. Go Get Em Tiger (Los Angeles, USA)
Great vibe, beautiful workflow and they recently started roasting. What more would you want from one of LA's best!
6. Percolate (Bedok, Singapore)
A multi-roaster cafe in the heartlands of Singapore. One of the very best in town and don't forget to try their cakes too!
7. Patricia Coffee Brewers (Melbourne, Australia)
Come here during the rush hours of a weekday morning and feel the vibe. Despite the busy atmosphere, the folks behind the bar are also great to talk to.
"From a business perspective, it’s had the most positive effect of anything we’ve done so far.” We talked to @pcoffeebrewers about why they roast coffee at Bureaux Collective and what the experience is like. You can read the full piece at blog.bureaux.cc - link in our bio. . 📷: @carmenzammit . #melbournecafes #specialtycoffee #patriciacoffeebrewers
8. GPO Dukes (Seoul, South Korea)
We've had too many good experiences in this tiny little coffee shop. Great hospitality and even better coffees.
New Espresso ‘Colombia Mazatlan’! 올해 초 프로듀서 Jairo Arcila의 Santa Monica 농장에서 온 훌륭한 에스프레소 ‘산타 모니카(Santa Monica)’를 선보였습니다. 6개월이 지난 지금, Jairo Arcila의 또다른 농장 Mazatlan에서 온 멋진 커피를 소개합니다. 잘 익은 자두, 오렌지와 다크 초콜릿(자파!), 끝에 느껴지는 약간의 시나몬. GPO 쇼룸에서 테이스팅 및 250g 패키지로 만나보세요. 🛒 250g 패키지 l 프로필 링크 확인 #듁스커피 #dukescoffee #GPO #스페셜티커피 #상수카페 #멜번
On Our Radar - we haven't been to these but we soon will.
1. Rosslyn Coffee (London, United Kingdom)
2. Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters (San Francisco, USA)
3. Monogram Coffee (Calgary, Canada)
* This article was written in partnership with Traveloka Philippines for the 2018 Philippine AeroPress Championships!
We all do, right?
Say hello to our Nespresso® Compatible Specialty Capsules, Snack. Snack will be available in regular and in fully compostable capsules.
The official launch is on August 18, 2018. Our capsules will be available within the Philippines and we're also launching an international web shop shortly.
Stay tuned as we release more details in the coming days.
Spacing out while sipping some coffee, or drinking a bottle of beer is somewhat of an intrinsic human behavior. Admit it to not, we sometimes enjoy that escape as we indulge in our nation's favorite beverages.
The collaboration with Pedro Brewcrafters to develop and brew the Space Out Coffee Stout seemed like a natural progression as we continue to push the boundaries of Specialty Coffee. Jaime and Nadine from Pedro were game from the get-go, which made this project enjoyable as much as it was a learning process for everyone involved.
With every sip of Space Out, you will be able to taste nuances of our flagship blend Golden Ticket with notes of cacao nibs, toffee and sweet dates. In our opinion, Jaime has managed to create a Stout so balanced, that the lines between beer and coffee were fused to perfection.
You can enjoy a bottle or two of the Space Out Coffee Stout in the establishments below. Cheers!
- Alamat Filipino Pub - 2/F 5666 Don Pedro St., Barangay Poblacion, Makati, 1209 Metro Manila, Philippines
- The Bottle Shop, BGC - Net One Center, 26th Street Corner 1634, 3rd Avenue, Taguig, Kalakhang Maynila, Philippines
- Spektral Craft Beer Lounge - The Beacon Condominium, Chino Roces Avenue, Corner Antonio Arnaiz Ave, Makati, 1223 Metro Manila, Philippines
- Cartel Deli - 119 L.P. Leviste Street, Makati, 1227 Metro Manila, Philippines
- Yardstick Coffee - Universal LMS Building, 106 Esteban, Legazpi Village, Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines
What motivated you to open your own coffee shop?
Winning the 2016 Aeropress Championship was really the catalyst for it. It was the culmination and reward for my love of coffee. At the time I was part timing as a barista and studying, after it made me decide to drop out and pursue business with my current business partner. It all really stems from the love of coffee, of making it and enjoying it too.
Can you tell us more about Need Coffee’s theme?
Simplicity was key and functionality was most important. Black and white just worked out for everything so we ran with it.
Celebrating your first year anniversary, how is it so far? What are some milestones that the team has achieved?
First year of business is always tough but we're most proud of making friends out of the regulars who have really supported us through these past months. There's a sense of accomplishment with meeting someone on a day to day basis and watching them slowly grow to love what we love too, the coffee.
What are your customer's all-time favourites?
Pour overs, americanos, lattes, mochas, our seasonal drinks, cold brew, there's no discrimination to what our customers call favorite and we love em for it.
Your shop has been one of the go-to places in Aguirre. What’s next for Need?
Growth, growth and growth, internally and externally. We want our baristas to pursue competition, management, experimentation; we want our shop to cast a wider net, have events, try new products, anything and everything. Branching out, expansion and all that is in the books but it can never be the same Need Coffee.
The name sounds interesting - could you tell us more about St. Louis? (Is it a heritage to a saint?)
The St. Louis name came from our brand directors inspiration while on his honeymoon. George was travelling through Paris with his new wife, and came across an ice cream bar called Berthillon, that has been open since 1954. Labelled as Paris’s best ice cream, George was hit with inspiration, that sparked the desire to build a dessert bar that had a lot more than just ice cream, thus, St. Louis House of Fine Ice Cream & Dessert was born.
What inspired them to open their flagship store in the PH?
Actually, St. Louis came to the Philippines after Myself and my business partner Ben saw the activity in the specialty coffee industry, here in Manila in 2014. With both of us coming from Australia, we noted how limited the options were back then to find good coffee, with only select outlets that could serve the coffee we’re used to here in Australia. Ben was working with St. Louis at the time, and Brett had grown up in the Philippines, so there was good reason on both sides. The Philippines has such an embracing and adventurous food culture, so it made a lot of sense to launch our first international store in Manila.
In what way do you think does St. Louis differ from all other shops who offer similar selections?
I think the thing St. Louis has that puts us in a different position than other outlets, is that we have a very wide selection of menu items that are both savoury and sweet. Although we have a lot of menu items, they are simple and easy to get through, and we push all the way from breakfast to late night cocktails.
Your sweet selections are heaven-sent. Can you tell us more of your non-dessert selections?
Our savoury items are for the most part, tailor made for the Philippine market. In Australia we definitely focus on the decadence of dessert, however we listen to the demand from our customer base, and in the Philippines, people go out at all hours of the day to enjoy a meal with each other. This is why we’ve already added some “off-menu” items like the reuben sandwich, and also our now, almost famous smashed avocado on toast with poached eggs. We actually have some exciting new additions going on our next menu which hopefully should launch very soon with our new grain bowls, and will regularise a few other items on our menu.
What has been the crowd favorite?
Undeniably the St. Louis Ice cream flavour is the crowd favourite! This seemed to really give people a point that they could love, white chocolate base, dulce de leche, and cracked honey comb over the top! Some of our customers also love that in one of our classic affogato’s, with fresh Yardstick roasted espresso.
What’s in store for the brand in the future? Expansion with the menu, indulge to a more adventurous selections, or opening to key cities?
As I mentioned, we have a new menu on the way, we love to keep people guessing so we’ll aim to update regularly. This current update is definitely focussed on expanding our savoury options, as desserts on our menu definitely run down the classic lines. With that said, we will be developing some new exciting dessert items for the next menu update which will most likely still happen before the end of year so look forward to that! As for the brand, we hold the Master Franchise rights to St. Louis and are actively looking to expand into the Philippine market and have several sites on offer to us currently, however have had some pretty significant interest in key cities within the SEA region that will hopefully come to fruition over the coming years. We want to be aggressive, however brand integrity is really important to us, so maintaining quality over quantity is the key to our development. Seeing the response we’ve had is great, so we really want to cater to more markets, but the Philippines has been good to us, we love it here, and we want to make sure we do it right.
Here are three observations that were very encouraging to witness:
1. New Blood - in previous years, the gap between competitors were noticeable. 2018 proved to be different with a very talented pool of competitors across all categories. The old guards remain but it was very exciting to see fresh faces do extremely well. It’s very encouraging to see talent develop from outside of Manila, from new coffee shops, chains stores, independents and academic institutions. We need new blood because they are the touch points in which we share more about specialty coffee. It’s through these touch points that customers discover more about our industry through the passion and knowledge of fellow professionals. Thank you to everyone who participated. You push our industry forward.
2. World Class Performances - we all watch the World Barista Championships every year. It’s still a competition where people have good days and bad days but there’s definitely a checklist for a competitor to perform well - excellent fresh crop coffee roasted to perfection, a well-rehearsed routine, a coach and a support system, tip-top verbal and non-verbal skills, just to name a few. Looking at all the performances this year, as a country, we can proudly say that our 2018 winners have the capability and chance to shine at the world stage. Watch out Amsterdam, Brazil and Dubai! We’re coming for ya!
3. No Bright Lights Needed - given the few years of organizing the National AeroPress Championships under our belt, running these competitions is no easy feat. There are many pieces to the puzzle and the stress levels are high. We acknowledge that the work required by the local organizers of the Philippine Coffee Championships are multitudes harder than running the AeroPress comps. Having said that, I commend the international judges and sponsors who pulled a late nighter to rescue that one competition day which we all lost. A fancy stage in a big hall with all the lights and sounds that come with it would be nice. The judges who made magic happened proved that the competitions can be successful with a simple setup. (Okay, maybe the competitors and the audience would benefit from a digital countdown timer and bleachers for the supporters.) Kidding aside, kudos to everyone in the conference rooms of the World Trade Center who hustled and to the competitors who remained patient and focused. A local hospitality university is willing to host next year’s tournament. I’ll make the necessary introductions if help is needed.
After the stress levels subsided last weekend, a few industry peers re-started the conversation of helping each other for the improvement of the local competitions to be fair to the competitors, judges and sponsors who all did their part. I personally do not know the solution but the industry is eager to help.
Here’s our little contribution - we just registered the domain for the Specialty Coffee Guild of the Philippines (www.scgp.coffee). There are many existing coffee organizations in the Philippines but I feel that their scope may be too broad or may not necessarily focus on the core of Specialty Coffee. The Specialty Coffee Guild of the Philippines aims to be a neutral platform, made up of stakeholders from the Specialty Coffee community, to promote Specialty Coffee within the country through professional development, effective platforms and events and the like. The Guild, if ever this really gets off the ground, will happily support the organizer of the Philippine Coffee Championships, in any capacity that both entities see fit. The vision is for the Guild to be sustainable and beneficial for the founding team, its members and other stakeholders. Like the other Specialty Coffee associations globally, I see the Guild as having a rotating board with a fair representation of the industry, voting rights, goals and objectives and a membership structure to give everyone an opportunity to be part of the Guild. Ideally, the members of the Guild will span the entire spectrum of the Specialty Coffee industry. Some describe this as ‘from bean to cup’.
We all have our coffee companies to run therefore I am lost on how to get this started. I hope someone volunteers to start the conversation and get this going. If you have suggestions and feedback, feel free to write me an email at andre[at]yardstickcoffee.com.
Again, congratulations to all the winners of this year’s Philippine Coffee Championships! Let’s support everyone as they represent our country at the world stage!