Posts

Kiva; October update

Here is a quick monthly update on YOUR donations to our tip-jar. As always a BIG huge thanks to all those customers that give to our chosen charity and help us help those that really need it. Here are the stats since we started in May 2015, we have

RAISED US 2925

SPONSORED 112 PEOPLE

IN 64 DIFFERENT COUNTRIES

If you feel inspired to help Kiva yourself (and you really should) or want to see more of the work they do, make sure you check out our blogpost here to find out why we LOVE helping them or go straight to their website to get lending.  Every little contribution goes a very long way.

Thank you from us and KIVA!

The Cold Brew / Iced Coffee Comparison

When the weather starts warming up, we start to see the demand for cold pressed and iced coffees increasing at a rapid rate. Not everyone enjoys a hot coffee on a hot day but we are all in search of that caffeine fix to keep us going.

We have a few versatile and affordable home brewing options to choose from at Quest. Rather than leaving you confused about which product is the right one for you, we have put together a little information on each to help you make the right decision.

The biggest question we get asked is: “What’s the difference between Cold Brew and Iced Coffee?”

Cold Brew v Iced Coffee

That’s it in a nutshell. The acidity is lower in cold pressed coffee due to it being brewed with cold water for anywhere between 8-12 hours. Some prefer iced coffee and some prefer cold pressed, so it really comes down to individual taste preference.

We have 3 cold brew/iced coffee brewing products to choose from at Quest that will help you make consistently delicious coffee at home.

Cold Brew/Iced Coffee home brewing products available at Quest Coffee Roasters

The Hario Cold Brewer -aka- the Mizudashi

Hario Cold Brewer -aka- the Mizudashi

The Mizudashi is an elegant looking cold brewer makes around 8 cups of coffee using the 1ltr or 5 cups in the 600ml. Your brew will last around 1-2 weeks in the fridge.

How to brew:

  1. Grind your coffee (between medium and course). You will need 80 grams of freshly roasted organic Quest coffee if using the 1ltr Mizudashi, or 50 grams if you are using the 600ml Mizudashi.
  1. Pour in filtered water, allowing time for the grinds to soak.
  1. Leave it to brew between 8-12 hours (maximum 24 hours). The longer you steep, the more flavour your coffee will have.
  1. Remove the basket and pour the cold brew into a cup with ice. As it is a coffee concentrate, using ice will bring the coffee closer to the flavour we are used to.

 

Hario V60 Fretta Hot and Iced Coffee Maker

Hario V60 Fretta Hot and Iced Coffee Maker

This home brewing method is great if you prefer delicious iced coffee in under 5 minutes.

You can also make hot coffee with the Fretta by simply removing the ice compartment, thereby allowing you to use it all year round.

The V60 Fretta contains a V60 dripper, a dispersion filter, an ice chamber that sits inside a 700ml glass carafe and 10 paper filters (02 size). The dispersion filter and ice chamber allow an even distribution as the coffee slowly drips over the ice, cooling the coffee and filling the carafe.

How to brew:

  1. Add 300 grams of ice to the ice compartment.
  1. Wet the paper filter prior to adding the coffee to avoid any residual “paper” taste.
  1. Add the desired amount of coffee grounds (medium grind). We recommend using 22 grams of coffee but again, you can adjust this according to taste.
  1. Pour the boiling water (350ml) slowly in a circular motion ensuring that you allow it to bloom for 30 seconds before pouring the remaining water slowly and evenly.
  1. Remove the V60 cone and filter after 3-4 minutes, the stir the ice chamber to mix and melt any remaining ice.
  1. When the ice has melted, your iced coffee is ready to enjoy!

Aeropress

If you enjoy both iced coffee and cold brew, as well as a delicious hot coffee during the winter months, then the Aeropress is probably your best option. Not only is it versatile by allowing different brewing methods, but it also makes the perfect travel companion.

When making cold brew or iced coffee, you would use the inverted brewing method as pictured here.

Aeropress Inverted Brewing Method

Most people have heard of the inverted brewing method. It is a preferred method for many because you create a full immersion brew. Full immersion tends to produce good body and depth to the cup, while being consistent and easy. For the best way to brew hot coffee with the Aeropress, see our blogpost here.

Aeropress

What you need and how to brew:

  1. For making cold brew, you need the Aeropress, a filter and a strong glass/mug, freshly ground organic Quest coffee and cold water. If you make an iced coffee, then you would use boiling water instead of cold water.
  1. Partially assemble Aeropress upside down (see image on the far right), sticking the plunger in about 1cm and rest it on its plunger side.
  1. Now add the coffee (medium grind). For iced coffee, you would use 15 grams of coffee and for cold brew, you would use 40 grams of coffee. The amount of coffee is increased with cold brew as you are making a concentrate. You would need 150ml of water for both methods.
  1. Time to pour in the water. Simply pour the 150ml of filtered water into the Aeropress (hot water for iced coffee and cold water for cold brew).
  1. Stir gently for the first 10 seconds, allowing the coffee to steep and extract for up to 60 seconds. If you are making cold brew, you would allow it to steep at room temperature for 8-12 hours (maximum 24) depending on desired taste.
  1. Add the filter – make sure you wet the filter first before placing it in the filter cap.
  1. Now you can add the ice (big chunks of ice work best). When you’ve filled the cup with ice, carefully flip the Aeropress over and place on top of the cup/mug. If you are making iced coffee, be sure to exercise extreme caution with this, as you would be dealing with water that’s just off the boil.
  1. Now you can start plunging slowly (this should take around 30 seconds). When you have finished plunging, keep a bit of air between the coffee and the plunger – this will keep the bloom in the Aeropress to avoid bitterness. Add milk and sweeteners (if desired) and enjoy!

If you have any questions about the methods above or would like to view the product more closely, our friendly baristas are more than happy to help.

Written by Therese Glowaski.

Hario V60 Dripper: our guide to the perfect pour-over brew

A whole new range of Hario brewing products have hit our shelves and are also available online. They are not only stylish to boot, but they are really easy to use, not to mention affordable.

The Hario V60 Drippers, whether you opt for the ceramic or the transparent, lightweight plastic style, are beautiful to look at and guarantee great coffee on the go. The V60 transparent dripper would make a great travel companion for camping trips or weekends away (we wouldn’t recommend putting it in a suitcase for flying, unless packed well).

To maximise the flavour and quality of your brew, grinding your whole beans immediately before brewing is your best option. See our blogpost here to understand why we recommend that you Grind As You Go.

What you need for the perfect brew:

  • Hario V60 Dripper
  • V60 paper filter
  • 12 grams of Quest coffee – this will make 1 cup (120ml)
  • 150ml filtered water, plus extra for rinsing the filter
  • Burr grinder (recommended)
  • Kettle (preferrably the Hario Buono Kettle, so as to allow control over the pouring speed)
  • Timer
  • Scales (recommended as it takes the guesswork out of the equation)
  • Coffee mug/travel coffee mug

Hario V60 Drippers and Buono Drip Kettle

  1. Fold the paper filter at the dotted line and place in the dripper. Place the dripper on top of your mug.
  1. Rinse the filter with boiling water for approx. 5 seconds. This will warm the dripper and ensure that the paper taste doesn’t transfer to your brew. Take the dripper off your mug and discard the rinse water.
  1. Place 12 grams (or to taste) of freshly ground coffee into the filter. If you are using the VD-02 size, increase your grounds to 24 grams.
  1. Shake the dripper lightly to level the grounds, then make a half inch indent in the middle of the coffee bed with your finger.
  1. Slowly pour the boiling water in the centre of the grounds, using just enough water to cover the grounds (approx.. 40 grams) and let it bloom for 30 seconds.
  1. Pour boiling water from the centre, circling outwards, ensuring that the water doesn’t touch the paper filter. If you are using scales, you can stop pouring when they read 300 grams or alternatively, when your timer reaches 2 mins.
  1. Allow all the water to drain through the filter. The total extraction time is 3 minutes, regardless of the number of servings. If your final time was shorter than 2 minutes, your grind was probably too course and if longer than 3 minutes, your grind was probably too fine.
  1. Remove the filter from the dripper and discard the grounds. There are many ways to recycle your grounds. See our blogpost here for more information.

See this great little instructional video that Hario have created.

Now sit back, relax and enjoy the perfectly brewed coffee you have just made.

 

 

Written by Therese Glowaski.

 

How to order a coffee subscription at Quest Coffee Roasters

Whether you have see the sign in our Burleigh Heads cafe or have glanced at the subscriptions while scrolling through our online store, you may be wondering why you would pay for a coffee subscription.

Why subscribe instead of just ordering when you need coffee?

  • You don’t have to remember to order each month;
  • Coffee is delivered on time, every time;
  • Order for yourself or as a gift for someone special;
  • You won’t run out of coffee again; and
  • Save money – NO SHIPPING!!  (You save $15 every time – AMAZING!)

What about the current loyalty card system?

Well the great news is that nothing changes with our loyalty card system! We will continue to keep track of your ordered beans and reward you with a FREE 500g bag of beans when you are eligible.

How do you set up the subscription?

We have 6 easy options – you can choose from any of the 6 options below:

Coffee Subscriptions

1kg bag of coffee delivered fortnightly or monthly for 3 months
1kg bag of coffee delivered fortnightly or monthly for 6 months
1kg bag of coffee delivered fortnightly or monthly for 12 months
500g bag of coffee delivered monthly for 3 months
500g bag of coffee delivered monthly for 6 months
500g bag of coffee delivered monthly for 12 months

You just need to decide the subscription you would like; then ordering is simple. Sometimes the hardest decision is which single origin or blend you would like.

Some people have a favourite bean, while others enjoy a little variety. For those of you who like to change it up a bit, you may be interested in the Roaster’s Choice option. This gives you the element of surprise, allowing our master roaster to select a different bean for you at each delivery.

Coffee Subscription Ordering Process Part 1Ordering is simple:

1. Select the Frequency (monthly/fortnightly) you would like your beans delivered, your bean of choice (or Roaster’s Choice) and which grind you prefer then ‘Add to basket’;

2. ‘View Basket’;

3. Make sure the order details are correct. You will see that the shipping is ‘Free’ if you are just ordering a coffee subscription only. Then ‘Proceed to Checkout’.

4. Enter your Billing Details, ensuring that you make comments in the ‘Order Notes’ for any specific delivery instructions. If the coffee subscription is a gift for somebody and you would like it shipped to a different address, be sure to tick the box and enter those details, together with any special notes that you would like us to add on your behalf. If you order Roaster’s Choice and prefer only a mild flavoured coffee, you can add this preference in here also so we can choose beans more to your liking.

If you have not created an account, this is very easy to do. Simply select the ‘Create an account?’ box and enter your desired password in the field provided. This will allow you to log in each time you order instead of re-entering your details.

5. Select your payment option of either direct deposit, cheque or PayPal and then select ‘Place Order’.

sub2collage

All you have to do now is leave the rest up to us!

Here’s a review from one of our happy customers:

Coffee Subscription review

A simple, cost effective and splendid way to receive your coffee on time, every time.

The only question left to ask is…WHICH SUBSCRIPTION AND BLEND OF COFFEE WILL YOU CHOOSE?

Follow this link to order now!

Written by Therese Glowaski.

How to make the perfect pour over coffee using the Frieling Coffee for One Coffee Filter

We often get asked in store about the stylish Frieling Coffee for One Coffee Filter. What is it exactly? Well for those of you who don’t know, the Frieling Coffee for One Coffee Filter is the one that uses 23 karat gold plated mesh to filter the coffee.

So apart from the fact that it is gold plated, elegant and classy, what is it that sets it apart from other pour over coffee brewers? The gold is chemically neutral which ensures that it doesn’t react with your brew. It doesn’t oxidise and the filter ensures that only the grounds are held back, ensuring that all the flavour of your coffee makes its way to your cup and doesn’t get caught in the filter.

It is super portable which makes it the perfect travel companion, doesn’t require filters, only needs a quick rinse after use and, it’s sustainable. Pretty awesome right?!

We have step-by-step instructions below this picture…

How to Make Coffee with SwissGold Coffee Filter

1. Place the Frieling Coffee for One Coffee Filter directly above your cup.
2. Remove the perforated insert.
3. Boil your water and it allow to cool to between 92°C and 96°C (this is approximately 30 seconds off boiling). If you allow the water to become too hot, it will damage the aroma and flavours of the coffee.

4. Pour hot water through the filter as it will help to preheat the filter mesh and cup. Then drain any residual water.
5. Measure your Quest coffee into the filter. The general rule of thumb is 15g of coffee to 250ml of water, unless you prefer a stronger brew.

6. Add a small amount of water, pouring in a circular motion, to create turbulence. Ensure all the coffee is wet so that you allow for the coffee to blossom.
7. Add the perforated insert into the filter and slowly pour the remaining hot water into the insert.
8. Once drained, remove the Frieling Coffee for One Coffee Filter from your cup, rinse to clean, then sit back and enjoy.

We went searching for a video and found this really cool slow-mo of a SwissGold being used…but you will have to enjoy the clip in silence as it unfortunately has no sound.

We know you want to buy one now, so head on over to our online store and add it to your shopping cart! Please note that you may have purchased this product from us in the past. It was formerly known as the SwissGold KF-300 Goldfilter – it is still the same great quality product, just a different name.

Written by Therese Glowaski.

 

Kiva; January update

Here is our monthly Kiva update for you! We are super proud to share with you that with your help, we have now lent a total of $975, helping a total of 34 people/groups in 26 different countries so far. Please have a look below to read a little more about all the people who received our support.

 

Sponsored by Quest through Kiva: Inezayawe Group from Rwanda.

Sponsored by Quest through Kiva: Inezayawe Group from Rwanda.

Beathe is a group leader, aged 28. She is married with two children, ages five and seven years old. The group is called Inezayawe, which translated into English means “goodness”. The group members sell different products and they wish to expand their businesses to change their lives for the better.

Beathe owns a shop and she has been running in a business for five years. With the loan, she would like to buy shoe polish, Colgate and candles for resale. The profits from the business will be used to pay for medical insurance.

Sponsored by Quest through Kiva: Victory Group from Ghana.

Sponsored by Quest through Kiva: Victory Group from Ghana.

This is the Victory Group, of five members, which are all connected to their field of business within the localities of Chorkor, in the Greater Accra region of Ghana.
Talaata is the group leader, who is an enterprising woman dedicated to commerce. Her main source of income is her business, which is the sale of charcoal. She works in her business by herself.
Talaata has had this business for 12 years. Her customers are mainly the neighbors in her community.
She is requesting the loan to buy more sacks of charcoal, to stock her store. Talaata dreams of expanding her business so it becomes the best-stocked store in the community.

Sponsored by Quest through Kiva: Shailesh from Suriname.

Sponsored by Quest through Kiva: Shailesh from Suriname.

Shailesh is 40 years old and lives with his wife and two children. He comes from a farming family and has learned rice cultivation. Previously, he helped his parents in their fields. Now, he works independently with small loans from MFI Seva. Those loans he has repaid fully. Shailesh plants hire plots and wants to save for his own plots. To do this, he has expanded his rice areas this season. To cover the cost of this expansion Shailesh needs a loan of SRD 7,500 for the purchase of fertilizers and pesticides.

Sponsored by Quest through Kiva: Benkadi No.li Group from Mali.

Sponsored by Quest through Kiva: Benkadi No.li Group from Mali.

Nouhoum is Malian and did not attend school. His hand is raised in the photo. He is a man of principle and takes his work seriously. He has always reimbursed the loans he borrows from RMCR. Aged 48, he is a married father of 11 children; one who is schooled and his wife is a housewife. Nouhoum raises sheep. He will purchase many rams with the loan from RMCR. He supplies himself in the surrounding fairs and resells his rams in town. He has been exercising his profession for more than 7 years. The estimated profit he earns per month is worth at least 20,000 FCA which enables him to provide certain needs to his family, among other things, food, his children’s school fees, their clothes and shoes. He is often faced with difficulties of poor sales and the expensive costs of transportation of rams but he usually organizes the trip with his local farmers to meet the challenges.

Sponsored by Quest through Kiva: Bendia 27 (2) Group from Burkina Faso.

Sponsored by Quest through Kiva: Bendia 27 (2) Group from Burkina Faso.

Bendia 27 (2) Group has just finished its first Kiva loan term. The reimbursement was made normally. Haoua, the featured member, thanks all the staff and lenders of Kiva for their support. With her share of the loan, Haoua was able to buy raw materials to make the soap she sells. She made a profit that permitted her to buy clothing for her children, make some other expenditures for the family, and especially to grow her business.
Haoua needs another loan to continue her business. After her sales, her profit will permit her to continue her activity.

 

If you feel inspired to help Kiva yourself or want to see more of the work they do, make sure you check out our blogpost here to find out why we LOVE helping them or go straight to their website to get lending.  Every little contribution goes a long way.

Thank you from us and KIVA!

 

Going bald? We have the answer for you…

There are many interesting topics of conversation that are had in our James Street, Burleigh Heads, cafe. One that had us wanting to know more was the link between coffee and your hair. So after lots of theories going to and fro, we thought we would find out more about this interesting topic and share the results with you.

Healthy hair and regular hair growth relies on  vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. There are also other things that negatively affect hair growth including genetics, disease and more. All of that aside, caffeine may have a beneficial effect on your hair follicles to promote healthy hair.

The Research

Research

The International Journal of Dermatology published a study looking into coffee hair growth benefits as a possible stimulant for hair follicles. Their findings showed that caffeine works by blocking the effects of a chemical known as DHT which damages hair follicles; this is thought to cause Male Pattern Baldness.

Dr Tobias Fischer, a researcher at Germany’s University of Jena also studied the effect of caffeine on human hair follicle growth. His study consisted of taking scalp biopsies from men in the early hair loss stages. He put the follicles in test tubes with solutions containing different caffeine levels and left them for up to 8 days so he could monitor the growth. He found that “caffeine is a well-known substance, yet little is known about its effect on human hair follicle growth. Caffeine shows it’s a promising candidate for hair growth stimulation.”  When he compared the caffeine treated hair follicles treated to those that were untreated discovered that caffeine boosted the length of the hairs by between 33 and 40 per cent.

Caffeine Absorption

You can consume caffeine via food and beverages which will enter your bloodstream, and eventually reach your hair follicles. Combine that with a topical application of caffeine-enriched shampoo. This would allow exposure to your hair follicles to a high dose of caffeine, without causing the side effects that can occur due to consuming high doses of caffeine.

Researchers in Germany determined via their studies that caffeine delivered to the hair follicles after 2 minutes of shampooing allowed the caffeine to penetrate into the scalp via the hair follicles and outermost layer of the skin.

Could this hair be stimulated by coffee?

Could this hair be stimulated by coffee?

Side Effects

While coffee rinses or oils can help keep your hair strong and minimise hair loss, it can cause some people with hair colours like blonde, light red and light brunette, to darken slightly. It could also give some hair colours a slight reddish colour. On the other hand, regularly shampooing or rinsing with coffee will help to darken hair colours like brunette and grey.

Our conclusion is that this is a great reason to continue drinking coffee (not that we needed any excuses)!

Written by Therese Glowaski.

How to Brew the Perfect Aeropress

A great tasting cup of coffee is the way most of us like to start our morning. There are many ways of brewing at home, or on your travels, but one of our favourite choices would have to be the AeroPress way! It produces a superb cup of coffee every time and is so fast!

You can make from 1 – 4 cups of coffee per pressing, with each pressing only taking around 1 minute.

AeroPress Coffee Maker Components

Here’s our easy step-by-step instructions to brewing a perfect AeroPress:

1. Make sure your AeroPress is clean and completely dry before using, otherwise the plunger tip may not be able to form a perfect seal inside the chamber.

2. Remove the plunger and cap from the chamber.

3. Put a micro-filter inside the cap and twist the cap onto the chamber.

4. Put the ground coffee into the chamber: 1 scoop for each espresso (up to a maximum of 4 scoops). A funnel is provided for use with a coffee grinder. Use the scoop to measure the beans into the chamber.

Water Temperature: Everyone we tested, from coffee lovers to professional coffee tasters, preferred coffee brewed with the water temperature between 80° to 90°. Lower temperature makes a smoother brew so we recommend that you do not use boiling water.

5. Dribble the water slowly into the chamber for the first few seconds to wet the grounds. Then fill to the desired level. Never fill higher than number 4. The plunger can be used to measure water. Just fill to the appropriate number (you can also use the plunger to heat water in a microwave).

6. Stir the water and coffee together with the paddle for about 10 seconds.

7. Wet the rubber seal and insert the plunger into the chamber. Press the plunger. After the plunger has moved a short distance, you can feel the air pushing back at you. Continue pressing gently to maintain pressure and the air will push the brew through the grounds. The plunger will sink slowly and reach the grounds in about 20 seconds for a double, slightly less for a single or slightly more for a triple or quadruple. Then let the coffee drip for a few seconds. Invert the AeroPress as you lift it off the cup. Pressing slowly is the key to a rich brew and an easy push. If it feels too stiff, just press more gently.

AeroPress step by step instructions

8. Sit back, relax and enjoy!

9. CLEANING UP: Remove the cap, hold the AeroPress over the bin and press the plunger to eject the ‘puck’ of spent grounds.

Aeropress 'puck' of coffee grounds

‘Puck’ of coffee grounds

10. Leave the plunger pushed fully in and rinse the rubber seal. Brush or wipe it to remove the coffee oils. AeroPress IS NOT dishwasher safe. Always store the AeroPress with the plunger pushed all the way in, or completely removed, to avoid compressing the seal.

Re-Using Micro-Filters:

2000 filters use about as much paper as one city newspaper, so you don’t need to feel guilty about discarding filters. You can however re-use each filter many times just by brushing it off under running water. The choice is entirely up to you. When re-using a filter, remove the plunger and twist the cap containing the wet filter onto the chamber. This will keep it flat as it dries and you’ll be ready for the next pressing. There is a year’s supply of micro-filters with your AeroPress so you are set for a long time.

AeroPress Stainless Steel Filter

Stainless Steel Filter

Alternatively, you can purchase a stainless steel filter for a lifetime of AeroPress happiness!

Steeping Time:

If you’ve used a plunger in the past, you may be tempted to let the mix steep for several minutes before pressing. Long steeping, however, only adds bitterness and acidity and is not necessary.

Alternate way of brewing an AeroPress:

During those hot Summer months, we often feel like a cold coffee to avoid the heat. How about trying this inverted method of brewing an iced coffee with an AeroPress? DELICIOUS!!

AeroPress Brewed on Ice

Written by Therese Glowaski.

Suprising benefits that coffee has on your skin

We all know having good skin is hard to maintain with age…but why is this? It’s pretty simple really. We’ve all heard the saying ‘you need to take better care of yourself’. Well that isn’t easy these days; with all the rushing around we do, whether it’s shopping, dropping kids off at school and sports events, grabbing a quick bite to eat on the run, or getting a chance to put on good sunscreen etc…the list just goes on. So it’s no wonder our skin starts to lose its glow.

Well it may surprise some to find out that coffee can help in this rejuvenation process. Together with a healthy diet with lots of vegetables and fruit, coffee is also packed with antioxidants. Polyphenols are the main type of antioxidant found in coffee and this plays a big part in helping to reduce skin cell damage.

By having at least 1 good organic coffee a day, you can boost the antioxidant levels. Making sure your coffee is made with good quality, filtered water, is a vital part of this process as well. And no, coffee won’t dehydrate you either; that’s a myth.

Coffee Scrub

Another great secret getting out is the use of an organic coffee body scrub. This will really get rid of those dead and dry skin cells, leaving your skin feeling soft and smooth all over.

This treatment is not only for girls…it’s great for men to use as well.

Coffee Scrub Review

Here at Quest, we have developed a beautiful Lime and Coconut Coffee Scrub.

100% Organic Coffee Scrub made at Quest Coffee Roasters

It is all natural and organic and is great for gift ideas as well. You have to try it out so you can start getting that great skin now; it really works! And with Christmas just around the corner, it’s makes for a perfect Christmas gift.

Written by Paul Henley.

Our Quest Around the Gold Coast; Red Tractor Café

We’re back this month with our Quest Around the Gold Coast, featuring Red Tractor Café, which was established by chef Sam Perrin on 12 August with the values of fun, creativity and sustainability. This café may have only been opened a few months, but it has already made quite a name for itself – check out some of their great reviews on Trip Advisor.

Red Tractor Café believe that food should be enjoyed, rather than just consumed. They only use local and seasonal produce to ensure that all their dishes are full of flavour, while supporting Australian farmers. If it’s not in season, then it won’t be on the menu. Cooking with seasonal produce allows them to frequently add new dishes to their menu, so you’ll always have something new to try. There are plenty of vegetarian and gluten free options available also.

The bread used at Red TractorCafé is baked fresh daily, across the road at Mill Bakery, and they use the finest cheese from two local creameries, White Gold Creamery in Biggera Waters and Witches Chase Cheese at Mount Tamborine.

They make almost everything in house, which means better tasting food without the added nasties. Some of their homemade dishes include ice cream, granola, ricotta cheese, tomato relish, mayonnaise, cakes, muffins and the list goes on.

Delicious menu items at Red Tractor Cafe

Delicious menu items at Red Tractor Cafe

The Red Tractor team are passionate about their products and the environment. In addition to sourcing seasonal produce, they also use bio-degradable take away packaging and our very own Quest coffee. Their counter front is created by a local carpenter, using recycled pallets, and they will also reward you with a 10% discount for every brew if you bring your own take-away mug.

Red Tractor Cafe, Paradise Point

Red Tractor Cafe, Paradise Point

Be sure to check out Red Tractor’s social media platforms at Facebook and Instagram so you can stay up to date with their menu and latest specials. They currently have an offer of 25% off your total bill up until Sunday, 22 November, for breakfast or lunch. What an awesome deal! You’ll need to head over to Facebook to claim the offer.

Red Tractor Cafe Facebook Offer

Red Tractor Cafe Facebook Offer

If you find yourself up the northern end of the Gold Coast craving a good quality coffee and delicious food, be sure to stop in at this great new establishment. You can find them at 10 Grice Avenue, Paradise Point and they’re open 7 days, 6:30am to 3pm. Be sure to tell your friends that live close-by as well.

Written by Therese Glowaski.

Our “Quest” around the Gold Coast; Daisy Days

Once upon a time, a creative couple named Meg & Nick, shared a long time dream of theirs with friends who then urged them to turn that dream into reality. Their love of all things natural and authentic, combined with a heart to serve and love people with quality produce and style, brought their vision to life in the form of a vintage travelling café and bar!

We are continuing our “Quest” around the Gold Coast, and this month we would like to introduce you to our valued customer, Daisy Days.

Vintage Daisy Days

Daisy Days is a travelling café and bar serving organic Quest coffee, quality teas, hot chocolate, chai, cold beverages and sweet treats as required. Daisy Days began operating in May 2014 and they have certainly proven that events are their specialty. Their trendy little vintage van, which is a replica 1950s Bondwood Caravan, is the perfect companion for any event.

They’ve travelled to the far north and south of the Gold Coast countless times. In the short space of time that they have been operating, they have attending a wide variety of events, like:

* School sports/carnivals/fetes
* Weddings/engagement parties
* Community radio events
* Surf Life Saving Clubs
* Child Care Centres
* Car shows (especially the vintage type)
* Corporate events
* Art fairs
* Baby expo’s
* Community sporting events
* Markets
* Festivals
* Various churches
* Christmas carols

…plus many other events. They have an overabundance of lovely comments on their Facebook page, ranging from outstanding customer service to how amazing their coffee tastes. Check out their Facebook and Instagram for yourself, and be sure to give them a like – that way you’ll know which event they’ll be attending next. There’s nothing better than a Quest coffee while you’re out and about.

If you are interested in arranging for Daisy Days to attend an event, give Meg or Nick a call on 0447733575.

We’ll leave you with a cute video they put together of their first ever outing. Enjoy!

Written by Therese Glowaski.

How Much Caffeine is in your Favourite Beverage?

We often get asked by our lovely customers how much caffeine is actually in our coffee when compared to other favourite Australian beverages. So we thought we would do a little research and share the results with you.

Coffee happens to be the largest contributor in the typical Australian diet and it comes in varying forms; the barista-made coffee, restaurants, instant coffee or big chain cafés. There are also a variety of other ways to satisfy your need for caffeine via your favourite cup of tea, cola, chocolate or energy drinks but they really don’t compare to the amount of impact coffee has on our society. Coffee is by far our favourite beverage!

Different people have different sensitivities to caffeine, which allows some to have a much larger quantity each day than others. Not to mention the lucky ones that can partake in a late afternoon coffee without running the risk of insomnia. The rest of us simply look on with envy, while sipping on our trusty decaf.

Here is a little table that shows the approximate amount of caffeine in our favourite coffee, tea and other popular beverages:

Amount of Caffeine in various beverages

So what is considered the “acceptable” amount of caffeine a healthy adult can consume daily? Around 400mg or less per day. That is equivalent to about 4 cups of brewed coffee/espresso, 2 energy drinks or around 10 cans of cola. We all know, of course, that coffee will have a significant amount less sugar than the latter options so it’s not hard to decide the healthier choice.

I know which caffeinated beverage I will be choosing to consume…do you?

Beautiful Latte made at Quest Coffee Roasters

Beautiful flat white made at Quest Coffee Roasters

Written by Therese Glowaski.

Cool Ways to Recycle Used Coffee Grounds

Have you ever sat back and wondered if there was a way to recycle your used coffee grounds, rather than just adding them to the garbage bin? As you can imagine, we make quite a few coffees during the day here at Quest which leaves us with quite a bit of waste product afterwards. We thought we would share with you some cool ways to recycle your coffee grounds…after all, we like to do our best for the environment where we can.

1. Beauty

Soften your hair and give it some extra shine by adding some grounds to your shampoo or conditioner. BEWARE: If you have fair hair, you may end up with darker hair after this beauty treatment.

If you love the smell of coffee, you can make your own soap. Coffee is a good deodoriser after all.

Coffee scrubs are cheaper and more natural than the common salt scrubs and will make your skin feel silky smooth. We wouldn’t recommend using coffee grounds for making a nice scrub; instead, we make a lovely organic coffee scrub, with all natural ingredients. You can even apply the scrub to the area just under your eyes to help alleviate those pesky dark circles.

Beauty Ideas for Recycled Coffee Grounds

Beauty Ideas for Recycling Coffee Grounds

2. Gardening

Coffee grounds are acidic and therefore pests like slugs, snails and other bugs don’t like them. By spreading coffee grounds on the ground around your plants, you can be sure they’ll leave your plants alone. If you have a vegetable garden, carrots and radishes love coffee grounds so mixing your seeds with the grounds before planting will help increase your harvest.

Worms are great to have in your garden as they turn the soil and fertilise it at the same time. They also love coffee grounds so you will invite more of them to your garden party by spreading the grounds around your plants.

Nobody enjoys the neighbourhood cat having a stroll through their garden and undoing all their hard work. You just have to spread the coffee grounds, together with some orange peel, where the cat’s favourite walking track is and they’ll be sure to find someone else’s garden to traipse through. If the cat is weird and actually likes the orange peel, try mixing with grounds with rosemary oil instead.

Composting is great for the garden and by adding grounds to your heap, you will add more nitrogen which will help your compost decompose.

If you have a trail of ants, sprinkle the grounds in their path. The ants will eat them which will cause them to collapse. Better still, if you can find the anthill or colony entrance, pouring the grounds over that will have a much greater effect in deterring them.

Some plants change colour if the PH level is low enough. Coffee grounds will reduce the PH level and can change the colour of flowers of Hydrangeas (for example) from pink to blue! This would have to be one of the coolest ways to recycle the grounds!

Gardening Ideas for Recycled Coffee Grounds

Gardening Ideas for Recycling Coffee Grounds

3. Cleaning

A quick and easy way to unclog your drains is to use coffee grounds with some boiling water and a little dishwashing liquid. You don’t want to use too much though or you will end up clogging your drains more.

Who loves the smell of their hands after chopping garlic and onion? Most people would admit that they don’t. Keep some grounds nearby in the kitchen to rub your hands in afterwards as they will help absorb the odour.

We’ve all heard of using baking soda in the fridge to help it smell fresh all the time. The great news is you can save your baking soda for….baking….and use coffee grounds instead. It has the same effect.

Smelly shoes? Put a about 1 tablespoon of grounds in the shoes and it will absorb the odour for you.

Coffee is abrasive and acidic, so scouring your pans with a few teaspoons of coffee grounds to help get rid of stubborn stains and burn marks. We wouldn’t recommend using them on ceramic dishes or ones that are easily stained though.

Cleaning Ideas for Used Coffee Grounds

Cleaning Ideas for Recycling Coffee Grounds

4. Pets

Your dog will love you getting rid of fleas the natural way. Coffee grounds act as a natural flea repellant. No nasty chemicals for your pooch and super cheap!

Cute Puppy with NO Fleas!

Cute Puppy with NO Fleas!

We have more ideas on our Pinterest page so head over there for more recycling inspiration.

If we have managed to inspire you today and you need extra grounds, we are happy to share some of ours. Obviously we can’t send them via the post, given how bulky they are, but feel free to call into the café at the end of the day and our friendly team will happily pass them on.

Written by Therese Glowaski.

Our “Quest” around the Gold Coast; Giri Kana Café

Do you ever find yourself out and about on a busy day in Southport, or nearby, longing for a good quality coffee but struggle to find one?

We’d like to introduce you to one of our valued wholesale customers, Giri Kana Café. Not only do they have a wide selection of freshly made vegetarian and vegan cuisine (with many organic and gluten free options), but they also have a plentiful supply of our very own, delicious, Quest coffee.

Healthy Sweet Treats at Giri Kana Cafe

Guilt free treats at Giri Kana Cafe

While their focus is on vegetarian and vegan dining, they have many customers who are not vegetarian and regularly visit just because they like the food! Girl Kana’s emphasis is on fresh and wholesome foods that are good for the body, as well as the mind and spirit…AND their food is cooked with love and devotion.

With more and more people turning to healthy takeaway options, this café should be at the top of your “must try” list next time you are in the Southport Area. After all, any food made with love is definitely worth trying.

Cuisine at Giri Kana Cafe

Savoury Cuisine at Giri Kana Cafe

Giri Kana are open for breakfast (6.30am-11am), lunch and dinner (11am-8pm) weekdays, 6.30am-3pm Saturdays and closed on Sundays. They are located on the Ground Floor of H2O Broadwater (Cnr Nind St and Gold Coast Hwy), 82 Marine Parade, Southport.

Check out their website for more information and a look at their menu. They are also on Facebook so you can stay up to date with all that is happening in the café.

 

Written by Therese Glowaski.

The 5 differences between Arabica and Robusta Coffee Beans

… and why we think Arabica Coffee (preferably Organic) is always the way to go if you want a super tasty coffee.

Time to learn something new about your beloved hot and cold beverage. You probably say coffee all looks a bit the same once it is roasted and it is pretty hard to see the actual difference but there are some significant ones and it’s helpful to know what they are when you are choosing a coffee.

Did you know there are over 100 different coffee species in the world? That said we only use 2 in commercial coffee production; the Arabica (Coffea arabica) and the Robusta (Coffea robusta). 

The difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee beans.

The difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee beans.

Here are the 6 main differences between the two mighty beans:

  1. Robusta beans have a much higher level of caffeine than Arabica beans, yes it’s almost double the amount.
  2. Arabica beans have a milder, more aromatic taste while Robusta beans have a stronger, harsher taste, with a grain-like overtone and peanutty aftertaste.
  3. When the coffee beans are un-roasted (green), the beans can easily be told apart by their difference in colour and shape as Arabica beans are a darker shade of green, flat and elongated, the Robusta beans have a more obvious round shape.
  4. Robusta is easier to grow on the farm, has a higher yield and is less sensitive to insects – the high caffeine level is a chemical defense for the coffee bean as this amount in the Robusta is toxic to bugs. Arabica coffee is also grown at a higher altitude (600 – 2000 meters) and in cooler sub-tropical climates while Robusta can be grown at sea level.
  5. Over 70% of the coffee grown around the world is Arabica. And although Arabica is generally known as the higher quality bean, there are many high quality blends of Robusta available on the market too.

So you want to know what we use at Quest?

We only use the best Organic, Fair Trade or Rainforest Alliance Arabica coffee beans available and roast them fresh for you daily. You can find them all here in the shop and we will make sure they will be on there way to you within 24 hours, or come in and say hi at our cafe on the beautiful Gold Coast; we are Burleigh Heads (20 James Street) and have a chat to our friendly baristas.

Why Grind As You Go…

WHOLE BEANS v PRE-GROUND COFFEE BEANS

We often get asked the question “Why should you grind as you go?”

Coffee, like most things, tastes best when it is fresh. Buying your coffee beans whole and only grinding as you go will always produce a consistently good flavour, as opposed to your pre-ground beans.

A good quality grinder is essential and would get used more, in most homes, than many kitchen appliances. Your coffee is best ground medium, unless you are making espresso or aeropress (see below for more info on the optimal grind size for your particular brewing method). The powdered coffee that builds up around the side of your grinder will only clog your filter, not to mention the bitter taste that comes with it. Blade grinders produce a lot of powder.

Blade v Burr Grinder

We recommend using burr grinders like our Rhinowares Hand Coffee Grinder or Tiamo Coffee Grinder.

Rhinowares Hand Coffee Grinder

Rhinowares Hand Coffee Grinder

Tiamo Coffee Grinder

Tiamo Coffee Grinder

The primary goal of making coffee is that we extract the delicious flavour components and oils that are inside the bean. When grinding the coffee beans, you help the water to efficiently extract the solubles that are responsible for the taste and aroma we have come to love.

A whole roasted coffee bean is a striking, protective package that keeps the oils where they should be; inside the bean. If the protective shell is broken, the flavour components are disrupted.

Here are 4 reasons why you should NOT buy pre-ground coffee:

1. Contamination

The oils are very delicate and this allows the coffee to be contaminated easily. Odours around ground coffee will fault the bean in a way that it will not contribute positively to your coffee tasting experience.

2. Moisture

Coffee oils are water-soluble. The moisture in the air will immediately start to dilute the oils once the ground coffee is exposed to it.

3. Oxygen

Inside the cell of the roasted coffee bean are approximately 1,000 different volatile aromas and flavours. Once they are released, they oxidate (react with the oxygen in the air). It only takes around 15 minutes for ground coffee to lose more than 50% of its aroma.

4. Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

CO2 is created during the roasting process. Some of it is lost during the cooling process, as the bean is porous. Much of the CO2 is retained in the cells of the bean. CO2 is the main method for getting the essential oils into the coffee once they are released.

The increased surface area created after grinding allows for more CO2 gas to be released. 80% of this gas is released into the air within 1 minute of grinding.

So in short, your coffee should be ground fresh just prior to brewing. This will bring you even closer to coffee utopia, a place we all love to be at the start of our busy day.

What is the best way to grind your coffee?

There are many benefits to grinding as you go. You will be able to calibrate the grind perfectly, depending on your preferred brewing method (the size of your grind should always match the brewing method you will be using). The duration of time that water and coffee needs to be in contact directly relates to the particle size of the grind.

We recommend you use these grinds for the following brewing methods:

Fine grind

Turkish / Espresso Machine

Medium-Fine grind

Pour Over Coffee Maker / Stainless Steel and Aluminium Stovetop / Aeropress

Medium grind

 Plunger (French Press) / Toddy (Cold Press)

Ground Coffee

Storing your Coffee:

We find that the best way to store your coffee is in the Friis Storage Canister, which has a valve that allows the gases to escape, while keeping the oxygen out. Ground beans will go stale within 3-4 days, whereas whole beans will stay fresh for about 3-4 weeks.

Friis Coffee Storage Canister

Friis Coffee Storage Canister

Ever wondered why instant coffee has little to no flavour?
If coffee is packaged in an airtight container that has no de-gassing valve before it is allowed to go stale, it would explode.

We hope that this information helps you when next purchasing your beans. Don’t forget to share our post with your friends so they are well informed now too.

Blog written by Therese Glowaski.

Fairtrade vs Rainforest Alliance; what’s the deal?

We all like to do our part where we can and when it comes to coffee, we often find ourselves looking for Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, organic, guilt-free coffee.

But do we really know what those fancy labels and certifications actually mean?

Much of our coffee is from places all around the world where the environment is endangered and workers earn only a few dollars for a gruesome day’s work. Coffee farmers have helped cut down tropical forests, and most of them use an abundance of pesticides. Not to mention, child labour is used far more frequently than you can imagine.

Finding coffee beans with labels promising social and environmental improvements is not difficult, especially in a city like ours where niche cafes are as common as a girls in bikinis.

So what is the best option; Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance Certified?

Fair Trade vs Rainforest Alliance Certified

Fairtrade pushes for better wages, working conditions, local sustainability and FAIR terms of trade for farmers and workers in developing nations.

Rainforest Alliance works towards conserving biodiversity and ensuring sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices, and consumer behaviour.

Both seem pretty decent, right? Let’s learn a bit more.

Fairtrade

Fair Trade Logo

Fairtrade is a worldwide organisation that aims to ensure that those who are creating the product are paid a fair wage for the work that they accomplish. Around 6 million people in developing countries benefit from the Fairtrade system. It  provides them with a fair practice for the product that they sell and also provides for investment in their local community. One more thing: Fairtrade prohibits child labour – yay!

When the product reaches the consumer – or in our case, when we buy our green beans – it is understood that there is a minimum price for each item. Goods can be sold for more depending on quality and demand, but never, ever for less.

However, there is some criticism. Some believe it creates a quality problem, where even poor quality products are still sold, because that minimum price must always be reached. Others say that because there are such strict pre-requisites, that it is restrictive of which producers are able to enter.

When it’s all said and done though, Fairtrade is still seen to be one of the most ethical trade systems available to the consumer.

Rainforest Alliance Certified

This coffee is rainforest alliance certified, Quest Coffee Roasters Queensland Gold Coast.Rainforest Alliance is more focused on the environment. It has five areas of focus: keep the forests standing, curb climate change, protect the wildlife, alleviate poverty, and transform business practices. As you can see, the focus here is very much so environmental, with only some of the focus given to the production of goods.

In regards to alleviating poverty, Rainforest Alliance claim the “Rainforest Alliance Certified” seal allows farmers’ products to reach new markets, negotiate better prices, and lift themselves and their communities out of poverty through investing the profit into their own community. Being part of a Rainforest Alliance Certified farm also means that employees receive decent wages (the minimum being $2 a day), respectable housing and healthcare and their children having access to education.

Like Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance does have some criticisms too. It has been dubbed as ‘Fairtrade lite’, allowing companies to be seen as doing something ethical, but at a cheaper price. The Rainforest Alliance Certificate also doesn’t provide a minimum price for goods, meaning that those who are involved are exposed to the fluctuations of the market. The minimum price for employees is also seen as being set too low. Finally, for things such as coffee, the Rainforest Alliance seal is used on products that use as little as 30% certified beans… this means up to 70% of that coffee does not necessarily meet their standards.

So what do I choose?

Personally, I don’t think one is significantly better than the other. Like everything, there are negative aspects. In this situation, Fairtrade has a lack of focus on the environment and quality control, while Rainforest Alliance maybe cares too much about the environment and not enough about its workers. However, products by both are good; great, even. Both are working towards a better world; a more sustainable world where the children and grandchildren of the workers are given much better starts in life.

Come in and have a look at the single origins we offer at Quest Coffee Roasters – some of which are Fairtrade, and some are Rainforest Alliance Certified. Being a coffee roaster where we import our own green beans, we take great time and care in which coffee plantations our products come from.

We all know coffee is a luxury, but appreciating the work that goes into each cup makes it even more special. By enjoying a Fairtrade single origin, you are helping a farmer make a living so that his family can be supported. Or by enjoying a single origin approved by the Rainforest Alliance, you are creating a more sustainable environment for the future generations. Both, in my mind, are equally important.

For more information on how we, at Quest Coffee Roasters, help our friends all over the world, have a read of our other blog articles, or come in and chat with us over a beautiful cup of coffee.

Written by Kristen Bohlsen.VARGINHA, BRAZIL:  (FILE) A rural worker selects arabic coffee beans, 23 Septembre 2004 at a farm near Varginha, in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. The 20% drop in the price of coffee in less than a month and the possibility of the United States rejoining the Coffee International Organization has shaken hardly the coffe market in the first days of July 2004. According to analysts, the drop of prices was mainly caused by the lack of frost in Brazil, the world's main coffee bean producer, which every year destroys much of the harvest.     AFP PHOTO/Mauricio LIMA  (Photo credit should read MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images)

A short history on coffee…

Written by Therese Glowaski.

With the richness of the coffee taste comes a rich history. Coffee has been in existence for thousands of years and has an interesting history that is full of tradition. Its discovery can still be considered a mystery and there are many legends and stories that tell how coffee came into popularity.

It has been said that the first coffee plant originated in the Horn of Africa. The native tribes would grind the coffee cherries and then mix it with an animal fat. This mixture would then be rolled into small balls and given to warriors as a source of energy.

Coffee has also gained a mystical reputation with many legends attached to its origin. One of the popular legends dates back to around 800AD, which said that an Ethiopian shepherd named Kaldi saw his goats beside a shrub that had red fruit. He noticed his herd dancing from one coffee shrub to another, grazing on the cherry red berries containing the beans. He copped a few himself and then found himself frolicking with his flock.  A monk who witnessed this then plucked berries for his bothers and that night they were uncannily alert to divine inspiration.

The history of coffee; Kaldi and his dancing goats.

The history of coffee; Kaldi and his dancing goats.

Aside from that, coffee’s origin can also be found in historical writings. Cafes were seen in Constantinople at the time when Columbus was starting his exploration in the world. It was during the 15th century when the cultivation of coffee began. During this time, the province of Yemen in Arabia was the only source of coffee in the world. The plants there were highly guarded and even prohibited to be taken outside the country. Despite this, Muslim pilgrims still smuggled the coffee plants out of the country. The coffee was then established in India.

In 1530, the first coffee house was opened in Damascus (now known as Siria) and not long after, there were many coffee houses in Cairo. Venice merchant traders took coffee to Italy and then Europe opened its first café in 1645. Not long after that, coffee houses became widespread in Europe as many Europeans became hooked on coffee. It gained so much popularity that even street vendors started selling it.

The Dutch presented it to their colonies in the 17th century. Eventually, coffee plants were transported by the Dutch to the East Indies and to the Americas where the french were the first people to plant coffee seedlings in Martinique, an island in the Caribbean. Those sprouts flourished and 50 years later there were 18,680 coffee trees in Martinique enabling the spread of coffee cultivation to Haiti, Mexico and other islands of the Caribbean.

The Island of Martinique, in the Caribbean

The Island of Martinique, in the Caribbean

 

History of Australia’s Coffee

Australians are considered one of the greatest coffee lovers in the world. It has been proven by the existence of many cafés in the country. It was during the late 19th century when Australian coffee began to grow commercially. It even won awards in London in the 1800’s.

The history of coffee in Australia.

The history of coffee in Australia.

Due to the high cost of labor, the industry was not able to compete with the prices of coffee in Africa, Brazil, Indonesia, and Central America. This caused a slight decline in the Australian coffee industry.

This situation didn’t last long though. In the early 1980’s, the coffee industry was re-established. With the help of machine harvesting, the growers had an opportunity to reduce the harvesting cost, thus enabling them to compete with imported coffee.

Australia, due to its geographical location, can only grow Arabica coffee.

How to make the Cold Press (Toddy) Coffee

This blog post is the first in our series of “How-To’s”, so make sure you keep checking back for more handy tips on how to get the best out of your home brewing experience.

The Toddy Cold Brew System is designed to make “cafe” caliber coffee which can be served hot or iced cold.

The traditional hot brewing method creates a higher level of acidity in coffee, which can be difficult for coffee connoisseurs who have a sensitive stomach. In 1964 Todd Simpson, a chemical engineering graduate, developed and patented this cold brewing system. It uses regular coffee beans and yields a superior tasting cup of coffee and acidity levels are reduced by an amazing 67% compared to traditional hot brew methods. The coffee that is produced is bold, yet super-smooth.

The Toddy consists of: brewer with handle, glass decanter with lid (replacements available), 2 reusable filters, a rubber stopper (replacements also available) and the instructions and recipe booklet.

The Filters should be replaced after 10-12 uses, or after 3 months.

For the best flavour, start with plunger-ground coffee beans and filtered water.  The toddy brewing container is designed to hold 12 ounces of coffee and 7 cups (56 fluid ounces) of water.

For the perfect brew, steep your coffee grounds for 12-18 hours to create a smooth, rich flavour. After you have filtered and let your coffee concentrate flow into the decanter, it will stay fresh for up to 2 weeks in your refrigerator.

To serve, we recommend the following recipe:  in a 500ml jug, fill 1/4 ice, 100ml coffee and 150ml milk (if desired), then top with filtered water. ENJOY!

See below for easy, step-by-step instructions with pictures.

Toddy Brewing Instructions

Toddy Brewing Instructions

Burnt Coffee

Are you an early bird needing your take away caffeine fix just to make sure you can function during a hectic day? Or do you enjoy kicking back, relaxing at your favourite café on the Gold Coast sipping a double ristretto latte, while catching up with friends in the afternoon sun? We sometimes forget that the café and coffee culture we now see as normal is really only a thing of the last five years on the Coast.

New cafés and espresso bars are popping up everywhere and we are now able to enjoy their offerings of complex blends and outstanding single origin beans from exotic places like Guatemala, Ethiopia, Sumatra and Bolivia, with complicated estate names and abbreviations. The beans are roasted to perfection by a master roaster who takes great care to get the best flavour and balance of body and acidity in every batch of beans. The specialty coffee industry has definitely moved into the Gold coast and it shows no signs of going anywhere soon.

Which leaves you with 1 question:
With so many cafés on the Gold Coast, why is it still so hard to find a good coffee that doesn’t taste like it’s burnt?

First we need to get clear on what yucky burnt aftertaste actually is. The official term for that bad tasting coffee is “over-extraction”.  Some people might suggest it’s burnt milk, but milk actually smells like…well, burnt milk. You can recognise burnt milk for its sweeter taste and much thinner, less creamy texture.

Anyway, let’s just get technical for a bit. What does extraction even mean?
‘Extraction’, according to the very trustworthy WIKI, is “the percentage of the soluble coffee grounds that are dissolved in the water”. We also have to take into account which solubles are dissolved but, this has more to do with how the temperature changes over the course of the extraction. The ideal extraction yield sits around 18%-22% to get a well-extracted beautiful coffee. An over-extracted coffee tastes burnt because the bitter parts of the coffee have continued to be extracted after the sugars and acids extraction were mostly finished.

perfectly extracted coffee shot

Perfectly Extracted Coffee Shot made at Quest Coffee Roasters

I can hear you thinking, “thanks for the science class, but what does this all mean? What is my barista doing wrong?”

Here are the top three mistakes baristas make when it comes to burnt coffee:

1. First, a little more technical gibberish for you. A commercial espresso machine works by forcing steam/almost boiling water, through packed coffee grounds in the basket of a portafilter or group handle. When the water is not going through the coffee fast enough, the coffee gets over-brewed (over-extracted). It can only mean three things: the barista is packing too much coffee into the basket, the coffee is ground too fine or the barrister is tamping it too hard, restricting the water flow through the grounds. In an ideal world, every shot should be timed to make sure the extraction is spot on;

tamping too hard

Example of tamping the grind too hard

2. The group head where the portafilter locks into the machine is extremely hot. When the portafilter gets left in there too long before brewing, it will burn the coffee sitting in the basket, which results in bad tasting coffee; and

3. Last but not least, the biggest culprit and the one that is so very easy to avoid, a dirty and badly maintained espresso machine. Even the best barista has no hope of making anything half decent and consistent when the equipment they are working with is not serviced regulary.

dirty grouphead

Dirty Grouphead (this is obviously not how Quest Coffee Roasters care for their espresso machine)

Now that you know (and hopefully understand a little) of the science behind the extraction of great and not so great coffee, you can imagine the reasons why some baristas have an almost cult-like following. These baristas can extract the perfect coffee over and over again and create the perfect espresso, or the base for your favourite coffee to be enjoyed on the run or while relaxing and enjoying that great Gold Coast weather.

Written by Eve Henley.

latte art - made at quest coffee roasters

Perfectly extracted, delicious latte, made at Quest Coffee Roasters

 

 

Disclaimer:  This article was first published in QCMagazine in 2014

 

The Myths of Decaf

If you visit the social media pages on specialty coffee on a regular basis, you may be familiar with the phrases “Death before Decaf”. These phrases are mostly accompanied by a photo of a diehard espresso drinker who has the text inked into the skin of their bicep.

death before decaf tattoo

“Death before Decaf”

Or you may have seen the hipster barista at you local coffee shop pull up an eyebrow when asked for a decaf. This is the drink that is also referred to as “the why bother”.

the why bother look

The “why bother” look

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So we can conclude decaf is uncool, a coffee that is missing its most vital ingredient, CAFFEINE. It’s obviously something the drinker should be a little ashamed of. People rather die than drink decaf right? Wrong!

Whether you like it or not, we are currently witnessing a serious increase in decaf consumption. It is a trend that started not too long ago, possibly due to intolerance of caffeine in general, health reasons, pregnancy or people trying to limit their intake during the later hours of the day to not disrupt sleeping patterns. Some coffee lovers still want to enjoy the taste of their favourite beverage, so decaf is on the rise.

As there are many opinions about the good and bad of decaf, there seems to be equal amounts of confusion about the health benefits and the way it’s processed.

LET’S SEE IF WE CAN DEBUNK SOME MYTHS

There is no caffeine in decaf:

There are a couple of different standards worldwide with the US guidelines stating that coffee needs to be 97.5% caffeine free before it can bare the label decaf. The standard in Europe sits at 99.9%, so on and so forth.

Decaf contains harsh and/or harmful chemicals:

The decaffeination process has come a long way over the years. You can now enjoy the benefits of the Swiss Water and Mt Water Processed Decaf that gets rid of 99.9% of the caffeine and is certified organic. A lot of people still refer to the Roselius Process. Roselius’ method used benzene, which is a cancer causing chemical and therefore no longer commonly used. If you want to find a really great decaf using the Mt Water Process, click here. Here’s a flow chart of how the Mt Water Decaffeination Process works.

Mountain_Water_process_description

Decaf tastes bad:

When decaf was first developed, the process was harsh and stripped away a lot of the preferred flavours and aroma. The process these days is a lot more refined and we can preserve the delicate tastes in a bean all through the decaffeination and the roasting process. Decaffeinated beans go stale like other caffeinated coffee, and we see a lot of problems with cafes over-ordering decaf and letting it sit too long on their shelves. Rumour has it there are some cafes on the Coast that think it’s acceptable just using the last part of the shot to make an espresso coffee “decaf”. This results in a poorly extracted shot and a coffee with just below caffeine levels, but nothing close to decaf.

Decaffeination takes away all the health benefits of the coffee:

Most of the health benefits from coffee come from the antioxidants part of the polyphenols contained within the coffee. The level of caffeine within the coffee doesn’t make a difference to that, neither does the decaffeination process.

So do yourself a favour. Come on in to our James Street, Burleigh Heads, café where we serve a beautiful Mt Water Process organic decaffeinated coffee made with organic Barambah milk (or non dairy option) and have happy baristas that love making it fresh.

You can sit back and enjoy a coffee at any time of the day.

Disclaimer:  This article was first published in QCMagazine in 2014