• What does a wine bar such as Edwin's know about coffee?

    You might ask this question if you had read our last post about milked-filled coffee.

    In fact we do know enough. Our staff have training on how to make a decent cup. During our training we were shown a coffee chart which shows over 100 distinguishable aroma (a wine chart would be hard-pushed to list more than 20).

    Call it marketing or not, coffee is perhaps the most profitable drink in the world in terms of margin to cost. 

    We serve Italian style coffees at Edwin's. We have a state-of-the-art Rancilio Group 2 espresso machine and we use Kimbo beans from Naples. 

    The espresso machine does the brewing (we'd never claim 'hand-crafted'). The better the machine the better the cup. The variable is how high a grade of coffee beans one uses. 

    Coffee is grown in the Tropics of America, Africa and Asia. The origin is supposedly from Ethiopia and spreaded to the other continents. There are two main species of coffee plants. The better variety is called 'Arabica'. The other is 'Robusta'. Your cup is determined by the blend - the higher the percentage of Arabica the better.

    Most Central and South American growers as well as Ethiopia cultivate Arabica. Asian growers in Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia plant Robusta. The rest grow a mix of both.

    Coffee bean is a commodity. Its price is determined on nature and climate, in turn manipulated by commodity trader in futures, etc. There is a trend of promoting 'organic beans' in order to fetch higher prices. However the most influential is the 'Fair-trade' movement with an stated aim to 'protect coffee bean growers from exploitation by monopolistic buyers'.  

    Next time you go in a big chain for your daily fill ask the 'barista': what blend of beans is being used; where the beans are from; whether they are 'organic'; better still ask how fair-traded the beans have been. It would be an interesting exercise.


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