Mocopan Coffee’s Babin Gurung on what coffee strength means and how to achieve it.
During my barista hustling days, customers often told me they liked their coffee strong. I had no problem adjusting to customers’ needs, but found many people had different ideas of what “strong” meant. Some of the things strength commonly referred to was more caffeine, darker roast, or sometimes, just bitter coffee. These ideas aren’t necessarily wrong, but here in the coffee world, when we say “strong”, we mean the strength of flavours contained in an espresso.Read more
Jibbi Little shares her fantastic take on a Roald Dahl classic that’s more cunning than any canine and quirkier than a Wes Anderson movie.
One of my favourite books as a child was Fantastic Mr Fox. Many people are familiar with Wes Anderson’s animated film, but it actually began as a novel by Roald Dahl.
The book tells the story of an intelligent fox that steals food from a wealthy farmer to support his family. As I child, I connected with this story and it taught me the importance of family.
When I began conceptualising the patterns I would use this competition season – from the regional to world stage – I decided early on that I would use the stories I loved as a child as inspiration for my designs. Fantastic Mr Fox was one of the first books that came to mind, both because of its influence on me as a child, and the countless ways it could be brought to life.
At each subsequent competition, I finetuned the design, working in different features, techniques, and levels of detail based on the time constraints and my ability to pour consistently. This pattern is the one I presented at the Australian Specialty Coffee Association Pauls Professional 2019 Australian Latte Art Championship in February at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo. For me, it finds a good middle ground between the repeatability of the regional version and complexity of my World Latte Art Championship (WLAC) design. This pattern is perfect for aspiring baristas to attempt to recreate in their own cafés.
Unfortunately, my WLAC journey was cut short in the semi-finals where I placed 11th out of 41 competitors. My experience taught me the value of preparation, knowing the rules and regulations, and – similar to how Fantastic Mr Fox did as a child – the value of my Australian coffee family. Thank you to everyone for their support throughout my WLAC campaign.
This article appears in the August edition of BeanScene Magazine. Subscribe HERE.
Jibbi Little’s Fantastic Mr Fox
Build your base with the cup handle positioned at three o’clock.
To start the body, pour a C-shape beginning three quarters down the middle of the cup and end near seven o’clock.
In one movement, draw a small loop from the end point of the C to the middle and back. Then, drag a line that is parallel to the start point of the C.
Drag another line straight down the cup, beginning slightly higher than the C and connecting the two points of the body. Pour a second line forming a narrow V shape.
Pour a seven- to eight-leaf rosetta running along the top of the V. Drag up along the side of the rosetta, forming the neck.
From the mid-curve of the C, pour a 10-leaf rosetta up along the edge of the cup until 11 o’clock then drag through alongside the rosetta until you touch the C again, forming the tail.
From the top of the neck rosetta, drag a straight line up then diagonally down towards the point of the neck drag, stopping halfway. Drag back to meet the first line, forming the ear.
Drop a slight amount of foam then pull through along the last drag with a heavier volume of foam, forming the snout. A thin gap should be left between the snout and the ear to form the eye.
Maurizio Marcocci of Service Sphere discusses the role of coffee group heads, common espresso machine parts that serve a huge purpose.
To pull the best shots possible, baristas need to learn everything they can about coffee extraction. From grind adjustment to water temperature, these factors can all influence the flavour of coffee in the cup. However, while trying to grasp these complex concepts, many baristas can skip over a key component of espresso extraction.Read more
Jibbi Little takes to the skies with a fanciful flying fairy rabbit that combines two of her favourite designs.
By the time many of you read this, I will have competed in the World Latte Art Championship. For now, however, I am dedicating all my time to training. With Easter just past and me about to take flight to Germany for World of Coffee in Berlin, I thought there’s no better time than to combine these events in the form of my flying Fairy Rabbit design.
Combination actually played a part in the conception of this design. The idea behind it was really quite simple. My rabbit and angel designs were quite popular, so I thought, ‘why not bring them together?’
The result is a design that is cute and appeals to peoples’ love of fantasy and fairy tales. While the rabbit itself is front and centre in the design, elements like a tree to the side and the sun at the top add an extra level of character and scene setting.
It may seem simple at first, but the design requires multiple techniques from dragging and dropping to wrapping and rosettas, and prowess in one underappreciated discipline – manoeuvring the wrist. You can’t perform some of the intricacies of this design without being able to subtly rotate your wrist as the body, head, and ears of the rabbit curve.
Like most designs, with practice and persistence, any up and coming barista can master this pattern. In latte art, you can never stop improving and practice is key. For instance, at the time of writing, I am deep in preparation for Worlds and will stay that way until I fly out to Berlin at the start of June. My World Latte Art Championship patterns have been set for a long time, so now my focus is on developing a consistent routine and perfecting my ability to perform these designs.
While the Fairy Rabbit design doesn’t appear in my World Latte Art Championship routine, it is a pattern I enjoy and I think many of you will too. Join me next time when I delve into one of the designs I shared on the world stage.
This article appears in the June edition of BeanScene Magazine. Subscribe HERE.
Jibbi Little’s Fairy Rabbit
Build your base with the handle at 12 o’clock. In one continuous movement, draw a C-shape from the bottom of the cup, pour a drop of milk foam below the top point, and drag it down past the bottom of the C.
Turn the handle to three o’clock. Draw a small heart at the bottom of the C with the point touching the rabbit’s body to form a tail.
Turn the handle to six o’clock. Draw a seven-leaf rosetta starting from the body. Drag and pull up along the left edge to reconnect.
Pour a second seven-leaf rosetta from where the drag meets the body to form a second wing.
Pour a seven-leaf rosetta straight across from one o’clock to 11 o’clock then drag down the centre.
Back where the upper wing meets the body, drag out a thin loop that runs half the length of the wing. Do this a second time with the same end point. This should look like the McDonald’s ‘M’ with the bottom points pressed together.
Draw a circle at the top of the body and continue to wrap to form the head. Leave an empty space for the eye. If you can, use the cunning eye technique created by 2018 World Latte Art Champion Arnon Thitiprasert.
Turn the handle to nine o’clock and finish with a dot at six o’clock representing the sun.
Dr Monika Fekete explores the impact of grind temperature on extraction temperature and why shots tend to speed up over time.
Dialing in a delicious espresso shot is great way to start your day, be it at work or at home. As the day goes on, you might find that shots speed up and you need to adjust your grinder a bit finer to get the same result. It seems like your grind profile has changed.
Does this sound like a familiar story? It might be a common observation, but to date I’m unaware of a viable explanation backed up by solid data.Read more
Maurizio Marcocci discusses how commercial coffee equipment has developed over time and the new features that will lead the industry into the future.
People have always looked for ways to make their life simpler, and technology is constantly evolving to fulfil these needs. Cars and airplanes get us where we need to go, while phones and social media connect us to friends and family overseas. Coffee machines are no different. Read more
Monika Fekete investigates why milk bubbles form and how they impact on coffee quality and presentation.
Recently, I watched my coffee go cold in front of my eyes. It had been two months since I had enjoyed a proper coffee. I was looking forward to the experience as I sat at one of my favourite local cafés. However, no sooner had my coffee arrived, my newborn baby decided to test out his lung capacity and I found myself trying to calm him.
I had hoped this situation would be a one-off, but sadly it is not. My tiny son senses precisely when his mum is about to take a moment to enjoy her coffee, and duly demands attention. Consequently, I have had the opportunity to watch rosettas getting swallowed up in bubbles that slowly appear on top of my silky flat white. Interestingly, this wasn’t always the case. Sometimes many large bubbles emerged on the surface almost immediately, sometimes the micro-foam held together even after five minutes.Read more
Mocopan Coffee’s Jared Chapman explores the four variables of grinder calibration that impact over- and under-extracted coffee and why coffee is a game of constant tasting.
Taste. It’s what we’re all about in the coffee industry. Striving for that sweeter, more delicious cup of coffee. This has led to a lot of work being put into understanding the many variables that affect the flavour we end up with in the cup. With more information out there on variables like particle size distribution and total dissolved solids (TDS), it can be overwhelming for a budding barista to start to understand the basics without getting confused by all the detail. Read more
Maurizio Marcocci of Service Sphere discusses the differences in repairing versus replacing equipment, and how to tell when your machine is on its last legs.
The lifespan of a coffee machine can vary greatly. So many factors come into play, including vend amount, servicing, brand, quality of machine, user error – the list goes on.
Just like an old car ticking over in the morning or putting along on a freeway and stalling every now and then, there’s often warning signs that something’s not quite right with an old faithful machine. But how do you tell the difference between equipment that needs replacing versus repair? Read more