Sunday, 24 January 2016

My Coffee Tastes Like Rubber - WHAT?!

Have you heard coffee being described as chocolate or hazelnut?  Did you know that there is a coffee flavour wheel to help discern the flavour notes of a particular coffee? Many of you probably think that this is crazy – then again you are probably drinking instant!

The SCAA’s (Speciality Coffee Association of America) flavour wheel has been used for 21 years and recently after 3 years of research a new flavour wheel has been released.

The old wheel :

The new wheel:

The flavour wheel consists of coffee terms based on sensory science and it is the standard that cuppers use to describe the coffee that they buy or sell.

Coffee cupping, or coffee tasting, is the practice of observing the tastes and aromas of brewed coffee. It is a professional practice but can be done informally by anyone or by professionals known as "Master Tasters". A standard coffee cupping procedure involves deeply sniffing the coffee, then loudly slurping the coffee so it spreads to the back of the tongue. The coffee taster attempts to measure aspects of the coffee's taste, specifically the body (the texture or mouthfeel, such as oiliness), sweetness, acidity (a sharp and tangy feeling, like when biting into an orange), flavour (the characters in the cup), and aftertaste. Since coffee beans embody telltale flavours from the region where they were grown, cuppers may attempt to identify the coffee's origin. Wikipedia

Instead of attending a wine tasting evening why don’t you do something different this year and attend a coffee cupping, I am definitely going to do it!

I’m sure there must be quite a few places that offer coffee cupping but these are the three that I have discovered (thank you Google).

Colombo Coffee & Tea
369 Magwaza Maphalala (Gale Street)

Bean There Coffee Roastery
44 Stanley Avenue, Milpark

Cape Town
Bean There Coffee Roastery
58 Wale Street


Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Life Busy Life

The end of January is drawing near and Christmas was just the other day. There was so much that I wanted to do around the house in the holidays and I didn’t get much done. Oh well at least I had a very relaxing time. So once my daughter returned to school (last Wednesday) I swung into action. First up was to completely clean our room including inside the cupboards. It was quite a job and I found a lot of musty smelling clothes as well, so it meant extra loads of washing to do. Next up will be the spare room and I really need to sort out the kitchen craziness.

This year I MUST sort out family photos and put them up on the walls. I haven’t done anything to the photos in years and my kids are very grown up. My daughter went into Grade 9 this year and she will have to choose her subjects later on in the year. My son matriculated last year with very good results. He is not sure as yet what he wants to do but what I do know is that he must get his driver’s license and a job!

This year I am also determined to craft and I was thrilled to discover that Lovilee is running the 2016 Creative Challenge. The first craft to do is Macrame / Wool Art. Read about the challenge over here. I will put up photos of my completed projects on social media and you can also follow what others are doing with #EECreativeChallenge

Another of the things I want to do this year is to have a blog makeover and that challenge seems to be very, very hard as i’m clueless on website set ups etc. Blogging is not easy!

Maybe also to see about doing a coffee course (cupping) – I loved the Crop to Cup tour we did at Beaver Creek Coffee Estate. #lovecoffee

So it looks like it is going to be a busy year.

What are you doing this year?

Monday, 4 January 2016

Beaver Creek Coffee Estate

Welcome to 2016 and what a better way to start the year than writing about coffee - after all I do Run On Coffee!

On Monday 28 December we set off for a very pleasant drive down the South Coast to Port Edward and the Beaver Creek Coffee Estate. It was a typical hot and humid Kwazulu-Natal day and the car air conditioner was on full. We kept the speedo cruise set at 120km and were very glad we did as the metro police were out in full force and we saw many cars pulled over for speeding. It took us about 2 hours to reach the estate which was very well sign posted when we reached Port Edward.

Wow was the estate busy! Lots of people in the shop and a waiting list for tables in the restaurant. Neil and I were going to do the Crop to Cup tour at 12pm so we decided to get a table and order lunch. We ordered our toasted sandwiches and because they were so busy we ended up taking our sandwiches with us on the tour. Our two teenagers stayed in the restaurant to eat and wait for us to finish.

The tour was led by Ed Cummings who bought the estate and started growing coffee. The estate was originally a banana plantation but the growing of bananas had moved out of KZN to Mpumalanga. He wondered what they should grow and discovered that coffee would be very successful. They didn’t just decide to plant coffee but process, roast and package as well.

Ed Cummings

Coffee trees have staggered ripening so it is a very labour intensive business. The flowers smell like jasmine and the trees need to be checked regularly for rust and bugs. One of the coffee strains they currently grow is the F6 strain of Arabica, a prolific bearer developed in Zimbabwe. The estate produces 1 – 1 ½ tonnes per hectare of coffee. Just about every country in the tropics produces coffee except South Africa.

Green coffee cherries

Green coffee beans

South Africa imports a lot of coffee, in fact we can import it for cheaper that we can produce it. Beaver Creek also imports coffee and that is packaged under its RedBerry label. They also make coffee capsules but these are packaged in Cape Town as coffee capsules need specialised equipment. Capsules contain 5g of ground coffee with a very even ground size. When making coffee like cappuccinos etc the usual grams of coffee used is 8 – 10 grams.

Green coffee cherries stay on the trees for 6 months and stay red for about a week. The cherries can only be picked when they are red. If they go brown they are left on the tree. Only the red cherries can go through the pulper. The coffee cherries are pulped and then fermented for a day or two. They are then rinsed 6 times and placed on the sun dryer. They are also dried with a mechanised dryer for a night or two. The green beans are then placed in breathable sacks for 6 months to a year before roasting. Green beans can stand around for 10 years. Green bean is what coffee is called before roasting. The older the green beans are the more mellow the coffee becomes. Beaver Creek Coffee Estate’s 2014 crop ran out at the end of November and they are currently using the 2015 crop.

The pulper can pulp 3 tonnes of coffee cherries per day. 1 tonne of cherries makes 100kg of usable coffee. They have a 20kg roaster but prefer to roast 15kg at a time. A light roast tastes very different to a dark roast of the same bean. The coffee is tipped out at 200C (starts at 140C) and it takes 13 mins for a medium roast and 14 mins for a dark roast. A light roasted coffee has a higher acidity and if that were used to make an espresso it would be far too bitter.

Pulper and fermenter

Machinery for drying


There are four grinds of coffee :
Coarse – Percolator
Medium – Filter/Plunger
Fine – Espresso
Ultra Fine – Turkish/Greek

After the very informative tour we tried their different coffees and then had to decide which beans we would buy to take home with us. We decided on F6 Estate Reserve, Black Rhino Malawi – Nantipwilli AA and RedBerry Indonesian Mahndeling.

Beaver Creek coffee to try

Entrance to the shop and the Espresso bar

Beaver Creek beans

2015 Cafe Society winner region : South

The Crop to Cup tour costs R45 and you get to try all the coffee (bottomless) so you might want to miss out on your morning cuppa. There are three tours a day – 10am, 12pm and 2pm. It is advisable to book in advance.

Beaver Creek Coffee Estate
Open daily from 8am to 4pm
Izingolweni Road
Port Edward

Love coffee? Then you must make a trip out to this coffee estate. Don’t be sad if you cannot get there as you can purchase Beaver Creek coffee from their online store.