Masterchef - or not

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Masterchef - or not

Postby dr.chris » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:00 am

Just to say I have enjoyed the recent series of Masterchef very much indeed, but in a moment of boredom when I should have been coding up a reaction for the dissolution of some copper mineral I went and did some searching on the internet and found this column by one of the finalists, Alex Rushmer, on Espresso coffee.

http://www.helium.com/items/622579-coff ... ee-brewing

As usual a lot makes sense but wait til you get to the 2nd page....

Not surprised he lost at all really....
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RE: Masterchef - or not

Postby CakeBoy » Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:51 pm

7g, fifty beans? :shock:
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Postby GMRK » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:01 pm

I will say before I found out about the world of 'proper' espresso, fresh beans and started using HB etc. Qualita Oro or Rossa were my coffees of choice if I couldn't make it to Algerian Coffee Stores, they're available everywhere (more so the Rossa) and work well in a moka pot.

It's easy to forget the time before you 'discovered' speciality coffee, one of the big influences for me was listening to the Coffee Geek podcasts and thinking, ok, where do I find the cash for an espresso machine and grinder (and as soon as possible...!).
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Postby Beanie » Thu Apr 08, 2010 6:56 pm

Can't tell when that article was written...but he's got a blog with a mention of Monmouth in Sep2008...
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Postby dr.chris » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:56 pm

That's good - I didn't go so far back and yes coffee ignorance is far from uncommon, but he is claiming to be a food writer and is obviously intelligent. He could have got a long way doing a little research and he didn't.
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Postby dsc » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:27 pm

Hi guys,

talking about master chefs, anyone ever tried going to one of the super great restaurants and ordering espresso? I'm only guessing but I think 99% of those places are going to serve shit. Please correct me if I'm wrong, I never had a chance to eat in such places.

If the above is right, I'm not surprised chefs (or baristas they work with) know nothing about coffee which is both sad and ridiculous.

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Postby bruceb » Fri Apr 09, 2010 5:14 am

Just the term "gourmet coffee" shows an arrogant ignorance about the subject. What is it about coffee that seems to make people write about it as if they were experts when they don't take even five minutes to research the topic? There have been a number of articles in news magazines (most recently in Der Spiegel) about the demand for "good coffee" and in some cases a point or two was made that had a certain ring of "truthiness" about it. One recently told about the terrible brew one gets at most restaurants in Germany that have big, fancy, chrome-plated espresso machines. The author, however, blamed the machines for not being able to live up to their appearance rather than the lousy, stale coffee beans and complete lack of barista training.

When people ask me why I roast my own coffee and I tell them that coffee is not a storable commodity, that it becomes stale and the oils become rancid within a few weeks at the longest they, look at me like I'm some kind of a pitiful snob or they have compassion with me because my taste is "so highly developed." If customers would complain and threaten not to visit restaurants because the coffee is bad there would be a quick realisation of the situation as it is. This is apparently the case with Jamie Oliver who was told by a customer that the coffee served in one of his restaurants was terrible. Oliver did some research on the matter, talked to some real coffee experts from the specialty coffee scene and started hiring trained baristas and purchasing fresh coffee. But most customers don't know what good coffee is and most restaurant owners and chefs are just not interested.
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Postby Tristan » Fri Apr 09, 2010 7:30 am

bruceb wrote:This is apparently the case with Jamie Oliver who was told by a customer that the coffee served in one of his restaurants was terrible. Oliver did some research on the matter, talked to some real coffee experts from the specialty coffee scene and started hiring trained baristas and purchasing fresh coffee. But most customers don't know what good coffee is and most restaurant owners and chefs are just not interested.


As cool as that sounds it's unfortunately not true... Jamie was never proactive about changing his coffee.

Fifteen upped their game because there were staff there who cared, but they weren't hired specifically to sort the job out. To my knowledge Jamie has done no research on the subject himself, other than a couple of quick conversations with me, espresso in hand.

The other factor that helped with Fifteen (both in Cornwall and London) was that they had Origin coffee doing a lot of work on the subject including training, cupping etc. Myself and Tom (from Origin) managed to push through the removal of Illy from Fifteen in London and the guys up there got the bug for it... hence why we saw 4 ex-Fifteen Baristas in the top 24 last year.
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Postby dr.chris » Fri Apr 09, 2010 8:19 am

Just read the monmouth thread by Alex mentioned by beanie - much more like it. Shows some evolution in knowledge and taste
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Postby bruceb » Fri Apr 09, 2010 8:52 am

Tristan wrote:As cool as that sounds it's unfortunately not true... Jamie was never proactive about changing his coffee.


Thanks for the information, but I'm sorry to hear it. I thought maybe there was a little hope somewhere. The peculiar thing is that the really good Italian chefs don't care about coffee either. Member, nickr mentioned a few days ago that the coffee he got at Carluccio’s was terrible. It has beern my experience that good restaurants in Italy serve good coffee. Why is it that when these people who can and do really cook well completely disregard coffee when they come to northern Europe? It really ruins the dining experience.
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Postby CakeBoy » Fri Apr 09, 2010 10:20 am

The coffee at Carluccio's has always been a disappointment as far as I'm concerned, though it has been a very long time since I last tried it.

Having in part introduced a fairly prominant local restaurant to a bag of fresh coffee a few years ago and seeing the amazement on the face of the manager as he exclaimed that the beans were even sweet (he clearly had the palate for it), I was amazed when they didn't follow it up when given the chance by a top roaster. I guess they liked it from a personal point of view but it is not their bottom line. Disappointing really.
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Postby Tristan » Fri Apr 09, 2010 10:44 am

Carluccio's was bought out though wasn't it? Not that it's any excuse, but i'm pretty sure he no longer owns it and has not a great deal to do with it. Mind you, if it's always been bad obviously nothing has changed.

Hugo and I were talking the other day about the unfortunate fact that he can no longer use his name on anything since it's not owned by him anymore!
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Postby kingseven » Fri Apr 09, 2010 10:51 am

I met (the artist formerly known as) Carluccio once. He told a fairly racist joke as part of his speech, chuckled at himself, and left with a very depressed looking publicist in tow.

The coffee is Musetti, but relabeled, or certainly was last time I had it. (Which was a few years ago now).
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Postby bruceb » Fri Apr 09, 2010 11:22 am

Antonio Carluccio collects jokes. He invites people to send him their favourite jokes (e-mail address on his personal website). Perhaps someone could make up a joke about the coffee they had at one of his establishments. I like his cookbooks.
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Postby dsc » Sat Apr 24, 2010 10:54 pm

Hi guys,

just found out (via Twitter) that Fat Duck uses Nespresso. Is it only me or is something very wrong? I guess it just goes to show that most people don't give a sh*t about coffee, otherwise most clients would disapprove... or am I dreaming?

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