2012年12月31日 星期一

Learning to Create the Perfect Cup of Coffee

Learning to Create the Perfect Cup of Coffee

Jim Wilson/The New York Times
Tristan Walach, also known as Ant, teaches people how to make coffee in San Francisco.

Jim Wilson/The New York Times
Chris Baca trains a new employee how to steam milk properly at Verve in Santa Cruz.
Jim Wilson/The New York Times
A cup overflows during a training session.
Jim Wilson/The New York Times
Mr. Baca presents a coffee drink he crafted at Verve. 

TRISTAN WALACH has a tattoo of the famous Las Vegas welcome sign on his neck. He goes by the name Ant. He teaches people how to make coffee, professionally.
I have come to learn from him. 

“People like you are the best to train,” he says, sizing me up. “You don’t have bad habits or preconceived notions. You’re a blank slate.” 

We’re at Sightglass, a cafe near downtown San Francisco with a huge coffee roaster near the front door. But Ant and I are tucked away upstairs, cordoned behind a chain and a sign: “Training in Session.” 

Such training centers are increasingly common, and not just at cafes: there are certification classes for baristas and even Camp Pull A-Shot, a four-day, three-night event. And there are also a growing number of regional and national “throwdowns” to find the most technically proficient, graceful makers of the best-tasting coffee drinks. 

Am I skeptical? Well, making coffee, even espresso, roughly entails pouring or pushing water through coffee. Sometimes by flicking a switch or pushing a button. Sure, Ant, you can up my coffee game, and then I’ll spend three days at Camp Let’s Make Oatmeal. 

And, hey, I’m not precisely a blank slate. Without any training, I brew a very solid morning latte. And it’s superior to Starbucks, I brag to my wife, using only a $100 espresso maker and beans from a local cafe. 

“How hard can coffee be? It’s an attitude we’re constantly encountering,” noted Ellie Matuszak, director of professional development for the Specialty Coffee Association of America, a trade group with thousands of company members and 1,200 people in its growing Barista Guild. 

Ant, 34, whose title is director of education, says coffee requires a deft touch. “It’s the most complicated beverage we consume,” he said. 

The training center at Sightglass includes a counter with several grinders, an industrial-strength espresso machine, a scale, coffee tampers and other paraphernalia. On a nearby island of reclaimed blond wood are 10 handleless cups, organized in five pairs, each half full of light-brown beans. 

But first, we are going to watch Ant’s PowerPoint presentation about where the best beans come from and how they are picked. There is also a slide titled “The Origin Myth.” It’s folklore, a big-bang theory of the discovery of coffee by a goat herder in Ethiopia. 

Then it’s time to commence cupping. 
This entails smelling the contents of the white cups — beans from Kenya, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, El Salvador and Guatemala. I cannot detect much difference. 

Ant then introduces me to the La Marzocco Linea, an espresso maker that runs $8,000 to $10,000. (The really expensive machines, the La Marzocco Strada and the Slayer, are downstairs for the actual baristas.) To its left is a $1,500 Mazzer Major grinder. On top is a button. My job is to push that button, dispensing precisely 19.5 grams of coffee into the filter.
I’m supposed to give the coffee a little sift to even it out, then pack it down with the tamper. 

Ant shows me how to create about 35 pounds of pressure, a give-or-take amount achieved by bending my knees for leverage and pushing on the tamper until the coffee pushes back. 

This step is crucial, Ant says, because otherwise water flows unevenly through the coffee, creating unwanted channels. I press another button, to run the water through the coffee. We press a timer to make sure I leave the water flowing for 25 seconds. Brown and tan espresso flows into the demitasse, which Ant calls the “vessel.” 

Ant sips. “It’s not terribly offensive.” 

I sip. It is, actually, terribly offensive. Sour and bitter. Ant makes a cup using the same steps. 

It has a hint of sweetness, just shy of floral, no aftertaste. I make another. Just as bad as my first. Maybe I need milk. 

Ant explains how to steam the milk. In brief: position the steam wand just below the milk’s surface until the milk swirls in a circular motion and puffs up as it absorbs the steam, then drop the wand lower until the milk reaches 135 degrees, as verified by a thermometer. There’s a sweet spot between milk and temperature, the point at which the sugars cook and the milk becomes sweeter, but before the sugars burn. 

I try a few times. I make water-thin milk, poured over bitter shots. Finally, I get the milk consistency right, like wet paint. I try a little latte art. It looks like mating amoebas.
Ant offers wisdom: “The difference between a good barista and a great one is the great barista has the courage to toss a shot.” We toss my amoebas in the sink. 

I have a second chance coming. I tell Ant that I’m getting more training with Chris Baca at Verve, a cafe and roaster in Santa Cruz. His eyes light up. “He’s great! I trained with him,” he says. 

But first, I try to put some of my training to work at home the next morning. I throw out the first three shots. Something is wrong. I was making excellent espresso just the day before. I have actually gotten worse. 

MR. BACA, 32, planned to be a high school history teacher. But he dropped out of college and took a job at a cafe in Modesto. He developed a love affair with coffee, moved to San Francisco to work for a trendy cafe called Ritual, then started competing in 2006. In 2010, he finished second out of 50 competitors in the United States Barista Championship. In the freestyle competition, he made a crème anglaise espresso drink, cherry infused with a citrus garnish. 

“I know, this all seems like ‘Best in Show,’ ” says Ryan O’Donovan, an owner of Verve, referring to the faux documentary about dog shows. “It seems ridiculous. We’re trying to make it less ridiculous.” 

Verve, where Mr. Baca is director of education, devotes 1,500 square feet to training. It’s part of what the cafe considers the “third wave” of the coffee movement — the first being campfire and drip coffee, the second the Starbucks revolution and the next understanding and evoking the complexity of coffee. Training, Mr. O’Donovan says, “is the nucleus of what we do.” 

I show Mr. Baca what I’ve learned. He calls my first shot dry. He is being kind.
Mr. Baca asked me to bring my usual brand of coffee and makes a shot with it. It is not good. Lesson No. 1: coffee matters. Just because the bag says “fair trade” or “locally roasted” does not mean the highest-grade beans have been selected and put through meticulous roasting. We toss my $13-a-pound coffee in the trash. Then Mr. Baca provides a math lesson. 

The essence of good espresso, of good coffee in general, revolves around three numbers: the amount of quality dry coffee used, the amount of time water flows through it and the amount of coffee that comes out the other end. When the ratio is right, the process extracts the best flavor. If it is wrong, the good flavor never surfaces or is watered down. A mistake in seconds or grams, I am coming to learn, is the difference between something wonderful and awful. 

Mr. Baca explains that you have to experiment to find just the right balance of these three elements for each coffee machine and coffee grind, and then replicate them. He has tested the machinery at Sightglass and determined that we want to use 17 grams of high-end coffee and run water for 25 seconds to yield about 30 grams of coffee. 

Again, this seems simple, given that the grinder is preset to deliver the grams I want, and I can verify using the scale. All I have to do is press buttons. My first shot tastes foul. But Mr. Baca calls my second “bright and snappy.” 

He shows me how to paint with steamed milk: hold the decanter six inches from the cup, pour a medium-sized stream at a constant rate and when the cup is half filled, lower the decanter close to the cup. When the cup is nearly full, wriggle your hand quickly to create a shape that will make the foam blossom out. Finish with a flourish by drawing a bit of milk through the middle of the design. After a few tries, I’m able to make something that looks like a pine tree, though I was aiming for a heart. 

Great, I am improving. But this is impractical. I buy my coffee preground. I don’t own a scale.
“A $10 scale is the best investment you can make for your coffee game,” Mr. Baca says. And because coffee density and brewing time are so significant, he says, a grinder is not far behind. Some experts say grinding your beans fresh is the most important priority. 

Reality check: I’m trying to make it through chaotic mornings at home with a clamoring family. Mr. O’Donovan is amused. Why, he asks, would I make espresso in the morning, let alone latte? 

“I make drip coffee,” Mr. O’Donovan explains. Mr. Baca does, too. That’s because making a good espresso requires preparation and cleanup. Even when it all goes right, it takes time. Like making a good meal. 

“Coffee isn’t just coffee,” Mr. O’Donovan says. 

It’s “just like anything else,” Mr. Baca chimes in. 

I instantly take his meaning: Coffee — what I assumed was just a simple, necessary thing to start my day — is something more than that. It may not require certification but it does require more attention than I realized. 

With my cram session at an end, Mr. O’Donovan leaves me with a laugh and a warning: “You’re heading down the rabbit hole.” 

In the ensuing days, I start using the timer on the microwave to make sure I’m pulling my espresso shots for 25 seconds. I troll the Internet for counsel on what might be a next-step espresso maker. But even with my old gear and a bit of leftover coffee from Sightglass, my shots have gotten discernibly better, and occasionally good. 

I place an order for coffee from Verve. When two different roasts arrive and I make a show of my excitement, my wife rolls her eyes. She challenges whether I can even tell the difference between the new coffee and two other blends I used to swear by. So we do a blind smell test.
I nail it. My wife seems surprised; who is this new discerning creature? Just getting started, I tell her. Wait until you see what we can do with milk.

2012年12月28日 星期五

India tea workers burn boss to death in Assam state

India tea workers burn boss to death in Assam state

Assam tea garden Half of India's tea output comes from Assam's 800-odd tea estates

Related Stories

Hundreds of tea plantation workers have set alight their boss's bungalow in north-east India, burning to death the owner and his wife, officials say.
Angry workers surrounded the bungalow at Kunapathar in Assam state late on Wednesday, following a two-week long dispute with the management.
Police said the incident happened after the management asked some workers to leave their accommodation.
More than half of India's tea output comes from 800 tea estates in Assam.
Local official SS Meenakshi Sundaram said some 700 tea garden workers surrounded the manager's bungalow on Wednesday evening and set it on fire. Two vehicles belonging to the manager were also torched.
The charred bodies of Mridul Kumar Bhattacharyya and his wife, Rita, were later recovered from the debris, Mr Sundaram said.
Police have detained three workers in connection with the incident.
Officials said Mr Bhattacharyya and his workers had been locked in a dispute for the past two weeks.
They said Mr Bhattacharyya had also faced protests at another tea estate that he owned two years ago.
In that dispute, angry workers set fire to his tea factory near the state capital, Guwahati, after he had allegedly fired on a crowd that had gathered near his house to protest against a reported attack on a local woman.
Several incidents of attacks on tea executives by angry workers have been reported from Assam in recent years.

VOR ロシアの声
BBCの調べでは、約700名の栽培農家が農園所有者のバンガローを取り囲み、火をつけた。家が焼け出された後、内部から炭焼きになった地主とその妻が見つかった。事件を受けて3人が逮捕された。 地元警察によれば、2週間にわたり農夫と経営者の間では対立が起こって ...
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VOR ロシアの声
クリッピングする; 写真をブログに利用する · メディア・報道関係・法人の方 写真購入のお問合せはこちら. 農園の労働者に放火されたインド・アッサム(Assam)州ティンスキア(Tinsukia)地区の農園所有者の自宅とその乗用車(2012年12月27日撮影)。(c)AFP. 関連写真1/1 ...
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2012年12月21日 星期五

real white tea 福建白茶




新加坡國際茶業公司TWG Tea的總裁塔哈·布克迪布(Taha Bouqdib)說,銀針的零售價是每50克(1.76盎司)60新加坡元(49美元),而更普通的白牡丹白茶是11新加坡元,頂級大吉嶺(Darjeeling)紅茶初摘茶是43新加坡元。





“我們認為白茶總體暢銷的一個主要原因是它迎合了高端顧客對奢侈品和新體驗的痴迷,”巴黎“瑪黑兄弟”(Mariage Frères)茶葉公司的主管弗蘭克·迪賽恩(Franck Dessain)在接受電子郵件採訪時這樣說,“因為這種茶葉非常罕見,所以它成了一種地位的象徵。”

綠色、黑色、藍色、白色和黃色的茶葉都來自於兩種茶樹:小葉茶樹(Camellia sinensis)在中國中部和日本涼爽的山區長勢最好;大葉茶樹(Camellia assamica)在印度東北部和中國潮濕的熱帶氣候中長得最好。





法國“茶葉宮殿”(Le Palais des Thés)公司的創始人弗朗索瓦-澤維爾·德爾馬斯(François-Xavier Delmas)對此表示贊同:“真正的白茶只有一個產地,那就是福建,”他說,“那是白茶的誕生地。”



TWG茶葉公司則採取了不同的方法,生產了一系列混合銀針茶,共有15種,包括與蘋果酒混合的“白金茶”(White Gold),與西番蓮混合的“白秘茶”(White Secret),與野生草莓混合的“白福茶”(White Fortune),以及與佛手柑混合的“白伯爵茶”(White Earl Grey)。

“瑪黑兄弟”茶葉公司也供應複雜的混合銀針茶:“月亮山茶”(Mountain of the Moon)是與牡丹、玫瑰和茉莉花瓣混合的;“漆亭茶”(Lacquer Pavilion)含有甜味香料和錦葵花;“暴風雨後之茶”(Tea after a Storm)帶有薄荷和香橙花的味道。

Straining to Savor the Tea of Emperors

SINGAPORE — Like good wines, teas are a reflection of their “terroir,” the geology, climate and geography of their origin.
Yin Zhen, the rarest of white teas, is produced only in China’s Fujian Province and for centuries was reserved for the pleasure of the inner circles of the imperial court.
In post-imperial times it has become established as a favored brew among tea connoisseurs who appreciate its delicate flavor, though it has remained largely ignored by a general public used to stronger tastes.
That, however, is changing. Spurred by marketing that exalts the perceived health benefits of white teas and by new blends that add flowers, fruits and spices for a richer experience, more consumers are now seeking out the higher graded white teas, despite — or maybe in part because of — their high price.
Yin Zhen can retail for 60 Singapore dollars, or $49, for 50 grams, or 1.76 ounces, compared with 11 dollars for the more common Pai Mu Tan white tea or 43 dollars for the finest first flush Darjeeling black tea, said Taha Bouqdib, president of TWG Tea, an international tea company based in Singapore.
Yet the company has sold about three tons of white teas so far this year through its retail outlets in Asia, the Middle East, Britain and the United States, up almost 60 percent compared with last year, Mr. Bouqdib said.
“This is due entirely to the launch, in April, of our Yin Zhen white tea blends,” he said, sipping a white Earl Grey recently in one of the company’s tea salons. “These teas are appreciated not just by purists, but by a much wider clientele now.”
In the same time that white tea sales rose 60 percent, the company’s sales of black tea rose only 10 percent and those of green tea just 2 percent, he said.
Still, white tea — so called for the fine, silvery-white hairs on the young leaf buds — remains only a small part of the company’s sales, which totaled about 680 tons last year, and is likely to stay so, given its limited production.
Other companies are also reporting increased white tea sales.
“We believe a key factor of the success of white tea in general is that it meets high-end consumers’ fascination for luxury goods and new experiences,” Franck Dessain, a director of the Paris-based Mariage Frères, said in an e-mail. “Because such tea is rare, it has become a status symbol.”
“There is no doubt that Yin Zhen is the lead product, but every single white tea takes profit from the status and prestige of Yin Zhen and then is considered a top luxury product,” he said.
Green, black, blue, white and yellow teas all come from one of two tea plant varieties: the Camellia sinensis — a small-leaf tea plant that thrives in cool, mountain regions of central China and Japan — and the Camellia assamica — a broad-leaf variety that grows best in the moist, tropical climates of North-east India and China.
Processing after the harvest determines the type of tea produced.
Leaves can be steamed, roasted, semi-fermented or fully fermented.
White tea is the least processed of all the teas and is produced from the buds of the Camellia sinensis shrub, picked before they have fully opened. Young, and barely oxidized in the processing, the leaves retain a high concentration of anti-oxidants: in the last 10 years, a string of research papers has asserted that white tea may have health benefits in helping to reduce cancer and heart disease risks, and fighting the effects of aging.
For purists, Yin Zhen, harvested only in a period of a few days in the year, when the buds are at their finest, and sun-dried, has no equal.
“Many countries can do white tea, but nothing compared to the quality that comes from Fujian,” Mr. Bouqdib said.
François-Xavier Delmas, founder of the French company Le Palais des Thés, agreed: “There is only one source for real white tea — Fujian,” he said. “It is the birthplace of white tea.”
He added that in Darjeeling, in the Himalayan foothills of northeast India, “they say they make white tea but in fact it is not really that. They make a low-oxidized tea. It can be very good, but it is not white tea. The process is different.”
Indian producers borrowed the white tea name “because they know buyers pay a good price for such teas, ” he said.
Le Palais des Thés has been developing flavored white teas to capitalize on a growing demand among young people, particularly in Asia, Mr. Delmas added.
The company uses Pai Mu Tan, another white tea from Fujian, for its floral and fruit perfumed blends. Mr. Delmas said it was “less subtle than the Yin Zhen,” and less prone to being overwhelmed in combinations with other ingredients.
TWG Tea has taken a different tack, however, with an extended collection of 15 blended Yin Zhen teas that include White Gold, blended with cider apple; White Secret, with passion fruit; White Fortune, with wild strawberry; and White Earl Grey, with bergamot.
Mariage Frères also offers complex Yin Zhen blends: its Mountain of the Moon tea is mixed with leaves of peony, rose, and jasmine; Lacquer Pavilion has sweet spices and mallow flowers; and Tea after a Storm is flavored with mint and orange blossom.

2012年12月15日 星期六

《茶況》 世界お茶まつり「春の祭典」5月2日から

《茶況》 世界お茶まつり「春の祭典」5月2日から

 「春の祭典」は5月2~5日の4日間、静岡空港(牧之原市)、お茶の郷(島田市)など各地で開催。もえぎ色に染まる茶畑での茶摘みやウオーキン グ、茶摘みする農家との出会いなど、五感で茶の魅力に触れる。県産食材を積極的に活用する「食の仕事人」は、「八十八夜」をテーマに捜索した料理や菓子を 各店でもてなす。
 袋井・森 農家は茶園の防寒対策をしている。
 掛川・小笠 産地問屋は歳暮用と年賀用の売り込みに努めている。
 島田・金谷 産地問屋は歳暮用として、上級茶の売り込みに懸命。
 川根 産地問屋は歳暮用と、年始用の注文の増加にも期待を寄せる。
 牧之原 茶農家は敷きわらなど冬場の茶園の管理に努めている。
 藤枝 茶農家は茶園を観察している。

2012年12月5日 星期三



株式会社東京文庫のプレスリリース2012年 12月 05日
Webサイト制作・コーディングを手掛ける株式会社東京文庫(東京都新宿区:代表取締役 内田考哉・以下 東京文庫)は、台湾茶の販売サービスを新ブランド「東京茶庫」にて、12月3日より開始しました。
・高山烏龍茶 「大禹嶺」
・高山烏龍茶 「梨山」
・高山烏龍茶 「阿里山」
・文山包種 ジャスミン茶
株式会社東京文庫 西里・内田
TEL:03-6380-2298 FAX:03-5287-3087

2012年12月1日 星期六


舞鶴「かぶせ茶」 全国1位に

  • ヘルプ
(2012年11月29日  読売新聞)