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Review: Coffee 101/Appreciation at Caffe Crema

>> Tuesday, February 10, 2015

It's my 1st time attending such a session & I'm so glad that I joined :D To those who know me, you'll know that I'm not a 'coffee-person' & I've no clue on what makes a good cup of coffee. This was my golden opportunity to learn up from the expert & to also share with you what I've learned!

The coffee appreciation session took place at Caffè Crema, Plaza Mont Kiara. This is one coffee (tea and chocolate too) cafè that serves ONLY coffee, tea, chocolate drinks & desserts, nothing else!

We were introduced to the cafè & the basics of coffee by Elvin S, the founder of Caffè Crema. Elvin's background is actually in IT, but his latest passion is for coffee. He finds coffee interesting like wine & enjoys traveling, in search for good coffee; one of his favorite countries is Italy!

From his passion & likes, you can bet that the name of this cafè derived from the Italian name for cafè i.e. Caffè, with the inspiration of "Crema", which refers to the 'cream above the coffee'. Caffè Crema's concept goes back to the basics, where everything is"raw", from their furniture to even their coffee & cakes (home-made from scratch). Those who love a cup of coffee accompanied by jazz & blues kinda music will fall in love with this place.

This business started within 2.5 months after the discussion with 76 Hair Salon, the salon next door that was interested in having a cafè together with the salon. Everything took place very quickly, even the idea & SOP of their signature blend. Caffè Crema does not sell decaf as Elvin feels that it defeats the purpose of drinking coffee :D

Elvin gets his roasted coffee beans from Singapore (beans are roasted there). The coffee beans come from Bali, Brazil & Costa Rica. This mixture of beans give a smoother,  low acidity, & chocolaty taste to the coffee. Their signature House Blend coffee is medium roast, smooth, & not so strong, while their Raven Coffee is stronger, darker & has a dark chocolate after taste. They also offer single-origin coffee like the Ethopian Sidamo Yirgacheffe.

Most of you would be aware that there are 2 major types of coffee, the Arabica & the Robusta. The Arabica is more dynamic & may have different notes, while the Robusta is mainly found in instant coffee, as it is cheaper, easier to grow & easy to have a consistent taste.

Freshly ground coffee - SO aromatic *aaahhhh....*

One of the many 'important toys' in the coffee industry is the porta filter & VST filter basket. Caffè Crema's VST filter baskets are not machine punched, but laser punched. This offers greater precision & quality in the coffee filtered. You won't be able to get such toys here, so Elvin gets them shipped in from the US.

Lamaazocco Italian espresso machine: Custom made
This is every barrista's dream!

Caffè Crema uses the EK-43 German coffee grinder machine, which grinds coffee very quickly, by the seconds! If you're using the hand-grinder for your own consumption, it's best that you don't grind the coffee beans too fast as the grinding creates heat & evaporates the fragrance of the coffee. Most importantly, grind only when you want to drink to ensure freshness of the coffee!

Another toy that we were introduced to that day was the Coffee Refractometer. The aim is to have consistent coffee, so this refractometer does the job! So cool! *yes, I'm a noob in such things* This cafe brings coffee science into the market!

Ah, such an educational session, right? So what other things did I experience, you would wonder. We had the opportunity to do some touch-test, smell-test, & also taste-test!

1. Touch-Test
- Touching different textures of ground coffee
- Fine (like table salt) ground = espresso, mocha
- Coarse ground = cold drip, siphon

2. Smell-Test
1st: Very ' burnt'! Coffee = Nescafe Original 3 in 1 :P
2nd: Smells burnt. Coffee = Starbucks house blend medium roast *ooooo...I didn't know*
3rd: Stale coffee smell that doesn't smell very coffee. Coffee = Pre-grounded Caffe Macinato Espresso Moka.
4th: Fresh! Coffee = Raven blend where the beans were grounded 2 hours ago/grounded fresh. *wow, makes a lot of difference!*

Basically, after roasting the coffee beans, the coffee should be consumed within a month. If you're a coffee-lover, you should always get your coffee in beans form as well. Grind your coffee when you wanna drink & NEVER store coffee beans in the fridge! Just keep them in a cool, dark place. When it comes to coffee, it's not advisable to buy in bulks to "save more money" as buying in small packs will ensure you'll always have fresh coffee.

3. Taste-Test
1st test: Under extracted: Pungent, sourish/acidic, thick *bleagh!!!*
2nd test: Over extracted: VERY bitter & burnt *double bleagh!!!*
3rd test: Normale (good cup of espresso): Sourish, bitter, a bit of everything. Balanced.
* Every barrista will have to do a "dial-in" before serving each day i.e. testing that the coffee tastes right before serving.

So what makes a good cup of coffee? Almost everything! Hahaha...Growing, Roasting, Storing, Machine, & even the Barista.

Crema is the top 'creamy' part of the coffee

Latte art in the making...I failed in such art :(

Preparing the coffee + milk

That's a lot of information about coffee. Caffè Crema offers lovely cheesecakes & mille crepe too - all home-made by Elvin's friend. Yums!

Toblerone, Oreo & Durian Cheesecakes (RM12.50/piece)
Rich, flavorful & not too sweet - LOVELY! This is what I call "quality cakes".

Strawberry & Blueberry Cheesecakes (RM12.50/piece)
I love the fresh berries *yums*

Salted Caramel, Oreo, Vanilla & Nutella Mille Crepe (RM15.00/slice)
I love the salted caramel & nutella...*drools as I recall*

Unique Coffee Grinders

Coffee-related equipments sold here

Their selection of tea

Special thanks to Xavier Mah & Elvin for this opportunity to experience good coffee & learn up some tips & tricks on coffee making! I'll be back!

Caffè Crema
E-01-02, Block E
Plaza Mont Kiara
2, Jalan Kiara, Mont Kiara
Kuala Lumpur

Tel: (+603) 6206 2237
Business hours: 8:00a.m. - 8:00p.m.
FB: http://www.caffecrema.my/

Feeling blessed & excited - must be the caffeine!


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