Monday, 26 March 2007

Our machine - Azkoyen bravo 3e

This is a nice machine to use, lots of pressure from an 18 litre boiler (you never run out of steam). Consistent temperature from heavy cast group heads. So far no major problems, just a few seals replaced and one electrical repair after four years service. The pumps produce a nice even pressure and we get a very good crema. These machines are made in Spain and are becoming very popular, the Vienna version being used in many franchised caf├ęs.

carla baxter - alphabet

carla baxter

Carla Baxter is a photocopy artist, she creates images using a black and white photocopier. She has recently shown her new work at the Ipswich Art Gallery. These large photocopies are very rich and detailed. That's Carla in the photo with three of her prints.

Sunday, 25 March 2007


The thing that makes espresso coffee different to any other way of making coffee is the way the flavour of the beans is extracted. With espresso coffee the extraction is done at very high pressure and fairly quickly (hence the name 'espresso' Italian for fast). What this means in terms of flavour is that while the sweetness of the ground beans is extracted the bitterness is left out.

The early part of the extraction is the sweetest. This is why there is a drink called 'ristretto' (Italian for restricted), where the pour is stopped early in order to avoid any of the later flavours and just get the sweetest part of the extraction. This also has less caffeine as caffeine is extracted in greater proportion later in the pour.

To know if you are getting the pour right there is an accepted standard. You should extract about 25 to 30ml of coffee in about 25 to 30 seconds. Some people are very strict about this and go to extremes to get their pours to be exactly 28ml in 28 seconds. But this is not necessary, as there is another test which can help you get the right result. That test is to look at the 'crema,' which is the thick brown foam on top of your pour. If it of a rich, reddish brown, reasonably thick and able to hold a few grains of sugar on its surface you have a good result. If it is too dark your pour was too, long or water to hot or coffee ground too finely. If it is too light, your pour was too short, coffee ground to coarsely, or equipment or water too cold.
It seems complex but after awhile it becomes second nature to watch as the pour is happening and you will know straight away if all is well.

Friday, 16 March 2007

brian che

Chris Hall from 'Think Aloud' loaned us this beautiful photograph by Brian Che. This small reproduction does not do justice to the real thing which was a luscious and seductive ocean of blues.
The photograph is of the southern ocean and was about 3 metres long.

Sunday, 11 March 2007

Why use locally roasted coffee?

We use Abrisca coffee. Abrisca are award winning roasters located in East Brisbane.
The advantage of using locally roasted coffee is that it is fresh.

Coffee deteriorates after roasting and even faster after grinding. So there is really no substitute to having your coffee roasted locally. Imported beans such as those found in supermarkets (Lavazza for example) or some coffee houses may have been roasted several months ago and will have lost alot of their unique flavours.

Our coffee is delivered in sealed bags with a one way valve. The valve allows the coffee to give off gasses but does not allow air to enter the bag. When coffee is exposed to air, it deteriorates and will eventually become stale.

Coffee should be stored at room temperature. Cold coffee resists extraction and if exposed in a refrigerator or freezer may absorb either moisture or other flavours which would be detrimental to its flavour.

andrew spark

The images are entitled 'Ghosts of Jarman'. From Andrew's exhibition in May 2004. The bird of paradise flowers are from our garden.

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

dogs out the front

One of the nicer aspects of a street cafe is that you can walk the dog over, park yourself and your dog outside and enjoy a coffee. While your dog does its utmost to look as bored as possible.

what are your chances ?

What are you chances of getting a decent coffee? Here's a test.

1 Are you in a shopping complex ?
2 Are you at a coffee franchise - Gloria Jeans, Starbucks, etc. ?
3 Can you see the word mugaccino anywhere ?

Answer yes to any one of these questions and you had better keep moving.

Sunday, 4 March 2007

andrew spark

This was taken on the opening night of Andrew Spark's exhibition at Cactus, in May 2004. We have since shown Andrew's works again and he has recently had an exhbition at the Ispwich Art Gallery entitled 'Signs and Signifiers.'

terry bouton

Terry Bouton is Brisbane artist and educator. We showed her large flower paintings sometime in 2003. These were large works with clear references to Art Nouveau. More of her works can be seen on her website.

mieke den otter

This was from our first show of Meike's work. Her background in illustration can be clearly seen here in the fine drawing.

blanca oraa

Blanca Oraa is a basque artist whose abstract work has been exhibited in Spain, the USA, and most European capital cities. We were lucky enough to show her work in September 2004.
Each small canvas is about 40cm square. They can be arranged in various combinations.

Thursday, 1 March 2007

inga nolan

I think we showed Inga's works in 2005. Inga Nolan is a Brisbane art with a degree in viual arts. All the paintings were large colourful and reminiscent of Chagall in their dreamlike quality.

rhonda crane

Part of an exhibition last year by local artist Rhonda Crane. We hope to have some of her new work up again this year. The piece in the photograph was bought by the Ipswich Art Gallery. The flowers are made of domestic cleaning pads. We got alot of comments about these, both positive and negative. People were polarised in their opinions women generally enjoying the playfulness of the works and identifying with the ideas they bring to mind, men often dismissing the works as frivolous. Some artists works elicit very little comment, sometimes it can be weeks before a regular customer notices that the exhibition has changed, with these works that did not happen.

end of the day