Friday, 20 July 2007

Latte making - Karajoz tips

And onto Latte's...

Friday, 13 July 2007

New Poo Brew Two

More info on Indonesia Civet coffee - this time via the LA Times...

Read down to hear about maggot cheese - hmmm

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

How to make a great Flat White

We look at getting the milk just right

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Karajoz coffee tips - perfect espresso

The base for great coffee - the perfect espresso

Monday, 25 June 2007

Karajoz coffee tips - number 1

The first clip from our how-to DVD - enjoy!

Thursday, 14 June 2007

A few links

Couple of interesting links:

Scientists Demonstrate Best Way To Use Caffeine
Here is some useful news you can use. Morning "big gulp" coffee drinkers are misusing the power of caffeine. Researchers at the Sleep Disorders Center at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago along with colleagues at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School have shown that caffeine is best admnistered in a larger number of smaller doses with the doses coming later in the day.

Coffee's perk -- It's healthy
Apparently it's harder to shake a bad reputation than a caffeine habit.
Even after decades of study suggesting coffee is not harmful, one of the world's favorite beverages remains much maligned, with people afraid that it may cause everything from cancer to heart disease and high blood pressure.
But according to research, coffee might actually have some health benefits, and it's one of the few drinks available these days that doesn't come loaded with sugar and calories. It might guard against gout, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease, and other health problems.

McDonald's, Starbucks Battle Over Brews
A brewing battle in the coffee business is heating up.
An analyst at Deutsche Bank said Starbucks may see sales slow as people increasingly turn to McDonald's for their daily cup of joe, according to Bloomberg News.
McDonald's, which reported monthly sales last week that rose the most in three years, is selling iced coffee and other specialty drinks at some stores.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Less Tea Vicar?

Great to see coffee still growing in the UK, now they just need to dramatically improve the quality.

Why is it that the coffee chains do so well?

Usually the product is not great, is it advertising, position ,sheer weight of numbers, just what does drive the modern consumer and will it change?


Be careful your coffee doesn't turn into a hamburger

This is another good argument for steering clear of large American type coffees. Another is they just don’t taste very good. But I must admit I need sugar in my espresso to balance the taste.

From the Courier Mail in Oz:

ARE you mad about mocha, do you love your latte or is your day just not worth beginning without a kick-start from a cappuccino?

Beware: your favourite beverage probably contains more calories, fat and sugar than you imagine.

A large white chocolate mocha with whipped cream can weigh in at more than 600 calories and 28g of saturated fat.

That's more calories than a McDonald's Big Mac burger (480) and more saturated fat than a 100g block of Dairy Milk chocolate (18.7g).


Thursday, 24 May 2007

DKD - the truth behind the name

The meaning of the DKD was always a secret. Really it meant nothing, an esoteric reference to creeping corporatisation of society. Companies like NGK sparkplugs stuck in my mind when thinking about a name. The name of a place is really important in my opinion, it should convey a feeling that you build on.

I was asked once by a journalist what it stood for. Off the cuff is said Decadence Kills Depression .I was watching a music TV channel years later and they were sitting down random people in the street and asking “Does decadence really kill depression?”

Another rumour we started was that it stood for Deutsche Kommunistische Departmente and we were raising money to buy arms. I must admit we didn’t allow that one to gain too much traction.

We did find some 1.5 metre high polystyrene letters in the ceiling, amongst them were 2 Ds and a K.

My partner at the time was the lovely Karen my best friend was Darryl, and of course I roped them in for my dream of opening a café. All 3 of us put in unbelievable hours to “build” the café. Hence – DKD.

The early 80s was the forefront of the coffee revolution. Remember Starbucks started in Seattle around 1979. These were a couple of enthusiasts who were into coffee (they sold to a corporate type in 1995, who developed Starbucks into what it is today. The original owners weren’t really interested in being part of this).

In Auckland/NZ at the time burnt filter coffee was king. I remember talking to someone who owned a well-known café, who subsequently went on to become an expert in espresso, he said espresso, cappuccino will never catch on in NZ. I of course believed that it would. I believed within 2 years it would be on every corner. Naivety of youth but within 20 years the prediction proved correct.

Coffee wise the palette has changed significantly. There is a parallel with wine, 30 years ago the wine offering was very limited and being of very dubious quality. Cold Duck I remember being a favourite which was sparkling very very sweet and generally horrible. Now I think it would be fair to say that the average NZer has a reasonably sophisticated palette.

In the early 80s the only roasters around were Robert Harris and Old Mill. Initially we sourced from Robert Harris. We didn’t have a grinder (couldn’t afford one) so received the coffee pre ground. Now we know that coffee loses its character about 3-4 hours after grinding. We loaded the coffee into the handle and tamped it with a soup spoon. After a while we purchased a 2nd hand grinder which improved quality hugely.

Most of the coffee in NZ was from New Guinea and just roasted to certain colour level and then labelled Colombian, French, Italian etc etc.

We were approached by a German guy Norbett Eichblatt who had arrived in NZ after a spell in South Africa, and set up the first boutique roastery in New Zealand

He suggested a pure Kenyan, it was another leap forward. Kenyan is very beautiful tasting coffee, now it would be considered to bitter. It is very high in acidity and flavour. We still use it in our blend but at 10% or less. The impact to the blend is almost the same if you use 45% or 10% (characteristic of this origin) but at 10% the acidity is greatly reduced. Some acidity is essential too much is unpleasant.

We also thought we were very clever at the time and put all the fresh coffee into the freezer to keep it at absolutely Primo condition.

We know now that that’s one of the worst things you can do as it flattens out all the flavours. Maybe this helped reduce the sharpness oft he Kenyan.

Coffee should be kept in cool dry dark conditions, airtight. The enemies are extreme temperature (cold or hot) and oxygen.

So put your coffee at the back of the cupboard in an air tight tin.

Friday, 18 May 2007

A few old photos of DKD

I have been digging around and found a couple of old Pics... enjoy!

Thursday, 17 May 2007

New Poo Brew

The Aussies are paying $50 for a cup of coffee made from beans which have 'passed through' the systems of Indonesian Civet cats. Although I have yet to try, it could be interesting to aquire some rare coffees like this for a gourmet tasting. Usually the story is better than the actual, for example the famous Blue Mountain Coffee, nice, but not that much better than other origins.

Herald story
Blue Mountain Coffee

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

La Cimbali, 5,000 shoes and a new cafe

Well, I must say I am bowled over by all the comments and feedback I have received. It’s great to read so many positive, happy memories of DKD. It really was, in my opinion, the start of something new and a way of doing something outside the corporate-style culture that was becoming so pervasive at the time. I’ve been having a think about what to write about next, there are so many stories from DKD, as well as general coffee yarns. I know many people are itching to hear what the name DKD stood for – and yes, I did once say it stood for Decadence Kills Depression during a TV interview on Kaleidoscope, but I’d be misleading you if I said that was the true meaning. Still – I’ll save that one and start with the story behind something that was the heart of DKD – the gold and chrome La Cimbali Un Cimbalino two group machine.

When I was 13 or 14 I used to hang out in an Italian restaurant (the name escapes me at the moment – thoughts?) on Victoria Street. It featured the spectacular La Cimbali machine, which dated from the mid 1950s. Years later, when I was thinking about starting a cafe, I wondered what had happened to it. Turns out it was sitting in a shed – no longer working. I decided to buy it from Atillo, one of the owners for the princely sum of $400.

Of course, having a broken-down coffee machine in New Zealand in that time was far more of a problem than it is now – there were no repair guys, and I wasn’t engineering-minded. DKD didn’t open for around 15 months after I bought it, so we had a bit of time to use the trial-and-error technique to get it working. It really was a work-of-art, an extraordinary thing, and once I had bought that machine, the cafe just had to happen.

I had no money at the time, but there was a real subculture running in Auckland, and I was part of that. Ken Neale was a men’s outfitter with a shop at the Cook Street markets – dealing in 40s and 50s clothes. At one stage he lived in the old Hat Factory in High Street – back then it was pretty much illegal to live in the central city, but plenty of people did it and installed showers and kitchens to make them liveable. Ken then took over the lease of the space that was to become DKDs. It had been vacant since the 1920s and was owned by Amalgamated Cinemas, which owned the Civic.

The first time I went into the space it was filled with shoes – 2,500 pairs of, what I think, were ex-Navy shoes. Quite amazing. They were lined up in sizes throughout the whole place. Ken was thinking of living there, and was only paying $12 a week rent. We got the space off him, and because the rent could only go up a maximum of something like 10% a year, meant that after DKD was open for 10 years we were still only paying something like $90 a week.

It took a bit of talking to get the boss of Amalgamated Cinemas Joe Moodabe to agree, but he finally did. I can see why he was a little concerned. From the cafe you could get into the Civic, go through a trapdoor into the old boxes, and even get through the bowels of the building and see into the old Wintergarden kitchens – which were under a metre of water, flooded by the river that runs under the theatre.

It took nine months to prepare the space, some plastering lessons so we could fill in the holes, dozens of trips to junk shops to get the Formica tables and chairs we needed.

We also painted it 25 different shades of blue, but this was what made DKD what it was.

OK, better sign off, hope that bought back a few memories. I’m pretty keen to talk about our original coffee blends and the changing palate of coffee drinkers in New Zealand, but that will have to wait. Cheers.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

The Beginning

I was a very young man who had made some rapid advancement in the corporate world, ending as sales manager for an offshoot of Ciba Geigy (the Swiss pharmaceutical giant) based in Sydney Australia. Sydney had some great traditional unpretentious cafes which had been opened by European immigrants in the 1950s.

My favourite was Bar Coluzzi in Darlinghurst near Kings Cross named after the owner who was a relatively famous Italian /Australian boxer of the same era.
The gay community in Sydney at the time was large (and still is - second only to San Francisco). I had very close friends within this community, and socialized extensively with them. A characteristic of the community were that they were much more urbane and sophisticated than the rest of us, with numerous great parties, eating out and an appreciation of period Italian coffee stops during the day. Coffee was especially the lubricant to social interaction.

I must admit I was naïve kiwi guy who had not been exposed to this essentially European style of life. I was almost afraid to enter these cafés, I didn’t really know what happened in there. I guess I expected a restaurant full deal experience rather than a coffee shop. I was introduced by friends and soon embraced the “habit” of coffee throughout the day and more important the social interaction, people watching, the buzz.

The gay community was semi-underground and absolutely outrageous which was exciting. Utterly hedonistic! I must admit I was never tempted to embrace the sexual side being a red-blooded heterosexual male. And, in light of the HIV epidemic, that was a wise choice, most of my friends of the time now being dead - but that is another topic.

The corporate world was becoming less challenging. I was successful but my heart wasn’t in it. I left my job, and because I had money put aside I allowed myself the luxury of just hanging out, mixing with artists and musicians, thinkers and people who generally weren’t tied to a 9-5 existence, as well as generally soaking up life.

I was blown away by the scale of Sydney (compared to Auckland) and the buzz, anonymity and diversity of big city life. After 6 months or so I decided to travel through Europe and then return home to NZ. No real purpose at that stage just immersing myself in whatever came along.

In France and Italy I experienced the true café culture, as Id been introduced to in Sydney but even more as part of the fabric of everyday life. I loved it, it somehow gave a real feeling of freedom. To be individual but still part of a whole. A rhythm of life based on a social experience.

I had always read widely and deeply as a youth, and caught the tail end of the anti-establishment, free thinking and action “hippy” culture. A license to think radical thoughts fuelled by music, philosophy et al. Money was in short supply but almost unnecessary, I bought my books from second hand stores for a few cents. I was exposed to deep socialist philosophy 1930s New Zealand style (the books of which people were now unloading).

Visions of Utopia where everyone was equal and the strong looked after the weak. John A Lee was my favourite, backed up by Uncle Scrim: pioneer broadcaster and Methodist minister, and Micky Savage: the first Labour Prime Minister of NZ. An egalitarian ideal. These people were genuine.

NZ at the time was becoming much more materialistic, following a worldwide trend of free market economical thought originating from the US. The free market is the only way to have balance in society, the weak look after themselves or perish (but this again is another story). This was the early 1980s. Fortunes were being made on the world stock markets, with nothing real to back it up. Pure speculation. The gap between rich and poor really started to widen. A working man was finding it harder to make ends meet ,while the yuppie could spend 5 times the average wage just on one dinner with outrageously expensive wines. A time of real excess. Sex, drink drugs etc etc.

I arrived back in NZ with an image of the café. The local hangout where all types shared the same space, all ideas were respected, and we could realize we were all the same - enjoying diversity rather than running away from it and keeping our city architectural heritage intact bearing in mind the richness it could offer.

So, with no knowledge of the food trade, no knowledge of running a business, and no money to invest to speak of, in 1982 I opened the DKD café in central Auckland. I believed people would embrace the café concept ,and there would be one on every corner.

In 2007 cafes have spread throughout the country, we are utterly addicted to coffee, but have we embraced the culture?

Right, enough for now – will post more soon. Please drop me a line with any shared experiences or comments – I’d love to hear them.

Number One

Hi all,
Derek from Karajoz coffee here. So, I’ve entered the blogosphere! Expect – as the title says – musings on coffee and cafe culture in New Zealand. Kiwi cafes and New Zealanders attitudes to coffee have changed massively since I started my first cafe DKD in the 1980s, and I have a few tales to share.
I’m just putting the finishing touches on what will become my second post – describing how I came to discover the joys of coffee. I’ll post it soon.
Hope you all enjoy!