Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Coffee Journey with Michael Gibbons, Illy & Bosch

Rush. A happy rush, that's what I was getting when a text message came through from Bosch representative saying that a spot has opened up and I'm the first one on the waiting list to fill the gap. What's with all the excitement you ask. Nothing actually ... only the PROFESSOR of coffee university is here and giving a discourse on coffee! =D

It was Illycaffè and their dedication to coffee that started Universita del Caffe Di Trieste (UDC) in 1999 with a simple goal of extending their 75 years of coffee excellence to coffee producers, connoisseur, and culinary professional. Here they will learn everything about coffee, from theories, to cultivation, until preparation technique. Michael Gibbons, a barista for more than twenty years in Australia has teamed up with Illycaffè to head UDC in Jakarta. Located in Hasyim Ashari (Ph: 021 6386 4152) , the place is up for any coffee enthusiast to visit.

Now back to the event. As I walked in Mike standing behind his espresso machine responsively asked if I wanted a drink. Right then and there he shows what he's made of. A little less than a minute, a cup of warm, fresh cappucino is ready. I must admit, I'm not a coffee drinker,  so I'm not to judge if the coffee is good or bad. My tastebud is just as bland when it comes to coffee. But this is the very reason why I joined this event. I'd like to know firsthand what excites people into this addiction to coffee and maybe catch a little hint to start enjoying it.

A short time after, Mike began to present his take on coffee. I won't bore you with too many details. Let's just enjoy the photos as he makes the coffee of his specialty and slip in a few fun topics and facts in betweeen. Shall we?

Coffee & Caffeine

Many of us drink coffee for the pleasure, and undoubtedly some drink to stay awake and alert. However, say I line up a cup of Coffee, a cup of Tea, a can of Energy Drink and a 100gr Chocolate bar. Which topped the caffeine chart? Go ahead make a guess.

If your answer is coffee, then my friend, you'd be surprise to know that Chocolate beats coffee by almost threefold. In order of comparison, from coffee, tea, energy drink, and chocolate : 65mg, 50mg, 28-87mg, 150mg. This simple fact means different thing for different people. In my case, I gotta tone done my chocolate consumption =( What about you?

Arabica & Robusta

For years I cannot distinguish the two. And still don't. Haha. But in general I get the idea that Arabica is of a favorable breed for several reason. One is for being the earliest species of coffee to be cultivated. Originated in Yemen on the arabian peninsula, thus the name Arabica. Two is because it contains less caffeine (1.3%) than the second popular siblings, Robusta (2.5%).

 Barista & Espresso

“Barista is the most misused term in the industry,” said Michael Gibbons. “Someone who can make coffee is not a barista. He’s a coffee maker. A real barista should be able to make 150 cups of coffee in an hour comfortably,” Gibbons said. “And each one should be excellent.” 

That sounded harsh to some. But watching him doing his magic with the espresso machine above, I have to agree. It may look easy. Grind the beans, press, click on the machine, press a button or two, pour milk, make a froth, fill in the cup, voila! But let me tell you, its far from easy. Every detail has to be in the exact proportion, timing, and temperature. For instance, Espresso, should be within 7 gram of coffee, 30 second of extraction, 90 degrees water temperature, 9 bar of pressure to get 25-30 ml of quality coffee. One cup might be easy, try making five or ten in a row and have to maintain the consistency. That is something.

And that's what happen in Barista competition. Espresso said Gibbons is the primary distinguishing feature of a barista. From the way they are prepared, Espresso in itself is one complex drink with concentrated flavors and aromas that distinguish it from coffee prepared by any other method. Or as UDC explains it, Espresso is "the purest way to enjoy its aroma and flavour at their maximum intensity". When a Barista can nail down the Espresso, the rest shouldn't be a problem.

Kopi Luwak (Civet Coffee)

So I asked Mike what his take on Kopi Luwak and the answer is obvious from the look on his face. Hahaha (you know what I meant). Anyway, his diplomatic answer was "... depends on the way its prepared, if its through a syphon then yes, if its through an espresso machine, then you can forget it. But then again would I pay 300 bucks for a bag of coffee? Naah." 

The reason behind he explains after is that, a good coffee for espresso is the one that is mixed among at least 6 or more blend of beans. If you try to extract an espresso from a single blend, then most probably the outcome wouldn't be good.

Where To Start For A Good Coffee?

Mike really recommend Kitchennete, Social House, and Espressamente Illy for their coffee if you want to benchmark your tastebud with a really good coffee. He also reveals that their Ice Cappucino thingy is his signature creation for them. I simply can't wait to go over and get all my five senses used to a good coffee so that I can tell the bad ones.

To close, I'd like to give a heads up to Illy and Bosch for organizing such a delightful and informative event. If you're curious about their products, you can visit their new showcase studio at Wolter One Place, Jl. Wolter Monginsidi 63. Looking forward to the next one.


Fellexandro Ruby
Food Blogger & Photographer
Snack on my tweets @Wanderbites


  1. Why would he recommend Kitchenette and Soho? Because illy cooperate with Ismaya! hehehe. Try Monolog at PS and you'll know why lots of coffee people came to spy and observe them. Quality, it is. :) a very nice blog post, Rub!

  2. Hoki banget bisa cobain kopi bikinan expert, bikin ngiler....gue pengen les barista dsana belom kesampean hahahaha, tapi thenkyu postingnya ngebantu.

  3. Thanks for the great blog!


  4. @DANIEL: I'll give a try on Monolog but only if you're the barista! HA! =p

    @CHINESE HERB: Iya hoki nih. Padahal udah ga berharap apalagi cuma 'waiting list'. Tapi memang Tuhan baik sama orang yang ga ngerti kopi. HAHA.

    @MICHAEL: You're welcome ;) Do come back when I posted another one on Kitchenette!

  5. iriiiiiii.... hahaha :D i would love to learn more about coffee.. :D

  6. I love your blog! You seem to have a good hand with DSLR and your writing really reflects your passion in what you're doing. I can't refrain myself from unraveling each and every page of your blog :D

    keep writing!

  7. @CHUBBY CHICK: yuk, keep posted, they'll have another one soon. ;)

    @IROCKETBRAM: Thank you, I'm humbled. It is because of readers like yourself that I dedicated so much. And of course, like what I saw in your blog, all these are labors of love and passion =)

  8. Monolog is a great looking place, very good design. I won't comment on the coffee ;)
    Of course I recommend places I am sure of the quality, where I have done the training ;) hahahahahahahaa


Real Time Analytics