Coffee CD and DVD Reviews
the world of coffee finally moves into the 21st Century, I’ve received 2 DVDs and a CD
for assessment. The DVDs are training aids courtesy of the Coffee
Academy, and the CD is an encyclopaedia of the coffees of the world.
first DVD is “Prepare and Serve Espresso Coffee” from the Coffee
Academy at the William Angliss institute of TAFE, A$26.00 plus postage
The second DVD is “Coffee Art”, from the same source,
A$16.00 plus postage.
The CD is “Les Cafes produits dans le
Monde”, “The Coffees produced throughout the World”, and is Euro 55.00
including postage from the Netherlands. The supplier in this case was
Ivo van der Putten of www.vdpcoffee.nl .
serve Espresso Coffee”
The program is basically a recap of the
actual course as taught at the Coffee Academy. It’s divided into 8
sections, beginning with an introduction where the first “talking head”
is Giancarlo Gusti, proprietor of “Grinders” coffee roasters and a
patriarch of the Australian coffee industry. In fact Giancarlo sold me
the first bag of “real” coffee I’d ever purchased, over 30 years ago
Then it’s into “Growing Harvesting
Roasting”, “Coffee Making Equipment”, “Making Perfect Espresso”,
“Checking the Grind”, “Milk
Texturing”, “The Espresso
Menu” and “Cleaning and Maintenance”.
The “Growing Harvesting Roasting” bit was
filmed in Australia, at the Skybury plantation, one of the most
mechanised in the world. While it is accurate as far as it goes, it
doesn’t really reflect the reality of most coffee growing and
processing in the world, and shows only wet processing of the harvested
beans. The “Roasting” segment is fairly superficial as well.
The nitty gritty parts of actually making
a decent espresso, narrated and performed by Jill Adams, are handled
fairly well and all the basic information is well covered and accurate.
One small niggle is Jill’s “Perfect Espresso Shot”, where the pour
looks to be a little lacking in viscosity. Since this tends to be a
function of the beans, and the beans are Piazza D’Oro, the major
sponsor of the Academy, I suppose it couldn’t be helped.
Overall this DVD is an excellent basic
introduction to the world of espresso production. There’s a lot that
could still be done to improve it, though, and some of the things I’d
like to see are:
explanations of WHY you do things, rather than just telling you WHAT
you should be doing.
and explanations of common problems with espresso production and milk
texturing, and a troubleshooting guide explaining what to do when
things go wrong.
in depth explanations of what an excellent espresso actually looks and
However, I have to say that at the price
(and especially compared to the cost of most of the books on the
subject) there should be a copy of this DVD in every café in Australia.
It should be required viewing for proprietors AND staff, and it would
go a LONG way towards improving the general standard of espresso!
This appears to be a short movie supplied
in DVD format, which demonstrates how to produce various forms of “Latte
Art”. While it’s OK as far as it goes, it could have
gone a LOT further in terms of tips and tricks, common mistakes to
avoid, practice exercises for beginners etc. It seems to have
originally been meant for video, and makes no attempt to exploit the
multimedia features available for DVD.
My verdict on this one would be that in
its present format it would only appeal to enthusiasts with plenty of
time and milk for practice. It’s not really “step-by-step” enough for
the novice barista, although several close viewings would probably give
enough clues to start you off. However, compared to some of the other
training materials available, the price is excellent!
“The Coffees Produced
throughout the World” by P. Jobin & Cie.
This CD-ROM effectively replaces and
updates the original Jobin coffee encyclopaedia, which weighs in at 4kg
and currently sells for
US$225.00. (http://secure.stoneworks.com/scaashop )
To quote from the SCAA website, “The green coffee
professional’s ultimate reference book. In French, English and Spanish,
this book covers everything about all eighty coffee producing nations
that you could ever want to know; the amount of acreage devoted to
coffee, soil condition, botanical varietal, yield, major ports,
economy, harvest season, political structure, etc.”
The CD edition is in
English and French only, and at present available for Windows, although
a Mac version is in the works. It requires the installation of the
Borland Java Virtual Machine before it will run, and when you first
start the CD it attempts to connect to the internet and download the
JVM, a 14 meg download! This is somewhat stupid as a copy is already
present on the CD, and can be installed by looking at the CD contents
in Explorer and clicking on the file.
If you’re involved
with any aspect of the green coffee business it’s worth the trouble. I
don’t know of any other reference work in the coffee industry that
covers the breadth of detail that Jobin does. My only complaint would
be that slightly more specific cupping notes about the various coffees,
instead of general descriptions along the lines of “can sometimes
compete with standard arabica”, would be more useful. Otherwise you can
search by country, continent or typing in the country name, and
discover an impressive amount of detail about how, where and when
coffee is grown and harvested.
Jobin is now an
affordable “Must Have” for anyone seriously involved in the Specialty