Coffee fans are legion, and there are hundreds of ways they like their drink. Baristas are great at catering to everyone’s wishes, but there’s still an equally important factor that’s easily neglected – the actual rituals that surround the drinking. Take Klara, for example. A fitness competitor, everyone thinks she only drinks water and the evil-smelling vegetable smoothies that she downs with a grimace. But once it’s breakfast time it’s almost as if she’s a different person. Sitting in her sports clothes after an early morning run, she endlessly stirs her very pungent coffee with a stick of cinnamon. “This is how I like it,” she says. “Very strong. Two sugars and a teaspoon of milk. Has to be in this cup” – she nods towards it – “and from that machine.” Another nod. The machine in question: an ancient, pitted Italian espresso maker that rests on an antique electrical stove with a frayed flex. Her parents drank their coffee this way, off the same stove, and now she does; a tradition remembered. Coffee’s like that. No matter what the taste, or the effect, or whether it’s good or bad for you, it’s part of the daily habits of millions of people, the world over.
Klara’s own ritual may be extreme and impractical for any café to take on board, but as coffee shop owners all know, rituals and habits have to start off somewhere. This means that they can even be created then improved upon. Meanwhile, the kind of bubbling, smelly pot that Klara uses, along with other equally cumbersome devices prone to electrocuting their owners, were replaced decades ago by sleeker machines that intend to soothe rather than to kill.
You might think that coffee technology must have reached a peak by now, but that’s hardly the case. There are plenty of far newer, far niftier machines gracing the market these days – the upshot being that your coffee will taste even better. And thanks to coffee experts, Boncafe, you can be sure that they’ll be supplying Samui with the latest devices fresh in from Europe.
Boncafe stocks the E6 Platin, for example, manufactured by top Swiss company, Jura. The E6 is a squat, yet good-looking device that uses a pulsing extraction system to draw out the best from every bean. It’ll turn you into a barista, or if you’re already one, it’ll delight your guests in your café or restaurant. Inside the machine you’ll find a circuit board that does your thinking for you, making your tasks quick and easy. All you have to do is to keep the machine clean, which is very simple to do. Everything’s been thought out. The coffee bean container inside keeps the aroma intact right through the grinding of the beans and thus makes a dependably good cup. The bean hopper can take over a quarter of a kilo of raw beans, making the machine ideal for the hospitality industry – you won’t need to keep refilling it. It’ll also make two small cups simultaneously thanks to the double drip system it possesses. It’s one of the best machines around for making espresso, but it’s very versatile when it comes to other types of coffee too. The price represents great value, and also includes installation and training. Not that it takes long to learn how to use the machine, but it’s easier if you’re shown rather than have to struggle through a manual. Boncafe also stocks several other machines from Jura, and offers a whole range of European-made products that are eminently suited to home, office, coffee-shop, restaurant and even individual hotel rooms.
You may be wondering what happens should you purchase a machine from Boncafe and it needs a service or, in the worst case, it breaks down. In either case then simply bring it along to the team at the Boncafe store; they’ll give it a thorough inspection and put right anything that’s not working properly. Some machines will need to be repaired in Bangkok, however. With reliable equipment and the right atmosphere, a coffee shop can have some confidence that it’ll be successful, as there are simply so many potential customers. And if their needs are met and their preferences and rituals are observed, then they’ll come back for more.
Boncafe can install just about any kind of machine needed, but they are able to do a lot more than that. The staff have a passion for coffee, and are extremely knowledgeable about all its aspects. When you talk to them, you realize that there’s more to coffee than just getting the right beans, grinding them and then adding water. There are many variations, and Boncafe are keen to share their expertise. This could make a big difference to your café, restaurant or office or, if you’re simply a fan of coffee, to the way you drink it.
At Boncafe they have all sorts of ideas. Just to take one example out of many, they know everything about cold brew coffee. Ask most lay people what it is and they’ll take a second or two to think and come up with the answer, ice-coffee. People tend to envisage a tall glass and some sort of combination of ice cubes and coffee. Cold brew is something quite different, however. And it’s usually served hot. Apart from that, it’s extremely tasty; for some people it’s definitely their favourite coffee ritual. To make this kind of coffee requires a little effort; first coffee is ground, room-temperature water is added and the concentrate is left to steep. Afterwards the grounds must be filtered out with a coffee filter paper or
sieve. Once this is done, the coffee can be diluted with water, if desired, then either heated up or poured over ice. You can also blend it with chocolate or add a spice such as cardamom.
The advantage of a cold brew is that the coffee has a much lower level of acidity and therefore has a sweetness to it that normal brewing, done at hot temperatures, can’t achieve so easily. When coffee is made with hot water, the chemical reaction that takes place inevitably leads to a bitter taste. Cold brew coffee is also a lot stronger than coffee made by usual processes; the levels of caffeine are considerably higher, so you may need to dilute it quite a bit. And when it comes to ice coffee, cold brew wins every time: because the coffee is already chilled rather than piping hot, it requires little ice and therefore its taste remains intact and doesn’t get watered down by melted ice.
Techniques like this are just a small part of Boncafe’s overall know-how. If you sit down and talk to the staff, you’re very likely to be given advice that’ll really make a difference to the way you view coffee. Just drop into their store cum showroom in Bophut, 500 metres from the traffic lights on the ring-road as you head towards Maenam. They’re extremely welcoming people, and can help you with literally anything to do either with coffee, the machines that make it or any accessories you might need. Whether it’s a small replacement washer you require for your coffee machine or the expertise you’ll need to get an entire coffee shop up and running, they’ll be able to assist you.
For further information, telephone 0 7742 7486.