Alun Evans's Blog (33)

An evening in Bangsar- Kuala Lumpur

I am sitting outside now...the sky is a light, duck egg blue. Sitting under the fig tree where so often I pass the time between the busy lunch and hectic evening rushes. We are on a hill here...the street runs up and down to the Mesjid (Surau) at the bottom. At this time of night many people are beginning to walk home from work. Many in suits and ties. Others are coming out for the evening. For us its still not busy...but for sure on a Friday night it will become busy. Bangsar is a nicely…

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Added by Alun Evans on March 4, 2011 at 3:05am — No Comments

A tough nut to crack - specialty coffee in Kuala Lumpur

When Karl casually told me that he reckoned it was a good idea to open Antipodean in the flash, upmarket suburb of Bangsar (KL, Malaysia), I didnt know whether to laugh or cry. Malaysia, unlike Indonesia, has a very developed level of food appreciation- from eating the variety of delicacies on offer- to critiquing them via live blogs and other web media. In all honesty Merdeka Coffee has its hands fairly full with Indonesia, the cafe in Sydney, the roastery in Auckland and some plans for…

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Added by Alun Evans on March 2, 2011 at 11:09pm — No Comments

Flavio Urizzi- Wishing him well for a full recovery

Over the weekend I heard that CMA (Astoria/San Marino/Argenta) Sales Manager Flavio Urizzi suffered chest pains while he was in Ireland as a sponsor/judge for the Irish barista championships. He had to undergo some surgical treatment but is now resting comfortably and will fly back to Italy today or tomorrow. Flavio has always been a great ambassador for coffee and of course for Italian Espresso machines. I was looking forward to seeing him at the FHA in Singapore, although he now wont be there… Continue

Added by Alun Evans on April 11, 2010 at 6:21pm — 1 Comment

A Trip To Papua - Final Part



The ride from Wamena Airport to the Hotel in pedal powered Becaks took 5 minutes. The air was crisp, the sky clear and warming. The initial impression of the town was that the place was very small. Wamena is laid out in a grid like pattern, with streets patch-worked across the valley floor. Most roads were only recently sealed and until 3 years ago the only motorised transport was the four-wheel drives belonging to the Army, Police, Government… Continue

Added by Alun Evans on December 3, 2009 at 4:29pm — No Comments

A Trip to the Papuan Highlands - Indonesia (Part Deux)

There are over 250 tribal languages spoken in Indonesian Papuan alone (258 to be exact). The languages are so different that tribes living along the length of the long and wide Baliam valley can not understand each other. A common language called Papua-Malayu has been invented to help bridge this language gap. A combination of Malay and commonly used Papuan words. It works well.



The Valley itself has been cultivated for almost 9000 years,… Continue

Added by Alun Evans on December 1, 2009 at 10:00pm — No Comments

A trip to Papua – Indonesian Papua Highlands

The endless blue ocean that is the Arafura Sea meets Papua with a violent shudder of breaking surf on rocky beaches. Papua simply rises out of the water like some strange prehistoric animal. Ponderous, enormous, mysterious. The mountains climb endlessly, effortlessly towards the sky. These are some mountains: craggy, monumental- a darker kind of bruised and violent blue. This is a land stuck in time.



And the Jungle. Having traveled all over… Continue

Added by Alun Evans on November 29, 2009 at 6:30pm — 5 Comments

Indonesian Adventures- Malang October 2009 (AKA how much can you see in 24hrs on a jam packed schedule, with broken AC and average temperature over 100 degrees)

I must admit that it has been a long time since I last visited the Javanese highland city of Malang, 11 years to the day to be exact. My recollections of the place were pretty blurred. I spent an evening there in transit while traveling from Bali to Yogyakarta. Over the last decade I have been pretty much everywhere else in Indonesia, but never back to Malang.



A few weeks back one of my big corporate clients ordered a 2 group machine for… Continue

Added by Alun Evans on October 30, 2009 at 1:30am — 10 Comments

Adapting to different cafe settings

We have just opened a new cafe inside an International School campus. This cafe is designed to provide quality coffee and cakes (and light foods) to parents, staff and senior students. After the first week I am coming to the conclusion that I kind of underestimated the volume of business as well as the dynamics and menu mix of what customers want.



We knew that compared to our other cafes ticket average would be far lower, volume of drinks a lot higher. What I did not expect was just… Continue

Added by Alun Evans on October 9, 2009 at 7:47pm — 5 Comments

A morning walk in West Java

At this time of year the air can be crackling hot- at lunchtime hot enough to burn and blister the soles of your feet if you are silly enough to be walking through the sawah without shoes on. The rains threaten to come everyday, but as the day ebbs to dusk it is ultimately an unfufilled promise.



Because of the heat, and also in part because its the fasting month, we decided to do our monthly expat walk up into the hills early than normal.… Continue

Added by Alun Evans on September 9, 2009 at 2:01am — No Comments

Independence Day

Tomorrow is Independence day for Indonesia. 17th August, 1945- 64 years since the country unified and gained independence from the Dutch. As a visitor I have been privileged to have lived in the country and seen how progress has been embraced in many cases, rejected in others. The coffee revolution, or specialty coffee revolution to be more exact, is a fairly recent development in the scheme of things. Coffee was one of the harsher plantation systems the Dutch practiced during the Colonial… Continue

Added by Alun Evans on August 16, 2009 at 12:30am — 1 Comment

Day 1- D Day!

It is a shame I am not currently in NZ and therefore missed the official day 1 of the Parnell Roastery. Amanda kept in touch with emails, Donna with some sms texts and emails. All the hardwork in getting the place up to scratch is behind us, all the hardwork to build a viable Indonesian Specialty Coffee roasting business- in front of us.



In many ways I am missing the cool, crisp Auckland days. The blue sky, the ferry from dwn to Devonport. The friendliness of our new neighbours… Continue

Added by Alun Evans on June 8, 2009 at 2:03am — 4 Comments

New (Zealand) beginnings...



The coffee arrived in a huge truck that parked up on Parnell Road. It was a monster and its presence somewhat irked our new neighbours. Despite the size, the truck was only accompanied by one strong and nuggety driver. Between the two of us we managed to get the pallets of coffee off the truck and down into the brick courtyard that stands in front of the roastery. My Indonesian days had prepared me well for this- 60kg sacks are pretty normal loads… Continue

Added by Alun Evans on May 23, 2009 at 1:08pm — 7 Comments

Freezing in Auckland!

I know I can complain, its -7c down around Christchurch today with the wind chill factor put into the equation. Auckland, by comparrison, is a tropical 9c in the plus. As I look out the window, the water from the fountain is still flowing- which is a good sign. Its a long way away from Jakarta's 32c days- 365 days a year... but really the change is kind of refreshing.



We are still waiting for our greens to clear MAF's very tight border controls. With the Kiwi economy beng based on… Continue

Added by Alun Evans on May 20, 2009 at 8:10pm — 1 Comment

Opening the Roastery

I have not been idle during my absence from posting on BX. I am currently in Auckland, NZ (City of Sails- not sales!) working on getting a micro-roastery open. In March headed down here to look at a couple of roasting businesses for sale (not sail). Found a very nice place complete with red brick courtyard and fountain in Parnell. We are currently getting the place cleaned up ready to start roasting end of the month.



It is nice to be looking at spending a little more time down here… Continue

Added by Alun Evans on May 17, 2009 at 1:39pm — 4 Comments

By Rail through Java

Many years ago rail was the way I used to get around Java. The Dutch built a comprehensive railway system in the 1880's designed to make passenger and goods transport from the interior easy. At one stage lones ran both West-East and North-South criss-crossing the entire island.



These days the railway runs from Jakarta through to Banyuwangi in the East of the island. Tracks service Bandung, Surabaya, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Blitar, Malang and Probolinggo. 10 years ago I used to make it… Continue

Added by Alun Evans on April 11, 2009 at 12:00am — 6 Comments

Elections and Tea in West Java, Indonesia

As the hundreds of motorbikes reved their engine in noisy unison, I inwardly rejoiced at the fact that elections in Indonesia only happen every five years. In 1999 I was in Yogyakarta to experience my first Indonesian Election. Day after day the streets were clogged with motorbikes, each having ha its muffler removed in order to alert anyone who ws unware that election season was upon the nation. The riders wore their favorite parties colors- yellow… Continue

Added by Alun Evans on March 30, 2009 at 5:43pm — 1 Comment

Well Done Carl Sara

ONE News (New Zealand)





WATCH the video (1:56) The country's top baristas have converged on Christchurch to find out just who is the champion of caffeination.



On Saturday there was coffee and Swiss cheese, coffee with passionfruit syrup, blueberries and pink peppercorns.



It seems coffee is all about the art of perfection as eight baristas fought to be judged the country's supremo coffee-maker.



"Each year the signature drinks get a little more… Continue

Added by Alun Evans on February 28, 2009 at 1:14am — No Comments

Java Jive

It was February 6th 2007 when the last big floods hit us in Jakarta. I remember that day well as our cafe in Kemang was flooded a metre deep with muddy, dirty river water that had climbed out of the nearby creek and covered all of the leafy South Jakarta suburb within a few hours. The cleanup took a while, but I am proud to say that we were trading on the sidewalk the very next day for customers in a need… Continue

Added by Alun Evans on February 2, 2009 at 4:30pm — No Comments

A stroll in the country

Its this time of year I love the most. Its always hot in Indonesia, but where I live the months of December through until the end of February are the monsoon months. The rain is tropically heavy, although not strictly the monsoon you see in movies (or in reality on the subcontinent). It rains here for about 2 hours everyday. Sometimes in the morning, sometimes the afternoon. Sometimes you strike it lucky and it rains both in the morning and the… Continue

Added by Alun Evans on January 28, 2009 at 10:14pm — 3 Comments

Singaporean Coffee Culture; beauty in contrast, contrast in diversity.

There is something that is somewhat Colonial chic in drinking a coffee in a French Style Cafe on Beach Road in Singapore. The Cafe, Kafei Dian, is one of the many Singapore cafes that embraces a Parisian style approach to a cafe, fused with all things that are typically traditional Singaporean. The coffee is served in heavy white porcelain cups, complete with a ceramic Chinese Soup spoon for adding sugar. The coffee is Robusta, so it is very rare… Continue

Added by Alun Evans on January 19, 2009 at 4:52pm — 2 Comments

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