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Quaffee: Frequently Asked Questions

This page is divided into three sections since we either get coffee questions, Jura questions or general questions about our website or similar, so we have split it accordingly

Coffee FAQ

  • Q: My favourite coffee is not available anymore why?
  • A: High grade coffee is normally only harvested once a year. After the coffee is graded and tasted and it makes specialty grade green been is purchased in bulk. If we are the importer then we take as much as we believe will last until the next crop, and sometimes we get it wrong, and if we are not then we need to rely on the importers judgement. Sometimes also a favourite coffee has a bad crop and then we reject it. So just like a quality Champaign has a vintage our coffees that make it to the list have already jumped through many hoops
  • Q: Arabica is Arabica right?
  • A: We have a full discussion about this on the Arabica page but the short answer is no! Just like meat, fruit and veg coffee has different genii, varitals and quality. We only use AAA, pure Arabica that is 'typica' or a close relation. This means it is shade grown and at least 1500m above sea level in the tropical regions of the world. And it is warehoused near where it is harvested.
  • Q: What’s the difference between Espresso and your coffee – is there a difference in the bean or is it just a different way of making the stuff
  • A: The word espresso has been applied incorrectly to almost anything, from delivery to roast type. And espresso is actually a correctly extracted coffee under pressure, so typically it has 25-55ml of water, depending on the machine and the grind. For the Jura 45ml is a good espresso when you press the button once (i.e. mild or 8g of coffee).

    People call coffee beans espresso beans when they have blended to have good body when they are dark roasted. It is a bit like calling a blended wine a red blend, it does not really mean much, just that persons take on how a drinkable red would taste like.

    So if some asks for an espresso adjust the volume of water to 45ml and they will have and espresso, for a double espresso adjust the volume to 45ml and press the double cup button, this is normally served in a European cup.

  • Q: I like Douwe Egberts, which of your coffees do you recommend that tastes similar?
  • A:

    We all taste differently, so while it is hard to compare a blended coffee to one that is a single origin specialty coffee, we have found that those that enjoy this Sara Lee owned blend oftern enjoy the taste of the Samaritan Mandheling, which we list under our full-bodied and earhy coffees in our coffee list.

  • Q: What is wrong with coffee in Restaurants?
  • A:

    This is a personal opinion, for experience we have had with the catering industry, the catering industry has been so raped and pillaged by suppliers that it is a challenge to turn it around to produce a quality product we would be happy to be associated. What is quality, and why is it that it is the restaurant industry specifically we have found problems adopting quality.

    Let us start with the group head machines, normally these are sold by some agent whose main interest is the commission, not the product. So they normally sell a severely over spec’d machine. A two group head machine, is used to serve 200 cups per hour, less than that and the machine needs to be totally cleaned at least once a day. If you have access to such a machine do the whiskey glass test. Run an espresso without adding coffee, and check the colour to normal water out the tap, if it is not clear, then the machine requires extensive cleaning.

    Then let us get to the grinder. Normally restaurants have a dosing grinder these grinders are designed to empty their dosing vessel once every 10 minutes, more than that and the coffee is stale and starts damaging the dosing calibration, less than that you should have a dosser less grinder

    And we have not even got onto the coffee. Since the restaurant industry places a premium on price about quality, the coffee companies that target the coffee industry offer freebees and marketing material that has to be paid for somewhere. How they pay for it is by purchasing lower quality green bean (remember that their are over 50 varieties of the so called real coffee Arabica) and blending it with a filler called Robusta. Any coffee that retails for less than R100 a kilogram has at least 20% Robusta, which is not actually not drinkable on its own. And this is where the raping an pillaging is found, the more a restaurant asks for price reduction and marketing material the lower the quality of bean, and the higher the blend of the filler.

    We at Quaffee only do the highest grade coffee. We stay away from blending, we will do not even blend a lower quality Arabica in our “AAA” rated speciality coffees, like we have found some coffee companies do. All our coffees have scored a minimum during cupping of 86%, and even then we can reject it. And the few restaurants that we deal with, we have been able to properly show them all the things you need to do clean their coffee machine properly, and ensure their grinder is setup properly, and how to ensure it remains that way. These places have reported coffee sales increases of at least 300%.

    This is why we target the corporate market and domestic market. The person we sell to is normally the owner, managing director etc, who is only interested in the best. They understand quality they can taste it. A large portion of our clients have stopped ordering coffee at caterred events and restaurants and instead wait to get home to get a decent cup.

  • Q: Can coffee beans be frozen
  • A: Yes, and with good results. There have been a few coffee so called experts that condone this practice but we have done our own tests on our coffees.Frog Quaffer floating on lilly pad What we did with our tests is as follows:
    • We stored 3 different varietals of fresh roasted coffee beans in the cupboard, fridge and freezer, and stored a pack of each in the freezer. The beans we checked using a visual and smell test only, the packs we checked first after two weeks, then after fours weeks, then after 2 months, then after 3 months.
    • While the smell of the coffee beans in the cupboard and fridge you could detect differences within a month (we did not do a tasting with these) they were visually similar to the fresh roasted and frozen.
    • After 2 months the coffee that had been in the freezer, and fresh roasted coffee had little difference in taste, smell or look to fresh roasted.
    • At 3 months, the frozen packs smelt flat, and in tasting we found that it the fresh was slightly more lively than the frozen.
    • Our conclusion was that if you freeze within 24 hours of roasting in freezer bags, you can be satisfied with the coffee for the first two months, thereafter we recommend that you use restock from fresh

    Please see below for a copy of an email sent from Mike Sivetz, the worlds most recognized coffee specialist.
  • Q: Why do you not use the vaccuum or valve packing
  • A: Our packaging is local and is selected since it breaths. We did a number of tests (see above) on available packaging to find that the polyprop based packing we use in most cases met if not exceed expectations on the storage of the coffee. The vacuum or valve based bag, is a triple layered bag with foil and two plastics, it cannot breath and once it is opened needs to be decanted for the coffee to last. We found that with the zip-lock polypro based bag the coffee aroma was the first to go. Even with our 1kg zip lock bag opening it over and over again, when cupping the coffee it took about 6 weeks before we could identify aroma changes, when the coffee bag was stored in a cupboard. While the traditional triple layered bag would last no more than 4 weeks, since they are totally in effective once opened. We also did the same test with a sealed bag, and found up to 6 weeks the triple sealed bag and the zip lock bag smelt and tasted the same and in a blind tasting to fresh roasted coffee (actually it was 24 hrs old) neither could be distinguished.

    When we moved to freezer testing the triple laminated bags did not fare well at all and these bags should never be used in a freezer. With the zip lock bags we were able to extend the life of the coffee to about 2.5 months until cupping the coffee found a difference.

    These tests where done on whole bean coffee.
  • Q: What is fair trade
  • A: The fair trade foundation promotes that the full process from seed to bean to export follows laid down fair trade principles. So the supplier of the seed of the coffee bush, the farmer that plants the coffee, the picker that picks the coffee, the place that depulps the fruit and through to the exporter need to be fair trade certified. This thereby promotes the small farmer and worker, who take can then pride in their product and hence is well suited to our own principles.

    All of the coffees we source come from small farms they are Arabica 'typica' coffee specialists. We also support the fair trade foundation indirectly by supporting these farmers. Quaffee also has a fully certified fairtrade coffee as part of our range of coffee beans sold.

Coffee Machines & Equipment FAQ

  • Q: What is the difference between a commercial machine and a Jura F50
  • A: Here is our perspective of a Jura versus, and standard Commercial group head machine:
    Jura F50 Commercial Machine
    Advantages Disadvantages Advantages Disadvantages
    • Easy to use: One button grinds, packs and brews, which means training is simple
    • Has built in cleaning program, so easy to maintain
    • Crema is excellent on the coffee
    • Frothing is automatic for milk varieties
    • Makes a good cup of coffee consistently
    • Captures 16 Grinds at a time
    • No plumbing needed
    • Uses normal 220W power
    • Relatively small foot print
    • Coffee brew is good, but some flavours are not fully distinguishable. Best in class though
    • Latte art requires a little more more time to prep the milk
    • Heat of the coffee is around 90°C so there are some people that complain, normally older fashioned coffee drinkers, but they exist
    • Cup warmer uses only residual heat
    • Cannot be plumbed (need to upgrade X-9 for that)
    • Makes a coffee shop look fancy, and looks can be everything to some
    • In the right well trained hands and if well maintained makes fully extracted coffee. Exposing all flavours available in the bean
    • Frothing nozzle is excellent so latte art is possible, in the right hands
    • Can be plumed
    • Cup Warmer is powered and hot
    • Coffee temperature is hot
    • Grinder separate, and needs to be set to coffee and machine
    • Needs regular maintenance to produce the best results. Regular cleaning needs to include head, filter, group head
    • Training is required to produce the correct results
    • Machine if left idle gets to hot and scolds the coffee
    • Normally Must be plumbed
    • No ability to automatically froth and grind

  • Q: What about the local support for Jura
  • A: Jura founded in Switzerland in the 1930s fully supports the South African distribution channel, in fact as from 1 Sept 2008 Jura International has invested in the local distribution chain, with parts, service backup. In Cape Town there are a number of trained technicians, some of which work with us. There are also several factory trained technicians in South Africa who specialize in Jura servicing and repairs.
  • Q: What is the water hardness in Cape Town
  • A: We have found that the water hardness in Cape Town is normally no higher the 7° (or water hardness setting 1 on some of the Jura machines), however in rare cases it has been above that.
  • Q: What about the traditional domestic espresso machine
  • A: The traditional domestic espresso machine is a based on a great concept, they have do however have the following draw backs:
    • Since their filter head in smaller than commercial machines they normally produce very little backward pressure, resulting in a lower quality brew
    • The head and filter are irregularly cleaned, these should be cleaned if they are not going to be used for 20 mins, and so the head ends up caked in stale coffee, thereby permanently affecting the taste of the coffee it prepares.
    • The coffee used in these machines is normally badly ground, or stale and so the coffee cannot compete in taste with the even if the two factors above are not a consideration
    • Since there are no automated clean cycles or cup counts the machine is cleaned and descaled irregularly (if ever) resulting in a large residue of coffee all over the machines
    • In conclusion unless you are driven by cleanliness, and are happy to grind to order in a conical burr grinder the exact grind density and quantity, and prefer the manual process the Jura is the choice for you.
  • Q: How does this compare to a filter coffee machine?
  • A: The short answer is it cannot be compared:
    • If your coffee machine does not easily produce crema (and the Jura's do) then you are losing at least a third of the complete taste
    • The Filter process filters out a significant amount of goodness both flavour and health, and filter coffee has a higher amount of caffeine per portion then the coffee produced by a domestic/ commercial or bean-to-cup machine like the Jura, almost twice as much. Since Caffeine is bitter this increases the bitterness.
    • The filter based process has one advantage over the bean-to-cup machine, and that is that it produces a large quantity of coffee that can be served instantly
  • Q: I am on a budget, what is the best option for good coffee?
  • A: The most important thing is to fresh grind you coffee, if you have a french press (or bodum, bistro brewer) you can survive with a seed grinder (that is sometimes incorrectly called a bean grinder) but typically you should get a goodish grinder, we keep Krupps Burr Grinders in stock for clients, that ask us on request, but this is an entry level grinder for around R600.00. Then either use a Mocha pot, french press or filter and you will get a good coffee. The bistro grind is quite course, the filter a little finer, but more importantly should be uniform in grind. The mocha pot needs quite a fine grind, but not too fine, since that will cause the coffee to come through the filter, but uniformity is more important.
  • Q: How do I perform maintenance on my Jura machine?
  • A: With the machine came a small manual, all the details are there. Otherwise for cleaning the frother, decalification (or descaling), coffee filter cleaning and filter replacement click on the Maintenance link on the meny Guides.
  • Q: How do the Jura coffee machines compare to other makes like Gaggia and Seaco?
  • A: Jura is a well respected brand world wide, and specifically in Europe. That said there are other brands that are well respected too. I our original assessment we looked at over 17 makes, and we found that for us the Jura consistently performed better than any other make (unless you were prepared to go manual or spend a whole lot more). We have listed a summary of we we recommend the Jura machines under Why Jura coffee machines.

    Add to that the track record we have had with the machines, the parts are normally in stock, all repair work can be done locally in South Africa, and specifically in Cape Town and Johannesburg where there are full repair centres. Remember that our driving force is specialty coffee so if any of our clients machines are not reliable and produce the best from the coffee bean then this reflect on our selection of coffee, so selecting the best we could was our priority.

General Questions

  • Q: How do I order from you
  • A: To order from us is as easy as clicking on Order, no need for completing and orderform or equivalent. The online order form will ask you all the questions, allow you to get a quote, and allow you to order
  • Q: What are your delivery hours or times?
  • We typically deliver between 09:00 and 16:30, however can make special arrangements.

    For Cape Town we typically deliver Thurs after 09:30, Friday and Monday orders from Tuesday afternoon (Parow-Durbanville) and the rest of Cape Town will be on Wednesday. Then orders from Tuesday to Wednesday are delivered Thurs afternoon and Friday morning. We roast the morning of Tuesday and Thursday at the moment in Cape Town, this may change as volumes increase.

    At the moment for Johannesburg there is not exact rule, but we prefer to roast on the Friday, send up over the weekend, our agent then has the coffee typically bu Tuesday morning, and distrbutes during the week. We can also courier to you directly the means that you will normally get delivery in 2 business days, but it does cost R70.00 minimum

  • Q: What types of online payment do you accept?
  • We Accept Credit Cards Instant Electronic Payment

    We have outsourced our online payment ot PayFast. The support a wide range of payment options, and you can select the type of payment you want to use on first our order site and then when you pay.

    UKash cash voucher PayFast Gift voucher

    At the moment PayFast accept the Instant EFT from ABSA, First National, Standard and Nedbank. They also accept Major Credit cards, UKash and a PayFast Voucher. Once you order using PayFast they keep the money in escrow for at least 48 hours to ensure that we deliver to you.

Please note that we have not received permission to publish this yet from Mike Sivetz, so we may need to remove it. However the text is word for word

Sent: Friday, 17 August, 2007 11:23 PM
Cc: tlingle@scaa.org

Subject: Freezing Preservation and fresh Roast coffee Bean Aroma

Too many people, especially in the specialty coffee trade, govern their lives from rumors and not facts.

Forget your gadget for alleged wine preservation. It has no bearing for coffee aromatics. You attribute a response you received from someone (please identify who) in the SCAA Tech Stds that they do not recommend freezing roasted coffee beans. They are wrong. It is unfortunate that the SCAA is putting out recommendations w/o real evidence. and w/o explanation or identity of the spokesman. Nor have they read the facts about preservation in my recent patent.

Please go to www.uspto.gov which allows you to select my Feb.4, 2003 U.S.Patent # 6,514,552

Read the introductory part of the patent which tells about how the R&G coffee poorly packed in evacuated cans with 4% oxygen has been the standard in the USA since before WW-2 , over 75 years. The public is used to stale tasting coffees. Read it carefully and thoroughly for an understanding about preservation of fresh roast coffee bean aromatics and how the major USA roasting firms have continued since the l930's to can and sell stale R&G coffees.

This is a scandal, that the industry perpetuates, rather than doing what it takes to deliver freshly roasted aromatic coffee beans.

So far the quest for the dollar has been mightier than the quest for acceptable coffee qualities. Because that is the state of the industry. It has not done its best, or even tried to deliver the best quality.

I find it outrageous that the SCAA and others blame the coffee farmers for not producing better quality beans, when in fact it is the roasting industry that down grades the roasted beans in a dozen ways, before the beans or R&G coffee reach the consumer.

Thank you for your interest in searching out the true quality nature of our commercial coffee market. My patent explains staling & preservation of freshly prepared aromatics, Once one understands the chemical nature of staling, then one can make a sincere effort to prepare and package a properly preserved roasted coffee bean.

The commercial coffee industry lives off the ignorance of the public as well as their own negligence in achieving quality. We have the technical knowledge to produce and deliver fresher better tasting coffees and some one needs to move on this opportunity.

Mike Sivetz

Got a question that is not answered? Then contact us and we will post the answer here and send it to you too

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