late afternoon in saint-louis

art and coffee and anything in between

all that jazz.. and afrobeat and mangoes

It’s that time of the year when Saint-Louis is pampered with great music and great jazzy vibes thanks to Saint-Louis Jazz Festival and numerous off-gigs in various venues in town. To celebrate the occasion we have ignited our roaster again to make a fresh new batch of coffee. This time the journey of the beans can be traced back all the way to Cameroon. We suggest you give this coffee a try as an ice latte and while you’re at it, you can indulge yourself with not just jazz and mbalax but also some recently acquired great vintage vinyls, starting from Fela Kuti, Orchestra Baobab and Bamako Rail band! We have not only a new batch of coffee but a batch of some great classic albums for you to browse – a chance not to be missed!

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Last but not least, a small side note: as the mango season is about to begin, we have been dreaming of getting creative again with cakes.. only one thing seems to be missing: we are out of gelatine and so far have not been able to locate the stuff on the island. So if you have an idea where to find it, or how to replace it with some perhaps lesser known traditional method, please do let us know. If your lead helps us, we’ll invite you for a treat!

camel milk

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Have you ever tasted the traditional staple diet of the bedouins, camel milk? It is full of proteins, vitamins and carbohydrates to keep your engine going in the desert. In a more urban setting: we have always had camel milk on our menu, although so far we have actually never tried camel milk in a coffee. This stuff is a rich source of proteins with potential antimicrobial and protective activities, and since it has more fat and protein than cow’s milk, it should, at least in theory, make a great froth.

Usually the taste of camel milk is slightly sweet and creamy and sometimes you can almost taste the camel’s diet in the milk. Last time we detected hints of acacia in it, or was it just our imagination? Whatever the case, try it out at least once, it’s a very refreshing drink, served ice cold!

harar in the pan

Today I roasted two kilos of Harar Oda-Bultum beans. This coffee comes from the Eastern part of Harar in Eastern Ethiopia. This is where the famous Harari coffee farmers produce their crop and dry their coffee in the sun. The drying process guarantees that you have a very particular earthy Harar flavour, sought by many roasters and coffee lovers, and particularly so by the Saudis who buy most of these coffees of the highest grade. Roasting Harar evenly has its own challenges, and especially with our traditional roaster operated by swinging the drum by hand!

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A mix of two batches of Harar.

The fact that roasting involves very high temperatures, and that to detect the degree of roast I need to open that drum while roasting, are other challenging parts of the job. And since we are in the tropics, even the time of the day matters: I am roasting outside so that I can let the smoke out freely – and there is always a lot of smoke where coffee is being roasted – and this means I need to do it in the early morning when it is not too hot and when I can still see the flame from the gaz burner. Later in the day the daylight is so bright that I cannot adjust the flame well. Likewise, in the evening  when it’s getting dark, I can see the flame very clearly but then it is too hard to see the beans in the drum. In the end, to get the degree of roast I am looking for is a mix of listening to the beans rattle and crack, checking, swinging again, checking again and calculating the last one minute or thirty seconds of roasting before letting the beans quickly out of the drum. These calculations include also the after roast, because we do not have a cooler at hand.

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Fresh out of the pan! Typically with Harar and other sun-dried coffees, there is plenty of chuff (the outer layer or skin of the bean) coming off in the roasting process.

we are roasting in short cycles

Did you know that we are running a small artisanal roastery in Saint-Louis, with various premium quality Ethiopian coffees? These coffees make excellent cups, and particularly so due to the fact that we are roasting our beans very slowly with a gaz roaster that we designed ourselves. A slow roast means that we roast one batch for almost twenty minutes, and this makes interesting coffee profiles, suitable for demanding tastes and  Arabica coffee lovers.

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These coffees can be tasted in our local coffee shop Ndar Ndar Music & Café located at Rue Blaise Diagne, opposite Hotel de la Tour. If you are in Dakar, you can also discover these coffees at SUUF Coffee in Nord Foire. We have also a stand at the Dakar Farmers Market in Marina Bay (Route de l’Aéroport) every first Saturday of the month – welcome to say hello and talk coffee!

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