It’s really important to us that each and every cup of coffee or tea we send out achieves the highest levels of quality. There are several ways to ensure this, of course the first step is that we use the very best beans and leaves to start with! However, to ensure consistency across every drink we use precision in the form of weighing all the shots, pots and brews that we pour.
For espresso shots, we weigh the ground coffee for every shot. Humidity, use and other factors can affect the grinders. On a busy Saturday in summer, the burrs can get hot and although the grinders we use dose by time, this can cause inconsistency due to static or heat. So we weigh the ground coffee coming out of the grinder for every shot. For a double shot of coffee we use 20g dry ground coffee and we aim for our wet dose to be between 36g to 38g. We always watch the shot as well as timing it so that we can see when it has reached its optimum extraction and if necessary can be stopped before over-extraction occurs.
For the slow brew coffee methods Chemex, Aeropress and V60 we also weigh the dry coffee going in and we pour the slow brews on a precision weighing scale so that we can also ensure the exact weight of the final brew. For Chemex and V60 we use a dry dose of 18g and a final brewed weight of 250g, served in a small carafe. As Aeropress is a slightly more full bodied brew, we use 19g. When pouring the slow brew methods we also use a timer to ensure again that the extraction, dose and grind are all correct.
Dialing in, weighing coffee output
And it doesn’t stop with coffee! Because we use only loose leaf, large leaf teas we also weigh out the dose for our teas. Different tea leaves can be different sizes, so it is not always possible to tell the correct dose of tea by, for example, using a teaspoon, as different volumes do not always correspond to the correct weight of tea. So we weigh our dry tea leaves and again pour the tea on the scale to ensure the correct amount of hot water.
This is the care we take over every drink, and we hope it shows in the end result.
We’ve had some fantastic coffees in the past few weeks, and have some really great ones lined up for the autumn! One of the best things about our job is working with great roasters, following the harvests and seeing which coffees are available and bringing our customers a varied changing coffee programme. But of course, great coffee is about much more than great baristas or great roasters. Great coffee starts with the growers. Having worked directly with coffee growers for a number of years, it’s important to me that we remember where great coffee starts, with those who grow it and the care they take over their crops. There are so many fantastic varietals, old and new, and more and more innovative processes before the beans even reach the roaster. It’s great to think that barista, roaster and grower are each taking the best care over the production of the very best drink possible from this tiny but important bean! The current movement in direct trade and speciality importers and roasters working directly with growers to improve quality and develop these processes is also inspiring.
coffee drying in Kenya, photo taken by Ruth
As baristas at Bean & Bud we are passionate about the way we prepare and produce each and every drink we make. We owe it to our customers and also to those who grew the coffee trees!
Our good friend Andy Dennis gave an inspiring talk last week on his work with Doctors Without Borders. Although the sub heading was ‘heroes not required’, I think all those who attended the talk might disagree and feel that those working for MSF under such stressful conditions are the true heroes in this world. If you missed Andy’s talk it was videoed on the night, so you can catch it here and donate if you can: your chance to make a real difference: Andy Dennis talk re Medecins Sans Frontieres
We are very lucky in our business that over the years a number of our customers have become real friends. One such is Andy Dennis, a special person and a very good friend who will be giving a special talk at Bean & Bud on Thursday 7 August at 6pm.
Andy is a nurse on the Intensive Care Unit at Harrogate District Hospital. Prior to nurse training he worked as a Royal Air Force Medical Assistant including active service in the first Gulf War and various other nursing experience. In addition to his NHS work Andy now works with Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), which in recent years has included working in Northern Uganda and twice in South Sudan. In 2013 he spent 6 months at Leer Hospital in South Sudan running the Nutrition Project caring for malnourished children.
When he is not working in the NHS or with MSF his time is spent fundraising. In 2011 Andy walked around 2000 miles from Amsterdam to Barcelona as a fundraising challenge, which has so far raised more than £37,000 for MSF. You can find more about this project at www.walka2b.co.uk.
Andy’s presentation at Bean & Bud will focus on the recent mission in South Sudan, a little background about MSF and the fundraising activity.
Please try to join us for this event. There is no need to book but it will be busy. We will be open as usual serving great coffee and tea, and there will also be a chance to donate to this extremely important cause.
As a true independent we love to work with some of the best roasters around, and to build real relationships with the roasters so that we find out the best beans, how to get the best from each coffee etc. We are really excited therefore to be working with one of the most highly respected roasters around. The Barn in Berlin take passion for coffee to a new level. As well as paying farmers top prices for their coffee and creating real connections with the growers, they treat the farms like vineyards, working with farmers to bring out the very best qualities of each coffee. Coffees are not blended but remain as traceable single origins. The coffee is then roasted with great care and attention, either for espresso or filter. Here at Bean & Bud we always order coffee from roasters who roast to order, so the coffee is fresh. We then rest for 7-10 days to allow the coffee to de-gas and to develop the optimum flavour. The coffee is then prepared with equal care and passion in the shop: espresso on our La Marzocco Strada, or filter coffee on Chemex, V60 or Aeropress.
For our first two coffees from this great roaster we have two wonderful Africans. On espresso from next week we will have the gorgeous Hunkute from the Sidamo region in Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee. This coffee from mixed heirloom varietals is washed and then dried on raised beds. It produces rich notes of honeysuckle and nectarine. On slow brew we have the wonderful and complex Kenya Githiga. On filter it shows the typical blackcurrant notes of Kenyan coffees but with a silky mouthfeel and hints of vanilla.
We hope this will be the great start of a relationship with another great roaster, and that we will be able to continue to bring you an even greater range of fantastic coffees that are sourced directly, ethically and with a view to the very best quality.