I love the idea that we can buy produce here that makes a real difference to the people who make it. … Read more about Buying coffee to make a difference (did you hear that?)
Photo: Scot NelsonA little exchange on Facebook last week made me think it was time to write a basic guide to the two most common types of coffee. This will be very familiar ground to any readers with a keen interest in coffee, but may be new ground for some.
There are three species of the Coffea genus - three kinds of coffee plant that cannot be interbred. Only two are grown commercially.
The good quality coffee plant is Coffea Arabica, and accounts for about 80% of the world's coffee production. There are a number of varietals within this one species. Most of the time, you get red ripe cherries to pick, inside each of which are two flat seeds. This is the coffee that has the best taste, although the quality of what is grown varies enormously. Please don't make the mistake that some branding and marketing executives want you to make - if it says Arabica on the packet it must be good. The preparation, roast and subsequent … Read more about Arabica / Robusta / Canephora
Two of the people from Has Bean Coffee have produced a free e-book on how to brew espresso, and how to tune that process until you are getting the exact drink you want.
When this was first written, it was only available to those who had an iOS device - which was not me.
However they've just turned it into a 23-page PDF document, which means the rest of us can now read it too.
Today, I'd like to introduce you to cascara.
It's not a kind of make-up.
It's not a sequence of waterfalls.
It's a byproduct of the coffee producing process, which most people in these shores haven't heard of. Yet in the coffee producing regions it is turned into a drink in its own right.
Meet: Cascara … Read more about Cascara
For those who don't know, a Hot Top is a home coffee roaster that operates a bit like a miniature version of the commercial roasters. It roasts in a perforated steel drum that rotates while the air temperature around it ramps up to the right temperature. When the beans are roasted, they are ejected into a cooling tray where ambient air is blown through the beans that are stirred with a paddle. The whole thing takes 20-25 minutes. … Read more about Help! I've just been given a HotTop. What do I do?
Steve Leighton, proprietor of Has Bean Coffee, has been on a trip to Kenya.
Naturally, this is doubly close to my heart, and so it was interesting to read his thoughts on his return.
There's an encouraging twist in there that we can expect some good Kenyan coffees to land in the UK in a few months time as a result of his trip. … Read more about What's happening with Kenyan Coffee
I've just tried Ethiopia Kerbal Konga Washed for the first time. Absolutely blows you away.
Sadly, I tried it first and then looked at the price - not the cheapest coffee you could get.
But it truly is worth every penny. … Read more about Ethiopia Kerbal Konga Washed coffee
It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Has Bean Coffee. From time to time, I'm asked about whether their coffees are "fair trade". In this day and age when information is so much more freely available, there's a welcome movement - which Christians have been at the forefront of - to make sure that we shop in ethical ways. The price we pay for goods matters; the way workers are treated matters. … Read more about Direct Trade Coffee
Steve Leighton has a fascinating post about Day 3 of his recent trip to Machacarmarca farm in Bolivia. That was the day he spent picking coffee with the other farm workers, and seeing first-hand how the methods used on this farm result in the quality you get in the cup. … Read more about Coffee Picking