It’s not just about simply buying the best seasonal 85+ coffees to add to our boutique range …
We have been in the business of sourcing and roasting coffee since 2008 and before that, our owner Brock spent years in the specialty industry in Australia and learned all he could about coffee from various sources in Melbourne. Along the way we have learned a lot as well. To Brock, coffee is not about a business, it is about coffee, for the love and respect of coffee. A purist who truly understands the bean with a real passion for it.
This blog is aimed at demonstrating the extra lengths we go to ensure that the green bean is treated with reverence before we subject it to the roasting process – we want to let you know that there is so much going on behind the scenes and that this is no simple procedure.
When it comes to our ever changing exciting range of boutique seasonal single origins we work with a selection of green brokers who know what they are doing. They are usually specialists in the country they operate in and know our requirements. These coffees are mainly for the home consumer.
For our mainstay single origins it’s an entirely different process as we are buying container loads, shipping into The Port of Cork and supplying espresso bars around the country as their main offering. In this instance Consistency is King. Take our Brazilian Fazenda Recreio for instance. In 2018 we went to Brazil and visited many farms. Recreio stood out for many reasons and we have worked with them ever since. This farm was already a cup of excellence winner, and in 2022 came 3rd place again – a true testament to their incredible cup quality.
For all coffees, be it variable seasonal single origin or a year in year out Recreio, we request samples, check their density and moisture content, inspect them visually for any defects then sample roast them in a designated sample roaster. We let them sit for a day then cup and score them thoroughly with our own team who have combined specialty experience in excess of 35yrs. It’s vital that cupping is done blind – so that you don’t come to the table with expectations. For instance, price could well affect the way you perceive a coffee.
Once we find the right coffee we arrange the purchase. Without question though, there are some standards we never falter on. Green beans are very fragile and there are some standards we never compromise as we want to preserve as much of their goodness as possible:
- Only current crop coffees.
- Must be stored in either a grain-pro bag, which sits inside the jute/hessian bag, or smaller vacuum sealed airtight 15-30kg foil bags which sit inside cardboard boxes. Those volatile aromas of fresh crop and the soapy wetness of a green bean would otherwise dissipate.
- Q grade score of 85 or more … our first barista trainer Vini was Ireland’s first official Q grader, and Elia was Ireland’s second!
Before shipping we again request pre-shipment samples and repeat the entire analytical process again of checking for defects, moisture content, roasting and sampling in order to ensure that the green bean has not deteriorated and is indeed the coffee we approved for purchase.
When we receive the actual allotment, we then repeat the process again, for a 3rd time.
But the cupping doesn’t stop then. We are always cupping as a method of improving and refining our own pallets but also as a method of ensuring our coffee doesn’t age.
It is also vital that we store the coffee in the right environment. Ireland is a very wet country and the air can get quite damp and cancer causing mycotoxins could develop with the right conditions of heat and moisture. Whilst our green bean storage area might look a bit average (it used to be housing for rearing young chickens – well renovated and approved by the HSE since) it turns out that it has the right mix of airflow, heat and insulation for coffee as well – and we have installed moisture / humidity readers to ensure such.
Finally, we roast the coffee using our own years of experience and some predetermined roast profiles to how we think the coffee should be. We then cup it and if it needs alteration we make the changes we feel we need and repeat the entire process, refining all the way, until we feel it is 100%.
All our coffee has the roast date stamped on it so that you can see exactly how fresh the coffee is – don’t get it confused with a BBE end date as many roasters will do. We want you to have coffee as fresh as it can be – but always allow a good week to degas before consumption.
So, if you’re thinking of getting into coffee roasting … you have it there now 😉