The coffee selection process starts when we order small samples of green coffee produced in Africa, Central & South America and Asia. The samples are roasted in our sample roaster and used to make coffee using a standard method so tastes can be directly compared: the tasting process is called ‘cupping’. Our favourite coffees are selected through cupping, which also tells us which taste notes are prevalent in the coffee and which other properties, such as mouthfeel (which roughly equates to ‘body’).
Once we have ordered larger quantities of the selected coffees (eg. in 60-70kg sacks) we work with our larger roaster to develop the roast profile which brings out the best properties of the coffee. Each coffee is different and needs a specific roast profile to unlock its flavours.
Cupping is also key in developing our blends – we need to taste many combinations of coffees to find that delicious synergy of tastes.
And finally, we cup again during our production runs to ensure that the coffee we pack for you is as good as it was during our development work.
That’s all very well, but how do I choose the right coffee for me?
Glad you asked! We first ask our customers which brewing method they use – Espresso, Cafetière, Moka Pot, Filter - and how they usually prefer their coffee (as an espresso shot, or with milk and so on). We can then give some guidance as to which coffees might be better suited to them. We then talk about the taste notes associated with the coffee. Although most of our coffees are our signature dark roast, where we aim to balance acidity and sweetness, some are more acidic than others. Would you prefer notes of hazel nuts, milk chocolate or blackcurrant? Maybe try one of our filter coffees or a cappuccino at our market stand? Then finally it’s time to throw caution to the wind: buy a bag, take it home and try it! Because after all that discussion, it all comes down to your personal taste.