The flavours locked in freshly roasted coffee beans change over time. This can be a good thing as the nuances can enhance enjoyment, but if you leave coffee too long it can go stale and taste flat
Fancy going behind the scenes on a roastery tour, joining in on a cupping sesh, or knocking back a few drum-fresh ‘spros at the HQ brew bar? Read our roundup of roasteries you can visit
Long-time friend of Indy Coffee and Dear Green Coffee founder Lisa Lawson spills the beans on her life in coffee
Surfers, walkers and beach bums flock to north Devon in summer, but it’s also becoming a destination for speciality coffee seekers.
The first stop of the day has to be BLOCK in Barnstaple to fuel up on sky-high American-style pancakes and a perfectly poured Clifton Coffee piccolo, before buckling up and striking out for the coast.
Simply put, speciality coffee has been graded as a higher quality product than commodity coffee, which is what you’ll drink in the chains – and almost everywhere else. Speciality coffee is tracked from plant to cup, and sourced from farms which are paid fairly for their crop. Once purchased, the green beans are lightly roasted in small batches to optimise their unique flavour potential. This is a key difference to commodity coffee, which is usually roasted dark and as a result lacks the rainbow of flavours found in speciality.
In order to maintain these carefully developed notes, the beans are freshly ground to order before being expertly prepared by skilled baristas – either as espresso-based drinks (such as flat whites and cappuccino) or via a range of filter brewing methods.
A syringe-shaped filter brew method that includes an element of mechanical extraction with the water being forced through the coffee and filter paper.
Stirring the coffee throughout the brew cycle when preparing filter coffee to increase strength or encourage even extraction.
With just a couple of species of coffee bean commonly available, you’d think deciphering between the two would be easy, but nothing is simple when it comes to speciality coffee.
More than 65 per cent of the coffee sold around the world is made from arabica beans, with the remainder predominantly made up of robusta. ‘Arabica is seen as the premium choice,’ explains Paul, ‘it has a cleaner taste, with more fruity, acidic and floral flavours. Robusta, on the other hand, has a more bitter finish and a richer, round body.’
If you don’t know where to start (How easy is it to use? How noisy is it? Does it need to grind super-fine for a stovetop or espresso machine? How much will I spend?), we’ve got all the deets so you can invest in the best grinder for you.
Manual grinders are good all-round performers that produce grounds that are uniform in size, which is essential to a good cup of coffee. They’re small, simple (so there’s less to go wrong), easy to use and pretty inexpensive.
These grinders use an outer serrated burr and an inner cone-shaped burr (hence the name). When the inner burr spins, the sharp edges pull beans into the gap between the burrs where they’re ground into smaller and smaller pieces.
The conical shape allows for uniform grinding and a high level of grind size control. It also allows for grinding at a lower speed – meaning less noise and heat.
We’re obsessed with coffee and have spent the last seven years travelling the length and breadth of the UK and Ireland hunting out the best independent cafes and small artisan roasteries to include in our Indy Coffee Guides. As a result of those travels – and the parties we’ve held from Bristol to Glasgow to launch each edition – we’ve got to know the best roasters in the UK. One of the (many) joys of doing coffee-tasting tours of a region is coming home with bags of great beans which, in many cases, you know you won’t be able to get your hands on again. So we figured if we worked with our chums at the roasteries to create a subscription system, coffee fans like you (and us) could get interesting beans delivered to our home each month.
Alongside valuing authenticity and always aiming to be fair and honest, we do our best to look after the planet – and encourage others to look after it, too. That’s why we don’t repackage beans like other coffee subscription services, and why all our own packaging is recyclable. You’ll notice we often include features with an environmental focus; we like sharing stories of people doing the right thing.