Compassion and consideration of our environmental impact, as well as our initiatives towards sustainability are core values of ours. These values extend to how we source and purchase coffee from exporters and farms.
We aim to source and share the best tasting coffee we can, but it is important for us to know that the coffee we purchase is doing good within the surrounding communities and that there is a level of support offered to their workers and families.
Since we began roasting our own coffee, we have aimed to ensure that our House Espresso is consistently carbon-neutral, meaning the farms in which the coffee is sourced from offset their carbon-emissions, utilising environmentally conscious equipment and methods such as solar power.
The Rainforest Alliance works directly with independent coffee farms to ensure that they receive a fair return for their products, whilst also ensuring best practices for protecting the environment and biodiversity in the area. While this criteria provides an ethical basis and peace of mind, these farms also produce diverse, great tasting coffees.
We ensure that all the coffee we purchase is at least 80 points or above on the 100-point Coffee Review scale, as per the guidelines stated by the Speciality Coffee Association. This process ensures that the coffee has undergone a series of tests for key factors such as Flavour, Acidity, Body, Uniformity, and Sweetness.
Central to our sourcing philosophy is a distinct focus on ethical and environmental considerations at both the level of the producer and the importer. We value traceability from bean to cup and transparency in sustainable pricing for producers, while focusing on seasonality of new harvests.
We only work with importers who share these values and make commitments to direct and long-term relationships with producers to ensure investments are made in people and communities, and not only green coffee.
We begin our search with a purpose in mind, whether this be for a more traditional espresso profile for our wholesale customers, or a more complex filter coffee offering for our shops. We will utilise the expertise of the various importers we work with to narrow our search down to coffees which align with our values, whilst displaying a taste profile on the cupping table fit for the purpose in mind.
A consistent and repeatable cupping protocol is key in making the most informed choices in both the sourcing and roasting processes.
The protocol has been established to aid us in making choices based on the inherent flavour potential of the green coffee as opposed to characteristics highlighted by differing levels of extraction.
To evaluate each roasted sample, we use an in-house shorthand version of the Speciality Coffee Association cupping form, focusing on sweetness, body and acidity as it relates to the intended brewing method of the final product.
Once a green coffee has been selected, we will roast several different test profiles adapted to the characteristics of the green coffee and its intended purposes.
Variations in test profiles relate to several factors which influence the flavour in the cup. These include the ‘shape’ of the roast curve, overall roast duration, length of the drying, Maillard and development phases – and final end temperature.
We will then use the internal cupping protocol to assess each profile.
For espresso roasts, we will then dial in and brew from the selected test profiles, drinking each as an espresso, long black, flat white and latte several times.
If necessary, adjustments can be made from additional test roast profiles to accentuate characteristics we want to highlight further.
The aforementioned process is then repeated until a final profile has been decided upon. Parameters and roasting targets will then be set to ensure consistency between batches.