I’m so excited about my first coffee collaboration with The Roastery Department and cant wait to share it with you.
I released an exclusive micro-lot coffee from Mentang, Cameroon a four weeks ago, where Soho Bikes London , on Berwick St was the first to 'guest' it as both espresso and filter - and to our delight (and pleasant surprise) the whole micro-lot has sold out! So I have chosen and released a new micro-lot this week from Icocoge, Burundi! More below, read on....
In the past 10 years, I have worked on some really amazing bespoke blends for top London cafes where I have to consider quality, availability, taste, consumers alongside economics so it’s a process I’m familiar with. It’s an especially enjoyable process, when I’m working with the right people.
Since experiencing the “Third Wave” of specialty coffee in Melbourne and London during 2006, London’s coffee culture has witnessed a huge exponential growth thanks to the influence of speciality cafes such as Monmouth Coffee and FlatWhite Café, around this time.
After witnessing specific changes and movements over the past year, I have felt that the coffee industry has been on ‘overload’. While I consider the quality and taste of coffee to be extremely important, I also think that sometimes it can seem overly complex for people who are just getting into coffee or simply enjoy drinking it.
Apart from my on-the-ground experience as a barista and manager of some very reputable cafes around the world, I’ve made my own web-series featuring on Air New Zealand’s inflight entertainment as well as developing other coffee and lifestyle-related products such as, a tshirt range, handmade ceramic V60's and gift cards. I had been thinking about working on my own beans for a while not only because I missed the process of tasting and curating coffee, but because lately, I felt that something had slightly veered off track.
Amongst my strong network of talented and professional coffee experts there are also new inexperienced cafes and baristas, as well as home coffee users who are spending a lot of money on good (and bad) coffee without really knowing how to use it properly. This encouraged me to create a ‘go-to’ coffee brand that people can rely on to be high quality, affordable and easy to work with. So baristas can execute a good cup, even with the most basic level of skill and knowledge.
A few people had suggested I offer beans on my online shop, so when Dumo Mathema, Head Roaster of The Roastery Department suggested the idea to me, I decided to consider the idea more seriously. Since meeting a few years ago whilst opening his now hugely successful roastery, he has been a wealth of knowledge and very generous with his limited time. I’ve watched his company change and grow which is hugely inspiring for someone like me who is experiencing the ups and downs of being a content creator and entrepreneur myself. Our conversations are usually side-tracked to discussions about business and books that we are reading and how we are going to fulfil our dreams to have a positive impact on the world. We started talking about the idea of my own coffee and decided to see where it led. He didn’t even suggest that I work with them specifically, just that maybe it was something worth exploring. I respect that immensely about Dumo – he is always looking out for others and willing to help, because that is just how he is. To be honest, it's a bit daunting launching my own coffee, but when something happens organically with good people, it feels pretty good!
It started with a set of criteria that I expressed to Dumo and his team. From there they offered me a range of beans to cup which were roasted at different profiles for me to compare and taste. After brewing, I noted down changes and suggestions to ask Dumo to bring out a certain quality in the bean I was looking for. It’s no good having great quality beans if you don’t have a talented roaster behind them! Dumo has an instinct when it comes to roasting coffee that I don’t think either of us can explain. He doesn’t always stick to the status quo in coffee, business or life – and that’s what I wanted to introduce to my TGITC range.
I also really wanted to find exclusive blends or origins that are hard to get but easy for baristas AND home coffee enthusiasts to use – where all they need to know is that:
- It’s a high quality speciality coffee (exclusively sourced and roasted)
- It tastes great (but balanced)
- It’s affordable.
The first batch was incredible where I fell in love with a Cameroon coffee from Mentang. Cameroon is a rare origin because it’s the first time the UK has been able to import coffee from this region. Until recently, there was no co-operative to export their micro-lot coffees from their high quality farms. An incredible man, Matti Foncha has instigated and worked tirelessly to make this happen and as a result, their coffees are very good.
My next new exclusive micro-lot was released this week from Icocoge, Burundi. I really like this coffee because it is similar to the Cameroon coffee, exhibiting a balanced flavour alongside a soft acidity. The taste characteristics are of dried mango paired with white nectarine alongside a stone fruit influence whilst maintaining the depth of toffee and chocolate.
Businde won first place at Burundi's first Cup of Excellence competition, which puts us in great stead. I'm excited to see what you think, but more importantly I hope you enjoy the experience of it, whether it is in a cafe with your friends or at home in the morning sun.
Below are some cafes where you can try and buy some of my coffee to use at home, or you can always order it online (free postage per 250g in the UK).
From this week you will be able to buy it online or at the following cafes:
- Soho Bikes London (26 Berwick St, Soho, London W1F 8RG
- The Black Chapel (Chapel Yard, SW18 4HZ, Wandsworth Town)
- HER (Haggerston Espresso Room, Unit C, 13 Downham Road, N1 5AA)
- Estate Office Coffee ( 1 Drewstead Rd, Streatham, SW16 1LY)