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Five years ago on a cold dark February morning, four people opened the doors to a small independent coffee shop in Birmingham City Centre. None of the people concerned had ever worked in a coffee shop. There was no sign, no food and not even a fridge. Just a coffee machine and a cookie jar.
We would like to thank everybody who helped us on our journey and got us where we are now.
It’s been five years of ups and downs, from constant challenges to national highs.
We would love to celebrate this event with you, whether you have been a customer, a supplier, a staff member, a friendly competitor or even a partner of someone who has worked here.
We wouldn’t have been here without you, so please drop by at Temple Row between 5:00pm and 10:00pm for some live music and great coffee.
Please bring a friend or your partner! For more info, please see below:
As we said last week, coffee fruit is much like a cherry and grows on a plant/bush. So how do we turn a coffee cherry into a drink?
First the (coffee) cherry must be picked. There are machines that can do this, however there are two problems with using a machine – firstly coffee needs to be picked when it is ripe and bright red in colour and a machine can not distinguish between ripe and unripe fruit so this affects the quality of the cup. Secondly the best coffee is grown at high altitude, usually clinging to the side of a steep hill – machines don’t work in these conditions! Because of this, the best way to pick coffee is by hand. This is much slower and requires pickers to have the skill of picking only the ripe fruit and thus is more expensive, but it’s worth it.
After the fruit has been picked it is sorted to make sure no unripe fruit has been picked, then the coffee must be dried and the fruit must be removed from the seed (the bean). At this stage the coffee beans will be ready to be shipped to coffee roasters.
There are two main ‘processes’ for drying the coffee and removing fruit which are called the natural process and the washed process.
Firstly we will look at natural process. This is the ‘low tech’ method of processing. Coffee fruit is laid in a thin layer on brick or concrete patios and left to dry; sometimes raised drying tables are used to allow better air circulation. The coffee must be carefully and regularly turned so that it can dry evenly. This is done either by hand or using special rakes. After the coffee has dried, the fruit is mechanically removed, leaving the ‘green’ coffee ready to be shipped to a roaster.
The natural process adds an innate fruity flavour to coffees that is quite controversial: some enjoy the often blueberry or tropical fruit flavour, while others see the process as a taint on the true flavour of the coffee.
The washed process is a bit more complicated and we’ll look at that next time…
So as we said before Christmas, coffee is not (as the name suggests) a
bean. Coffee fruit is similar to a cherry and grows on a plant (more
of a bush), and the coffee ‘bean’ is actually the seed of the fruit.
Sometimes you will see ‘cascara tea’ for sale in speciality coffee
shops, which is tea made simply by steeping the dried coffee fruit
flesh in hot water.
So where does coffee come from?
Coffee originated in Ethiopia as a wide variety of wild growing
plants. The Dutch were the first to commercially spread coffee around
the world and the variety they used was ‘Typica’. Typica is the original
commercial variety all other commercial coffees have descended from
this through mutation or genetic selection.
A great way to think about coffee is that it is similar to apples.
Everyone knows that there are many variety of apple from Granny Smith
to Braeburn to Golden Delicious – they are all very recognisable types
of apple, and share many of the same flavours and characteristics but
they are also very different; coffee is the same.
Looking back at our current Jailbreak blend from Has Bean, it currently
contains two popular varieties: Bourbon and Caturra.
Bourbon is a naturally occurring mutation of Typica from the island of
Réunion, named Bourbon at the time. Bourbon is a higher yielding
variety than Typica, in that it grows more fruit, and is also believed to be
sweeter, making it a desirable coffee.
Caturra is a mutation of Bourbon discovered in Brazil in 1937. Again
it is high yielding and has generally high cup quality.
Next time we are going to be talking about how coffee is processed to
produce coffee beans that we recognise.
Home Brew Course
Following on from last week, we would like to tell you about the second of our coffee courses; our ‘home brew’ course.
We call this the home brew course, but don’t be fooled. ‘Home brewing’ isn’t amateur at all, and we can teach you to get excellent results! We are confident that this course will be able to teach you to make better coffee than a lot of the coffee shops out there!
On the course we’ll be teaching you how to make coffee using two world class brewing methods: the Aeropress and the pour over. We will be using a ‘Kalita Wave’ brewer for the pour over method, and you can check out our past blog posts about both methods to get a little taster to whet your appetite.
So again, we invite you to join us for one of our regular courses, treat your self for Christmas and have great coffee at home in the new year! Why not treat someone else for Christmas… then they can make your coffee in the new year!
We’ve now got gift vouchers for sale and we’re also open on Christmas Eve if you’re still panicking on the present buying front. We have some freshly roasted bags of coffee direct from Has Bean too, along with plenty of devices to brew at home.
Meet up with Birmingham Loves Photographers from 18.30 to 20.30 on Tuesday 14th December, for all things photographic
From now and until the 19th of September, the walls of the 6/8 play host to a series of pastels and prints from Kevin Leung Chung. His second appearance at the 6/8 features self-portraits, the divine, biblical scenes, the illusion of repetition, nightmare black and whites to serene blurry pastels, aggressive extroversion to reigned in self-awareness.
Kevin Leung Chung was born and brought up in Hong Kong. He came to the UK on his own in his late teen. After spending two and a half years on a graphic design course at De Montfort University, he left the course without graduating from it. Currently, Kevin works in new product development at a concierge company.
“The thought of having to constantly produce work does not sit well with me. I could go without picking up a pen to draw for weeks. The need to create arises only when a thought or an image becomes so vivid, and needs to detach from me to become a physical being on its own.
Portrait is my favourite subject. I find emotion and feelings shown through facial expressions are very captivating.”
Come grab one more good summer Cold Brew’s at one of The Independent’s Top 50 Coffee Houses, have a nose at the latest art to adorn our walls.