Coffee Roaster

How We Select Coffee

“When selecting a coffee to roast and produce, what’s in the mind is more often than not finding the best example of an origin coffee.

For example, our Colombian which is very much reflective of Colombia, is a well rounded coffee that brings chocolate notes and a little bit of berry and zesty fruit to the cup. It works well for multiple styles of coffees. 

So whether you’re brewing it as a filter, or espresso for example, it highlights the individuality of the coffee.

Then we can also look at layering the coffee we find to enhance or subdue certain origin flavours. As an example we can use a Brazilian and then add another coffee, like an Ethiopian; The Brazil acts as the base, and then you will have your intermediary and top flavours from the Ethiopian, or maybe the Ethiopian adds the top notes, such as floral and fruity notes whilst the intermediary coffee is the Colombian which brings more chocolate notes and sweetness. 

What you’re trying to do is build a unique flavour. It’s a bit like creating music, it’s turning up the volumes on certain aspects of the coffee or turning them down and letting other flavours come through. It’s how the roaster blends those coffees to bring together a hallmark and harmonious flavour in the cup that works either on its own as a black coffee, or with milk, or whatever. So we’ll play around with stuff to make them work in certain scenarios. It’s all very much about reflecting the origin of the coffee, the terroir and the origin of the coffee.

In addition it feels like a chef, creating a dish. It’s that you can actually highlight your coffee with much higher levels of acidity, or sweetness or chocolate that inspires. What we all want in our coffee, more often than not, what we love as humans, is sugar sweetness. So as a roaster, I particularly chase the sweetness that I can get from the coffee and balance it with the acidity. So think sweet and sour or umami flavours, those kinds of things that you just want to balance and build up like a chef on a plate. There’s such a lot that goes on.

How We Select Coffee

Specifically for our Bergamo, it was intentional to create a classic Italian or European style of coffee.  The beauty of the single origin Colombian that we use is very much in keeping with Northern European or a northern Italian style of espresso. So, it’s sweet, balanced with a note of chocolate, with a touch of acidity and sweetness, so that that’s very much in tune with what you think of when comparing to some of the greatest Italian coffee roasters.

It’s what we are selling, that little slice of Italian lifestyle. It’s all about the mountains and a contrast to our Driftwood.

This was developed through working with a customer in Cornwall. I was producing a very light medium roast coffee blend that would work for summer and be refreshing and light. Because it’s a restaurant at night and coffee bar in the day and has a light lunchtime menu overlooking the beach, we had the owners in to cup and sample some coffees and I did some blending at the table. I had in my own mind what I wanted to achieve. And one of the things in my mind was this apricot/peach flavour that you get from the Guji, a very floral coffee. Ethiopian coffee generally is very floral, but also with some fruit. So then I put it on top of the chocolate notes of the Brazil and … Hello!

So we created this blend. It’s a 60% Brazilian 40% Ethiopian.

And there it is… the very essence of our story and how we select coffee.”

From an interview with Conrad at Woodhouse Coffee Co