We consider a multitude of factors when selecting the coffee that ends up in your cup.
All our coffee comes from one place. Sounds simple, but for many, this isn't the case. We can trace our beans to the very plot of ground it was grown on. What this means is that all the coffee beans we taste share the same soil, altitude, climate, process and most likely varietal - all of which have an impact on the flavour of the coffee.
Most people will have heard of Arabica and Robusta - but we’re not too fussed by these as we only use Arabica. We prefer to talk about "cultivars". Cultivars are to coffee what grape varieties are to wine: each has distinct flavours. Examples of cultivars are Bourbon, Geisha, Caturra and SL-28. In our shops you’ll see what cultivar our current beans are so you can decide for yourself what difference it makes.
Mountain and Latitude
Not everywhere is suited to growing coffee. Like most plants, a coffee plant is quite picky. They like their climate tropical, so can only be found in areas around the equator - which us coffee geeks have selfishly dubbed “the coffee belt”. When it comes to flavour, the higher it grows, the more lively the flavour profile tends to become.
Around the equator, they don’t really do winter and summer. They do rain and dry. The cherries grow when it rains and ripen when it's dry. When perfectly ripe, our beans are picked by hand to ensure they are equally ripe and equally tasty. For more information on the coffee harvest, have a look here.
The challenge at this stage is to bring out the flavours we hold so dear. We roast slightly lighter than most you’ll find on the high street; roasting coffee too dark will ruin and muffle most of the flavours. We believe in coffee that’s naturally sweet, and that the best flavours are the flavours that tell us something about the origin of the coffee.
Coffee nowadays offers over 1000 different flavours. Wine, in comparison, only has around 600. Every coffee bean has a different selection of these 1000+ flavours. An endless number of combinations can be found in coffee these days. Of course, not all of these combinations are as tasty as the others, so we carefully select all the coffee we use. We select coffee that is a bit special. A bit extraordinary. We don't expect all our coffees to taste the same, quite the opposite. So we won't, and can't, give you a short list of flavours that make for a good coffee. What does make for a good coffee is when it holds only positive flavours, like raspberry, passionfruit, lemon, custard, chocolate, grapefruit or honey (so no earthy, tarry stuff) and that all these flavours work together well.
We use water filtered through 3M's reverse osmosis technology. This gives us the optimum mineral quantity for getting the best flavours out of the coffee. If water is too hard, or has too many minerals, then the coffee will taste flat. We monitor the reverse osmosis filtration system daily to make sure the water is at the ideal level.