With our raw food diet starting in June, I am taking time to enjoy my favourite non-raw foodie things. Coffee being top of the list. I have set myself the indulgent task of sampling many of my favourite coffees before I go caffeine cold turkey in a few weeks. I thought I would treat myself to start with by going for one my favourite roasters, Union Coffee.
I have my own little coffee ritual on a daily basis; even when I was super busy down in old London town, I always took time over my coffee. Coffee time for me is around mid-morning and is always a moment of peace with a revitalising brew. Even if it’s just a five-minute break, it changes the whole day for the better.
For me, it’s not about that ‘caffeine buzz’ that so many talk about, although it is probably a welcomed side effect most mornings. Good coffee has a fascinating story and people like Union source and roast only the finest beans from around the world. When I look at the options, Guatemalan, Rwandan, Indian, Indonesian….I can’t help but get excited.
The quality here comes from dedication and passion, and I see this in the coffees that Union produce. They care about gourmet coffees produced ethically, it’s not just about the flavour and aroma; it is something that represents the people and environment where it was grown.
Living up here in the beautiful wilds of North Wales, good cafes and coffee is thin on the ground. We have to revert to ‘homebrews’, with our trusty orange cafetière. This is actually my preferred coffee. I like a black, long coffee. No froth. I had bought my own grinder recently only to find out that a blade grinder is not the best. It can impair the flavour of the bean by producing heat and an irregular grind. I have found this to be true; it ruined some great beans from Sheffield recently. So from now on, I will buy all of my good coffee pre-ground for a cafetière.
To make the perfect pot of cafetière coffee see the guidelines here via the good people of Union. If you use a filter machine or stove top pot, there are helpful hints here also. There seems no point in getting the good stuff and ruining it with a dodgy method.
There are so many choices out there for a coffee drinker in the U.K., the selection at supermarkets can be bewildering. I have found most supermarket bought coffee to be average at best and would much rather spend a little more on mail ordering some of the good stuff. Worth every penny!
Union build strong relationships with their growers, they were initially inspired by micro-roastery cafes in San Francisco and also felt compelled to improve the difficult situation of growers in many coffee producing regions of the world.
‘Union’ refers to the relationship between the coffee roasters and the hardworking farmers who produce the beans. They say:
“We travel to coffee growing communities in remote regions around the world, building relationships and investing in sustainable livelihoods and farming practices. We discover coffees of distinction by engaging directly with coffee farmers and pair their best work with the art and craft of the coffee roaster.”
Today I am trying the Bibi Estate AAA Microlot from Karnataka State, India. This coffee intrigued me as I have visited India and know that there is some decent coffee down in Kerala, but have never tried anything from Karnataka. India has been making increasingly better coffees in recent years and this one is made from the Arabica Catuai bean. Bibi Estate is at 1000m above sea level on a 250 acre plantation that also produces peppercorns.
It is a pleasant surprise, a soft and gentle brew. It has a lovely light nutty aroma and is the perfect mid-morning coffee. Here is what the official tasters at Union think:
“Overall the cup is mild, with gentle acidity but medium to full-bodied; enjoy the aroma of pecan that follows through into the taste which has praline, toffee honey and ripe mango.”
This is a coffee that can be savoured and is not too overpowering like some of the more heavy weight roasts.
So thanks to the good people of Union for their passion and commitment to gourmet coffee and Mr Faiz Musakutty and his farmers and pickers all they way over there in Karnataka for the beans!
Union have set the bar pretty high here with the Bibi Estate AAA. I love their ethos of investing in local, remote farmers to maintain sustainable livelihoods. I think their passion and integrity can be tasted in every cup.
Calling all coffee lovers and barista brethren:
May is the month that we seek out the perfect home brew. We will be sampling different roasts regularly.