Hello. I'd like to take a moment to thank our community for the support over the past 12 months and to take stock and really feel gratitude for the opportunities that we have been given.
What are we trying to do?
Please excuse me if I am rambling slightly. There is so much going on right now that it can feel really overwhelming and can make it oh so hard to focus and see what it is that we are trying to achieve. So what are we trying to achieve?
We are trying to find the highest quality raw coffees that are produced in the most sustainable ways and that also benefit the local communities in which they are produced to roast and share, primarily here in Scotland. We often talk about the farmers or pickers and their communities on our information cards that we include with our single origin coffees. I believe this to be very important and love the fact that each coffee has a story, an origin. We choose to buy coffees from areas where the production of high quality coffee can help to build and support local communities and economies.
To achieve these goals we research and taste many coffees. We work with partners who keep us well informed and always with fresh samples arriving on our cupping table. The image above on the right is of Elmer Cruz from La Naranjas. This farm produced our current 'Seasonal Espresso' offering. This is the third year we have bought coffee from Peru and we've watched the quality of coffee from this origin really blossom. We could write an entire blog about this but that will have to wait for another time, maybe next year (our stocks of this coffee will run out quite soon. Teaser - we have been cupping delicious Tanzanian coffees and have something special in store for you soon).
Our Sourcing Partners
Above is a photo that I took of Stephen (left) and Juan (right) on a trip to Colombia early 2019 (this feels like yesterday in a way...). They both work at Mercanta Coffee Hunters and help us source some of the best coffee around. Stephen is the Scottish accounts manager and Juan was working on the ground in Colombia; he is now living and in Berlin (still with Mercanta). This photo is taken on the patio of a farm house in Antioquia.
Once we have selected the coffees that meet our expectations the fun starts in the roastery. We start to design the roast profiles for each of our new coffees. We make sure to do each lot justice, really showing off the potential of each origin while we celebrate the diversity of flavour offered up by the different producing countries.
Tricky, but we muddle on
Okay, so this has been a hard past year for sourcing as well as selling coffees both with the challenges overseas in production and shipping, as well as the challenges we are facing here with many of our wholesale customers not able to operate their businesses as usual... We are, however, managing to keep our roastery full of fresh and vibrant beans, whilst working to turn around our coffees quickly enough to keep things interesting for our customers (and ourselves!). We are working on having more fresh coffees to offer to our community very soon.
Look mom, no plastic. Our new packaging is very simple, however we did go through quite a process to get here - and it might not be over yet... These transparent, plant-based cellophane bags are not only biodegradable but also home-compostable - when you are finished just pop them in your food waste!! We experimented and tested them to compare how they perform next to our old plastic bags and while we loved that our old bags were resealable and more robust, for the time-being we're persevering to make our offering as environmentally friendly as we can. The coffee does degas slightly faster in our new bags that are oh-so-much kinder to the environment. Having said that, I really can't stress enough that the two main contributing factors in the freshness of flavour and quality of our coffees are the sourcing and roasting. We strive to source exceptional, very fresh and vibrant coffees as close to their harvest date as possible. This means that the raw coffee has the maximum potential for flavour when we drop it in our roaster. Then we roast it. It is in the roasting process that the best flavour of a coffee is captured (or you could say created). It is here that the vibrancy can be found. I frequently brew coffees a month after the roast date that I have taken home from the cafe and they normally still taste great no matter how they have been stored! Soon we are going to be releasing W&J branded amber glass jars with screw top lids that we recommend for the storing of your beans. The cellophane bags will keep the beans safe until you put them in the jar or another seal-able container. Please do let us know if you have any trouble with the new packaging and we will try to solve the problem.
Aramosa Double Ferment - Low Caffeine
One of the coffees featured in the photo above is quite an interesting one by the way. Amarosa is not only double fermented , resulting in an incredibly fruit forward profile for a Brazilian lot, it is also naturally low in caffeine. The varietal 'Aramosa' was selected to be grown at Rio Brilhante for its naturally low levels of caffeine. Less caffeine but no decaffeination process. I was impressed. It's worth a try!
So, we are so very grateful for all the support people have shown us by our coffees and engaging with our company in any way. It is our customers that allows us to do what we do and it's you who inspires us to try to do it to the very best of our ability. Oh did I mention that we turned five at the turn of the year. We have spent five years sharing coffees and exploring our industry, always learning and improving. We know that we can bring you so many more excellent coffees with positive impacts and interesting stories. Thank you for the support.