Collaboration with FRAYED Magazine and Thieving Harry’s
A couple of months ago, Jack from Thieving Harry’s mentioned that FRAYED Magazine were interested in working together to produce a written and video piece on coffee in Hull. I was more than happy to take part in what was a fun interview by Luke Chambers and great shoot by Josh Moore. I know that Jack, Thieving Harry’s and I are aligned when it comes to our attempt in developing a coffee scene in the city. Josh is a great videographer and runs his brilliant Frayed Magazine project with the same ethos. In his own words; “Frayed Magazine is for those who love creativity in all its forms but long to know how and most importantly – why it exists.” It’s under this banner that the genesis of the theme lies: “Frayed takes you on a journey. A journey of nature, science and senses. From Roaster to Barista – this is the how, where and why. This is coffee.”
I hope you enjoy Josh’s creation. It was a privilege to be involved.
Issue 005 of FRAYED is out now.
When I started the company six years ago, it was with the intention to bring a small scale coffee roasting operation to Hull. To provide people with a selection of small batch roasted coffee, mainly through this website and a few market stalls that I did – Beverley Market, Humber Bridge Market etc. Roasting coffee was a hobby, an interest, but no thought was applied to wholesale coffee roasting. Why? Hull’s coffee scene was in its infancy.
Admittedly, it has only been since early 2011 that I have concentrated solely on roasting speciality coffee for Hull and the East Riding, but I have seen an upward trend in more quality focussed establishments. The city has an awfully long way to go yet. But we can now see a number of coffee shops considering their approach to coffee, beyond which milk based drinks to have on a menu. There are shops willing to invest in RO (Reverse Osmosis) water systems, temperature controlled espresso machines and grinders that grind on-demand. There is at least one shop distributing tasting notes with their beverages and an increasing number serving single origin filter/Aeropress brews. This makes me very happy.
Where to next? I see this trend continuing as we move towards 2017 and City of Culture status – an increasing number of coffee shops considering where and how they source their roasted coffee. Some may even take part in bespoke blend development or form a buying cooperative for certain micro-lots. I’d like to see greater understanding of coffee – the bean varietals, processing methods, altitudes etc and how these along with brewing techniques, will effect flavour in the cup. This will come in time.
The Hull coffee scene is by no means mature, but it has begun its journey towards what is expected in other major UK cities.
I get to taste quite a lot of espresso throughout my working week, and when travel permits, on the weekend too. I visit various shops – some that are wholesale customers of mine and some that are not. I also drink espresso at the roastery too. It strikes me that the variance in ‘quality’ of shots received is huge. Some of this is down to choice of coffee, espresso recipe (different starting and brewed mass pulled over different extraction times), water, training or general aptitude for delivering a quality drink. These factors and more, form the basis of my espresso training in order to produce a set of procedures that a novice barista can follow in order to create a quality drink.
Whilst recently researching areas of development in my industry, I came across a great video produced by Colin Harmon at a Tamper Tantrum event. The video was aimed at introducing the Nuova Simonelli Mythos I grinder. Apart from the obvious brilliance in grinder development research, one point stood out as an action that may give every barista another tool in extraction, even if they don’t own a Mythos. Clean your burrs in soapy water.
Roasting an espresso blend, or single origin for espresso (and any coffee for that fact) is a pursuit of creating full bean development from the inner core to bean edge. If full development at your chosen roast colour is achieved, it greatly helps the extraction potential of that coffee. This is an approach I take to my espresso blend for the area in which I operate, Hull, East Yorkshire. We have poor water – high levels of Calcium Carbonate and a TDS value of 390 or so. It’s nearly impossible to get a light/medium roast to fully extract unless we install Reverse Osmosis. So I constantly look for inspiration from the industry to add to the extraction arsenal. I have tested the above method under RO and standard Everpure Claris Ultra filtered water. It works for both, with extraction gains of 1%.
Advice to all wholesale partners – clean your burrs daily and wash in soapy water weekly. Clean burrs extract more.