New Coffee: Wegida Blue Ethiopia

There are approximately 650 farmers contributing to the Aricha woreda washing stations, with each farmer having approximately 2 hectares of trees each. The local area receives on average 1800-2000 mm rainfall per year, with 8 months of the year being rainy and 3-4 months dry. The temperature ranges from 20C-23C, the combination of the cool mountain temperatures combined with the rich fertile soil helps create perfect conditions for coffee production.

The mix of native heirloom varieties and the Ethiopian sun dried processing gives this coffee the classic Yirgacheffe profile with its bold florals and brimming with juicy berries.

The ripe cherries are delivered to mill, where they are then graded and placed onto raised drying beds in thin layers and turned every 2-3 hours in the first few days, to avoid over-fermentation and mould growth. 4-6 weeks later, depending on weather and temperature, the beans are de-hulled. The beans are then transported to Addis in parchment, and then milled prior to shipping. 

You can find this coffee on our web shop on the link below:
www.strangerscoffee.com/shop/ethiopia-wegida-blue-coffee

New Coffee: Konga Ethiopia

Mill

FARM – 650 Farmers, Kebel Konga Mill
ALTITUDE – 1800 - 2000 MASL
LOCATION – Wote - Konga sub region, Yirgacheffe district
PREPARATION – Grade one, washed
VARIETY – Heirloom

This coffee comes from around the area of Wote in the Konga Sub reigon, about 6km away from the Yirgacheffe town.

The ripe cherries are delivered to mill, where cherries are graded, sorted, de- pulped and then fermented underwater for between 36 - 48 hours, depending on temperature, humidity and other factors. Ethiopian fermentation times are generally longer than other African countries, as temperatures are generally cooler in the highlands of Ethiopian, due to Ethiopia’s more northerly latitudes.

The parchment is then sorted in washing channels, and placed onto raised African drying tables. The drying period generally lasts for up to 2 weeks, although standard drying is 7-10 days, until moisture level reaches 12% or lower. This coffee is sold through the ECX (Ethiopian Commodity Exchange) system, where this was classified by the ECX Central Liquoring Unit as a Grade 1 coffee.

There are appoximately 650 farmers contributing to the Kebel Konga Mill, with the local area recieving on average 2000 mm rainfall per year, with 8 months of the year being rainy and 3-4 months dry. The tempera- , ture ranges from 18C-30C. 

You can find this coffee on our web shop on the link below:
strangerscoffee.com/shop/ethiopia-konga-coffee

Cherries

New Coffee: Shakiso Natural Ethiopia

FARM – Shakiso (Abyot Boru), Abyot Boru washing station
ALTITUDE – 1900 - 2100 MASL
LOCATION – Shakiso, Jemjem sub-zone, Sidamo
PREPARATION – Natural Process
VARIETY – Heirloom 

This coffee comes from around the town of Shakiso, Jemjem sub-zone, Sidamo, approx. 100km SW of Yirgacheffe and 70km W of Hagere Maryam, Sidamo province.

The ripe cherries delivered to mill, where cherries are graded and then placed onto raised drying beds in thin layers and turned every 2-3 hours in the first few days, to avoid over-fermentation and mould growth. 4-6 weeks later, depending on weather and temperature, the beans are de-hulled. The beans are then transported to Addis in parchment, then milled prior to shipping.

There are appoximately 750 farmers contributing to the Abyot Boru washin station, with the local area recieving on average 2000 mm rainfall per year, with 8 months of the year being rainy and 3-4 months dry. The temperature ranges from 18C-26C.

This coffee is sold through the ECX (Ethiopian Commodity Exchange) system, where this was classified by the ECX Central Liquoring Unit as a Grade 1 coffee. 

You can find this coffee on our web shop by clicking the link below:
www.strangerscoffee.com/shop/ethiopia-shakiso-natural-coffee

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New Coffee: Colombia Los Congos

Los Congos

Tasting notes: A Clean and complex coffee with refreshing citrus notes, hints of caramel, chocolate and sweet orange.

Finca Los Congos is located in Vereda Santa Maria, Hulia. In the distance you can view the snowy peaks of the National Park del Nevado del Hulia. Beautiful steep hills covered in green coffee plants fill the landscape that makes the region unique and inaccessible in many places. 

The farm is located between 2080 and 2250 MASL sitting on volcanic soils in these vast steep hills. The temperature ranges form 19 - 22c all year with long sunny days.

Carmen Rojas and Victor Acevedo are both local traditional coffee farmers who inherited the land from their parents. They have been working this land for three generation learning the trade and secrets from their parents and grand parents. They have invested a lot of their time and on new resources selecting the right varietals for the land and microclimate. Their land has been blessed with natural glacier streams which help to create such a unique coffee.

Carmen and Victor are currently invested in new and better drying facilities to accommodate when the weather in the region becomes unpredictable and stormy. They have also denied to be as natural as possible when it comes to farming techniques, avoiding where possible to the use of mechanical equipment. This results in a labour intensive farm but as a result can be appreciated by the quality of their coffee. 

Additional Information:
Fermentation time: 23 Hours
Type of Fermentation: Aerobic
Drying time: 68 hours approximately
Drying process: direct sunlight on raised beds
You can find this coffee on our web shop by clicking the link below: www.strangerscoffee.com/shop/colombia-los-congos-coffee

Los Congos 2

New Coffee: Fazenda Santa Barbara

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Tasting notes: A sweet and balanced coffee with flavours of chocolate, praline and hazelnut. 

FARM – Fazenda Santa Barbara, owned by Onley Barreira Junior
ALTITUDE – 1100 - 1200 masl
LOCATION – Carmacho Camps De Vententes
PREPARATION – Natural
VARIETY – Acaia

Located in the region of Campo De Vetentes, Fazenda Santa Barbara is part of the region known as the Mantiquira Fields important for dividing the Brazilian plateau with its mountainous terrain and high altitude to attract precipitation. It is at this point there begins the source of three large river basins in Brazil. The area has some of the highest municipalities in the state of Minas Gerais state with the coldest climates, this colder environment and altitude lead to a slower and later maturation of the cherry bringing an increase element of sweetness and complexity. This combined with the rich, acidic and small pockets of dark red terroir provide a balanced environment to produce excellent coffees.

The farm was acquired by Olney Barreira Junior in 2012 is known as the ‘village of the waterfall’ due to the beautiful waterfall that sits on the property.  Since 2012 Olney Barreira Junior has overseen the replanting of the farm with new varietals as well as investing in the post-harvest infrastructure including the building of new terraces and installation of mechanical dryers. The farm sits at 1100-1200masl and it surrounded by small producers who are employed on the farm to help during the harvest period. In turn they are helped with their farming practices through education. The farm adheres to strict environmental standards ensuring there is an adequate number of shade trees, moderate pesticide use and the correct treatment of waste water with annual analysis to track yearly progression. The farm also adheres to Brazilian law that 20% of the farm must be given over to natural reserve.

Once picked the coffee is pulped with floaters removed. The coffee is then centrifuged to remove all water before the beans are laid out on the patio to dry for 10 – 15 days on the patio depending on the weather. Sometimes if there is too much rain the coffee will be mechanical dried where the temperature is monitored closely to ensure it never rises above 40°C. Once dried it is then allowed to rest before being milled and bagged.

You can find this coffee on our web shop by clicking the link below:
www.strangerscoffee.com/shop/brazil-fazenda-santa-barbara

New Coffee: Ethiopia Konjo

Floral notes of Jasmine and Honeysucklewith flavours of apricot jam and black tea, sweet with a balanced acidity.

FARM – Multiple smallholder farmers
ALTITUDE – 1650 - 1900 MASL
LOCATION – Jimma Zone, Oromia, Western Ethiopia
PREPARATION – Fully washed
VARIETY – Heirloom

This coffee comes from the Limu Woreda in the East Welega zone of the Oromia region in southern Ethiopia. Oromia is responsible for fifty per cent of coffee production in Ethiopia, though the coffees coming from this region differ greatly in flavour profile dependent on their exact location. More than any other country, Ethiopia has a broad genetic diversity among its coffee varieties, with each type having distinctive taste, shape and colour. As a result, each area in the country can offer a different flavour profile, forming the grading system for Ethiopian coffees e.g. Sidamo, Harrar, Limu, Djimmah etc. Limu coffee is said to rival that of Yirgacheffe due to the clean and complex floral aroma with strong citrus notes and undertones of cocoa.

Processing in this area can take the form of both washed and natural and is done so using traditional methods, often without the use of chemicals. Working in partnership with Addis Exporter, a business with more than 100 years’ experience in exporting high quality coffee from Ethiopia, we have been able to select a clean and complex washed coffee from Limu called ‘Konjo’ which means ‘beautiful’ in the local language. This lot is made up of coffee from smallholder farmers who have hand-picked their cherries and sold them to a local trader who oversees the processing and sorting before selling the beans to the ECX who grade the beans according to SCAA standards. Addis Exporter then purchase the top quality lots from the ECX and select the best for their Limu washed ‘Konjo’.

You can find this coffee on our web shop on the link below:
strangerscoffee.com/shop/ethiopia-konjo

New Coffee: Kenya Kainamui AA

Tasting notes: Juicy Blackcurrant with a green apple acidity, flavours of fruit pastels with a honey sweetness and a creamy body.

FARM – Cooperative Members
ALTITUDE – 1800 MASL
LOCATION – Kieinyaga District
PREPARATION – Fully washed
VARIETY – SL28 SL34

This coffee, pronounced "khin-a-moo-ee" comes from a factory (washing station) situated in Ngariama location, Gichugu division of Kirinyaga District. Kainamui is located on the slopes of Mount Kenya in the agriculturally rich Central Province. It lies at an altitude of 1,800 metres above sea level which makes it ideal for coffee production.

The Kainamui factory has 1800 members, 1100 of whom are men and 700 of whom are women. These producers are very small, owning on average just 200 trees. Varieties grown by these members are SL28 and SL32. With ideal conditions for coffee growing, farmers benefit from the mineral-rich red volcanic loam soils and high altitudes that are typical of the area. The Kainamui factory supports its members by providing them with advances for school fees, farm support and other emergency funds. They also provide agronomy training for all members.

The coffee is handpicked and delivered to the wet mill (factory) where it is pulped. This initially separates the dense beans from the immature ‘mbuni’s (floaters) using water floatation which means the denser beans will sink and be sent through channels to the fermentation tank. This first stage of fermentation will last for around 24 hours, after which the beans are washed and sent to the secondary fermentation tank for another 12-24 hours. Once the fermentation process is completed, the beans enter the washing channels where floaters are separated further and the dense beans are cleaned of mucilage. The washed beans will then enter soaking tanks where they can sit under clean water for as long as another 24hours. This soaking process allows amino acids and proteins in the cellular structure of each bean to develop which results in higher levels of acidity and complex fruit flavours in the cup - it is thought that this process of soaking contributes to the flavour profiles that Kenyan coffees are so famed for.

The beans are then transferred to the initial drying tables where they are laid in a thin layer to allow around 50% of the moisture to be quickly removed. This first stage of drying can last around 6 hours before the beans are gathered and laid in thicker layers for the remaining 5-10 days of the drying period. The dry parchment coffee is then delivered to a private mill and put into ‘bodegas’ to rest – these are raised cells made of chicken wire which allows the coffee to breathe fully. Coffee is traditionally sold through the country’s auction system, though recent amendments to the coffee law of Kenya have brought about the introduction of direct trading whereby farmers can by-pass the auction and sell directly to speciality roasters around the world.

You can find this coffee on our web shop on the link below:
strangerscoffee.com/shop/kenya-kainamui-aa

New Coffee: Burundi Buziraguhindwa

A Full bodied cup with flavours of grape, stewed fruits, macadamia nuts with a lime juice freshness.

FARM – Communal smallholder farmers
ALTITUDE – 2000 MASL
LOCATION – Buziraguhindwa Washing Station, Kayanza
PREPARATION – Fully washed
VARIETY – Bourbon

Buziraguhindwa is one out of two washing stations we by from owned by the producer Salum Ramadhan. Our history with Salum dates back to 2011, and the relationship has worked out great since then. He’s extremely detail oriented, spends a lot of time to train local staff and have a great loyal work force. He’s also having a transport business and are through that managing the domestic coffee logistics well for us. This means that we are always getting our coffees out quickly while they are still fresh. Buzuraguhindwa is a communal station in the high altitudes in Kayanza. He’s mainly producing fully washed, but is also experimenting with naturals. The coffees are basically all selected daily lots, named by the local area or Collin (hill) where the cherries are purchased. Farms in Burundi is small, often below one hectar each with some hundred trees. This means that a daily lot of e.g. 25 bags of greens can consist of coffee from some hundred growers.

He is systematically separating the coffees based on where they are grown, and by the date of processing. Post harvest we are cupping through some hundred samples to select the ones we find outstanding. They generally collect cherries from a range of areas with different altitudes, growing conditions etc, and the flavor range is pretty wide spread according to that. The coffees named Buziraguhindwa is coffees from the surroundings of the washing station. Coffees with names like Nkonge and Muruta are coffees grown in other areas, but still processed at Buziraguhindwa.

He’s also investing in social and environmental projects such as education in the local areas, ponds for waste water etc. 

The main harvest will normally start very slowly in March, peak around May (depending on altitude and weather) and end in July. The family members on the small farms are working the land, picking the coffee cherries themselves in the afternoon or on Saturdays. They will then either deliver the cherries to Buziraguhindwa washingstation by foot or bicycle, or to the closest collection points where Salum will have he’s site collector, meaning a representative from Buziraguhindwa washingstation. They are strategically placed in remote areas to buy cherries. The farmers are free to deliver their cherries to anyone offering the highest price. And the competition in this area can be hard. Salum and he’s collectors will communicate with the local farmers on selective picking and sorting. To attract farmers with the best qualities they are constantly paying premiums above the market prices to improve the product.

Buziraguhindwa washing stations have strict routines for cherry reception. The coffees are sorted by the farmers at the receiving stations on raised tables, or they even have small flotation tank system for each farmer at delivery. They also have workers dedicated to sort out un ripe and over ripe coffees for their special preparation of micro lots. The pre production flotation process is to first put the cherries in water tanks. They will then skim off the floaters and give it back to the farmer before the coffees are hand sorted to separate out unripe/half-ripe.

The elevation at the washingstation is high, and climate is cool, meaning it’s easier to control the fermentation time. The traditional fermentation and washing process in Burundi is a lengthy procedure with double fermentation (dry and wet fermentation) before soaking. The double fermentation is a labor dense process that also requires a lot of water, and creates more wastewater. They changed the process to reduce water usage, labor, increase capacity and avoid overfermentation.

They generally do a 12 hour dry fermentation. It’s then graded in washing channels in to 3-4 grades based on density before 12-18 hours soaking time in clean water.

From there it goes to pre drying under shade with handpicking of wet parchment before entering the elevated and sun exposed drying tables. Drying normally takes 15 – 20 days depending on the climate and rainfall. It’s not uncommon with rain during the drying, and they have to be quick to cover up the parchment when they see the clouds are building up.

You can find this coffee on our web shop on the link below:
www.strangerscoffee.com/shop/burundi-buziraguhindwa

New Coffee: Rwanda Kilimbi Natural

Flavours of Juicy red berries, orange and white peach, milk chocolate on the finish with a rounded mouthfeel.

ALTITUDE – 1550 -1800 MASL
LOCATION – Nyamasheke District, Gitsimbwe Village
PRODUCERS: Various small lot holders from Kilimbi sector
PREPARATION – Natural, dried on raised beds over 35 - 45 days
VARIETY – Red Bourbon

Kilimbi Coffee Washing Station is built on the shores of Lake Kivu and purchases coffee from about 150 families in the area.  Only perfectly ripe cherry is selected at Kilimbi for the production of natural processed coffee. With the help of a quality manager, producers physically check each lot for any defects, under-ripes and any foreign objects. The cherry is laid out on long raised African beds, with roughly 250-300kg of cherry; this ensures the coffee ferments evenly and allows fluid air movement across all the cherry during the drying phase. The drying process takes between 35 and 45 days, once it reaches 12.5% moisture the cherry is removed from the drying beds and stored until it is milled, once milled, the coffee goes through one final stage of hand sorting to eliminate any defects. 

You can find this coffee on our web shop on the link below:
http://www.strangerscoffee.com/shop/rwanda-kilimbi-natural

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The Sparkling Water Decaffeination Process

This process was first discovered by a scientist called Kurt Zosel at the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research in 1967 as he was looking at new ways of separating mixtures of substances. In 1988, a German decaffeination company called CR3 developed this process for decaffeination whereby natural carbon dioxide (which comes from prehistoric underground lakes) is combined with water to create ‘sub-critical’ conditions which creates a highly solvent substance for caffeine in coffee. It is a gentle, natural and organically certified process and the good caffeine selectivity of the carbon dioxide guarantees a high retention level of other coffee components which contribute to taste and aroma.

The process is outlined below: 

  1. The green beans enter a ‘pre-treatment’ vessel where they are cleaned and moistened with water before being brought into contact with pressurised liquid carbon dioxide. When the green coffee beans absorb the water, they expand and the pores are opened resulting in the caffeine molecules becoming mobile.
  2. After the water has been added, the beans are then brought into contact with the pressurised liquid carbon dioxide which combines with the water to essentially form sparkling water. The carbon dioxide circulates through the beans and acts like a magnet, drawing out the mobile caffeine molecules.
  3. The sparkling water then enters an evaporator which precipitates the caffeine rich carbon dioxide out of the water. The now caffeine free water is pumped back into the vessel for a new cycle.
  4. This cycle is repeated until the required residual caffeine level is reached. Once this has happened, the circulation of carbon dioxide is stopped and the green beans are discharged into a drier.
  5. The decaffeinated coffee is then gently dried until it reaches its original moisture content, after which it is ready for roasting.

There are several benefits to using this process for decaffeination:

  • The agent used for extracting the caffeine is entirely natural and the process can be classified as ‘organic’ due to the complete lack of chemicals used throughout. There is also no health risk by consuming coffee that has been decaffeinated in this way.
  • The way the process works means the other compounds in the green bean are left untouched, meaning decaffeination has no effect on the flavour and aroma of the finished product. The carbon dioxide is very selective and doesn’t extract the carbohydrates and proteins in the green bean which contribute to flavour and smell.
  • The cell structure of the green bean and the finished roasted bean is unchanged which is of great advantage when working with speciality coffees.
  • The by-products are 100% natural and recyclable.

New Coffee: Christmas Coffees

December has arrived and although many companies have been shouting about their Christmas stuff since August, here at Strangers we are finally allowed to talk about a couple of the more festive coffees we have in the offering this month. 

First up is a our Kenyan Teresia AA. We cupped a sample a couple of months back from another coffee roasters in Norway and we simply fell in love with its melted selero tasting deliciousness in the cup and we had to have a go at roasting it. 
We have a tiny amount of this incredible coffee and so each week up till Christmas we will roast one batch and when it's gone it's gone. 

Our second new addition is our Christmas blend, bringing together two beautiful natural coffees with our Rwandan Muhura and Ethiopian Rocko Mountain, perfect flavours for this time of year, with hints of cranberries and chocolate. 

And finally it's our barrel aged coffee, which is something we've been playing around with for a couple of months and is going to be available online and instore throughout the Christmas period. We've aged our beans before roasting them to a bespoke profile to achieve a boozy fruity coffee, great for Christmas morning.

New Coffee: Rwanda Muhura Natural

Strangers have been sourcing and roasting our own coffee for the past year, and in our opinion we have roasted some great coffees in this time. 

We tend to look for slightly unusual flavours when it comes to our taste, heavily fruited, bright and interesting are the sort of notes we look for when buying our greens and our latest release Rwandan Muhura, natural process ticks all of these boxes. 

This is the first natural process Rwanda coffee we've ever tasted in our coffee careers and it didn't disappoint. Upfront there's a tonne of fruit, makes me think of eating a mouthful of Skittles sweets, juicy and complex with loads of body. 

This is an experimental lot of coffee as most beans in Rwanda are fully washed, so if you want the opportunity to taste something a bit different grab a bag from our web shop or our Norwich retail stores before its all gone. 

For full farm information click here to head to our web shop. Enjoy. 

Speciality coffee in Norwich on a Sunday?

For a while now the question of, where can you get a decent cup of coffee, on a Sunday, in norwich had been left unanswered. 
I normally suggest taking some of our delicious beans to brew at home in your preferred method until now.....
 

That's right coffee lovers, Strangers is now open on a Sunday between 10.30 - 4! If you don't fancy making yourself a filter coffee, you've run out of beans or you've got a hankering for an espresso or flat white to get you through the day, we'll be at hand serving an array of speciality coffees through the espresso machine and on the brew bar, you can simply sit back and enjoy. 

It'll be a relaxed atmosphere in the shop, as a Sunday should be, but if you don't have time to kick back you can still grab anything we offer as a takeaway as usual, although we will only have a limited amount of ciabattas so if food is on the agenda turn up early to avoid disappointment.


Got Milk?

At strangers we're all about the coffee, normally, but this post is about the milk we use every day and which makes up around 85% of each latte, cappuccino, mocha, hot chocolate we make. 

Some of you will know how particular I am about this topic mainly about its temperature in the drinks we serve or it's fat content, but it's always fresh as possible, 4% fat unless our customer asks for skimmed or almond. 

However, of late, we've had a problem with our current supply of milk, barely noticeable to our customers but silently driving me crazy behind the espresso machine, or not so silently depending who's reading. 

I've been making coffee for some years now, with a focus on detail, education and experimentation, exploring the complex world of coffee and barely a step on the way, but I can still normally texture milk into a beautiful, silky, sweet liquid which blends harmoniously with our espresso of choice almost intuitively. 

But something had happened, instead of the beautifully shiny glossy milk with almost zero bubbles after texturing of that which we're used to, I'm instead left with an eruption of large bubbles rising to the surface destroying it's texture and sheen.  The microfoam seems to instantaneously collapse and the moisture separate out making pouring lattes and cappuccino with any kind of reasonable art an issue. So what is it, have I lost my touch? Forgotten everything I've learnt? Is my coffee machine broken? 

Now this was only happening intermittently on various batches of milk from our usual supplier, arriving daily over December and early January, most of which was unusable and returned meaning we were topping up from the local supermarket. 

All the milk from the supermarket had no problem which meant there was an issue with our usual supplier, but what's actually wrong with it? 

As soon as this question was asked I realised how difficult it is to answer, short of the usual in house checks, dates, refrigeration, temps, etc, all fine. I then started questioning our supplier, what was happening before it got to us? their storage, etc, but where do you stop, even the cows diet and changing seasons will effect the final milk quality which is produced and without careful observation changes in quality can be missed. 

The journey of milk from cow to cafe can be huge and at any stage something can happen to cause damage to the milk, we may not of found out what was causing the problem to ours but we have changed our milk supply. 

I'm pleased to say we are now using milk produced by 3 small, quality focused dairy farms in east anglia, meaning we have full traceability of all the milk we use direct to the farm and any future issues are much less likely to happen as it's journey is that much shorter.

The best thing of all though is that it tastes great and we're supporting local uk dairy farmers hopefully helping to secure the survival of this struggling industry locally.

A New Year a new coffee

Happy new year to all our customers and coffee fans out there!

We wanted to kick this year off, like many people, with a few changes and our first is the house roast coffee we serve at Strangers, roasted by award winning roasters Butterworth and son. 

As some of you will know over the past few months our house coffee has been focused around select farms in Guatemala. We were lucky enough to receive a couple of farms first years crops and we've been delighted with the results. 

With this in mind we have sourced another one from a new farm in Guatemala called La Casita. This coffee is their first years crop and scored an 85 on the SCAA grading system. Here's a bit more information about the coffee:

Lot: La Casita
Farm: Finca La Concepcion Buenavista
Owner: Berardo Solano

Varietals: Bourbon, Catuai, Typica
Process: Fully washed and dried on patio
Farm Size: 100 Hectars (247 Acres)
Altitude: Average 1745 MASL
Soil: Lime clayish soils with slightly acidic PH
Rainfall: 2,600mm per year
Shade Trees: Chalun, Guachipilin and other native trees
Town: San Martin Jilotepeque

San Martin Jilotepeque, a valley over from Antigua is a relatively new region for coffee growing in Guatemala. It is a very dry area, however the soils are virgin; with coffee being the first crop every harvested. This give the region a great advantage due to the amounts of nutrients found in the soil.

Berado Solano is a third generation grower. His grandfather had a farm in Santa Rosa, another region of the Guatemala's coffee growing belt; but his father saw a better opportunity in the rich soils of San Martin. He Purchased the land and Berardo is now the only one in the family cultivating the coffee crop. 

La Casita


This year we also aim to update our blog a bit more often, something which isn't always that easy to do when your making coffee all the time but with so many amazing things happening in the dynamic world of coffee we want to try and take time to share our thoughts, opinions and experiments with all who will listen.

Christmas Coffee Selection

We've been tasting some delicious coffees recently in order to get our Christmas coffee selection ready for you! We hope you enjoy the coffees we've picked. We've tried to get something that will suit everybody's tastes. These coffee's will be featured on our guest hoppers and brew bar throughout December so you can always sample them before committing to them.

  • GUATEMALAN SANTA CRUZ: Lots of chocolate, a slight nuttiness and delicate orange coming through. Creamy body with an orange acidity.
  • ETHIOPIAN ROCKO MT RESERVE, NATURAL: Fizzy body, sherbet sweetness. Blueberry notes with a mulled wine quality to it.
  • WINTER BLEND V2: Ethiopian Rocko MT / Kenyan Muwa AA / Kenyan Thiriku AA: Creamy body, lime acidity and candied fruit flavours coming through. 
  • KENYAN THIRIKU AB: Medium body, lemon acidity, balanced sweetness, notes of stewed fruits and pineapple.
  • ETHIOPIAN ARICHA NATURAL: Powerful fruit & floral notes up front. Sweet, rich chocolate & berry flavours  Intense long sweet finish.
  • INDIAN SEETHARGUNDU DECAF: Medium body, mild acidity, milk chocolate and hazelnut notes.

EK43: Taste the rainbow

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It's been a little while since we've posted anything on the blog and so it's time for us to put fingers to keys again and bring up a subject which has been bubbling up in conversations over the espresso machine this week. 

As a lover of coffee I will of course always hone in on a concept which may make my delicious brew even more flavoursome and there are new ideas all the time, but one has got me a little excited and has led me to start experimenting with something else in the shop. 

Now there's been loads of talk on the speciality coffee scene about Mahlkonigs EK43 coffee grinder since Matt Perger used one for his whole routine in the World Barista Championship (WBC) last year, again this year we have seen a couple of people in the United Kingdom Barista Championships (UKBC) heats use the EK43 for their performance and its made me want to have a play with one too.  

So for those of you who aren't coffee geeks and don't have any idea what I'm talking about, the EK43 is essentially a deli grinder, used for grinding beans for customers who don't have their own grinder and all the other filter options that may be on offer within the coffee shop. Rarely is it used for espresso in a normal coffee environment, but that's whats so interesting some of the coffee gurus of the world are not only using it for espresso coffee they have even adopted it as their main grinder for espresso within their coffee shop setup.

It may be a crazy thought to use a deli grinder rather than your nice silent running purpose built espresso grinder but it's got my interest, the idea of weighing out a whole days coffee into individual servings of varying amounts and stacking them somewhere doesn't drive me wild but the step forward for coffee as we know it could be enormous. 

I already think the coffee I make tastes pretty great from espresso to a flat white, so I'm not trying to find a magic bullet to fix all my problems but if there is a chance to make it even tastier I'm game. 

Are we getting an EK43 at Strangers then? The team would love to get their hands on one to test drive, me especially, but it's early days for the concept and the £1500ish price tag for the grinder means it's not something you can just rush into buying, I would be bankrupt if I were to jump on every new toy that reached the market place, but that doesn't mean no. I think that currently though we are just not ready to have the EK43 as our main espresso grinder, but with some modifications to the design of the current grinder a more suitable stronger model for espresso will appear on the market in the near future which I will definitely be interested in purchasing. 

So for now we are experimenting with our own deli grinder which has resulted in some very tasty espresso and with a little practice I think we will be able to offer multiple coffees from different origin countries with very little waste and very little dialling in and I think if I can do that with my set up, I wonder what I can do with an EK43, what amazing flavours can I extract from my coffee? I'm sure time will tell so watch this space for some updates on the subject.

Words by Alex
Illustration by @williamaddocks

Colombian Villa Esperanza

This is just a little post about one of my favourite coffees we stock here at Strangers, our direct trade Colombian Villa Esperanza has been one of our most popular coffees among customers over the last year. It's a gem of a coffee great for all different brew methods, but makes a particularly good espresso with flavours of lemon, peach, and caramel.

However, we had disappointing news from the importers informing us we won't be getting anymore of this coffee until late this year due to quality issues with the first batch received of the new crop. We have very limited stock of this coffee left so if your a fan like me or yet to try it grab a bag of beans from Strangers soon, or miss your chance for you to brew a cracker like this at home.

Colombian Villa Esperanza

Image by Thomas Howes @thomashowes

A Christmas Coffee

With Christmas just around the corner now is the perfect time to treat yourself to a special coffee which is great however you like to brew. With flavours of mulled wine and rich liqueur chocolate our natural processed Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is a must have to get you in the Christmas mood. 

This coffee has been processed in the most traditional method leaving the fruit on the bean whilst it is dried on raised racks, this gives the coffee a beautiful fruit flavour and sweetness which when roasted and brewed passes into the final cup.

If you have a coffee machine at home why not try using our recipe below.

Use the steam attachment on your espresso machine to warm 150ml of
whole milk then add 20g of white chocolate and stir until the
chocolate has melted.

Freshly brew a double espresso into a 150ml cup and then add the white
chocolate infused milk up to the brim.

Decorate the surface of the coffee with a shop bought balsamic vinegar
glaze, or make your own, use a tooth pick to create an attractive
pattern on top.

For a final flourish dust with a strawberry powder made by blending
20g freeze dried strawberries and a teaspoon of icing sugar. Use a
sieve or tea strainer to prevent any big lumps when dusting.

The result is a luxurious coffee with flavours of rich liquor
chocolate and subtle strawberry, delicious.