Posts Tagged ‘Union Hand-Roasted Coffee’

Union Hand-Roasted Coffee supply coffee to British Airways

July 24, 2018

Union Hand-Roasted Coffee are supplying coffee to British Airways for serving from automated machines in airport lounges and by stewards on their flights.

This is is not good news, indeed it is very bad news.

It is not good news if care about coffee, if Union care about their reputation, if care about the planet.

Global warming is killing coffee. The only people who will be able to afford coffee, the 1%, the very same people sitting in airport lounges pontificating on the delights of Union coffee being served by British Airways, now BA as not British owned.

Aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gases. Does Union really wish their name to be linked to a major climate polluter?

In the northern hemisphere we are seeing record high temperatures this summer. This is not the new norm, this is the beginning of relentless rise in global temperatures as climate change kicks in.

How are Union to explain to the poor farmers when their crops fail due to rising temperatures that they were a willing party?

Supply coffee to other than speciality coffee shops harms the reputation of Union. On the other hand, if profit is the driving motive, then maybe a good deal.

Union supply coffee to Waitrose. On the shelf can be found coffee at least two months old. If lucky, only a month old.

Union supply coffee to Gail’s Bakery. The coffee at Gail’s Farnham is undrinkable.

Clifton Coffee supply coffee to Cosy Club. A corporate chain of fake 1930s bars, so fake a parody of fake. The coffee served in Cosy Club Guildford is undrinkable.

Jamie Oliver has a coffee kiosk at Gatwick serving Italian corporate brand coffee, barely drinkable coffee. A tragedy. With many excellent coffee roasteries locally the coffee kiosk could be used to showcase excellent local coffee.

If care about reputational damage, take care where supply coffee.

Yet one of life’s ironies, Grocer and Grain in Brighton, the owner passionate about coffee, has a good range of coffee on the shelves, including Union, but that on the shelves not as fresh as could be, he would love to serve Union coffee, but Union will not supply, therefore obtained through a third party, thus that on the shelves not as fresh as he would like it to be.

V60 The Little Tractor Coffee Shop

August 23, 2017

V60 filter coffee Finca Immaculada Laurina de Colombia roasted by Union Hand-Roasted Coffee brewed at The Little Tractor Coffee Shop.

Late morning in Lincoln, thunderstorm and heavy rain, then muggy and warm.

After checking out a few more Lincoln Knights, I looked in Makushi, picked up two Florentines, very rare to find, then to The Little Tractor Coffee Shop for a cappuccino.

Cappuccino was excellent.

The main reason for my visit, I had promised to bring in a guest coffee, Finca Immaculada Laurina de Colombia roasted by Union Hand-Roasted Coffee.

It was a case of make do.

A V60, but no carafe.  Make do with a pouring pot.

A hand grinder.

Although there was fine drizzle, we decided, once the coffee had been ground and the filter washed through with hot water, to brew in the Secret Garden out the back of Bird’s Yard.

First wet the filter with hot water. This removes any paper residues and heats the filter and carafe.

If in doubt why cleanse the filter, try drinking the hot water.

Add the ground coffee, tapping to ensure the bed is as flat as a billiard table.

Next pour in hot water close to boiling, allow the ground coffee to bloom. This enables the CO2 to escape.

Next pour in the hot water, just off boiling, in a rotating motion.

All steps are carefully weighed, timed, the coffee a precise grind, courser than for an espresso machine.

How to enjoy is personal preference. I prefer a glass to showcase the colour of the resultant liquid.

Finca Immaculada is a garden farm located at a height of 1770–2040 metres, surrounded by a National Park. The coffee plants grow in the Andes in the shade of trees.

Laurina seeds originate from the tiny island of Réunion, east of Madagascar and south west of Mauritius, where a red bourbon variety mutated into this rare variety, the Bourbon Pointu.

The Little Tractor Coffee Shop is located in Bird’s Yard at the bottom of Steep Hill.

Walk through the shop to find the Secret Garden, a quiet little garden in which to relax with a coffee.

V60 Finca Immaculada Laurina

August 18, 2017

V60 filter coffee Finca Immaculada Laurina de Colombia roasted by Union Hand-Roasted Coffee brewed at Madame Waffle.

A morning in Lincoln, most of it spent in Madame Waffle, part of the Lincoln coffee scene.

First an excellent cappuccino.

It was then try a V60, Finca Immaculada Laurina de Colombia, roasted by Union Hand-Roasted Coffee, which I had brought along.

First wet the filter with hot water. This removes any paper residues and heats the filter and carafe.

If in doubt why cleanse the filter, try drinking the hot water.

Add the ground coffee, tapping to ensure the bed is as flat as a billiard table.

Next pour in hot water, allow the ground coffee to bloom. This enables the CO2 to escape.

Next, pour in the hot water, just off boiling, in a rotating motion.

All steps are carefully weighed, timed, the coffee a precise grind, courser than for an espresso machine.

The ratio of coffee to water, 1 to 60.

  • 17.5 g of coffee
  • 273.6 g of hot water

How to enjoy is personal preference. I prefer a glass to showcase the colour of the resultant liquid.

To brew, there was a choice between a V60 and a Chemex.

V60 is best suited to bring out the best from a natural process light roast bean.

Finca Immaculada is a garden farm located at a height of 1770-2040 metres, surrounded by a National Park. The coffee plants grow in the Andees in the shade of trees.

Laurina seeds originate from the tiny island of Réunion, east of Madagascar and south west of Mauritius, where a red bourbon variety mutated into this rare variety, the Bourbon Pointu.

Madame Waffle has Caffeine available for free, and one of the few places in the country where must have Standart is on sale.

Madame Waffle also serves waffles.

Special thanks to Bruce for kindly brewing and sharing his expertise.

Kalita Wave Martin Hudak Signature Geisha

August 1, 2017

Kalita Wave filter coffee using Martin Hudak Signature Geisha from Panama roasted by Union Hand-Roasted Coffee.

I have been hanging on to this coffee since picking up from Union Summer Carnival, wanting to try and at the same time resisting.

But coffee like fresh fruit, cannot be left, it has to be used within an optimum period, and I was already passing that by.

Method a Kalita Wave. I could have tried V60 or Japanese syphon, it would be an interesting comparison.

  • 17 grams of coffee
  • 275 ml of water
  • 4 minutes

Water around 95 C, just off boiling.

First cleanse the filter with hot water, then throw away. This also warms the jug.

Wet the ground coffee, this allows it to bloom, releases carbon dioxide.

Pour water in a circular motion to agitate the coffee.

Then enjoy.

This was the coffee Martin Hudak used to win World Championship Coffee in Good Spirits, Budapest June 2017.

I had the honour of meeting Martin Hudak at Union Summer Carnival a few days after his winning the world championship, not only meeting but actually trying his award winning cocktail, a cocktail made with Geisha.

Geisha, a coffee from Panama, is one of the world’s highest rated coffees.

The Martin Hudak Signature Geisha has a Q rating of 91.

Geisha grows at high altitude, shaded by trees, as all the best coffees grow.

When it was discovered in Panama, the reaction of those who first tasted Geisha was that of discovering God in a cup.

For more on Geisha and its almost mystical status, God in a Cup is an absolute must read.

Next try as Japanese iced filter.

Union Summer Carnival

June 22, 2017

I arrived a little later than I would have wished.

I was half an hour later than I wished arriving in London, then I went on a detour to Lower Marsh, behind Waterloo Station, to investigate Lower Marsh Market and happened upon a little coffee shop Love & Scandal.

As a result, I missed the cupping session and arrived part way through a fascinating talk on coffee, trees, forests, climate change and Ethiopia.

Kew Gardens have been carrying out mapping of the forests, how will be effected by climate change, how to mitigate, and will the coffee varieties survive.

To preserve the forest, we need to add value, we add value by encouraging the farmers to focus on quality not quantity, but this will only succeed, if the farmers have a market for their quality beans.

Union has been helping, they have improved the care of the trees, educated the farmers to only pick the ripest reddest coffee cherries, have improved the drying stations to use polypropylene netting not hessian and to establish a cupping station to enable the farmers to evaluate the quality of their beans.  These must be in excess of 84 on a Q scale, anything above 80 qualifies as speciality coffee.

Union are marketing as the region, Yayu Forest.

How much information on a bag of coffee?

This came up in the next session on Generation Z and the five waves of coffee.

Five?

Most people are only aware of three, if that.

Zero: Quality coffee beans, usually Arbabica, available from local stores.

First: Mass marketing of instant coffee.

Second: Starbucks, a marked improvement, coffee as a lifestyle.

Third: Artisan coffee shops, roasters, focus on high quality, money going to growers.

Fourth: Professionalism.

Fifth: Marketing hype, creation of chains.

Oxfam are still stuck at zero, peddling the fairtrade scam with tubs of black powder to which you add hot water, poor quality coffee that makes people feel good because they have been duped into thinking they are helping growers.

Many would question the existence of the fourth and fifth waves.

This session people either loved or hated. I fell into the second camp.

Anthropologist David Graeber describes bullshit jobs. That was what I was seeing.

Generation Z, Millennials, I groan when I hear these terms. Are people hardwired within their DNA when they are born?

We live in a world where nearly everyone is interconnected through their smartphone.

This has huge implications on social behaviour.

What we should be discussing is this interconnection, and how it is used, not stereotyping behaviour on the basis of when born.

We saw it with Jeremy Corbyn, when he easily won two leadership elections, when despite the smears in the oligarch-owned and controlled media, he almost won a General Election.

PR and marketing show little understanding of this interconnection, how it functions.

It is also personal space, invade at your peril.

Social media is social networks, social, interaction, many to many. It is not broadcast, one to many.

Andy Street former boss of John Lewis has said you do not control it or own it, it takes you where it flows.

We are post-capitalism, capitalism ended in 2008.

Basic tenet of the market is that it self-corrects. it did not for 2008 banking crisis, the criminal bankers had to be bailed out.

Classic Marx, cost is land, labour and capital. We now have a fourth factor, information.

Information has a tendency to flow, you cannot unknow what you know. Like water downhill, it has a tendency to flow. Only artificial and draconian copyright and intellectual property rights restrict this flow, and in doing so, hinders innovation.

We have pure information products, e-books, digital music, that can be reproduced and distributed at near zero marginal cost. We have physical products with high information content, eg mobile phones.

The marginal cost of information products, or physical products with high information content, is falling exponentially.

Robots will take over at least forty per cent  of jobs, or would if it were not for wages being held artificially low.

If we focus on brands, then at risk of cultural jamming, as Naomi Klein, author of the seminal No Logo, discusses in how we jam the Trump brand.

Nike went from producer of $70 retail sports shoes, factory gate price at the sweatshop factory of one dollar, to a lifestyle choice.

Apple likes to project a lifestyle image. What of the workers committing suicide?

We are used to dealing with producer coops. Why do we not see this the other end, cooperating coffee shops, collaborative commons, open coops?

Actually we do. Baristas help each pother, little cooperating networks form.

In Lincoln, indie coffee shops are considering, maybe already have, a joint loyalty card.

Rather than attempt to form so-called fifth wave businesses, why not grow organically, skilled baristas leave, set up their own coffee shops?

If we follow this route, we also can sustain organic growth for coffee roasteries, and plough money back to sustain growers,  encourage them not to replant coffee trees with a  less sustainable crop.

Try a quality coffee in an artisan coffee shop then go back to tax-dodging corporate Starbucks and demand the same quality?

I think not. More likely to search out other artisan coffee shops.

How much information to put on a bag of coffee? Danger of information overload. Why not small information panel, QR code to scan for more information.

Every bean has a story to tell. Why are we not telling that story?

The earlier session on Ethiopia, was telling that story.

Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development presented to the two co-founders of Union.

A coffee throwdown in three rounds.

Here I was a little baffled. Different methods were used by the competitors.  Should everything  not be equal, a level playing field? One method in itself, may produce a superior outcome. On the other hand, maybe that in itself tests the skill of the barista, with the coffee given, part of their skill, is to choose the method that will best bring out what the coffee has to offer.

Watching the competitors, intense concentration.

Then the judges, which coffee would they prefer? They indicated by pointing to or tapping the cup.

The judges explaining their decision, would have provided useful feedback.

On display, a fancy all singing and dancing espresso machine from La Marzocco.

It was one of several different  machines, there to be used.

A couple of baristas were making a coffee. Could I have one please? They handed me their coffee. A queue formed.

There was to be a short talk by a guy from La Marzocco. Either it did not take place or I missed it.

On entering, various coffees on show, fake milk, chai.

Including the almost mythical Geisha coffee.

I have always thought, using cold brew coffee to make cocktails, a waste of good coffee. Half of Cold Brew Coffee is padded out with recipes.

World champion barista Martin Hudak World Coffee in Good Spirits Champion 2017 did an excellent job of making me think again with his excellent cocktail, but even then, use of Geisha.

More on Geisha, read the excellent must read God in a Cup.

The Japanese chilled filter I liked. Little recipe cards were available.

Many will be familiar with Oatly, or at least the name, as it was the wrap around for Caffeine 26.

My experience of fake milk was a cappuccino in Malaika, a vegan coffee shop. To say the least, it was disgusting.

A Greek barista was making himself a cappuccino. Would he make me one too please?

It was so-so. A marked improvement on my previous experience. Not great. Was this the coffee, the machine, the barista? A direct comparison with milk would have been useful.

The previous week, dinner with an Indian. She told me how they drink tea, half milk, lots of sugar. It sounded disgusting. I was shocked. I expected as I drink tea, fresh boiling water on tea leaves, no milk, no sugar.

Prana Chai was served ice cold. To me it was like a milkshake.  A strange tea milkshake with spices.

Talking to the guys later as we walked to the DLR Star Lane Station, they said they were thinking of describing as tea latte, which seemed apt.

In the car park, excellent pizza from a clay oven by Arancina.

For everyone a goody bag.

All in all, a very interesting, informative and entertaining day, and a big thank you to Union for the hard work organising their summer festival.

 


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