Archive for March, 2012

Guest coffee roasters at the plan cafe Cardiff

March 21, 2012

Recently I had coffee from Origin Coffee Roasters in Cornwall on as a Guest Roaster for our espresso of the day at the plan cafe for a few days. I’ve ordered coffee from Origin occasionally as a guest in the past too, and it’s always been a positive thing.

With this in mind, I am organising for one or two more very special Guests over the coming weeks and months!

I’ve said to each roaster I contact that I love what my regular roaster, James’s Gourmet Coffee, does. That I have developed a great relationship with them and their coffee over the last few years, and have discovered first-hand how fantastic it is. I wouldn’t use them if I didn’t honestly believe this! And therefore this is not something I’m looking to change – they will remain my primary roaster.

But, we are fortunate to have a few other top artisan roasters in the UK who are also recognised as being at the very pinnacle when it comes to coffee roasting and sourcing. And using coffee from some of these other great roasters occasionally for our espresso is something I’d like to do a bit more of.

New flavours, new farms, new roast styles, new packaging! A broader spectrum. It’s entertaining, exciting, and enlightening for everyone involved to try coffee from various equally renowned speciality roasters at the top of their game. Both for those customers who know a little (or a lot!) about coffee and roasters, and also for our baristas. It helps everyone to develop a wider appreciation and understanding of good coffee. Of the origins and farms it comes from, who’s great at roasting it, and what it tastes like from different, equally respected sources, who have handled it with the utmost care!

It’s important though, for me, to work primarily with just one great roaster, for many reasons. Just one reason is it enables me to carefully manage our stock for espresso (its freshness and its resting periods) so that coffee is used within an ideal window, as often as possible. Ordering from every which way the whole time could jeopardise this crucial process of offering coffee at its peak. This means these guest roasters will be occasional, and carefully worked into my existing lineup of coffees at the cafe, but this may become a fairly regular thing, here and there …and you will start to see these guests popping up SOON! Excited!

Just for fun, I’ll start by giving a few (lame!) Clues as to the identity of our latest upcoming Guests..! 😉 Nearer the time, I’ll post here on the blog, and on Twitter (@TheBeanVagrant) exactly what and who is happening. And there may be more new guests arriving in the future!

2 589 988.11 m2


…If you know …you know!

Update 31st March:

And, possibly, due to a wonderfully off-the-wall suggestion by Kenny of recently opened Diego’s Cafe (be sure to visit if you’re in Hereford!), there might at some point also be some…

1st March 2012

March 1, 2012

These few weeks right now see an exuberance of different coffees appearing as my espresso selection for the cafe. After quite a long time (for us!) with the wonderful Winter Hoard, I am now using many new coffees, and really mixing it up. At the moment, these include Fazenda Samambaia from Brazil (chocolate, salty-caramel, buttery), Formula 6 (currently featuring 6 farms) (depth, rich, chocolate, caramel, fruit, buttery), Caffe Naturelle (featuring Kelenso Mokanisa turning seasonally into Suko Quto Estate, and Finca Bourbon) (wow! sweet, soft citrus, ripe, clean, fruity, soft stone fruit, juicy, floral, delicate), Finca Suiza (tart, juicy, cranberry, red and black currant, citrus), Caffe Limone (featuring Santa Rita, El Salvador, and a lot from the Illimani region, Bolivia) (sweet, bright, ripe, lemony citrus, creamy-delicate with milk), and I have also arranged a (short) week of coffee from guest roasters, Origin in Cornwall (currently a Brazilian blend of naturals and pulp-naturals), coming up soon!

I have logged a lot of data with the Scace during January and February… This has been fantastically useful. Really. Is ‘revelatory’ overused? I have now returned it to our roaster. And Gloria has received a lot of care and attention recently too! With more nips and tucks to come! She’s feeling pretty spruce, all in all, and it shows.

And good luck to all those entering the UK Barista Championships this year… there are a few people entering again, who I know will do great things! People do ask, but no, I’m not entering! I still feel I’ve achieved everything I want to in competition for the moment. There is so much that is positive about competing, but it’s also a lot of expense, and a huge amount of work to do well. Also, the theatrical and competitive aspects of preparing coffee on a stage are not necessarily something I naturally gravitate towards, just for the sake of it. Hence it’s not something I’m going to do every year …but at some point I might enter again! For the time being, I’m dedicating my attentions towards continuing to further my learning and understanding of my craft outside of the sphere of competitions (through continual practice and research both in the cafe and at home), and to both maintaining and constantly refining what I do as head barista and trainer for all our staff, and for our customers, at the plan cafe, which is also a lot of hard work, and a full-time committment. This does mean I don’t get to see as much of the wider coffee community though; the competitions can be a good place to meet with lots of other people who care about great coffee!

Finca Suiza continues to be my coffee of choice for home right now. I have to say I prefer this coffee as filter. Just wonderful coffee!