Dates.

It’s true, when it comes to coffee, it doesn’t take much to get me excited. A couple of weeks ago, when I noticed a certain little bit of extra info appearing on our bags from the roastery, I admit I was quite elated!

Roast dates. This is something I have enquired about with our roaster (pestered?!) quite a bit in the past. But numerous logistical reasons have prevented them from adding it. Until now!

This is such a great move that does an already amazing product more justice. JGC is one the (The?!) very best micro roasters in the UK, which is why they are my regular roaster. I’ve known from the start that it’s always been about quality and freshness at the roastery, but this detail confirms it more obviously, for others. They were about the only remaining top craft-roaster of this calibre not adding this crucial little bit of info on the bags, which seemed a shame …until now! Although, perhaps it was all part of the best-kept-secret thing, and I should be sad (the roaster I mean, not the dates)?! Anyway, there it is.

Of course they always knew the roasts dates, and so did I. And I have always carefully and fastidiously noted down and monitored this aspect of freshness, so that I could in turn pass the knowledge on to both interested staff and customers, and learn from it myself. But it’s a lot less hassle when it’s already on the bag, and it’s even more precise, whereas before there were occasions where it was difficult to be sure about the exact day of the roast, which can be frustrating when you’re trying to get to grips with this ever fascinating aspect of the craft.

 Happy box. It’s lovely having lovely roasters!

The whole freshness thing is fascinating. Over the last few years, I think I’ve gone full circle from thinking ‘fresh is best’ when great, fresh coffee was quite new to me, then thinking this was a bit naive after some bad experiences with very-fresh coffee, and so consequently going through the ‘more rest is best’ thing, and then right back to really fresh very recently, after thinking that maybe the ‘more rest thing’ might have been misplaced…

OK, so naturally, it does depend on the coffee. And how you handle it. And how well you know a certain coffee. And sometimes it can be about differences rather than right and wrong (all else being equal). Suffice to say, this week, I’ve been brewing Naturelle espresso between day 9 and day 1 (yep, I said day 1) from roast. Perhaps the very best results were toward the latter end, but moving (deliberately) onto coffee just one day off roast today was not the meltdown I might have feared …quite the opposite (admittedly, although this was something of an experiment, I didn’t make this move by accident or without due consideration). There was a blip, sadly, for a period midafternoon as it hit the burrs, but the slightest of dose adjustments ironed this out… But with coffee, there’s always a curve-ball ready to fly at you from somewhere, just when you think things are making sense, and going well. And it’s probably the next shot. Which is all part of the fun! 😉

During all this, some of my reading this week has been http://www.home-barista.com/coffees/i-dont-understand-this-coffee-freshness-craze-t17654.html.

A few coffees coming up for espresso over the next few weeks. This weekend will be a Formula 6 weekend, with Naturelle, and new-crop El Salvadoran La Malacara ‘A’ next week for a day or so, either side. Then, soon after, we will also be re-welcoming some recent guests for another visit, with new coffees from them, which I am still arranging. I think there will be two different current seasonal blends, and two wonderfully exciting Single Origin espressos from these other roasters.

The Aussie Olympians have found the plan this week, via various coffee-sources, which has been a pleasure – good luck all!

Average flattie… where’s the camera when you need it?!

The team continue to astound me with how far they’ve come (see previous post). Considering we don’t really have many true ‘coffee’ people (professional or obsessive) amongst our ranks,  it’s heart-warming to see somebody pulling something surprising and awesome out of the bag every day, ever more effortlessly. All the more pleasantly surprising, when you consider it is not a profession-choice, or even a genuine appreciation or interest, and is relatively temporary, for most of those involved. Admittedly, there’s a ceiling, or plateau, that most don’t rise above, because of this. But it is inspiring, nonetheless. But this level of skill is a fragile thing, that doesn’t ‘just happen’. It takes a long time to grow, and it needs constant sustenance to be maintained and to progress, which is sometimes oh-so subtle (for those already further on), sometimes not. 

Still awaiting judgement from Germany… I will be patient!

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