In Australia and New Zealand, speciality coffee has long been considered mainstream, with major speciality wholesalers supplying hundreds of Australian cafes the length and breadth of the country. This is most likely due to a long history of espresso consumption, started by large Italian and Greek migrations in the mid-twentieth century.
Independent, ‘Australian-style’, or artisan cafes have opened in multiple cities around the world, even in established markets like Europe where speciality coffee has been the fastest-growing restaurant category.
When we returned to Northern Ireland in 2017, we noticed that there has been a real shift in the way people enjoy their coffee here. This only makes our job as coffee roasters even more exciting. Coffee is no longer considered just a necessity, but something that our customers expect to give them pleasure and different, exciting flavours.
We experimented with many different beans and blends in the early days and have now settled on a single origin Guatemalan bean for our house espresso. We love its impact in a flat white as well as its full flavour as a long black. The Guatemalan coffee industry is a formidable one, producing consistent, high-quality coffees from their volcanic mountain ranges.
Specifically, our choice of coffee bean is the Guatemala Cuchumatan, a washed bean produced by the Fedecocagua cooperative. Grown in the Huehuetenango municipality at an altitude of 1065-1371m, this bean offers primary flavours of Caramel, Pomegranate and Strawberry.
Cuchumatan is a fantastic example of coffee cooperatives working well together. The best coffee from the 15 top-performing cooperatives is collected together to create a rounded, characteristic coffee from the Huehuetenango department. Guatemalan coffee really does offer it all, huge complexity in the cup and richness in body.
We were just as thorough and strict in selecting our coffee supplier. Firstly we checked their sustainability credentials and they are well covered in this area, selling Fair Trade, Organic, Rainforest Alliance, Café Feminino, UTZ and others as appropriate with full traceability.
They have strict processes for checking the quality of the green coffee before and after it is shipped. They also buy from the same coffee farmers and take time to build close partnerships with them to impart their standards and expectations.
They go through regular inspections to be sure that the coffee is tested in a professional and controlled manner. In fact, their quality control process has five distinct phases to test the moisture level of the bean, the size of the beans and the appearance of the beans where they check for defects, colour and damage.
More enjoyable is the roasting test which helps to show and imperfections in the bean and finally the cupping, where the coffee is finally tasted to ensure consistency in flavour.
All of this is done before the green beans even reach Bravo Tango Coffee, where we continue the care and attention to detail in roasting and brewing the coffee to perfection. As you can probably tell, we are passionate about our coffee here and would welcome any questions you have on the sourcing, preparation, roasting and brewing of our coffee!