Ethiopia Single Farmer Coffee

We believe in knowing the producers we work with. Our aim is for you to know the names of the people whose farms your coffee is grown on. In some cases this has been super easy – in other cases, not so easy! One of the most difficult places to get information on has been Ethiopia – but we’re seeing a change and it’s an exciting one for us to share with you!

In 2008, Ethiopia implemented a Commodity Exchange (ECX), through which agricultural products like coffee are traded (take a look at a post I did here back in the day) . There were lots of positives of this modernisation, but one of the downsides was that it became a lot more difficult to trace where the coffee we bought had come from.

There were some little opportunities to work around these issues and the Ana Sora Natural which we’ve shared with you for a few years now was exciting for us as we could get to know the producer – Israel Degfa – and begin to build a relationship. Now, reforms introduced last year have made this easier for more coffees, funnily enough reforms that Israel has been involved in at governmental level, as an advisor.

There’s quite a few different components to the reforms, but one key feature is allowing producers a window to arrange a sale before their coffee goes to the ECX. The ECX is still involved – it’s where the contract is signed – but there’s more traceability and more opportunities for buyers to connect with individual producers, as well as a streamlined process.

For speciality coffee roasters like us, this is great news! As the first harvest after the announcement has now reached us, you’ll be seeing a few new Ethiopian coffee names appearing on the website – although many of these are very small, so they may not be around long.

The first is from the family of Tadess Roba. In fact – it’s the first two of these coffees, as we have both a Washed and Natural from them! We found these two totally separately on the cupping table, but I think you can imagine my excitement when I realised one of our favourite Natural lots was from the same family as one of our favourite Washed lots!

Well, enough from me! They’re available on the website now so go ahead, enjoy and don’t forgot to let us know what you think!

Ethiopia Tadess Roba Washed

Ethiopia Tadess Roba Natural

I’m Board

Time for a moan blog post, its been a while.

I decided this year I wanted to stand for the SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) board. I wanted to join the board to represent the interests of the groups of people I work with – producers, baristas, and small coffee businesses.

Some decisions have been made in the past years that I don’t think have been in the best interests of members – missteps and mistakes that could have been avoided. I think we should have more voices on the board that are listening and close to the existing membership, and not allow a group of people who are currently on the board select people they think are closest to their beliefs and values.

The way that the nominations for the board work is anyone can apply, and then the nominating committee decide who goes forward to the voting slate. I don’t think this is a democratic way for an organisation to behave, and can breed a system that only selects the people who want the same things as the current committee. I think the board has become a narrow group of people who have similar goals and beliefs and this is unhealthy for a large organisation with a large amount of different members involved in it, all with very different needs.

As it works out I didn’t get accepted on to that voting slate.

I believe members should be able to select from whoever fits our desires and needs regardless of how large that makes the voting options.

I feel my experience as being the past UK chapter Chair taking over at a very difficult time, and the amount of time I have given the organisation as a volunteer should of at least allow me to be considered for the vote, along with my experience. Let the members decide.

I work not just within the UK, but my partnerships in Drop Coffee in Sweden and in 3FE in Ireland give me perspectives on different markets. I also have an involvement in other markets, including New Zealand following the merger of my company with Ozone there and my travel to producing countries and links with coffee producers gives me a perspective of members thats wide and broad. Sweden, UK and New Zealand, all without a voice at board level.

I have vast experience of running meetings as a chair and participant (outside and inside of coffee), I had the time and desire to dedicate to the many unpaid hours of a board member, and felt that I could have really give something to the organisation and help repair some of the recent damage thats been done, and be a voice of the entire membership.

I’ll keep my free time and energy for another project. But when I give out about the actions of the SCA in the future, please don’t throw at me that then you should stand, the gatekeepers wouldn’t let me in.

Shipping Container Season

Many people have a favourite time of year – perhaps it’s the beautiful oranges and reds of crunchy leaves in autumn, or seeing the first bluebells of spring, but for me 1 of the most magical times of year is right about now -> shipping container season! No I don’t head down to Felixstowe and watch big ships unloading (although I am partial to an episode of Mighty Ships if I see it’s on the TV!) I’m talking about when my containers of fresh crop coffees really start to roll in right about now : D

As you might have seen on social media recently we’ve had a bit of an influx of coffees from Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica + have more on the way from other parts of the world too – EXCITING! This arrival of many, many coffees means lots of work for us here in Stafford from offloading all the bags by hand (thankfully only for the 2 that arrived not on pallets!) to getting them onto the website for you to enjoy.

We’re working hard to get them to you as soon as we can and the first wave of new coffees has already gone live, with more from El Salvador and Kenya due to appear over the next few days too. Here’s a quick update on the new coffees that have gone from HGV to website so far this shipping container season…

ARBAR Finca Manantial Red Honey
Lourdes de Naranjo, Western Valley, Costa Rica
Melon, lime, lemongrass
In the cup expect to be refreshed. It kicks off with honeydew melon and watermelon, with a squeeze of lime juice over the top. Throw into that a shoulder of pomegranate and an elbow of lemongrass before it gets to a sweet fruit finish and aftertaste. Super complex and delicious.
£8.00 for 250g, £30.40 for 1kg

Vista al Valle Finca La Casa Yellow Honey
Naranjo de Alajuela, Western Valley, Costa Rice
Lime cordial, malt, sultana
In the cup expect lime cordial, but with a malty sweetness. That malty sweetness grows as it cools and brings a dried fruit flavour to the finish that reminds me of sultanas.
£7.50 for 250g, £28.50 for 1kg

Finca Limoncillo Pulped Natural Ethiosar
Matagalpa, Yasica Norte, Nicaragua
Orange, mango, brown sugar
In the cup expect oranges mashed up with some almost overripe mangos. Add a sprinkle of brown sugar to it all and you’re done – a gloopy, zingy fruit juice medley.
£7.50 for 250g, £28.50 for 1kg

Finca Limoncillo Funky Natural Red Pacamara
Matagalpa, Yasica Norte, Nicaragua
Morello cherry, yoghurt, funky!
In the cup expect an up front dose of sour Morello cherries. It’s in your face all the way through to the aftertaste, but there’s also a creamy, yoghurt like body and sweetness that comes in to balance it all out.
£8.50 for 250g, £32.30 for 1kg

Finca Limoncillo Elegant Natural Red Pacamara
Matagalpa, Yasica Norte, Nicaragua
Dark chocolate, cherry, liqueur
In the cup, think of a Mon Cherie. There’s the dark chocolate, the hint of liqueur and then a tart Cherry that sweeps over you.
£8.50 for 250g, £32.30​ for 1kg

Finca Limoncillo Pulped Natural Red Pacamara
Matagalpa, Yasica Norte, Nicaragua
Tropical fruit, yoghurt, cherry cola
In the cup expect a tropical fruit medley with a big dollop of yoghurt. It’s sweet and gloopy, but there’s a little Cherry Cola kick on the finish that makes this complex and interesting.
£8.00 for 250g, £30.40 for 1kg

Finca Limoncillo Natural Ethiosar
Matagalpa, Yasica Norte, Nicaragua
Dates, bruised plums, green apple
In the cup expect bruised plums and dates, all sprinkled with some golden sugar. It’s rich and sweet, but there’s a delicate Green Apple acidity there which balances it all out.
£8.00 for 250g, £30.40 for 1kg

Finca Limoncillo Washed Ethiosar
Matagalpa, Yasica Norte, Nicaragua
Green apple, single cream, black pepper
In the cup there’s green apple backed up by a single cream type sweetness and texture. Hints of black pepper and tinned strawberries mingle in the finish.
£6.50 for 250g, £24.70 for 1kg

In case you didn’t see them on Instagram and/or Facebook a) why aren’t you following me? And b) here are some pictures of when our container from Guatemala Finca San Patricio El Limón arrived : )

Exciting New Coffees!

It’s a Friday! It’s the afternoon! IMM 500 is coming out super soon! I’ve got new coffees to shout about! (I like shouting) KABINGOOOOO! (I miss Kibingo 😰)

Excited Steve 😁

A bunch of new coffees have recently gone onto the website and I reeeeally want to let you know they’re there as good golly gosh you should be drinking them!

Finca Las Alasitas Washed Caturra
Colonia Bolinda, Caranavi, Bolivia
Treacle, gloopy, dark chocolate cookie
In the cup this reminds me of a melted dark chocolate cookie. It’s got great texture – thick and gloopy – with a mix of dark chocolate and treacle sweetness, before a shoulder of biscuit on the finish.
£8.00 for 250g, £30.40 for 1kg

Finca Las Alasitas Natural Geisha
Colonia Bolinda, Caranavi, Bolivia
Tropical fruit juice, champagne, floral
In the cup you have to ask yourself a question, have you ever had the 5 Alive? It’s a mixture of tropical fruit juices. Well – think that but add champagne and a bouquet of flowers, and you have this coffee.
£15.00 for 250g, £57.00 for 1kg.

Finca Las Alasitas Washed Geisha
Colonia Bolinda, Caranavi, Bolivia
Bergamot, elderflower, lemon
In the cup this exotic varietal brings exotic flavours – think bergamot and elderflower with a sprinkle of sweet parma violet. A super complex finish with sweet lemons and limes.
£15.00 for 250g, £57.00 for 1kg.

Don Carlos Coco Natural Bourbon
Colonia Bolinda, Caranavi, Bolivia
Passionfruit, cherry, rum & raisin ice cream
In the cup expect passionfruit and fresh cherry meeting rum and raisin ice cream. Big flavours in a big bodied cup. … al-bourbon
£9.00 for 250g, £34.20 for 1kg

Teodocio Mamani
Canton Uyunense, Caranavi, Bolivia
Milk chocolate, malted milk, redcurrant
In the cup this is a chocolate malted milk (moo cow!) biscuit with a subtle hit of redcurrant that’s smooth, rounded and super balanced. … cio-mamani
£6.50 for 250g, £24.70 for 1kg

Wildcard Blend: Worth The Wait
50% Costa Rica Don Mayo Finca La Loma Yellow Honey
50% Guatemala Finca La Soledad Cold Fermentation Washed Catuai
Peach squash, white sugar, brown sugar, chocolate, sweet
This blend is all about the sweetness! It starts with peach squash, then veers into white sugar before the brown sugar takes over on the finish. There’s a subtle chocolate on the aftertaste that will bring you back for another glug too. … h-the-wait
£7.50 for 250g, £28.50 for 1kg

From London to Dubai

Both my self and Sonali are going on tour. Sonali is our Field operative for wholesale, and is hugely talented and uber coffee professional, will be kicking of the tour in London at The Gentleman Baristas this week in the first of the series Marco meets

Marco Meets is a series of events that aims to connect local baristas and tea/coffee professionals with well-known figures from the specialty tea and coffee industries.

A different speaker at each event will share their advice, insights and predictions. Designed as a meeting of minds, each event will be an interactive exchange of knowledge and skills for those working in the tea and coffee industries.

After complimentary food and drinks attendees can engage with the speakers, take part in brewing demonstrations and of course – taste some delicious coffees.

Sonali will be sharing her learnings and advice on how to make a career in coffee. She will be sharing how to develop your careers and coffee business whilst always focusing on quality and creativity.

You can get tickets here


Following this I will be in Dubai, talking about the the start to finish to what goes into choosing a champions’ coffee. From my experience of working with two f world barista champions and multiple semi and finalist competitors, we will be drilling down what it takes to find the coffee of champions.
I will be leading this event and will deliver his talks, engage in a discussion with our host and then open up questions to the floor. After the talk there will be a chance to sample some delicious Has Bean coffee paired with local food, I may even sneak some books across to sign if you want (did I mention I’m a published author)

You can get tickets here

We both hope to see you there

4 New Bolivians + 1 New Burundi!

Whooppeeeeee new coffeeeeeees! I like new coffee days!

So much so they make me do strange things, LIKE BE NICE!

Tell ya what, try these new coffees? Maybe just 1? Or a few? OR STOCK UP ON THEM ALL?! If you do, and you order before 13:00 hrs tomorrow (that’ll be Wednesday the 25th of April) you can have 17% off them ALL with the discount code ITSNICETOBENICE. Add the coffees you like the look of to your basket and make sure to enter that code into the discount code box in the top right hand corner + click apply to knock 17% off the prices you see below.

Why 17? I just made it up. Pulled it out of my – pocket 😉 and it is nice to be nice, remember that folks. It’s also nice to see Gary’s eyes bulge when he sees his morning roast list and is confused by how much of the new coffees you’ve all ordered and he has to scoop and roast mwhaha >:) SO – please help me surprise Gary early tomorrow morning? He is from t’north and will say something like eeeeeeeey? Feel free to write him some messages in the comments box on your orders, I’ll make sure the office show him them all 😀

Bebeto Mamani
Caranavi, Bolivia
Papaya, pomegranate, milk chocolate
In the cup this makes me think of soft, sweet fruits. It begins with a subtle, sticky papaya before you get a burst of pomegranate with a floral edge. As it finishes, it takes a left turn, leaving a milk chocolate aftertaste which lingers delightfully.
£7.00 for 250g, £26.60 for 1kg

La Linda Washed Longberry
Bolinda, Caranavi, Bolivia
Fruit juice, jasmine, lemon zest
In the cup expect plenty of sweetness right off the bat, maybe you meant to put some sugar in your morning cuppa but were tired and accidentally put it in your fruit juice! Following this there’s a delicate and floral turn towards jasmine with hints of lemon zest, and a long yet sweet finish.
£9.00 for 250g, £34.20 for 1kg​

La Linda Washed Caturra
Bolinda, Caranavi, Bolivia
Horlicks, chocolate orange
In the cup this reminds me of Horlicks mixed with a Terry’s Chocolate Orange – little bit of malt, plenty of chocolate and a shoulder of orange, yum! There’s also a thick and almost buttery mouthfeel that really makes this coffee super chuggable.
£7.50 for 250g, £28.50 for 1kg

Finca El Fuerte Washed Caturra
Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Nougat, milk chocolate, dried red apple
In the cup I get really sweet squishy nougat mixed with melted milk chocolate meeting a bag of dried red apple slices. It’s a sweet, rounded and super balanced cup.
£7.50 for 250g, £28.50 for 1kg

Kirundo Natural Bourbon
Kirundo County, Burundi
Cacao nibs, bruised plums, treacle toffee
In the cup this complex coffee is a mix of cacao nibs, bruised plums and treacle toffee with a big viscous body. Amazingly balanced for the complexity too.
£8.00 for 250g, £30.40 for 1kg