Reasons to be cheerful

My Brazil cup of excellence arrived today in port and should be with me by the weekend. This year we have our hand in two lots. An old favourite (for quite a few years now) is the Brazil Santa Terrazina organic. It has a history of doing well in COE competitions and this year placed ninth. We decided to buy some of mainly becuase we like the famr and the coffee, and it seemed like a nice thing to do. The bonus is we are in the good company of Ecco Caffè (USA), Stumptown Coffee Roasters (USA), 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters (Canada), Cafés El Magnífico (Spain),, Mokkamestarit Oy (Finland), Groundwork Coffee Co. (USA) and PT’s Coffee (USA). Got to say I’m honoured to have the coffee and honoured to be in that mix of buyers. It tells you how good a coffee it is.

We also have some of lot 27 called Sítio Das Jaboticabas, that’s a very exiting coffee. Its been such a time since I cupped it I cant remember that much about it, apart from its silkiness and sweetness. Enough to say I’m looking forward to trying it again. I hope to get it on the site over the weekend as long as I can nail the roast for it.

So two reasons to be cheerful

Roasters coffee Presentation

I’m sorry it’s been a while. There seems to be a general malaise on blog posting of late from not just me but from others I follow too. I wonder if it’s partly down to a quite time of year for coffee news, and partly down to being busy. I know my excuse, is it’s a busy time, lots of work, lots of developments and lots of great coffees coming through. Exiting times indeed but doesn’t give me a lot of spare time.

And the weekends stay pretty much the same. Last weekend I was lucky enough to be at a customers shop in Scarborough where he had 40 willing participants in a talk I gave on coffee in general. Loving the sound of my own voice Barry of Roasters Coffee gave me the floor to talk about whatever I wanted coffee wise. I’m so lucky to have Barry as a customer, not only is he an all round good guy and Sunderland fan but does the right thing with our coffee. Orders once a week, strict rotation policy on his coffee perfect shots, quality training for his staff awesome La Spaziale s5 in the shop that’s clean well maintained, french press pot at the table from a variety of single origins, education for customer’s it’s a nirvana in the coffee world.

Part of the presentation was about the recent trip to Guatemala with a focus on El Bosque. El bosque is a favourite in the shop of the customers and of Barry himself. I’ve recorded it and sent it to the farmers there. I received an email back from them, which I thought was very touching


Thank you so much for your mail. You can’t imagine how important it is for me and the rest of my family the effort you have done to let us know what your consumers think and such comments by themselves. It give us energy to keep on going and try to do things better. I have visited your website several times and I have read your articles related to us carefully. I have realise that even when you and we speak different languages and have different culture, all toghether are still questioning ourselves about the same issues like happiness, work, family and so on.

I also would like to tell you that we were so impressed about you passion for coffee, quality and friendship. I am really sure that this business is more than coffee. It is about peoples too. We really appreciated the fact to have you all that afternoon at the farm. It was the very first time we had the chance share our talking as we did . We have had several visitors at Finca El Bosque in the past years but no one like you guys. Because we still keep in touch.

All of this happened just because of our curiosity to know who drinks our coffee after two generations of producing it. Please be sure you have gone beyond my expectatives and thanks again.

Take care


You can see the video at the link here

Thanks to Barry and Duncan and the rest of the team for letting us do the presentation and the wonderful hospitality they showed us. Also thanks to the custoemrs who listened and asked the right questions at the right time.Next time your in Scarborough pop in see Barry and his team there at Aberdeen walk (opposite the post office) in the town centre, tell him we sent you he’ll charge you double 🙂

Roasters coffee

Roasters coffee

Roasters coffee
Roasters coffee

New Hottop mini review

New Hottop

Having spent a week with the new Hottop we have decided to go live with them on the site. I’m not very good at reviewing products and less so ones I’m selling a love so please cut me a little slack and if there are any questions you have throw them in the comments and I’ll try my best to answer them.

So what will it do. It gives you control over the profile of the roast so you can set the roasting curve, in a far more intuitive way than a home roaster has let you before. By using the cooling fan and the heater element and accurate temperature readings within some basic parameters of good roasting practice it lets you control the final result of your roasting. The control panel feeds you with useful information about where the roast is at, and also looks quite smart. The results are as good as the original Hottop (which in my opinion is the best home roaster on the market) but now with the controls it needs to make it a great roaster. Yes some more controls with a USB port would have been nice but this is expensive enough and that kind of control would be overkill for a home machine.

Like its previous version its well built and although there is plastic It’s doesn’t seem over the top. The panel is good and gives you all the data you need. For the programmable profile you have eight segments that can be adjusted in time and temperature. Time is from 0-3 mins and the temperatures are below (see below). The temperatures bear a relation to what I would expect to see from coffee roasting, unlike some other figures I’ve seen and experienced about other machines. The one thing I’m not keen on is I don’t know where these temps are coming from as when you drop the roast after the warm up cycle the temp I would expect to drop as cold beans warm drum would mean a drop then rise. But you don’t see that, so I’m a little surprised.

Segment 1:70-117oC
Segment 2:100-117oC
Segment 3:125-167oC
Segment 4:140-177oC
Segment 5:150-187oC
Segment 6:165-202oC
Segment 7:175-212oC
Segment 8:190-218oC

It takes some getting used too, with the profiles and I still found the need a few times to eject before the end of the profile I’d set. I put this down to inexperience of the machine and finding my feet with it but don’t expect immediate results. I’m guessing the swapping of profiles is going to be difficult to as I still expect environmental and voltage issues to change and a tolerance on the machine (this is a guess as I’ve only used the one machine but experience in the past). The other thing I noticed from the older Hottop was the element seemed to be glowing an awful lot more at times than I’ve seen before. I wonder if the new board is leaving the element on for longer (again I have no information to back this up just what I’ve seen).

Down sides Price, I hate the price, and wish we could do it for less, as I’m 100% sure we would sell a whole lot more. Please feel free to mail me and I’ll pass on the comments to Hottop about the price, and you positive and negative comments about the machine.

To summarise this upgrade isn’t for everyone. If you want to just roast coffee, I’d go for the original Hottop or the Café Gene (which represents great value for money). If you have a desire to have more control over you’re roasting a bottomless pocket and an urge to join an exclusive club then think long and hard is this the upgrade for you. I ended up liking it but thinking how much I wanted to control the roast. The standard Hottop has a dam good profile already build in, and its rare I want or have to deviate. I also pondered could be fixed by a variac ( I know this has been implements by quite a few people with good success although I’d not recommend it as I have limited knowledge of how it works), at a fraction of the price.

There have been 20 upgrades or machines produced in the world to date and we have a handful (and I mean just a few) so the stock is very limited. We do hope to take delivery of some more in the near future but if you’ve decided this is for you, order now to avoid disappointment.

Daterra Reserve is back

Just a short “blog” today to say the Daterra Reserve is now back in stock after a week of running out, sorry about that but what can you do when someone comes and buys 20kg in one go 🙂

A component in the last two years World Barista Champions blend this coffee is awesome espresso, and if you haven’t tried it yet then I recommend you give it a go.

La Spaziale Vivaldi S1 mk 2

Ok I’ve received some new that the S1 Vivaldi mk 2 that’s been creating waves in the US mat very well be coming to these shores. I have no date and no final price but I expect it to be just a little more than the normal S1. To jog this along if you are seriously interested can you drop me an email or leave a comment as a statement of interest. Obviously the more people interested the more chance we have of tying down an exact date and price.

The basic differences with the S1 VIVALDI standard are :

DUAL MANOMETER ( the only visible difference )

VISUALIZATION WITH THE LEDS OF THE 1°C temperature steps’ increments and decrements ( whereas on the standard S1 VIVALDI you can adjust the temperature of 1°C increments and decrements but you cannot visualize this on the leds of the control-panel)

PREARRANGEMENT ( wires & cables coming out of the electronic board )to connect a timer ( available separately as a spare part ) to turn the machine on /off automatically

4-HOLES steam tip instead of a 3-HOLE steam tip

Ha'way the Lads

You may have noticed I love my coffee. What some of my closer friends also know is my love for football. When the chance to combine the two together comes along well its just perfect.

We hope your enjoying our Rwandan coffee as much as we are. Its been a bit hit since we started selling it a few weeks ago, and become a firm favourite of mine. Well our import partners Mercanta know I kind of like football, and asked if I’d be interested in sponsoring one of the teams based in the village where the co-operative is based. EEEERRR of course!!! Particularly when I see one of the players in a Manchester United shirt. So here is there current kit and here is there new one. Expect much more news on this one

Oh yes the Red and white stripes is the Sunderland Fan in me, a little part of Wearside in Rwanda


Pictures at our flickr site at