Honey Monster Process

For those who are curious about the honeys: Francisco Mena explains Costa Rican Honey Process in this cleverly illustrated video by Tentacle Media.

I am incredibly proud of the videos we have done with our media partners Tentacle on coffee processing. We made them because we get so many people asking us what all the process mean – is natural best (because its natural after all – nothing added, right?)?  Are the ones that are not washed dirty? These are common emails (and questions I asked when I started to learn more about coffee) that we get all the time here at HB towers. The videos answered most of these questions.


But we had a big hole in the offering. Washed, Pulped natural and natural leaves one of the most misunderstood processes unanswered.

Honeying is something we are seeing happen more and more in many countries. Something that really started out of necessity in the county I’m visiting right now in Costa Rica. A style that has been copied by these other countries as it can add different styles in the cup through this method of processing.


The necessity in Costa Rica comes from the lack of water to fully wash the coffees, and an altitude (which Costa Rica has lots of) that means an inability with cool temperatures and unpredictable weather patterns up in the mountains, or the lack of desire to natural process because of the effects this can have on the final cup.

And so honeying was born. Born also because of the micro mill revolution that happened, small mills at home that economically used water, but mechanically scrubbing the bean to remove mucilage. Clever people on farms realised if you changed the settings on these new pulpers, you could control how much of the mucilage (or honey) gets left on the bean. The more that gets left on the bean, the more it tends to lead to a sweeter / different cup.


Anyway before I tell you all about this, my good friend Francisco Mena came to a cold winter land roastery in Stafford to tell us all about it (I’m actually with Francisco now in Costa Rica, its a lot warmer).

To launch this, we are also launching some coffees from El Potrero that show these different settings. We have a yellow, red, and black honey bourbon and a very very special golden honey Geisha from the same micro mill. We also have a natural bourbon and a pack with them all in at a special price, too. All great examples and all very rare and special lots for you to try!

So go watch “the expert” tell you all about it in the video (Francisco not me) before you buy the coffees here so you can taste what we are going on about. Very special coffees from some very special people in a very special country!

Brew Guides

Not sure how to brew? Luckily for you, there are GUIDES!

Following on from the coffee 101 blog post, I’m still looking at the newbies with the new equipment for Christmas, who might be struggling to get the best out of their new kit.

Fear not, I’m here to help! Of course coffee101 is a good place to start, but doesn’t get into the nitty gritty of brewing the stuff called coffee…


So, I’m here to remind you about our lovely brew guides. Take a look at them all here at this link, from Vac pot to aeropress, all your needs covered!

Coffee 101

Happy new year to old friends, I hope that you got all the coffee gifts you wished over the festive period. Welcome also to new people finding us here, I know that at this time of year we see an influx of new coffee converts, people who were lucky enough to get equipment, subscriptions and coffee as gifts and are researching their new hobby.

It also means this time of year we get hit with lots of emails from new people with lots of new people questions. We are of course always happy to field these (well Chris and Katie are) but we also know theres lots of question people don’t ask, as they “should know”.


We disagree, theres no silly questions, but to get around this years ago I created a thing called coffee 101. Coffee 101 is a basic introduction to the fundamentals of coffee. A daily email over 10 days covering everything from the history of coffee, to how to get the best out of your brewing. Its a foundation introduction to getting the best out of your new found interest.

Its free to sign up and there really is no catch, its my gift back to the world (and to temp you we even put some special offers in there too) and to inspire you to find out more about your favourite beverage.

Would love to hear your feedback on the updated site and emails and anything you think we may have missed.

Steve and Roland’s Top Ten of 2016

It’s that time of the year where we look back on what was good and what was bad and what was just ROLAND.

I find this time of year a good time for reflection. Looking back over the past 12 months at what was good, and what was bad.

The one part I don’t enjoy is I have to sit down with Roland (our Roast and @hasbeannewboy on twitter) and go through our top ten coffees of the year. But I’ve been told it entertaining, so I take that bullet for you.


So there are some rules. The most important rule is you can not choose the same country twice in the listing, this is to stop me putting 10 El Salvadorians and Roland putting all Costa Rica.

It’s 45 mins long so make sure you pull up a brew and make sure your sitting comfortably. If you want to down load it you can from the RRS feed below the player

Happy new year !!!

Download this episode (right click and save)

Refractometers – Best Price Ever!

Sorry folks – this deal is done. 🙁

For the next few weeks, VST Lab III Refractometers will be available at their lowest ever price £600 inc VAT.

This is not a Black Friday sale, but is a refraction (see what I did) of both our and VST’s seasonal goodwill! We have a limited amount of units we can offer at this price, and once they’re gone they’re gone but for a little while control over your coffee quality is one step closer at the best price we’ve ever offered

The VST Lab III refractometer is the only refractometer designed to deliver readings relevant to brewed and espresso coffee preparation with the required tolerances for effective application. The Lab III automatically averages multiple measurements and displays the resulting % TDS with +/- 0.01% precision , and unrivalled accuracy (+/- 0.03% in coffee range, +/- 0.05% in espresso range). The unit ships with pipettes, 50 syringe filters, 5 syringes and a soft case. Final Quality Assurance Certificate with NIST Traceable Reference Standards Measurements Included.

Awesome hard cases are also available if you’re buying this as a gift, brew coffee on the road or just  prefer to indulge in extensive pre-measurement unboxing rituals.

Business purchase requiring a VAT invoice – mail us at and we’ll sort this for you.image2

Chemex Brew Guide (Mk2)

I am, after all, the King of Chemex. But even brew guides need updating sometimes!

We started our brew guide videos back in 2012 and we now have 13 videos that help you get the best out of your brew methods. Most of them haven’t changed, and are as useful today as on day one. But being the king of Chemex, I’m always tinkering with my brew style. (You can see all our brew guides here)

So I decided that it was time to make a version 2 and update it. Small changes, but I believe small changes that will improve your cup. You can take a look at it below or the link here