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As of 1st September we will be subscription only

After much discussion of the future of The Roasting House we have decided to focus solely on our Coffee Club subscription. Coffee Club members will still be able to purchase additional coffee but we will no longer offer one-off purchases to non-members.

Coffee Club is by far the most popular thing that we do and represents the vast majority of our sales so by focusing solely on it, we will be able to run more efficiently. Our profit margins are very small and purchasing and storing extra stock for one-off sales is just not cost-effective.

This is going to involve some changes to Coffee Club. Currently we offer 15% off our standard listing price for coffees to Coffee Club members but as we will no longer have a standard listing price, we’ll replace this offer with a flat price for additional coffees.

We will also only be offering delivery during the Coffee Club period so any additional coffees will be sent with your next club delivery.

We are really sorry to those who purchase individual bags of coffee from us but who are not in the Coffee Club. We are extremely grateful for your custom and support, and many of you are repeat customers. However we have been over-stretching ourselves financially and physically for a while now so we feel that is an essential step if we are to continue.

If you have any questions or feedback, please get in touch via coffee@roastinghouse.co.uk

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Meet the new member of our family: an e-bike!

e-bike

I’m not normally one for quoting (or probably mis-quoting) biblical phrases, but I’d like to start this post by saying judge not lest ye be judged. You see amongst cyclists e-bike is a dirty word and we’ve just bought one…

As The Roasting House grows, we need new tools and new logistic challenges present themselves. We planned to grow, we are growing but there are certain core principles we will always keep. One of those is sustainability.

Our Coffee Club is our most popular product and for £4.75 a delivery in Nottingham it’s obvious why. It takes us a few miles north of our base in Arnold, NG5 and as far south as Ruddington and Long Eaton. It’s a 50 mile round trip and a long day out. Split between two of us it’s slightly easier but we are human and look for the easiest method so a couple of times, mainly due to weather, we have hired a car – it’s not ideal and our total mileage for using bikes or walking our deliveries stays the same but it’s not an option we’re too happy about using even when the circumstance does warrant it.

So we bought an e-bike. It has an electric assist of speeds up to 15.5mph which won’t break any speed records but does make the hills of Nottingham a lot easier. Its range is ‘up to’ 50 miles on eco and 20 miles on climbing at full charge. The guide says it will cost about 1p per mile when assisting, and since we expect to do about 2000 miles a year on it, this will cost us about £20 – assuming we use the assist all the time. Basically it has negligible running costs.

An electric bike wasn’t really on our radar until we were working out logistics of what to do while the Coffee Club route is taking place on days of mid-twenties degrees temperature and 90%+ humidity which we have had a few times in these mid-summer months. Our first thought was the tram. With phase two near completion the furthest points the tram touches put us within 10 minutes cycling distance of our furthest customers. Mass-public-transport is green because of the amount of people it carries (even if the electric it runs on may be from dirty fuel), the amount of people within a designated space it can get from point to point is higher than other modes of transport other than walking. But walking our deliveries is impractical and the bike is such a wonderful machine not much bigger a human and designed with a human in mind it’s up there with humankind’s greatest inventions.

The tram however, wasn’t to be. Over a year ago we contacted NETTram to ask if they would consider allowing bikes on their trams during off-peak hours like they do on the Overground in London and other European countries.They said the bylaws didn’t allow them and they had no plan to change them. We asked again when Edinburgh trialled allowing bikes on their tram and they seemed open to considering it. Once Edinburgh declared the trial a success we asked again but the response was the trams are too short and they can’t make the special adaptations like Edinburgh can (although Nottingham use the exact same trams as some European cities that do allow bikes on, but anyway).

That left us considering the electric assist bike and we couldn’t be happier. Hills that had us gasping or daunting days in the saddle are no longer. Using discounts we spent £800 on our ebike to buy from new (tram fares would have been about that for the year). The battery has a two year warranty and the frame has five years.

Is it cheating? No. If we used a car for our deliveries then I doubt anyone would say we are cheating. I have never heard anyone say the package they had delivered to them got there by cheating because the vehicle used had a combustion engine run on the remains of dinosaurs dug out of the ground. Our coffee club deliveries are utility cycling rather than sport or fitness cycling (although it does keep us fit) and using the e-bike means we can now get up early, start roasting at 7am, do our deliveries, and then come back to finish the rest of the day’s work without feeling completely exhausted. It also means we can enjoy proper cycling for fun again as we still have legs left at the end of the day!

Our world is built around cars so it’s the automatic choice when choosing a vehicle but we love bikes because they are so versatile, they get to places, get through gaps and park in places no other vehicle can and with electric assist for up to 50 miles it covers more than what most cars do a in a day. If you get chance to ride one, do it; it’s an instant smile on your face. Will people care that you have an electric assist? Maybe. Will they notice? Probably not. Should you care? No.

Since getting the bike we have noticed more electric bikes on the road and we don’t think that is because in the last week lots of people have bought one. It’s because we simply didn’t notice before but now are a little more tuned to notice them. It’s a great leveller in abilities, you can keep up with traffic and other bikes on the road, you don’t arrive at your destination sweaty and you’re using a cheaper vehicle that has negligible running costs and is much healthier. If your reasons for not cycling are lack of fitness, reduced mobility, or not wanting to get to your destination hot and sweaty, an e-bike is the answer.

Without Nottingham Trams refusal to consider a change in the bylaws they wrote then we might never have been introduced to the fun of electric assist and it would have cost us more money. So thank you NETTrams. The first article we read that led us to seriously consider electric assist was this one by Richard Branson. So thank you Richard. The discounts we used to get the bike are the ones detailed here on HotUKDeals. So thank you HUKD. The bike itself is UCR 30 by Ebco. So thank you Ebco.

Right I’m off to whizz up the hill to Sherwood now 😉

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Organic Gems of Araku, India. Coffee Club 2014-12-06

gems

 

This week we’re back with a favourite and partly chosen so we can use a bean that suits a medium roast as it was pointed out to us that we’ve had a lot of darker roasts for Coffee Club recently and we want to offer a variety.

The organic Gems of Araku from India last came to Coffee Club back in July and sold out very quickly, so naturally we ordered some more in for our store.

Coffee had been grown in the region since the 1920s when colonial British Officers recognised the right altitude (average elevation of 911 metres (2,989 ft) and rich fertile soil would make it perfect for growing coffee, however the potential wasn’t fully nurtured.

This changed in 2001 when the Naandi Foundation (a non-government organisation) helped the Araku region gain the knowledge and tools to start growing sustainable organic coffee. Part of being sustainable meant developing a passionate and committed workforce, so men and women are paid an equal living wage.

From those turn of the century new-beginnings, they have created a wonderful coffee already which we will no doubt see more of in the speciality coffee auctions as they strive to get noticed in a tough market. It excites us that this excellent coffee will become even better.

Roasting & Tasting notes

We opted for City (medium) roast for today’s Coffee Club as this brings out the natural sweet flavour of the beans. It’s smooth as an espresso but works very well with all brewing types.

Flavours:

  • Low Acidity
  • Strong body
  • Very sweet
  • Smooth
  • Great aroma

Image of Araku Valley by flickrPrince via Flickr Creative Commons CC BY 2.0

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Moredocofe G2, Sidamo, Ethiopia. Coffee Club 2014-11-22

Article by The Roasting House for Coffee Club delivery 2014-11-22

Moredocofe farm drying beds

After reading what the experts regarded as the best growing regions for coffee we realised, to our shame considering it’s the origin of coffee, we have never actually had an Ethiopian coffee in stock. We were straight in touch with our suppliers to find out what there is on offer and after lots of research we came across a gem we have been itching to share with you since arrival.

From the Sidamo Province in Ethiopia which is famed for its varied high quality coffees, this Grade 2 rated coffee from Moredocofe (standing for More Direct Organic Coffee) is from a certified Organic and Rainforest Alliance (RFA) farm situated approximately 1800 metres above sea level which is quite high in world coffee terms. At higher altitudes the coffee cherry grows slower to give a denser bean which from a roaster’s point of view requires a slower and lower temperature roast to release the oils trapped within. At higher temperatures with high altitude grown beans you are in danger of just cooking the outside of the beans and not releasing the goodness within.

moredocofe site

On opening the bag from our supplier, the immediate aroma of lemon greeted us and typical in our experience of African beans they are a consistent size with a blue-grey-ish tint. Rated Grade 2 (G2 is premium and G1 is specialty) we found no defects in our bag but being G2 instead of G1 it allows us to bring you this top quality coffee without the “how much?!?!” exclamation a lot of the top rated coffee commands (although watch this space for The Roasting House bringing some G1, Cup of Excellence and 100% Jamaican Blue Mountain to Nottingham soon).  G3 is commodity grade as well as the bulk of the harvest and is what you will find in most cafes and other roasted coffee bags unless they are advising otherwise.

We also loved reading about how the taste is enhanced with the gold rich soil and their conservation of nature to receive their story RFA certification in 2007.  We think it’s going to prove one of our most popular coffees because it fits so many profiles in all brewing styles.

 “The coffee plant, Coffea arabica, originates in Ethiopia.[1] According to legend, the 9th-century goatherder Kaldi discovered the coffee plant after noticing the energizing effect the plant had on his flock, but the story did not appear in writing until 1671 and is probably apocryphal.[4]

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_production_in_Ethiopia#History

Roasting & Tasting notes

For Coffee Club we opted for a city (medium) roast to let the taste of the beans lead and recommend going no darker than Viennese (dark roast). The beans tend to look a little darker than roast level because of the longer roasting process but keeping a close eye on the beans we started the cooling process after we see the 1st crack has fully developed but before 2nd crack has time to coat any of the beans in its inner oils.

In the cup it’s fruity with low acidity. Dark chocolate and hints of citrus. Very bright and smooth in the mouth making it very easy drinking.

This coffee is available to buy from The Roasting House. Use voucher code ‘NottsDelivery’ for free delivery in Nottingham. Please note only one voucher can be used per order.

Images by MTC Group used with permission via Creative Commons 2.0.

 

 

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Daterra Sweet Collection. Coffee Club 2014-11-08

brazil_daterra_penta_pack

This week’s coffee comes via request from one of the members who bagged a sample at #SecWed in October. Daterra, Sweet Collection and is the third appearance of a Daterra coffee in the coffee club.

Our last Daterra in September we said to expect more from them by us as we bought up what we could of this year’s harvest as Brazil are expecting a poor one in 2015. The Penta system they use to pack their green beans creates a vacuum seal which is only broken by the roaster keeping the beans harvest fresh for several years and some say they even improve with storage.

We have touched on how much information we can get on Daterra beans before where we have struggled with some other farms. They have many certifications on their coffee including Rainforest Alliance on all beans and have many checks throughout the whole process. For us, Daterra is the top standard in coffee quality – expect more via Coffee Club including those we already stock and some yet to come.

Roasting & Tasting Notes

Great for espresso. Complex and elegant with a sweet fruity aroma, pleasant acidity with citrus notes. Cups with vanilla and caramel notes finishing with a smooth-sweet body.

We have roasted these to espresso (very dark) and start the air cooling process just as the beans start to show signs of the internal oils appearing. This oil absorbs back into the bean to give a strong flavour and a traditional espresso taste complimenting well with sweet beans. To brew we recommend short coffee such as espresso or aeropress.

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Coffee Club. Week 19. Costa Rica, Hermosa SHB, Dota, Tarrazu. Micro lots

This week’s coffee club beans are from Costa Rica

Coffee rust fungus

Costa Rica, Hermosa SHB, Dota, Tarrazu. Micro lots

That gum you like is going to come back in style

This week for the Roasting House it has been about the reboot. We were excited to learn a favourite show of ours, Twin Peaks is coming back in 2015 and that Ghostbusters 3 will have all women ‘manning’ the proton packs.

We’ve also restocked a couple of old favourite coffees with the Mexico Reserva & Organic Gems of Araku. So to continue the trend we decided to end the week by bringing back another favourite from week 2 of the coffee club; Hermosa, SHB from the Tarrazu Region in Costa Rica although these are from the end of the harvest season with Week 2 (March 2014) being from the beginning.

Costa Rica suffered from Rust Fungus on coffee plants in 2013, bringing down production by about 10%. The image at the top of this email shows the effect of coffee rust. Thankfully the steps taken to bring the disease under control have increased the later 2014’s harvest.

Typically, the Tarrazu region’s harvest is between December and March when small micro farms under the name Cafecoop co-operative under the name Hermosa (meaning beautiful or gorgeous in Spanish) send their beans to auction. We decided to bag some of the last beans of the 2013-2014 harvest due to the popularity of these beans last time.

You probably won’t recall the taste of these beans from the first time around, however if you did, you may notice a small difference in flavour. The taste of coffee is impacted by weather and the conditions it is exposed to so minor weather variations in the weather mean minor variations in taste of the beans. We also decided to roast these beans in a slightly darker style than the first time around.

Roasting and tasting notes

The beans are labelled Viennese roast, but they are really something between a Viennese and an Espresso – slightly darker than a typical Viennese but not quite an Espresso. We decided to take it slightly over the Viennese to bring out the richness of the bean without overwhelming it with smokiness. This brought out a bittersweet taste to the sweet, mellow, citrus beans. It makes for a delicious, rich espresso.

Flavours:

• Sweet
• Mellow
• Mild citrus notes
• Honey
• Spicy after-taste

What do you think?

Let us know what you think in our Tumblr comments, on Twitter,or on our Facebook page. Buy here.

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Image bourbon coffee plant by Marcelo Corrêa via wikimedia commons