Experiencing Speciality Coffee
Written by Nate Leveritt
Originally Published in the Bury Free Press - April 2018
Whether you’re at home, in a café, or on the move, drinking a cup of coffee is a great way to improve your day. Perhaps you’re meeting up with an old friend or maybe you’re trying to stay awake at work – for a more enjoyable experience, a coffee might just be what you need.
I’m certainly not alone in this belief; in fact, you only have to look at the number of cafés on the high street to see how popular the drink has become. Coffee is making a big impact on our culture, to the point that cafés aren’t simply places where a drink is consumed, but rather, they are becoming integral social spaces in the community.
My own enthusiasm for coffee began in the café. There, I gained an interest in, not only the taste and aroma of coffee, but also the whole process behind it and the stories of the people involved. Whilst I am of the understanding that we still have so much to learn about coffee, from what we do know, it is clear that coffee can be more than just a drink.
From my experience as a roaster, I’ve seen how coffee enables conversation. I’ve been fortunate to try coffee from around the world, to not only meet the farmers who grow it, but also the café-goers who consume it. Though in each role we may have different aspects to focus on, everybody wants the result to be a good tasting beverage!
Each coffee-lover I meet is particular about how they like to drink it, and that is a reflection of the many different places and ways that coffee can be produced, as well the numerous brewing and preparation methods. So, although we may talk of a cup of coffee, what that means to each of us can be incredibly varied.
As Richard mentioned in his piece last month, our roastery is part of a movement known as speciality coffee. Though enjoyment of coffee differs from one person to the next, the approach of speciality coffee has led to standards that – while they certainly aren’t set in stone – can lead to incredibly rewarding experiences.
At its core, speciality coffee is about the growers, producers and makers coming together to improve the quality of what ends up in your cup. Here are three simple ideas that might assist you in exploring the world of speciality coffee:
- Check the origin – When I first got into coffee, I was amazed by the diversity of flavours in coffee. Through trying different coffees, I began to notice that I was consistently enjoying those from Ethiopia. I learnt that I was enjoying their acidity and interesting flavours - everything from floral notes to dried fruit. When I visited a café, I would make sure to ask what country the coffee comes from. This gave me a better idea of different origins and even today I still pick an Ethiopian coffee if one’s available.
- Support local roasters and cafés – The speciality industry is full of start-ups and new enterprises that are looking to establish themselves. Not only do they bring new and exciting ideas to the coffee culture, but it is an opportunity to support a local business.
- Try something new – A few years ago, I mainly drank lattés and flat whites. One day I switched to filter coffee and stopped using milk. Whilst this isn’t for everyone and there’s certainly a place for milky drinks, I liked how the more delicate flavours were stars of the show in filter coffee. There are lots of new trends in coffee, and they’re always worth a try.