Roasting our own signature blend of coffee – Northern Espresso – is something we bang on about a lot here at The Barista. It’s not because we like blowing our own trumpet (promise!), but it’s because of what it adds to our service.
A lot of time has gone into perfecting our roasting process because it provides quality assurance. We can guarantee great taste with every cup because we know exactly where the coffee has come from, how it’s been treated and how it should be served.
In fact, each bag of Northern Espresso coffee we serve is roasted for a particular event. But why is this important?
Be it an avocado or a vintage Bordeaux, all produce reaches a point where it’s at its most flavoursome. For coffee beans, this is around a week after they are roasted. We schedule our roasts so that the coffee we serve is always at its peak, giving the very best flavour.
To reach this point, the beans start as fresh or ‘raw’ green beans. We use fully traceable beans, selecting the farm by the taste of the harvest and the country of origin based on where’s in season. The green beans have the same caffeine content as roasted, but the roasting process gives them their distinct taste.
Keeping the process in-house means we have complete control over the blend of beans, the strength of the roast and the resulting flavour. A typical roast at The Barista HQ looks a little bit like this:
1. We weigh the beans and load them up
The first step is to measure out the amount of beans required, accounting for the fact that they will double in size and halve in weight during the roasting process. The raw beans are then poured into the roaster.
2. The roast profile is set and maintained
A roaster contains a heated, rotating drum that the beans bounce around in, helping to maintain an even roast. They are heated through a combination of the drum’s surface temperature and the surrounding hot air.
We monitor these temperatures along with the time using an on-screen graph known as the roast profile. Controlling the roast profile enables us to fine-tune our roasts and replicate the results with future batches, helping us to produce consistent quality each time.
3. Roast completed, we release the beans
When the beans have been heated to the required temperate for long enough, they start to give off a popping sound as gas and vapour are released. When their colour has changed they are almost done.
Once we’re satisfied the beans are ready, they are released through the bottom of the drum into a vat (see it in action in the below video) – spreading their delicious smell throughout our offices. Then they’ll be left to breathe and cool down before being re-weighed.
Wait for it… pic.twitter.com/WX1HyqjrBp
— The Barista (@TheBaristaUK) November 2, 2017
4. It’s time to package up
We package all our own beans and label them up with our Northern Espresso branding. They will continue to release gas as they mature, so the sealed bag contains a small air valve to manage the pressure. As they settle, the flavour will become less acidic, smooth and richer.
5. Then comes the tasting!
After a week or so, the beans will be at their prime and ready to make a truly showstopping brew. Before we serve them to our clients, we always taste test them ourselves (naturally) to make sure everything is as delicious as it should be.
This process is called ‘cupping’ and is similar to wine tasting. We smell the grounds, as well as smelling and tasting the fresh coffee. Making sure the whole tongue is coated, we assess the sweetness, the body and acidity of the roast.
The tasting stage is so important. It not only helps us to make sure each new roast produces spectacular coffee, but we can discover something new each time.
Fancy tasting Northern Espresso for yourself? You can buy our coffee online now. Perfect for sharing with the office, with clients or just to enjoy at home.