In this guest blog, we are delighted to welcome Matthews McGarry to talk about the numerous benefits that coffee can have on your sporting performance.
So, am I blogging about beer on a coffee blog? Yes I am. I fortunate enough to receive a complimentary box from craft beer subscribers Beer 52 the other day. Beer and coffee drinking are both in something of a golden age at the moment. It’s also fair to say that both worlds are so fairly closely interlinked.
As a relative notice to the world of craft beer, I have been lapping up Beer52’s beer, thoroughly enjoying each bottle much like I do a new coffee.
First of all, recent research from the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) highlighted the consumer demand for independent craft brewed beers to be sold in coffee shops. A fifth of people in the UK would visit coffee shops more often if they sold British craft beers.
Increasingly, our coffee shops are selling craft beer as part of their offer. ‘Beer Cafes’ (for want a better term) are cropping up across the UK which fuse the laid back look of continental coffee shops with British and international craft beer.
The marriage of craft beer and coffee extends to ‘home delivery’ subscription models too. I’m a huge fan of coffee subscription and sample various subscription models.
Well, relatively unbeknownst to me, there are a plethora of beer subscription models too and with a recently received box from Beer 52, I’m already a convert.
Talking to friends who know way more than I do about beer, they’re impressed with what Beer52 offer. Beer52 are a first port of call in the subscription model world. They deliver a box of ‘exclusive small batch beers’, free snacks and a copy of a magazine calling ‘Ferment’ every month.
They have opened up a new world of enjoyment alongside my home coffee brewing. Discovery and flavour comes in small bottles as well as bags of beans. Fortunate life, eh!
Everything is lovely and considered from the branded packaging to the added treats (a lovely Graze box). Did I mention the beers are great too.
Admittedly, I’m not a beer expert. What I know is in liking what I taste! I received their Danish Box and the range of beers are exceptional ranging from …
So yes, there are a lot of craft beer and cider subscription boxes out there to try but I’m ordering with Beer 52 again. All in all, they offer such excellent choice in a beer community all of its own.
So there you go, wonderful beers to your door, expertly packaged and selected. So why not try for yourself and get an offer to boot?
When you visit www.Beer52.com, use the voucher code COFBRUM10 and that gets you £10 their first order when they sign up.
A huge thanks to Ben from Beer 52 for getting in touch and for his generosity.
AA Abbott is a British crime thriller writer and loves her coffee! Returning to guest blog for Coffee Birmingham, she pays a visit to Tilt and laps up its many treats.
Tilt is located in the beautiful, but under-loved, City Arcade off Union Street. It describes itself as a craft beer café and coffee shop, but it’s with pinball that it really scores. With a row of glowing, buzzing beasts by the door and more in the basement, it’s a great place to hang out with friends the old-fashioned way. There’s the obligatory free wi-fi to bring life back to the digital age, especially handy for freelance workers with their laptops.
Beer is served from midday until late. The current selection includes Belgian-style wheat beer and Wiper & True’s Milkshake Milk Stout, the ale that thinks it’s vanilla ice cream. It’s a good introduction to beery pleasure for those who don’t think they’ll like it – the closest craft beer gets to an alcopop.
But what of the coffee? There’s filter and espresso on offer, with bags of coffee to take away so you can replicate the taste at home. (Hint: in my experience, like holiday wine or a hairdresser’s creation, it’s never the same.) I had an unctuously creamy latte with a hint of bitterness: delicious, and ten times better than anything the international coffee shop chains could produce, but like the milk stout, it wouldn’t frighten the horses.
Tilt also serves tea, hot chocolate and a selection of home-made cakes. My carrot cake, spruced up with walnuts and buttery frosting, was the best I’ve ever had. Even better, the slice was so huge that it substituted for breakfast.
First thing in the morning, Tilt was quiet, hosting a few freelances and shoppers stopping for a coffee. It was easy to hear the background soundtrack of punchy eighties anthems. At noon, chat levels rose. The café was significantly busier as the lunchtime crowd drifted in to play pinball. I imagine the joint is jumping in the evening too. It deserves to be.
The café is simply decorated – perhaps too simply – but other than that, Tilt does the basics very well indeed. It offers carefully chosen coffee, cake and beer served without fuss, a chance to chill alone or with friends, and a side order of pinball. What more do you need?
Tilt website: http://tiltbrum.com/
Tilt Twitter: https://twitter.com/tilt_brum
Tilt Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tiltbrum/
AA Abbott website: http://aaabbott.co.uk/
AA Abbott Twitter: https://twitter.com/AAAbbottStories
AA Abbott Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AAAbbottStories/
Q grading is a common term in the coffee industry but do we actually know what it means? Robert Turp explains more.
The coffee industry is booming in North America and Europe and the Q grading system appears to be embedded in this strong growth.
A brief history
The Q Coffee System was developed in the early 2000s as a program designed to improve the quality of coffee worldwide, by creating a common language for coffee quality evaluation and an independent certifying body for high quality coffee samples. Though originally focused on Arabica coffee, the program recently expanded to include Fine Robusta coffee (R Coffee) in what promises to have an even greater impact on coffee quality worldwide.
Obviously quality can be argued to be very subjective, however, Q grading tries to score coffees based on clear attributes. This helps provide a universal understanding of why coffees taste a certain way.
The Q-Grader program is designed to give a common language to describe quality in coffee and is used from the farmer to the consumer. This universal system means that it is easier to compare and grade coffee. This helps everyone from farmers to consumers in understanding the coffee industry better, which in turn helps raise standards.
What this means for coffee
Q grading has created the ability for people all around the world to judge and score coffees on the same attributes, helping to compare every coffee effectively.
The coffees are based on attributes such as acidity, body, flavour, aftertaste, uniformity, balance, sweetness to name but a few. This helps to ensure all participants are identifying flavour characteristics in the same way. Reviewing the coffee happens independently so external factors like reputation of the farm or roaster can’t influence decisions.
How it works
For a detailed review of how coffee roasters use the Q grade system, check out Holly’s amazing blog post about it at North Star Roasters.
The Q grading system focuses on the following aspects:
It’s an important movement in the coffee industry as it helps to determine quality and value. This will help drive the industry and offer smaller farmers and independent roasters more power. Retailers and even baristas are seeing the value in getting certified. It makes communication between different parts of the supply chain more effective, which is turn helps create an even tastier coffee for our morning brew!
Robert Turp is a keen coffee enthusiast and writer. Working alongside coffee farmers during traveling inspired his love for coffee. He’s now never too far from a latte! Robert can currently be found writing about coffee news and updates, alongside Holly and Krag on North Star Roast.
Believe it or not, Moseley’s Java Lounge celebrates 10 years in business this month culminating in a celebration at Java Lounge on Saturday 28th February.
Java’s CEO Akram Almulad talks to Coffee Birmingham about the journey to date.
So, how did Java Lounge start?
Java Lounge was started with a small budget but with a big vision. Our humble beginnings started on King Edward Road in Moseley before moving to bigger premises five years later on the Alcester road where we trade from today. We had limited resources but always made coffee our focus. This has always been at the centre of everything. We built up a small but loyal group of customers who have followed us on this journey and have helped Java Lounge become what it is today.
We started off with a small single group coffee machine and basic grinders, where we developed our barista skills. Our mission statement has always been to deliver ‘your perfect coffee moment, every time’. We continued in this pursuit of delivering the perfect cup of coffee. This took us to many barista courses and seminars, learning about coffee from its beginning to the point it reaches the customer. We upgraded all our coffee equipment several years ago in order to help us reach the necessary level of quality and consistency. We now have a La spaziale S40 and have On demand grinders to help us achieve the perfect cup of coffee.
What about your passion for coffee?
We are passionate for coffee. This stems from our rich heritage coming from our country of origin, Yemen. Widely accepted as the birthplace of the first coffee plant purposely grown for consumption, Yemen was one of the first hubs of coffee culture, attracting philosophers, writers, artists, architects and poets to form a social and creative center of knowledge. Java Lounge aspires to encapsulate the essence of this tradition.
We linked up with an independent coffee roaster who shared our passion and had the expertise of roasting for almost 30 years. We have worked closely together for the past five years, maintaining the standard and quality of our coffee. Where we differ to many other coffee houses is that we personally have a hands on approach with roasting our coffee. We understand that coffee is a natural product that changes from batch to batch. We therefore work on a taste profile whereby we tweak our coffee constantly to achieve our unique flavours for our two house blends.
Tell us about some of your achievements
We have competed in the UK barista championships in the last 2 years where our Head Barista Omar Al-Sabahi fared really well and had a lot of good feedback from the judges.
We have become a niche supplier of quality coffee in the last couple of years where we supply exotic coffees, in particularly Yemeni Mocha Ismaili coffee, which is obtained directly from our shared coffee fields in Yemen.
We have continued re-investing in the business over the last 10 years. We opened our basement area in 2011, and carried out a major refurbishment at the end of 2013. Within the refurbishment we put together the Java Lounge coffee story, which was designed as a large mural explaining and educating customers about the coffee they are drinking.
It has been an emotional roller coaster, but it has definitely been worth it.
What have you seen change around you in Moseley and Birmingham?
We recall a time when we first started when people were coming in asking for instant coffee, we have come a long way from that now. We have seen an influx in brilliant independent businesses particularly in independent coffee houses with a really good standard of coffee. As a city, Birmingham has embraced coffee culture and I believe we have some of the best coffee houses in the country.
In Moseley the same has happened, it has developed into a coffee hub. We feel proud to have played a key part in this.
What the future holds for Java Lounge?
We are currently in the process of opening our second store on the Colmore Row in Birmingham City Centre. We have launched our own brand of coffee packs selling our 2 popular house blends and also selling our exotic Yemeni Mocha coffee.
Details of the celebration on the 28/02/15? / Any deals or offers to commemorate the anniversary?
We are preparing to celebrate our 10 year anniversary on Saturday 28th February 2015 between 9am – 9pm. We will be giving out cake and finger foods including coffee samples of our single origin coffee for all to enjoy. We will also be selling some 10 year anniversary mugs to commemorate the occasion.
Coffee Birmingham congratulates Java Lounge on getting to ten years. Here’s to the next ten years! For more information on Java Lounge us on our website: www.javaloungecoffee.com
I bring brilliant news as Six Eight Kafe finally opens its much anticipated second branch at Millennium Point!
It all kicks off with a launch party this evening. As I now do regular work over in Eastside, this is most definitely going to become a new regular Eastside destination for me from here on in.
I cannot wait to see what treats are on the menu beyond just the coffee shop itselfs. Congratulations to all the team at Six Eight Kafe on the launch and a big thanks to Dev for allowing me to publish these brilliant preview pictures of the fantastic looking new coffee shop.
I’m delighted to welcome coffee lover Nikki Radvanyi to Coffee Birmingham, who asks “what does your favourite cup of Joe say about you?”. Let’s find out shall we!
The UK has gone coffee-ga-ga! According to Real Coffee’s coffee encyclopaedia, we spent £730 million on coffee last year! Coffee is now seen as an affordable essential rather than an unnecessary luxury and we are prepared to pay the best part of £5 for a good cup of Joe. But what does your choice of coffee say about you? A recent study revealed the choice of coffee you order from the barista may say more about you than you think it does*.
You are old school, a bit of a purist and like things simple. You can be quiet and sometimes moody. You don’t like change and your friends and family would describe you as a ‘no non-sense’ kind of person. Nothing wrong with traditional and simple, right?
Decaf, half-fat, soya, no foam
You admit to being obsessive about what you eat and drink and probably get quite upset if the coffee shop does not have the ingredients you prefer. You are a perfectionist and very aware of your own health. You can be over-sensitive, especially when the queue is tutting behind you and are likely to worry, but hey, if it worked for Meg Ryan in You Got Mail!!!!!
You are a comfort seeker and love the feeling that lots of milk and cream give you; a hug in a mug! You like to soften the bitterness of life and often chose drinks and food that make you feel better. You are generous with your time and like to help others, but sometimes at the expense of yourself. “Hey, add a dollop of cream and don’t forget the sprinkles!”
You are a trendsetter. You love to try the latest thing. You are spontaneous, imaginative, however, you can be reckless and you don’t always make healthy choices. You love the feeling of brain freeze that a Frappuccino gives you! Cold, cold, cold, cold, cold!
Mocha with a shot of hazelnut syrup (anything sweet)
You are an overgrown kid, young at heart, with taste buds & sensibilities of a child. You love the sentimentality attached to hot sweet drinks and can’t wait for the seasonal variations like gingerbread and crème brulee to appear on the café menu!
Don’t take this toooooooo seriously. As Dr Durvasula adds, “we are no more defined by our coffee orders than we are by our astrological signs”. Enjoy what you drink, try a variety – I know I do – just make it good quality coffee. It makes all the difference!
*Source: Dr. Ramani Durvasula recently conducted an observational study of 1,000 coffee drinkers http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/09/11/what-does-your-coffee-reveal-about-you/.
Nikki Radvanyi set up Nikki Radvanyi Business and Marketing Support in September 2014. Apart from being a real coffee lover, mocha is her favourite, Nikki supports businesses in the West Midlands by providing a bespoke P.A, V.A and marketing support service. Nikki says, “I love what I do. I am very lucky to work with some great businesses, from micro businesses and former CEOs to companies in the FTSE 250, most of whom realise they can’t do everything themselves and need to delegate to an experienced P.A and marketer, who will concentrate on the areas they no longer have time for or lack the expertise in”.
The World Atlas of Coffee is the new book from Square Mile s James Hoffman. It is described as the “ultimate guide to coffee contains comprehensive details on the beans and brews of more than 35 countries.” I want my own copy.
2. Coffee subscriptions
There are many brilliant subscriptions and it’s a great Christmas gift. Take your pick. From Pact (their coffee for a £1 here) to the fantastic Hasbean to Blankbox Coffee to Kopi (try a free bag!) to 8point9 to Origin to Aromaah and so on etc etc.
3. Home brewing
I already have an Aeropress, a Hario DripPot and a Rok Espresso machine amongst other things at home, and all of those would alone make fantastic presents. I’d love a Kalita Wave too and check out this Cores Brewer Mug for an all-in-one brewing experience and cup combined.
5. Hot Chocolate
For those of you seeking a festive alternative to coffee, look no further than Kokoa Collection who produce amazing single-estate hot chocolate. They currently supply Saint Kitchen and I heartily recommend their products. Available to buy through various stockists including Ocado.