Where Have You Bean All My Life…

… You are probably asking. Well, I could say I’ve been super duper busy exploring realms of coffee never seen by the human eye, or that I’ve been in a caffeine-coma due to excessive intake of so much amazing espresso! Alas, I’m just a rubbish blogger. Sorry to disappoint, but feel free to believe one of the above reasons. I won’t tell anybody.

Lots of stuff has been happening though! The training biz is really kicking off. I wouldn’t say I have people fighting for slots, but I think that having a steady stream of business is more important these days. I think it promotes longevity in what you do and suggests that it’s not just a fad.

So!

Riverhill Coffee Bar

24 Gordon Street
Glasgow
G1 3PU

riverhill

I have been working with the amazing guys at Riverhill since before they opened in late January. I knew already that they used Dear Green Coffee in their Deli Cafe in Helensburgh, and the rumours of the food they served shouted quality at me. Then Lisa from Dear Green told me they’d ordered not one, but two La Marzocco Lineas accompanied by a trio of Mazzers – a Major Auto, a Mini-E and a Super Jolly, and I thought these guys must be really serious!! Well, they are really serious.

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It’s so refreshing and rewarding to be part of establishing and growing a premium coffee offering in the City Centre of Glasgow! I’m very proud of everyone involved and considering the shop is only now in it’s 7th week (at time of writing) the customer base and level of support in general is outstanding! Long may it continue!

Thanks for reading

Michael

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Video Interview

Last month I met with Aleks Jurczak, writer of a blog called A Black Spot as she had offered to film a short video interview with me about what Fun in a Cup is all about and a bit about how we work.

This was a new thing for me as I had never done any video interviews so I was really just hoping I didn’t sound horrible (nobody likes the sound of their own voice!) but a week or two later when Aleks had edited the video, put music to it and cut out the useless parts, I watched it with my hands half covering my eyes…and I was really happy with it!

You can see the video

here

I’ve had so many compliments about the video and for that I can’t thank Aleks enough for her help and the work she put in.

We also shot a video on how to brew a (roughly) which you can find

here

Thanks for looking
Michael

It’s been a while!

Hello there!

So, last post was in February…sheesh! Where has the time gone?!

A lot has happened since then, let’s see…(this might be a big one!)

I provided coffee for two different companies exhibiting at Diabetes UK, held at the SECC in March. That was an amazing experience and the biggest event that I had done. I hired all the gear to equip two bars with 2 group machines, grinders, and the friendliest baristas I knew, without whom it wouldn’t have been possible. Filled a van with milk and we were ready to go! Amazing fun and can’t wait for the next one!

The other big news is that I am now 100% self employed! Since Fun in a Cup started, I had been running it around my full time work, simply because the business was in its infancy and hadn’t picked up enough speed to depend on it fully. I was always working towards running the business full time but didn’t know when that time would come.

Back in June I was asked to deliver training on behalf of Tennents Training Academy as an external tutor. Barista training isn’t the most popular course they deliver, being an alcohol based business, but nevertheless they wanted to ensure the barista training was very high quality, so this is something I’m currently working on with them, as well as advanced barista training, filter coffee and latte art master classes – fun stuff, but this meant taking a couple days off work most weeks to honour these commitments, which wasn’t ideal.

It was the added commitment of tutoring at Tennents on top of my job as a cafe manager, combined with my increasingly busy Coffee Training business that made me decide that I would make the scary jump to being fully self employed, so handed in a months notice at the cafe and started preparing to finish up at the end of July. Over a month in now and I haven’t looked back once! All the little things that I was writing down on my notepad to do ‘later’ can now get done sooner rather than later, and booking clients in for training is much easier as I only have the clients and my own schedules to work around – happy happy days!

Taking Fun in a Cup full time at the start of August also dovetailed with the completion of a new training space. Based at Espresso Services in Govans Elderpark Workspace, Fun in a Cup can now cater for groups in a more efficient way as we can have up to 4 machines running at any one time. We use equipment from manufacturers such as Gaggia, La Spaziale, Espresso Services, Simonelli, Franke, Anfim, and many more!

I now have space to offer training on alternative brew methods such as v60, chemex, French press, clever coffee dripper and aeropress. I use a wide range of freshly roasted coffee from suppliers such as Glasgows own Dear Green, HasBean, Extract, Union amongst others.

I’ll leave this one at that, but theres more to come soon!

Thanks
Michael

Jam Jar Coffee!

So our friend Cass runs a fun blog called JamJarJam and does really cool things with disused jam jars. She suggested it might be fun if I did something coffee related. This will be the first of a few coffee&jar colaborations, so here is the first one…

Fun in a Cup’s French Press (in a jar) Guide;

You will need;

  • A french press (caffetiere)
  • some jars (I’m using two)
  • some scales
  • fresh coffee (beans or ground)
  • a kettle!

Firstly, boil the kettle, and preheat your cup, caffetiere, and jar. I’m using the jar as a decanter, because I’m cool like that. Maintaining temperature is important with coffee.

Next up, weigh out 15g of beans (or ground coffee) and grind them up nice and coursely so it feels like rough sand. I’m using another jar to weigh my coffee.

Pour the water out of the caffetiere and add your ground coffee

This should have only taken you a minute or so, which means the water in the kettle will have dropped slightly from boiling. That’s what we want. This is to avoid scorching the coffee grounds and leaving a burnt or bitter taste in the cup.

Add your water. I’m using a 1-cup caffetiere, which holds around 300ml of water. Ensure all the grounds are wet by giving it a brief stir, then start a timer. You’ve got 4 minutes to kill here!

In the meantime, I made myself a quick espresso (in a jar!) to keep me going!

When your timer tells you it has been 4 minutes, it’s time to scoop off the crust (the big thick bit of coffee at the top of the caffetiere) to reduce sediment in the cup. Using two desert spoons, simultaneously pull them across the top evenly so as to catch all the crust in one swoop, then throw it in the compost bin – it’s a good fertilising aid!


Replace the plunger, and press down slowly and evenly


Then pour the coffee into your decanting jar. I used a decanter so my coffee wasn’t continuing to brew after I’d poured myself a cup.

And we’re done! Pour and enjoy 🙂

Cupping…

I bought a home coffee roaster recently, a Behmor 1600. Its around the size of a microwave, and has a rotating mesh drum inside to turn the coffee while it is being heated by a couple of very hot elements!

It looks like this;

 

 

 

 

 

So I set out with the intention of creating a Christmas blend for filter brew methods, mainly french press. I proceeded to buy 1kg each of 3 different coffees from http://www.greencoffeeshop.co.uk – a Guatemalan, Costa Rican and Ethiopian.

After almost setting my house on fire, I roasted a half-pound (225g) of each coffee separately and let it develop for just over 48hrs, then I called a friend with a good nose round to cup them with me. Here are the pics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The flat white wasn’t very nice, but it looked good so that was ok! The milk completely obliterated any complexity in the blend. Good job it’s for filter…completely intentional!

I decided to go with a 60/30/10 blend of Guatemalan, Costa Rican, Ethiopian respectively. Tried in french press and aeropress and enjoying it so far! Considering I  rushed this whole process to get it done in time for christmas with the small amount of time I have spare at the moment I’m fairly happy with it!

After Christmas is over I will really start playing with different coffees. I want to nail an espresso blend as that’s what I drink mostly at home. Watch this space (but it might take a while…so get a cup of tea or something first)

Caffeine and Sugar

Writing this on the train back home from London where a friend and I consumed copious amounts of coffee and tasty treats (read: cakes!) Mixed in with a bit of shopping and catching up with family (not mine)

We arrived late thursday night, so after a late dinner and a good nights sleep we were up for venturing into the big smoke (smog?) for some caffeine intake!

First stop was the Tea and Coffee Festival which was taking place at the South Bank Centre (outdoors) friday-sunday. On arrival around 12pm there were already a good amount of people wandering round the various stalls. There were lots of retailers there selling coffee, tea, freshly made hot and cold food and baked goods amongst other things.

not very many cookies…
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We bought a macchiato and a flat white from Dark Fluid who had a stall they were serving coffee from using their refurbished Mirage with custom wood side panels, beautiful! Very tasty coffee also

After a few laps of the area, we checked out the Winter market on the South Bank behind the centre which was very festive and reminded us again how close it is to Christmas, aahh!

We headed into the centre via some shops and ended up in Kaffeine, where I had a very nice piccolo made using Square Miles Red Brick seasonal blend and the stores gorgeous Synesso – that made me happy before i’d even ordered (I’m a bit of a tech lover and a sucker for a handsome espresso machine!)

Piccolo
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On saturday morning we hit Borough Market (one of my favourite places in London!) and got coffee from Flat Cap who also use Red Brick – two flat whites and after a long queue they were delicious so worth the wait.

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Over to the festival again where we made some purchases – Teapigs tea, Kopi’s Guatemalan for filter (roasted in early October so will see how that goes down after more than a month), and some amazing handmade fudge which I’m looking forward to this week (after a couple of days detox!)

Some Churros were purchased on impulse…
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We ended up in Speakeasy before we headed back for the evening. I really liked their store. Very simple yet efficient as most busy ones in London are, especially the smaller sites which are efficient through necessity due to a lack of space! Being just off Carnaby Street I imagine they are regularly very busy! I particularly liked the layout of their shop – bar upstairs was for espresso based drinks/tea and had a separate brew bar at the seating area downstairs for other brew methods.

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Again coffee was top notch and was delivered quickly considering how busy they were.

We were leaving around 3 on Sunday so headed to Sensory Lab just after lunchtime. Very cool shop, lots of retail products as you go in the door such as v60s, scales, pouring kettles, aeropress etc, and a Synesso sitting proudly on the immaculate bar on your right. Drinks are prepared in front of you and presentation (latte art) was a key feature and very impressive!

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Into a Turkish place down the road for some lunch then headed for the train home, excitement over!

Being in London makes me want more coffee shops like the ones above in Scotland. They’re very trendy but very precise about what they’re aiming to do and what they want from the business at the same time. Very cool.

Heres a lego Christmas tree and a giant Snow globe
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Cheers
Michael

Introduction

So I decided on a whim to create a blog based around coffee and my experiences with it, without it and random information about it or anything else I can think of.

My name is Michael, I’m 24, I’m a barista trainer living and working in Glasgow. My training company is called Fun in a Cup

If you’re following this so far then I’m already flattered and frankly, impressed!

thanks!
Michael