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

Coffee Jam V

On Tuesday I hosted the fifth monthly Coffee Jam. Coffee Jam is an event organised by a few people looking to engage a wider audience in speciality coffee/general industry antics. There are many baristas and home baristas who attend, and people who haven’t ever made any coffee before but find it interesting and want to learn a bit more about coffee.

Generally the event starts off with an intro to what will be happening, in this case we had arranged a small cupping-style tasting of two different coffees, each processed in two different ways, so we had a selection of four to compare.

I’d like to thank Hasbean for donating four bags of coffee for this event; two Nicaraguan and two El Salvador. Each coffee was processed two ways, fully washed, and pulped natural. A washed coffee is one which has had the fruit removed and the bean fully washed with water (no suds!) so there is no mucilage left over. This typically gives a “cleaner” taste (funnily enough). A naturally processed coffee is one which has been left to dry with the fruit still in tact, then put through a pulping machine with a small amount of water so as not to remove all mucilage. This method usually lets you taste a certain “funk” from the coffee, due to the leftover fruit on the bean.

Some pics;

All really interesting flavours. We tasted all coffees blind (nobody knew what they were beforehand) so as not to influence flavour suggestions.

Everyone had their favourites and as always, some funny flavours were being exclaimed, chilli, and more specifically, kidney beans was my favourite!

Robbie, part of the Brew Lab team made the journey through to Glasgow from Edinburgh and kindly brought some interesting coffees along with him, so after the tasting had finished, he brewed some coffees in a v60 while some cleanup was happening, cheers mate!

We kept tradition by having a light hearted latte art competition, with the four best pours taking home a bag each of the remaining coffee from Hasbean, amazing!

 

Look at this amazing pour by Eilidh – never made a coffee in her life!

Thanks to everyone for the amazing turnout. Anybody who is interested in coming to the next one just get in touch for details, and follow Glasgow Coffee Jam on facebook!

Cheers
Michael

Filmhouse Cinema, Edinburgh

Last week I spent two mornings training the bar staff at Filmhouse Cinema on Edinburgh’s Lothian Road.

Machine was a 3 group Cimbali paired with a Macap grinder.

On first use i noticed the grinder wasn’t grinding at the usual speed, and was getting overly hot around the burrs. Initially I thought it could use a good clean out, as stale grinds clogging the chute could cause a slower output and make the grinder overheat. Removing the upper burr carrier revealed that it wasn’t actually too dirty inside, but the burrs were properly blunt! Thankfully I had another session there a couple days later so whilst back in Glasgow i picked up some new burrs and fitted them first thing on Friday morning – amazing difference. The output was now back to normal and the coffee tasted better, no burnt taste and enhanced flavour!

The main issue in businesses with high numbers of staff is lack of consistency between baristas. In every shop I’ve worked in this has been an issue to some degree, and was initially what made me want to deliver training. As an employer I would love to have access to a training resource that would ensure all my staff were delivering the same product time after time. Fun in a Cup was born!

Filmhouse Cinema is a massively busy picture house. The bar sells alcohol, a full hot food menu, breakfast rolls, tea, bulk brew filter, hot chocolate and espresso based drinks. Their beans are supplied by Edinburgh Tea & Coffee.

This was an example of a coffee supplier/someone in charge saying “don’t mess with the grind setting”. I understand that it can be dangerous to have 15 staff members all changing the grind to what THEY think it should be set to, but I always encourage at least a few of the full time members f staff being trained on how to dial in the grinder correctly, even to a basic level, so that’s what we did! Lots of time spent on equipment setup, dialling in the grinder, bean storage and coffee freshness, then working our way through the drinks menu ensuring that everything is produced to a high standard.

When clients are already established and recognise a need for delivering higher standards, there are usually elements they want to change and elements they don’t. In this case, I was not there to advise on cup sizes or equipment upgrades. Simply to improve what they already offer, which is 8oz americanos, 12oz mochas and 16oz lattes & cappuccinos. Absolutely fine! Not to everyone’s taste, and I don’t think I’d be able to drink 16oz of coffee in one go, but these guys are really busy and the customers lap it up, so crack on!

Latte art wasn’t a part of the training, but as the staff became more familiar with the slightly adjusted way of steaming and pouring milk, the art was beginning to happen naturally and will only continue to improve as long as they keep striving to achieve better.

Overall this was a really enjoyable team to work with. All very keen to learn more and build on what they already learned. With any luck their future new recruits will receive clearer, more precise coffee training, reducing inconsistencies as far as possible!

Keep it up FH!
Filmhouse Cinema

Michael
Michael

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