We're always working on improving and developing our offering and as part of that process we sample blends from the best in the business. One of those is Monmouth http://www.monmouthcoffee.co.uk/coffee/for-espresso . It really is very good; light, fruity with chocolate and caramel notes. It's a combination of Brazil, Columbia and Guatemala beans. With a medium dark roast. However it's 100% Arabica, there's no Robusta.
Surprising maybe? We've always looked to include Robusta in our blends, we feel it adds both body and depth, and a richer crema - as well as giving the customer that 'hit' they might be looking for. Also the Robusta bean has more hard shell which means that the granules are courser allowing the water to flow more easily when the Arabica grind is fine, allowing more of the oils to be extracted - not the case with a 100% Arabica finely ground, as my straining pump will attest.
In the 50’s major American coffee producers began developing blends using Robusta to reduce their costs, especially after the 1954 crop failure in Brazil. Today Vietnam has become a major Robusta coffee exporter and Starbucks is reportedly the world’s largest purchaser of Robusta coffees, with a virtual monopoly of Robusta coffee originating in Vietnam. (http://www.barkingdogroasters.com/our-coffee/arabica-vs-robusta/ )
Of course the Robusta bean is a staple of Italian baristas and a good one can easily hold its own against an Aribica bean.
We recently developed a a blend for a mobile coffee shop using a ratio of 80:20 Aribica to Robusta. If you're in the South Cambridgeshire are you can try it out at the fantastic pop-up cafe they're running at Manor Farm in Bourne (http://www.ruralcoffeeproject.co.uk/index.html ) and we have had very good feedback :-)
We recently noticed that our roast times on our electric coffee roaster took at turn for the worse. Initially we thought is was due to the cool weather but it looks like we're going to need a new heating element.
Let's see how much this costs...
The thing is the elements look just like immersion heater elements. Thinking it might be worth a trip to local electrical store and bend some into shape.
So in the meantime we're down roasting in smaller batches!
Lesson learned - make sure you have the spares to hand just in case stuff goes wrong
UPDATE - spares on their way. Problem fixed. We have an older version of the roaster which basically means the parts are more expensive!
Rwandan coffee is a great success story, helping to heal rifts between warring tribes, generating jobs and building a stable economy. There has been a coffee industry in Rwandasince the start of the 20th century but production was mainly of a low quality product and prices were unstable. it wasn’t until after 2000 that the benefits of producing a high quality product, which generated a more stable price were realised. Better co-ordination of farmers and the lowering of trade barriers have meant that farmers are able to generate a profit from their crops and enabled them to focus on bean quality.
Rwandan Inzovu is produced by a cooperative of 30 coffee farmers in located in the South Western part of the country in Rusizi district, Nyakabuye sector, Nyabintarecell, Barenga village (1600m to 1700m above sea level). In 2008 the members of the cooperative created their own wet mill to produce, treat and sell their own coffee. Each member of the cooperative owns equal share and has between 350 to 2500 coffee trees. The higher price for the higher quality bean has helped to improve the welfare of many farmers, children's schooling and sorting out basic needs.