All about our new espresso!

We’ve been serving the new coffee for a number of weeks now, and we think it’s time to tell you all about it!

 

The Corner Coffee House are proud to be serving the finest ethnically-sourced coffee from our friends at Cielo, the inspirational roastery and coffee chain which has taken Yorkshire by storm. Cielo White on Black

Our new Presenza espresso bean is a delicate and well-refined blend:
50% of it is coffee from the Indian Bibi plantation, which is run by Faiz Moosakutty in Karnataka, Southern India, who works on his plantation with his family of 100 workers, and provides them with free electricity, free housing and free medical assistance. Faiz also offers interest free loans to assist with the education of his workers’ children. You can find out more about his work HERE.

Faiz Moosakutty

Faiz Moosakutty

50% of it is coffee from the Brazilian Fazenda Lagoa, which is run by Marcelo Vieira. After picking, the ripened coffee cherries are sorted and moved to the farm’s drying patios on the same day that they are picked. You can find out more about this coffee HERE.

Meanwhile, our decaffeinated coffee is sourced from a plantation in Mexico, which provides employment in one of the poorest states in the country. You can find out more about the decaff HERE.

And with all Cielo coffee, a percentage of sales go to curing clubfoot in Ethiopia. You can find out more HERE.

We are sure you will agree with us that every cup of Corner Coffee House espresso is not only delicious, but also makes a significant difference to individuals and communities around the world.

The Corner Coffee House: changing the world one cup at a time.  

Our New Decaff: Las Delicias

“Las Delicias”

Cielo White on BlackOur new decaffeinated coffee comes from Cielo Coffee Roasters in Leeds. The bean is a single source Mexican bean from the Mexican town of La Independencia. The beans are washed and dried on patios.

Here is a quote from Cielo’s website:

” ‘Las Delicias’ means ‘delicious things’ in English, and the coffee is a testament to the delicious possibilities in coffee that the region has to offer. However, the story behind Las Delicias goes beyond the delicious product itself into transforming the lives of coffee farming families.

Mexico 2E-Café – the organisation to which the contributing producers belong – is a faith-based social enterprise established to improve the livelihoods of farmers within Mexico’s poorest state, Chiapas. The organisation seeks to alleviate and, ultimately, eliminate poverty by helping small scale, indigenous coffee farmers in Chiapas to improve the quality of their coffee and find new markets for their product. E-Café provides support, training and financing to their members (in addition to milling and exporting their coffee) and is committed to ensuring that the ‘E’ (in E-Café) continues to stand for Enterprise, Decaff AmericanoEnvironment, Empowerment and Eternity, reflecting the organisation’s commitment to community development through economic empowerment. While coffee is the largest income generator and primary livelihood improvement activity for the organisation, it is a relatively new endeavour for them. They began their charitable work in the region by fully funding a University-prep high school for rural young people, an activity which they continue to fund today.”

You can find out more about Cielo coffee, their shops and their roastery HERE, and this particular coffee bean HERE.

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee

From the Flat Whites of Australasia, to the Butter Coffee of Santa Monica, the dark espressos of Milan to the even darker roasts of Paris, coffee has us all* in its thrall. Some like it milky, others like it short, some like it heavy, others like it light – caffeinated, decaffeinated and all points in between.

But what is coffee? 
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Types of espresso coffee drink

What is an espresso?

It’s nothing to do with being fast. The key is in the word “presso” – involving water being pushed through carefully tamped coffee grounds at very high pressure. This produces the small, rich, aromatic drink with a layer of tight bubbles known as a “crema”.

The espresso acts as the base for many drinks, some of them familiar to us, some less familiar.

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The World of the Barista

Imagine you are Front of House at the Corner. You have just taken an order. You pass the various elements of the order to the barista, take the customer’s money, and help them to find somewhere to sit. Meanwhile, your barista looks at the order, and enters into a completely different world.

Concentration

 Head barista and Duty Manager Jeremy Simmons training a new barista

Head barista and Duty Manager Jeremy Simmons training a new barista

Being a good barista requires concentration. The first thing they will do is warm the cups with hot water. The next thing they will do is grind a fresh dose of espresso (the best baristas try to grind as they go – keeping the coffee extra fresh). They then need to select the correct portafilter (double if more than one espresso based drink, or single. Two doubles? A single and a double?) They will then dose the portafilter with the correct amount of espresso, evening it out, then tamping it (tamping requires a whole blog in itself). They will hook up the portafilter, and proceed according to the type of drink they are making.

A “coffee only” drink
Some drinks are relatively simple – espresso, americano: the “coffee only” drinks. These require the correct dose of coffee and extraction time (at the Corner, we have pre-programmed our extraction times, but many baristas prefer to judge the extraction themselves, according to timing, the thickness of the espresso “tail”, and other things which affect the consistency and flavour of the espresso.)

cappuccino

One of our cappuccinos. Note the espresso “ring”

A milk drink
Many of the most popular drinks involve milk. Again, the barista won’t be particularly talkative at this point, because heating the milk requires not only the ability to feel the temperature with your hand (or concentrate on the thermometer – too cool, the drink is ruined, too hot the drink is ruined), but also the ability to incorporate bubbles at exactly the right moment (a small amount for a latte – a longer amount for a cappuccino). Latte milk should have a reflective shine, not unlike the consistency of pourable cream.

Bubbles
Incorporating bubbles means that the barista has to listen to the steam wand “chirping” (when the air mixes in with the steam wand causing the milk to incorporate bubbles into the heating process). A latte must have very few bubbles, if any – which is why a barista bangs them out once on the table top (some baristas make the tapping out of the bubbles part of the “act” – unnecessary unless you have incorporated too many bubbles). A cappuccino needs a greater amount of foamed milk, to give it that characteristic “frothy” quality on top. But it shouldn’t have too much – ideally you should have a glorious brown espresso ring around the drink.

 A Corner Coffee House latte

A Corner Coffee House latte

Pouring
Some baristas can pour a cappuccino freely, causing it to froth towards the end of the pour, ready for chocolate sprinkles. Others use a spoon to help out the thicker foam at the end. Pouring a latte requires a lot of concentration though – starting high, bringing the milk jug down slowly to create the right amount of “crust” with which to draw patterns (if you are good enough).

Serving
I have known baristas who have thrown away coffees with which they are particularly unhappy, and start again. We do that occasionally at the Corner, because we want to make sure the drink the customer receives is of a high quality.

So next time you wonder why the barista seems a bit quiet or withdrawn, they might just be concentrating extra hard on getting the coffee just right for their customers.

Where Everyone Knows Your Name

Today’s blog is from Avril McIntyre, one of the founding team of the Corner Coffee House. 

Avril McIntyre

Avril McIntyre

A brief trip down memory lane … 
Who remembers the popular American sitcom back in the 80s … “where everyone knows your name”. You singing the theme tune now?  Well, you probably are if you’re over 45! The Corner Coffee House is a very intriguing initiative.  I’ve been involved since its inception and watched its identity and culture develop in a very intentional way.  Continue reading