Of the many different catering options we offer, the favourite amongst our own staff are our Barista coffee carts. We are all definitely coffee aficionados. In fact a funny anecdote is that the managing directors stubborn little sod daughter has overtaken the elders on the team and fast become the best barista much to the annoyance of her father. (The last paragraph was written by said stubborn little sod).
Over the years we have used a number of different coffee blends. To be truthful, the vast majority of people can’t really differentiate the subtle differences between many blends. Equally, most commercial blends are so similar in the beans they use and the roasting process that there isn’t really much of a difference anyway.
We decided to come up with a blend all of our own, obviously it needed to be commercial enough to please our clients, but equally we wanted it ’boutique’ enough to please us.
Small Boutique Roasters
After much searching we hit upon a company that was not only fairly local to us, but would work on producing a blend to suit our requirements. After taste testing a number of offerings we finally all agreed upon the ‘one’. Well, in this case it was the ‘three’, as a stubborn little sod on the firm wouldn’t agree to the majority choice, and it was felt that we should also offer a darker roast.
So can we introduce our new in house coffee blends, Steppenhengst, a Brazilian blend made with 100% Arabica beans (we have nothing against Robusta, but find that on the whole we prefer Arabica), this one has notes of Caramel, peanuts and chocolate.
Our second choice of coffee blend is the charmingly entitled HoofRot. Hey, one of the drawbacks of democracy is that we actually have to give other staff members a say in choosing names. This time its a Columbian roast (yes they grow rather good coffee, as well as other ahem stimulants), a nice blend of vanilla, butterscotch and chocolate notes, it tastes better than it sounds.
Our final concoction is one you don’t want to pronounce after over imbibing the alcohol. This one is a Robusta/Arabica blend, but a darker roast than the others. With notes of Toffee, Cocoa and spices this is a blend of Brazilian and Ethiopian beans, and a stronger tasting brew than the others. That could be the Robusta making its presence known or simply it being a darker roast.
Many people drift through life thinking Nescafe instant is the epitome of coffee evolution. Whilst other connoisseurs can tell you the origin of a bean from a single sip. An interesting theory evinced in a book from Stewart Lee Allen entitled Devil’s Cup postulates that the explosion in creativity and advancement of the human race can be attributed to the stimulant properties of the brew.
It provides an interesting take on the history and development of coffee throughout the ages. And indeed at one time coffee houses were hotbeds of intrigue, insurrection and business development. The famous Lloyds of London insurance company actually started in a coffee house. Coffee is a heck of a complex subject once you start delving beneath the surface of your usual instant/Starbucks or whatever blend. There is a vast range of blends, strengths, roasts etc. as well as some pretty way out coffees.
One of the stranger coffee blends out there. Little cat like creatures called civets eat the ripened coffee cherries. These are digested, stripping certain enzymes from the coffee bean during the process and then pooped out. These are collected and processed the usual way resulting in a coffee claimed to be almost chocolate like, with much of the usual bitterness removed. In honesty, having tasted it, I can attest to it being a fabulous tasting coffee.
What I would like to know though, is who exactly, whilst wandering the highlands of Indonesia, happened upon a pile of Civet shit, and thought I know, I will search through it to see if there is anything useful in there. And having noticed the undigested beans, promptly thought wow, I bet they are ever so tasty if I roast them and make coffee!
Monkey Spit Coffee
Another of the sounds disgusting, but supposedly tastes nice blends. Just as it sounds, the monkeys eat the cherries, then spit the beans out. Supposedly imparting a vanilla flavour to them. I am pretty dubious about this one, though never having tried it, it might well be true.
Pretty much the same idea as Kopi Luwak, only this time instead of little compact bundles of cat poop to search through, our intrepid producers need to sift through steaming mounds of elephant shit. Touted as the world’s most expensive coffee. Black Ivory is on our bucket list to taste, though at around £88 for enough beans to make 4 espresso’s, this is never going to be a regular option on our coffee carts, and might be relegated to the bucket list of strange things we fancy doing.