Getting into Acidity...

By James Guard
on April 30, 2016

Sean set up a really great little workshop at the roastery...I love learning new stuff! Drawing on his CQI Q grader training, he set out tasting samples of Citric, Malic, Lactic and Tartaric acid.

We had 3 different levels of citric acid to taste, from relatively pleasant to lemon suckingly sour! Then there were the four different solutions to slurp, then we mixed some low acidity Brazil in with a few of the different acids, and had to pair them up...reallly hard!

For me it was fascinating to slurp on the different acids, then find taste memories of various coffees and origins come flooding back! For example, the malic acid, tasted of sour green apples, then a sense memory coming through of tasting coffees from El Salvador or Nicaragua. The sharp citric acidity of course brought to mind lemons, and that sort of clean lemon taste Ive found with some great Kenyan coffees. Tartaric was tricky and the dryness of it was hard to pin to a coffee, but the cranberry/rasberry quality finally dug its way through my brain to remind me of Guatemalan!

The really interesting one was the lactic acid, which seemed very flat compared to the others, but Sean mentioned it in reference to a good Brazilian...and then it made sense! There was much more of a texture, a mouthfeel to the lactic acid, which did have sense of coating the roof of the mouth, like a yummy buttery Brazilain, or other coffee with pronounced viscosity...

Anyhoo...just a few refections on a really interesting exercise, and one I am sure we shall be running more of!



A city style and the upward trend

By Sean Fowler
on October 07, 2015

Back in June I wrote a small blog post about the growth of Manchester, obviously focusing on coffee. 4 months on and it has become even more pronounced in my mind of a real shift in the quality and care going into sourcing better coffee by many places that would a year ago have served the cheapest possible beans. 

Business at Heart and Graft is much the same. We are still sourcing coffees that we love, roasting them well and delivering them to our lovely customer base. Business is growing alongside the cities growth and life is good. 

My thoughts have gone onto Manchester's style of coffee. The general trend is upward; moving upward to serve better coffee, more care in training baristas and generally an attitude to coffee that is more considered. 

Will Manchester be swept up along in the general trend of speciality coffee across the UK or will it forge it's own path in the coffee world?

I have no idea, although if history is anything to go by Manchester is used to forging it's own path.


High Road Espresso

By Sean Fowler
on July 22, 2015

When we launched in February we had an already established blend in Barnraiser that worked it's magic and had done for as long as James had been roasting it. The heavy chocolate led flavours we get out of this blend needed a partner in crime, something brighter and lighter to offer our customers and prospective customers.

We came up with what we initially called Heart & Graft Espresso. A blend that had caramel sweet notes with a good deal of brighter citric acidity. This worked for us for a while but there seemed to be a nagging feeling that we needed to change and evolve again fairly quickly.

James and I soon came to the realisation that we both wanted to do the same thing. We wanted to use what we called "Heart & Graft Espresso" as a testing ground and playground to get experimental with coffee.

And thus High Road Espresso has been born. This coffee is all about harnessing everything that is beautiful in coffee. Our brief is fairly broad taste wise. It must be sweet, clean in the finish and be bright in it's acidity. Other than that anything goes! From month to month the flavour profile will change slightly around this broader profile, showcasing the depth and breadth of flavours the coffee world has to offer.

Typically it will be whatever single origin we cup at HQ and like the best. Or maybe it will be a particular blend that we like. Who knows, all we know is that it will always be taking advantage of using the best ingredients the seasons have to offer. We hope you enjoy the ride!! 

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