(PART 2 conversation with modcup)
In Part 1, we looked at how modcup selects the best coffee beans from around the world. In Part 2 we continue the conversation and look at what else we need to make a real good cup of coffee.
Do you sell only single origin coffee?
We also make also 3 blends.
Why do you blend coffee beans?
Blending coffee beans historically was done to disguise poor coffee.
Here is an example of what I mean. You might have heard about the great coffee region called Kona coffee. If you see a bag in a store that says Kona blend it means it has to only have about 10% Kona coffee in it to use the word Kona. And the other 90% of coffee used in the blend? Who knows where that is from? So blending was typically done to disguise that coffee and reduce the cost.
However, we use blending more as a chef uses a recipe to achieve a specific profile.
We have 3 blends
· One blend for drip coffee with milk
· We do an espresso blend which you use in espresso machines
· And then we do a cold brew blend
What does real coffee taste like?
Once this guy invited me to what he said is a “real cup” of coffee that he said wouldn't need cream or sugar. I tried it and he was absolutely correct.
The supply structure of the coffee industry is set up to supply you with coffee past its peak freshness. It gets roasted, bagged, and stocked on shelves, and it sits on the shelves for a year, in some cases two years before it gets ground and brewed.
If you really want to truly enjoy the intricate flavor of coffee it must be consumed within a maximum of 18 days after it has been roasted otherwise all of the flavors dissipate and oxidize. So what many roasters have done for many years knowing their coffee will sit on the shelves for more than a year, is impart a roast flavor into the coffee beans.
Well that is not the flavor of coffee. Coffee is one of the most complex fruits known to man. It is actually the seed of a fruit, a little coffee cherry, not a bean plant. But you will only ever get a chance to taste the full complexity of coffee if you drink it after soon after roasting.
So is your coffee a medium roast?
Roast levels are not important when you are dealing with a truly fresh product that you are serving within a truly fresh window. We roast appropriately according to the regions that the coffee comes from. Regions (and not roast level) are way more important to us. And then if you want to really jump down the rabbit hole, how the coffee cherry is processed is even more important!!
So at modcup we would rather have a discussion on region of the coffee bean and the processing of the coffee cherry, (btw processing is how the farmer at source gets the cherry off the coffee bean.) All this will have more to do with the flavor and taste than a roast level.
What are the Global trends?
The western world in the 21st century is moving towards specialty coffee just like they moved towards specialty wines in the 80’s. But we have a ways to go to catch up with the wine industry. They are 30 years ahead of educating their customer base. The UK for example still has horrible specialty coffee. It is still an instant coffee culture. They consume more instant coffee than any place on the planet, but in places like London that is starting to change slightly.
Australians have always had a super high end espresso culture. Remember Australia had waves of Greek and Italian immigration after the second world war. They have always had a super espresso culture. But even there you see brewed coffee gaining popularity now.
What is a flat white?
Flat white is an Australian (originally New Zealand) name given to an espresso beverage with textured milk. At ModCup we treat all espresso beverages as what they are: espresso plus milk. All shots are doubles and then you the consumer gets to choose whether you want to compliment with milk and if you do how much milk, 4oz 6oz or 10oz. . We don’t get into the names of drinks like cappuccino, latté, and flat white. We think that is confusing to the consumer and the definition of a cappuccino is different from one person to the other. By letting them know how much milk we are adding to the espresso, we offer the customers a more informed choice.
What do you mean when you say brewed coffee?
"Brewed" is coffee that is brewed in a number of ways: drip, full immersion like a French press, or an aero press.
Full immersion techniques will bring out more body in the coffee whereas a drip coffee will highlight more acidity and top notes. So full immersion, like a french press, will be better if you want to drink it with milk because the body comes forward. Whereas with the drip coffee, not so much. It is lighter bodied and higher on acidity and top notes, therefore is a better method for drinking black coffee.
What are some of the challenges in running a commercial coffee roastery?
We only are dealing with the top 5 % coffees in the world
- So the 1st thing is in the sourcing of the actual green coffee. Sticking with our mantra of freshness, almost all green coffee we buy must be within a 9 month window of the coffee being harvested so it has not sat in a warehouse. You know that some of the coffee out there can sit in a warehouse for up to 8 years before it gets to the consumer? So the first challenge is making sure you get the freshest and best coffee into the door.
- The second challenge is roasting it appropriately to bring out what that specific region is known for or highlighting the specific processing technique the farmer used .
- And then of course the third biggest challenge for any wholesale account we are working with, they have to serve it truly fresh coffee. They have to stick to our mantra by buying smaller amounts from us rather than larger quantities that stay on the shelves for two months.
So who is ready to serve fresh coffee?
Thanks to Travas and Justin for the inspiring attention to detail and the good seeds they roast.