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Why we require Reverse Osmosis in London
Monday, December 02, 2013 - 03:41 PM - 1 year, 2 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
Why we require Reverse Osmosis in London
We wanted to write a little bit about why we now require wholesale customers in hard water areas to use reverse osmosis, because we believe there is a little confusion out there. Our goal, as a roaster and supplier, is for our customers to have successful and sustainable businesses. If they’re succeeding then we succeed too. Water provides a two fold challenge to cafes in the South East of England and in other hard water areas: Scale Imagine leaving a kettle boiling 24 hours a day, think of how quickly it would be coated in scale and residue. This is what the steam boiler on an espresso machine is doing, often 24/7. Hard water rapidly damages equipment if it isn’t treated properly. 95% of service calls we’ve dealt with in the last 5 years have been due to the build up of scale. We have no interest in profiting from scale, and when it does affect a machine it can often take the machine out of service for a period of time. To descale and repair will cost a lot of money and, combined with a loss of earnings, the bill can be large enough to place a painful pressure on a coffee shop business. We desperately want to avoid this happening. Reverse osmosis certainly costs more initially, but if taking a long-view of the business then it will save money (even with water wastage factored in). The build up of scale inside a Synesso steam boiler… Coffee Quality Poorly demineralise and softened water makes less tasty coffee. Our customers work with us because they are driven by serving great coffee. Water has an enormous impact on taste, and working with hard water or excessively mineral water, makes coffee brewing extremely difficult. We roast and QC against good water, and customers who are using reverse osmosis find it much easier to brew better coffee. Cafes with great reputations for coffee in London, more often than not, are using reverse osmosis. Inline Filtration Cartridges We’d worked in the industry before starting Square Mile Coffee Roasters, and believed that traditional inline filters were sufficient. Once we began to work with them often it became clear that they simply weren’t good enough. Generally the better will soften the water for a relatively short period of time (busy customers ended up changing XL sized filters 4–6 times per year!), but you still have water with a high mineral content. In our experience we’ve seen them fail to adequately soften water (essentially run out) well before the manufacturers claimed they would. After years of paying close attention to hard water we feel that in almost every circumstance that reverse osmosis is the only sensible solution. The Financial Implications These are some very rough figures but let’s compare reverse osmosis to filter cartridge systems. Cost of Reverse Osmosis: £1500-£2000 New membranes and filters over the next 4 years: approdx £800. Total: £2,300–2,800 Cost per year:£460-£560 Cost of Filter Cartridge: Approx £150–200. Total (4 changes per year): £3,000–4,000 Cost per year(based on 30kg/wk etc): £600–800 In addition you’re looking at some substantial servicing costs with filter cartridges. At the very least you’re looking at around £400+ for a simple descale, that may be required every 12–18 months. We’ve seen far higher bills as badly treated water can contain chlorides that can damage boilers irreperably. If you have to replace brew or steam boilers, along with other parts, then bills can quickly reach £2,000+. (Reverse osmosis is the only viable way to remove chlorides from water). Add this in and the cost of water treatment can end up being double what it would be to use reverse osmosis. We want to avoid this. We do sometimes sell reverse osmosis units, but we absolutely do not require people buy them from us. We don’t want to profit from descaling equipment. Sadly many companies do see an opportunity to make money here. We want our customer’s equipment to work well every day so our they can serve great coffee, and have their customers enjoy the coffees we’re all working so hard to source, roast, brew and share. What Reverse Osmosis Is Not We should make it clear that reverse osmosis is not a perfect solution. There is currently no better way to treat tap water to use for coffee brewing, but over time you should still expect to see some accumulation inside a machine and there may still be problems over time – though obviously way, way less than you would have without them. Equally – they are not intelligent units. They must be monitored and used properly, or else you will likely have problems. Check For Yourself If you are in London you can enter your postcode into the Thames Water website here , or better yet use a test kit. (We recommend using a proper water test kit on your specific water). You can then take that data and put it into the wonderful water calculator put together by La Marzocco here . You’ll find that La Marzocco would recommend a reverse osmosis for their machines in London, and rightly so. In Summary We wish all of this was easier. We wish the water in London was perfect for coffee brewing, but it isn’t. It needs both treatment, and a modicum of our attention. We need to built little systems into checking on our water the same way we check fridge temperatures or anything else. This will save us money in the long term, and make our customers happier in the short term when we serve them great coffee. If you have questions then let us know, or speak to your equipment supplier.

Christmas Gift Guide
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 07:22 PM - 1 year, 2 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
Christmas Gift Guide
It is that time of year again, what to give friends and family for christmas? Coffee and coffee related things are obviously the answer, so we thought we would put together a bit of a gift guide. First up a couple of nice gift packs: We have a new complete V60 brew kit to get someone into coffee, including the Hario red V60 cone, slim grinder, filters and the griffin mug to brew straight into. Available here . We also have the griffin mug gift box. Purchase a bag of coffee through the website and the gift box, and you have the perfect stocking filler for someone keen on coffee! Grab one here . Not sure what to give? Bit late on your Christmas orders? How about the easy option of a gift card. Available in £25, £50 and £100 denominations to suit all budgets. The lucky recipient can then choose some coffee, equipment, stock up on filters or grab a t-shirt. Have a look here . Our most popular gift is always the subscription option in either espresso or filter. Every month the lucky recipient will get a tasty new coffee It could be a new micro-lot we have secured, an unreleased new single origin or in the case of espresso a new red brick or sweetshop blend! Look at your options here .

Bulldog Edition
Monday, October 28, 2013 - 03:54 PM - 1 year, 3 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
A little over a week ago a new cafe opened, called Bulldog Edition. This cafe is a collaboration between Square Mile Coffee Roasters and Ace Hotel. The Ace have been on coffee people’s radar for years, as a business that cared an unusual amount about coffee. In the past they’ve hosted Stumptown’s cafes in the cities of Portland and New York. In London they wanted to approach things differently, and instead of just leasing space to someone else, they wanted to be involved in the cafe. We agreed to collaborate, and we’re obviously very excited to be open! Our last foray into retail was Penny University, which was created to offer a very specific experience and to highlight the value and excellence of brewed coffee in a market dominated by espresso. We’re proud of what we accomplished there, and Bulldog Edition is something quite different. While we’re interested in pushing technology in coffee brewing forward, this isn’t a place that is about showcasing the latest coffee brewers, or where you need a certain level of knowledge to order half of the menu. We want to achieve something else with it, something much simpler: We want to make your day a little better. We’re obviously a little crazy about coffee here, but that shouldn’t be a requirement to drink and enjoy tasty things. We want to create a cafe environment where everything tastes really good, but you’re also looked after and made to feel welcome. While this is about carefully curated and well brewed cups of coffee, we want to avoid getting to the point where it’s sterile and almost hostile. It’s about trying to remove as many barriers as possible between a coffee drinker and a delicious cup of coffee. If you want to talk coffee, talk brewing or anything else – we’d love that. The team behind the bar is knowledgeable and happy to chat about anything and everything, but only if you want that. There’ll be a full selection of our coffee available for retail there, and usually a couple of different options for both espresso and filter. There’s brewing equipment on the shelves and we’re happy to talk through brewing and give recommendations. We’re open from 6.30am and we close at 6pm, seven days a week. We hope to see you soon. Twitter – @BulldogEdition

Cascara and caffeine
Friday, August 30, 2013 - 02:07 PM - 1 year, 5 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
Cascara and caffeine
We’ve been selling Aida Batlle’s cascara for a few years now, the first time was back in 2008 when we wrote this blog post . Cascara has been a huge hit among our customers, and many other roasters have since started offering it too. Whether enjoyed hot or iced, one of the questions we’re always asked is how much caffeine is in the hibiscus like tea that we brew from these dried coffee cherries. We’ve never had a good answer other than the first hand experience of feeling pretty heavily caffeinated after consuming a few cups- often more so that if we were drinking regular coffee. So in order to shed some more light on the effects of this brew, we sent some cascara off to Germany, to be analyzed at the same factory that decaffeinates our decaf! The results were in yesterday, and we thought we’d share it with you. We looked at both the dry cherry, whole and ground, as well as the brew, at 4 different recipes. As expected, ratio of cascara to water has an impact on the caffeine content of the final beverage, while steep time seems to make little difference. Surprisingly, we found the caffeine content to be fairly low. Even at the strongest, longest brew, the caffeine content of cascara came in at 111.4 mg/L, compared to the broad range of about 400-800 mg/L in brewed coffee. We’d love to hear from anyone who has done a similar test, or could help us explain why, if the caffeine content is fairly low, do we feel so energized after just a couple of cups! Is it sugar from the dried pulp? What else is in these magical cherries?

KILIMANJARO’S
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - 03:41 PM - 1 year, 5 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
KILIMANJARO’S
We are delighted to once again offer these three processes of one coffee from Aida Batlle’s farm, Kilimanjaro. All three process are the same Kenia and Bourbon mix of varietals. This year an outbreak of rust affected more than half of Kilimanjaro’s crop, which means that production is down, so unfortunately we were only able to secure a small lot of this coffee. We believe that coffee pricing should be sustainable, and the loss of coffee meant that this year the price for the coffee produced was significantly more. Year after year, Aida has produced great coffee and we want to see that continue. First we have the Washed process, which we feel is really defined by the crisp lime, tangerine and honeydew melon notes. Balancing this fruit is more fruit! It has a refreshing cranberry acidity that leads to a nicely rounded cup. Grab a bag here! Next up is the Pulped Natural which has a ripe sweet pineapple acidity, with notes of pistachio nuts and juicy mandarins. It has a pleasant delicate sweetness and a silky mouthfeel. Pick some up here! Finally is the Natural, which is a delicious mix of strawberries and cream with sweet milk chocolate – everything we expect a tasty natural to be. It has a creamy, custard-like mouthfeel and a surprising, delicate, raspberry acidity. Available here! As always with the Kilimanjaros we are able to get some cascara also. This is so very delicious, with notes of cranberries, red currants and tobacco followed with a sweet rich toffee. Also available here!

Kilimajaro’s
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - 03:41 PM - 1 year, 5 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
Kilimajaro’s
We are delighted to once again offer these three processes of one coffee from Aida Batlle’s farm, Kilimanjaro. All three process are the same Kenia and Bourbon mix of varietals. This year an outbreak of rust affected more than half of Kilimanjaro’s crop, which means that production is down, so unfortunately we were only able to secure a small lot of this coffee. We believe that coffee pricing should be sustainable, and the loss of coffee meant that this year the price for the coffee produced was significantly more. Year after year, Aida has produced great coffee and we want to see that continue. First we have the Washed process, which we feel is really defined by the crisp lime, tangerine and honeydew melon notes. Balancing this fruit is more fruit! It has a refreshing cranberry acidity that leads to a nicely rounded cup. Grab a bag here! Next up is the Pulped Natural which has a ripe sweet pineapple acidity, with notes of pistachio nuts and juicy mandarins. It has a pleasant delicate sweetness and a silky mouthfeel. Pick some up here! Finally is the Natural, which is a delicious mix of strawberries and cream with sweet milk chocolate – everything we expect a tasty natural to be. It has a creamy, custard-like mouthfeel and a surprising, delicate, raspberry acidity. Available here! As always with the Kilimanjaros we are able to get some cascara also. This is so very delicious, with notes of cranberries, red currants and tobacco followed with a sweet rich toffee. Also available here!

Brewing Class with Ben Kaminsky
Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 01:28 PM - 1 year, 6 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
Brewing Class with Ben Kaminsky
On Wednesday July 7th we’re delighted to be hosting Ben Kaminsky’s brewing class here at the Roastery. Ben has given this class around the world, and has rightly received both great feedback and great results. We’re excited he’s giving it here in London and we strongly encourage those with an eye to improve quality, and to move coffee forward, to attend. Brewing Class Ticket – £130 (Price includes VAT) More info: Ben Kaminsky will be presenting some of his research on coffee and espresso brewing, grinding, and roasting, that are sure to answer some long standing questions and likely raise many more (e.g. Is espresso brewing inherently flawed? What actually constitutes an espresso roast?). He will be focusing heavily on techniques surrounding the EK43 grinder, including how to produce a “coffee shot”, a new way for brewing filter coffee that he thinks will likely replace the industry’s best and fastest brewers to date. This course covers practical ways to improve quality while decreasing costs, as well as new possibilities for coffee and espresso service. Half the course will be spent in practical tasting of the theory covered in the lecture. Ben recommends you understand the basic elements of extraction, including practical use of an extract mojo if you want to get the most out of the class, though beginners are also welcomed. Ben Kaminsky is the 2009, 2010, and 2011 United States Cup Tasters Champion and former director of quality control, espresso and innovation at Ritual Coffee Roasters in San Francisco. Since leaving Ritual eight months ago, he has been consulting full time on equipment design, training, roasting and sourcing. He also coached Matt Perger using many of the techniques covered in this class to a second place finish at this year’s World Barista Championships.

Las Flores Varietal pack
Friday, July 26, 2013 - 04:02 PM - 1 year, 6 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
Las Flores Varietal pack
Ever wondered whether varietal makes a difference? Well here’s your chance to decide for yourself. We have both the Pacas and Catuai varietals from the Las Flores Farm in the La Paz region of Honduras. The Pacas has an outstanding mouthfeel that reminds us of treacle. It also has a lovely red apple acidity with notes of cherries, grapes and a hint of peach in the finish. The Catuai we found to be light but complete, there’s a lovely combination of acacia honey and nougat that is reminiscent of sweet halva. It has a delicate pear acidity and a combination of blackberries, brazil nuts and dried fruit. Grab yourself a pack here!

Griffin mugs!
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 - 02:37 PM - 1 year, 6 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
Griffin mugs!
Need a nice mug to drink your tasty brewed coffee from? Well here it is! The two-tone cambridge style mug with black griffin print and black interior is a great vessel wether using a V60, Aeropress or even a Clever Dripper. Mug has a 250ml capacity is dishwasher proof and does all the things other mugs do! Grab yourself one here.

ndaroini aa
Tuesday, July 02, 2013 - 08:00 AM - 1 year, 7 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
ndaroini aa
An exciting new single origin espresso for the sunny days! We have here a treat from Kenya and its not for the unadventurous! Upfront you’ll get a super sweet pink grapefruit flavour, with an incredibly juicy body. It has tonnes of lemon and lime on the nose and a candied citrus sweetness. Last year we picked up one of the Ndaroini AB lots, this year we opted for the AA. As so many of our favourite Nyeri factories, this one is also situated just outside of Karatina town. Near 700 growers deliver their cherry here, and the picking gets sorted, weighed and pulped within 12 hours of coming off the trees. Great care is taken not to damage the parchment covering the coffee or the coffee itself, and the drying is slow and carefully monitored in order to prevent fermentation or mold growth as it dries. Once it has reached its proper level of humidity, the coffee might be stored in conditioning bins on site at the factory for equilibration, before being freighted to the dry mill for sampling and grading. Grab yourself a bag here

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