It’s good to talk

It’s good to talk

The Oxford English dictionary definition of the word communication is “the imparting and exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other form of the medium”

It doesn’t need to be hard so why is it so hard for certain people to do this ?

For example, we received an inbound business enquiry into the office. The potential customer had found us via a recommendation, good news so far!  They ask all the right questions, understand what it is that we do at Hessian Coffee, understand how we can support their business and arrange a meeting within 48 hours of the call. Another piece of positivity! This is going great. Diary re-arranged, meeting planned, preparation done as scheduled to taste 3 different coffee’s, time allocated to re-iterate the conversation we had on the phone allowing us to bond face to face ensuring all their needs are discussed and met. This is all good!!

Big day arrives, introductions, a good coffee tasting whilst sharing knowledge and discussing that at Hessian Coffee we can offer equipment, barista training, a range of freshly roasted espresso beans, filter coffee’s, syrups, cups, award winning teas, next day delivery, 30-day credit, competitive pricing etc etc.  This is all good once again, and leave the meeting feeling positive on the all-round good day being had.

As had mentioned to the prospective customer, we followed this up that afternoon with an email outlining the meeting and the meeting notes, commit to what we can do and how we can move forwards. I put a trace on the email to ensure it goes to the correct person and that it is received. Pretty damm good first impressions in my book I feel!!

Now this is where it goes wrong, a couple of days later not having heard anything, I re-send the email (which I know was received), once again with a trace on, and once again picked up. Naturally we are all busy people and guess they had forgotten to reply initially, these things happen.

Leaving it a couple of days and still nothing I give them a call on the mobile. Guess what happens, sent straight to voicemail so I leave a positive message. Giving it what I consider appropriate time I give it a couple of days and try again. Once again sent to voicemail!!

At what point, do you give up and put it down to arrogance??  Surely basic politeness is not hard and its one of the only things in life that is free.

You win some, lose some, I understand that and that’s not a problem. If you can understand why you have won / lost then this helps us as a business and as an individual to grow, I get it.

What I don’t get is the whole lack of communication thing. Surely a one liner on email, text or heaven forbid returning the phone calls and saying sorry I wasted your time, or sorry I’m not interested or sorry your price is too much or sorry I didn’t like your shoes or sorry we are a nightmare to deal with –  in-fact, I would be content with anything!!!

I bring you back to the above dictionary definition, I assume that the “or using some other form of the medium” is NOT referring to telepathy!!!

What is wrong with some people !! let’s not be afraid & communicate!!

Coffee Strength on packaging

Coffee Strength on packaging

Why do we have number ranging in the supermarkets from 1 to 5, dots increasing in a neat line or different shades of colour to identify what strength a bag of coffee is?

Surely strength is made up from the how much coffee is dissolved in the liquid.  Take for example a nice gin and tonic, if you have a shot of gin in a pint of tonic it’s going to be weak? Now let’s take a shot of tonic and a pint of gin –  strong eh! Every diluted beverage is the same whether it’s a cup of freshly brewed loose leaf tea, a refreshing orange squash or a pint of shandy – it’s all about the ratio to get the correct balance for the perfect drink.

When producing coffee (espresso or filter) not all the coffee bean itself can be dissolved into the liquid. In fact, only around 30% of the bean is dissolved hence being left with wet soggy coffee grounds once the liquid has been removed.  Now within this 30% that will get dissolved, only around 20% approximately is what we want to go into the cup. This is your caffeine / strength.

No-matter how you brew the coffee, no matter how much liquid is used you can only ever get the same amount of extracted caffeine from the coffee bean. That’s just life and chemistry, no magic

What we can control are the other elements to get the best flavour. Water to coffee ratio as mentioned earlier with my G&T analogy, an excellent quality water and filtered where needed, the amount of time the ground coffee sits in the water, the correct water temperature and even down to the correct grind size for the chosen brew method ( Espresso, cafetiere, v60, chemex , or a pour over for example all should have different particle size) all these variables will have an impact on the extraction being either weak or strong.

The wonderful taste coffee gives us is dependent on its country of origin, the process used in its harvesting, the blending by the expert roasters and the physical process of roasting.  Roasting brings out the flavour and aroma, and as a rule the darker the roast the more pronounced the bitterness will be with the least acidity in the finished drink.

If it’s a dark roast or a light roast it still has the same amount of caffeine which can be extracted so when our supermarkets are mentioning strength I feel this mostly referencing the roast profile i.e. a mild, a medium or a dark roast.  The coffee descriptors will give you what you should expect in the cup.

As a guide to growing areas, South America’s (Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua) tend to be described as having a clean and bright taste, natural acidity, well-balanced and with a mild to medium in body.  Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador and Bolivia make up much of coffee growing countries in South America are often very mild-bodied, whilst being a light, clean cup, these coffees are also a bit creamier, often with a slight chocolaty aftertaste.

Brazilian coffee can vary in profile from spicy and rich to mild and fruity but great blended for filter coffee’s

The Africans – complex & bold that is generally described as sweet, fruity and floral. with the most popular roasts coming from Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

Asia – earthy, and full-bodied

Ultimately, it’s a personal choice, just like having a shot of tonic in a pint of gin. Strength guides on supermarket packaging can be a bit misleading.

Why have I never really used my Clever Dripper?

Why have I never really used my Clever Dripper?

In a sudden urge to tidy the office recently I discover a box of appropriately fitting filter papers so in a mad dash I nearly knock the kids over & delve into the kitchen cupboard, you know the one with the plastic containers but no fitting lids & those ramekins that you will never use, I bypass the Syphon, the Aeropress and something that I’m not quite sure what is does, and there I find the clever dripper looking sad and unloved.

My eyes brighten as the wife rolls hers, but the kettle goes on. This little thing is awesome I shout as the beans come out and I grind some fresh.  Whilst waiting for the kettle to boil I look at the box, something I rarely do and am probably the same as most of the male population when it comes to instructions, but I discover on the box it says that even I’m qualified to use this brewing contraption!  I quote “There is no skill required” & “Everyone with no experience at all can make the perfectly clear coffee with no grinds in your cup”. To me this gives me confidence that a muppet like me can do it!!

The kettle’s boiled, a single filter paper from the box of 100 goes into the cone , I wet the paper so it sticks to the side and bung my ground coffee in, top up with water and stand back for a few minutes wondering why had I never used my Clever Dripper. What makes it clever says the wife –  this is what make it clever and almost magical I reply,  – there is no mess , no plungers , no components to put together, no liquid spilt, no coffee grinds escaping. I’m beginning to win her over I feel.

Now for the magic as I lift the Clever Dripper up from the counter expecting to have a downpour of hot coffee but nothing , no drip , no gush, no mess . Get this people, it has a valve in the bottom that stops the liquid escaping and when placed onto the cup push’s up and out comes the coffee straight into the cup.

A wonderful, bright, clear fresh coffee, umm !!

This should be called the really really clever dripper , simple, inexpensive, clean, safe, clever, anyone can use it , makes a great cuppa, clever, practice, small, no mess, easy to clean, clever, portable and clever.

By far one of the cheapest and easiest way to get a decent cup of filter coffee. My morning routine now includes a clever coffee and now I contemplate the years wasted without one.