The word in the trade is that customer interest in organic and biodynamic wines continues to grow. That’s certainly been our experience at BinTwo and even more so over at our sister business, The ARC Speciality Food Store.
So what’s all the hype about? Can you actually taste the difference? What does biodynamic even mean in the context of wine? Well, you could read our previous blog on the topic or, if you’re more of a practically minded student, you could come along to our free drop-in tasting on Friday 16th May. From 5.30 – 9.00 pm we’ll be opening up six fabulous examples of biodynamic wines courtesy of one of our favourite South African winemakers – Louis Boutinot from Waterkloof.
No need to book. Just pop in, have a free taster and see what you think. We’ll have the wines on sale by the glass if you find you’d like to settle in for a little longer (and we’ll keep them on all weekend in case you can’t make it on Friday). But it’s Friday when Louis will be on hand to answer any questions you might have and to tell you as much (or as little) as you’d like to know about the wonderful world of biodynamic wines. Louis is our kind of winemaker – he knows his craft but he talks about wine in a straight forward way. At his last event with us he summed up the Waterkloof philosophy very neatly and in a very memorable way – “we make wines that haven’t been dicked about with”.
Louis and the rest of the team at Waterkloof have been making biodynamic wines with minimal intervention before if became a “thing” – it’s just always been what they thought was the best approach to get the best out of their grapes. In fact Waterkloof are so artisan they still use a horse to pull their plough – the very horse featured in this post. Just chilling and enjoying the view.
Just a playful title to catch your attention! This month’s selection reflects our recent efforts to source some knock-out organic and biodynamic wines over the winter. All of these wines will be open to taste at BinTwo on Saturday 26th May from 12.30 – 5pm (ish) courtesy of our newest supplier, North South Wines. We love them all and we think you will too…
Passitivo Organico 2015 £12.50
I properly love this wine – a real “find”. Intense ruby-red colour, with a complex bouquet, reminiscent of cherries, raspberries and redcurrants. The oak aging adds a pleasant roasted and spicy aroma. On the palate, it is full-bodied, supple and well-balanced with a long finish.
In mid August, when the grapes have reached perfect maturity and are ready to be picked, a special technique called “il giro del picciolo”(the twisting of the stem), is applied. This consists in twisting the stem of the grape bunches so that no further nourishment reaches the grapes, thus inducing a natural drying of the grapes on the vine. The grapes are left on the plant for approximately 12 days, and lose around 25-30% of their weight in water, concentrating their flavors before harvest. The wine is aged for 5 months in American oak barriques and 6 months in stainless steel tanks.
Roast meats, BBQs or charcuterie.
Paxton Grenache 2016 2016 £22.00
McLaren Vale, Australia
Vibrant red in colour. Great nose with hints of plum fruit, mulberries, and rhubarb. Light to medium bodied wine with a soft, juicy palate, plum richness and elegant tannins.
2016 was a very strong year in McLaren Vale with the highest quality crops and highest yield crop this millennium. 20% of the carefully hand-picked harvest was used as whole bunches, with the remainder gently de-stemmed. Aged in French oak barriques for six months prior to blending and bottling. Ready to drink now but also would keep well for 5 – 10 years. Might be worth tucking a case away if you store it carefully!
Rabbit, game, good sausages, slow roasted pork – that sort of thing.
Il Grillo di Santa Tresa Vino Spumante Biologico £15.00
Pale straw coloured with hints of gold, Grillo Spumante has fine, gentle bubbles and a fresh fruity nose with hints of citrus and floral notes. On the palate the wine is very well balanced, gentle
and soft with a refreshing burst of acidity and spectacular fruity notes.
Following de-stemming, the grapes are gently pressed in a pneumatic press. Prior to fermentation, the juice is chilled, allowing the solid particles to settle naturally, giving a clear juice ready for fermentation. Selected yeasts are added to initiate fermentation. As soon as the fermentation is finished, the wine is racked to another stainless steel tank. Here it is stored at a controlled temperature while the secondary fermentation takes place. In order to maintain the optimum level of natural acidity, malolactic fermentation does not take place.
Just so drinkable on it’s own but would go down a treat with oysters!
Terra Sana Sauvignon Blanc 2016 £12
Côtes de Gascogne, France
Very fresh and complex nose with a combination of citrus fruits, lemongrass, green apple and lychee aromas.
Elegant and well balanced, with green apple and lemon flavours and great length of finish.
Wine maker François Lurton has a true passion for naturally produced wines. The brand Terra Sana was launched over a decade ago, offering both white, red and rosé wines produced from organically grown grapes of selected varieties and terroirs.
A very versatile and approachable wine. Good with pre-dinner nibbles but would also work nicely with prawns or oily fish.
Paxton “The Guesser” 2017 £13.50
McLaren Vale, Australia
A very moreish wine – buy one today and I reckon we’ll see you tomorrow for more! Bright tropical fruit, grapefruit, lemon and lime. This wine has got it all going on!
2017 was a fantastic year for winemaking in McLaren Vale with an extremely wet winter and a consistent Spring and Summer with mild days and cool nights. All this made for a slow ripening season resulting in fragrant whites with lower acidity. There’s a lush edge to The Guesser that we think you’ll love.
Enjoy with a Spring chicken dish or as a nicely chilled glass whilst cooking the dinner!
Terra Sana Rosé 2017 £12.00
IGP Pays D’oc, France
Pale-pink colour but with really intense aromas of white flowers, peach and a hint of lemon. On the palate this rosé is really well balanced being both fresh and light but with a bit more body to it than your typical Provence style rosé.
The vineyards selected for the Terra Sana Rosé are located in the Gard department (“Petite Camargue”), on hillsides where the vines are better drained, more ventilated and perfectly bathed in sunlight, thus allowing a regularly healthy vineyard. Happy vines equals happy wines!
Perfect for quaffing in the sun but with enough about it to carry off a food match too. Did someone say shellfish?
The word in the trade is that customer interest in organic and biodynamic wines continues to grow. That’s certainly been our experience at BinTwo and even more so over at our sister business, The ARC Speciality Food Store.
So what’s all the hype about? Can you actually taste the difference? What does organic and biodynamic even mean in the context of wine? Well, you could read our previous blog on the topic or, if you’re more of a practically minded student, you could come along to our free drop-in tasting on Saturday 26th May. From 12.30 until 5.00pm (ish) we’ll be opening up six fabulous examples of new organic and biodynamic wines courtesy of our newest supplier, North South Wines.
No need to book. Just pop in, have a free taster and see what you think. We’ll have the wines on sale by the glass if you find you’d like to settle in for a little longer and we’ll also be putting the wines together into this month’s Select 6 case which, as you know, means that you get six fabulous wines for the price of five! (In fact if you’d like a preview of what we’ll be tasting, check out this month’s Select 6 notes).
James Reina from North South Wines will be on hand to answer any questions you might have and to tell you as much (or as little) as you’d like to know about the wonderful world of organic and biodynamic wines. James is half Sicilian, half Spanish and has worked in the wine game for over ten years. His Grandpa used to make wine in Sicily so you might almost say that wine runs through his veins.
North South Wines caught my attention when I was scouting for new wines over the winter because they were willing to muck about with me on twitter (true story). But happily, once I caught a dose of maturity, I discovered that they’re a young, small firm, partly owned by wineries. Their vision of avoiding the stuffiness associated with some of the wine trade and becoming a specialist in sustainable, family owned and authentic wineries struck a resonance with me (authenticity is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately – more about that in future blog). We’ve selected a range of interesting, great value wines which I think you’ll love – come along and see if you agree.
Il Grillo di Santa Tresa. Vittoria, Sicily, Italy.
Demand for prosecco continues to grow unabated. But here at BinTwo we like to introduce you to something different. Over the winter we found this stunning sparkling wine from Sicily made with 100% grillo grapes. On a dreary February morning this bright, clean fresh little fizz opened a brief window to sunnier places. Some wines we debate endlessly before deciding to order it. With this one Kate, Harriet and I exchanged nods of approval and uttered two words… “oh, yes”.
Don’t just consider this a prosecco alternative; it’s so much better than that. Pale straw coloured with hints of gold, this wine has fine, gentle bubbles and a fresh fruity nose with hints of citrus and floral notes. Dry and fresh with really well balanced acidity, this fizz will slip down easily on it’s own but would also go nicely with shellfish.
We’ve never offered a prosecco by the glass here at BinTwo. But we think this fizz might just have earned a place on the terrace menu this summer. That’s how much we love it and we reckon you will too. It’s even organic and vegan friendly too – you can feel positively virtuous about drinking it!
Already great value at just £16.00 or a steal at £14.40 to wine club members!
Here at BinTwo we love dogs… L-O-V-E them! We’ve always welcomed them on the terrace as well as in the shop and even provide a little drink for our canine buddies. The word is obviously out as we’ve seen a growth in the number of four legged customers who come and visit us. Our pooch pals rarely cause us any problems. Here we speak to The Great Rustini, canine chum of our good friend Sean, about how they should make sure that their humans behave…
“Mr Great Rustini, thanks for joining us. That’s quite a mouthful of a name by the way”.
“No problem and you can blame my human. I mean, WHO would give a dog a name better suited to a magician? Just call me Rusty.”
“Thanks Rusty. And I’m glad you touched on the eccentric behaviour of humans. Y’see… we need to talk.”
“So I’m not in trouble? I thought it might be about when I was last in your place. I was a bit sandy from the beach and had to… clean myself up.”
“No – it’s not that. We welcome your… personal hygiene. You’re a dog – licking… everywhere is what you do. I just need you to have a word with your human. They love you very much and sometimes it makes them do things that seem a little… a little bit…”
“A little bit mad?”
“No! Not mad… obviously. Clearly that’s not what I meant to suggest, Rusty!”
“Well you should. They’re bonkers – all of them. I mean, there’s a range of nuttiness, but they’re all on the fruit loop scale somewhere.”
“Look – that’s not what I’m saying, I just meant -“
“Seriously – they are! My mate from down the park… his humans have created his own Facebook page! They write posts in his name and everything. All a bit offensive really – full of lots of canine stereotypes. And the outfits they make him wear for his profile photos – you wouldn’t believe the trauma they put him through. He hates Christmas – all those silly hats and the Christmas cards to his mates signed “from Max” – bonkers…”
“Riiiiight. Anyway, I’m definitely not suggesting that you and your mates’ humans are in any way mad. My point is that they just love you all very much and occasionally… very, very occasionally, some of them lose sight of the fact that not all humans love you as much as them…”
“So you hate dogs then.”
“NO! I love dogs! Especially you obviously. But some folk are allergic to dogs (my wife included) and some people just don’t want to play with you like your owners do. I’ve got to look out for those sorts of humans too so we need a few simple rules”.
“I get it – I mean you and all the other dog haters out there have a massive hole where your soul should be, but I get it… and have you thought about finding a new wife?”
“I DO NOT HATE DOGS! (and yes, frequently)”
“Alright – keep your hair on. I’m just kidding – I get what you mean. Down on the beach the other day there was this dog who was jumping all over a little kid. Kid was clearly terrified and the dog’s human turned up laughing saying the dog was “only being friendly” – that’s not on is it?”
“Exactly that – that’s the sort of thing I’m talking about!”
“Honestly we can get away with anything… A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G. As long as I stick my tongue out, smile and wag my tail then I’m untouchable. My human would let me off with eating that kid on the beach as long as I looked cheerful while I’m doing it. Right – what rules shall we agree then? We like coming to your gaff. Not everywhere welcomes us and, in fairness, you’re pretty cool about letting us in alongside everyone else. I’ll have a word with my mates in the park – in between a bit of important sniffing of each other obviously – and we’ll get the message through to our humans. Shoot”
“Thanks Rusty – I’d appreciate that. It’s really awkward when we raise it – your humans love you so much they sometimes take it personally. OK – first up we’d like you to be kept on your lead and under control. Clearly I know that you’re the boss in the canine/human relationship…”
“You’re damn right I am”
“… but you and your friends tend to go exploring when you’re off the lead and that means us and others might step on you or trip over you when we’re charging around serving people. Also we’ve had some dogs come wandering round behind the counter and into the food preparation area. I mean, who doesn’t like a Scooby Snack but that’s not on”.
“Well that one’s obvious – I imagine it’s creates some issues with your food hygiene inspections. No problemo. Rule number one – we stay on the lead and under control. Got it… go on.”
“You’re right about the food hygiene inspections. I have had one dog owner explain to me that canine saliva is cleaner than human saliva but the county council don’t really see it that way. Secondly, and this is the one that really upsets some of your humans, we’d like you to stay off the seats unless your owner’s brought some sort of blanket or other cover for you”.
“Hmmm. Not sure about this. I sit on the sofa at home and it’s damn comfy. The floor at your place – well… it’s not”
“I get it. I really do. But that’s your home and your human’s choice. A lot of people come into BinTwo all dressed up ready for a nice night out and they shouldn’t really have to worry about getting covered in hair. And, before you jump in, I know you’re not a breed that sheds hair. Nonetheless some people feel it’s not really hygienic for you to be sitting on the seats as your… your bits are obviously all a bit… naked. We’ve also had some damage with claws tearing the upholstery and it’s not cheap to fix when that happens”.
“OK. Can’t say I’m happy about it, but I get where you’re coming from. I’ll sort them out – they won’t give you any hassle. Rule number two – we stay off the seats. Anything else?”
“Just one thing more and you’ve already touched on it Rusty. It’s just asking your humans to be thoughtful and to not let you be a bother to other customers. Some people will love you just as much as your humans. But not everyone will. Some people are even… cat people”.
“Yes, I know. Anyway, it’s that scenario you spoke about on the beach. Some people are wary of dogs. Hard to believe I know, but true. They might be happy to say a friendly hello but they don’t want to play. Just occasionally your humans are so in love with you they don’t read the signs from other people. Can you help?”
“OK. So if I’ve got this right, we’re talking about three rules:
1. I stay on a lead and under control.
2. I stay off the seats.
3. I don’t bother people who don’t want to play.
Is that it?”
“Yep – it’s that simple”
“And if me, my mates and our humans stick to those we can all still come into the shop and hang out? You’ll give us the water and everything?”
“Well that seems fair. Deal!”
“Thanks Rusty. The moment you walked in I could tell you were a smart cookie. Now just go and sell the plan to you human for me”.
“Done – mine is a particularly odd one though isn’t he?”
“You’re damn right”.
I’ve always found that BinTwo customers are interested in the stories behind our wines. But generally within the trade there’s increased interest from customers in the way the wines they buy are made. This has encouraged, in some instances, an almost cult like reverence for terms such as natural, organic and biodynamic. But it’s often far from clear what these terms mean and whether winemakers are applying them consistently.
Over the winter we’ve worked hard to source some great wines that are organic, biodynamic and even vegan. Although we’ve struck up partnerships with some fantastic new suppliers and winemakers along the way, it perhaps shouldn’t have surprised me that some of our existing winemakers have been quietly making wines that fit into this space for some time. They just haven’t marketed them as such because no-one’s been that bothered.
If you’ve read our interview with Joe Fattorini about natural wines, then you’ll know I’m not convinced about that particular ideology. But we’ve tried to get under the hood of these increasingly common terms to help us make smarter choices about the wines we can offer to those of you who are interested. What hasn’t changed is that we continue to hunt down interesting wines that taste great, that are made by people who love what they do and that have a compelling story to tell.
Here, writing for Imbibe, freelance wine writer Darren Smith does a first rate job of de-mystifying ten on trend wine trade buzz words. If it’s fired up your interest, then look out for our upcoming events featuring biodynamic wines on 26th May and minimal intervention wines from South Africa on 15th June…
A selection of wines to pair with Spring time dishes and others to simply enjoy on their own! We’re also delighted to introduce some exciting new additions in this months case including our ‘Wines We Love’, a new Organic Sicilian white. Happy Easter!
‘Logis de la Bouchardière’ Chinon 2015 £12.50
This is a deliciously succulent mid-weight red which has seen a touch of old-oak ageing. Fragrant, fruity and herbaceous combine with supple tannins and lengthy finish. A stylish, great value and very tasty Chinon indeed!
Bruno Sourdais is at the helm of The Logis de la Bourchardière, a domaine dating back to 1850 with its oldest vines being over 100 years old. The fruit for this Chinon come from grapes from some of the younger vines, approx 30 year old.
It just has to be Charcuterie.
Rebel Canyon Merlot 2016 £9
This new addition is a hit. Not only is it great value but it lives up to Merlot expectations, juicy fruit, ripe plums and dark cherries, soft tannins, rich and smooth, an easy drinking drop.
You’ll find no oak here just bags of fruit. The dark-skinned Merlot grapes reach optimum ripens in the Californian climate, Rebel blends Merlot fruit from different growers to make a rounded juicy wine with balance and elegance.
The perfect evening partner!
Bodegas Murviedo Bobal Cepas Viejas £12.50
Utiel Requena, Spain
Aromatic and bursting with flavour. Forest fruit characters sit alongside a little spice, vanilla and mocha notes. This red has plenty going on… structure, silky tannins, fruity yet fresh with a long and pleasantly dry finish.
The Bobal variety thrives in extreme conditions, long hot sunny days and cool nights, the result for these old vines is a low yet very high quality yield of fruit. After fermentation the wine is aged in new American and French oak for 8 months.
A great match for a Lamb roast.
Val D’Oca Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superior, Rive Di Colbertaldo NV £15.50
A beautifully fine, dry and lively sparkling, layers of flavour, depth and finesse. Soft and appley with just the right amount of zing to get your taste buds tingling. It is rich in both aroma, flavour and structure.
The best grapes from the Colbertaldo area are carefully selected and hand-picked to make this delicious and favourite Prosecco.
For Easter time festivities or to pop open as soon as the springtime sun shines! Fabulous with shellfish.
Da Vero Vino Biologico White 2017 £8
Bright and crisp. Ripe stone fruits, citrus and zippy acidity makes for a fab combination and a very versatile light white.
Sicily’s dry climate is conducive to Organic agricultural practises and the vines for Da Vero have been grown organically since 2005. The fruit is fermented at a cool temperature and aged in stainless steel tanks retaining aromatics, acidity and freshness of fruit.
Pre-dinner nibbles suits this white just fine. Seafood or risottos are the go if you want to give this white a pairing.
Domaine Pré Baron Sauvignon Blanc 2016 £10.50
Touraine, Loire Valley
Our faithful friend, Pré Baron Sauvignon Blanc is a classic Touraine Sauvignon and a beautifully refreshing springtime wine. Intensely aromatic, herbaceous and fruity nose. The palate is bursting with gooseberries, fresh and zingy.
The best fruit is selected and hand-picked from 25 year old vines. After a slow three week fermentation the wine is aged on the lees until bottling in the Spring.
Enjoy with a Spring chicken dish or as a nicely chilled glass whilst cooking the dinner!
This month we gave free reign to David to choose a favourite wine from the shelves as our Wines We Love choice. And what a belter he’s gone for! A favourite of Kate’s and one of the best kept secrets in the shop hailing, as it does, from our cousins across the pond…
Qupé Syrah 2014, Central Coast, California, £24 (just £21.60 to club members)
California has much to offer the wine lover – and in the UK we only really scratch the surface of what’s on offer, with very few exceptions. In spite of this, at BinTwo we have always had a little corner of US goodness comprising a few carefully chosen bottles that complement our strengths elsewhere. As a part-organic and part-biodynamic winery, Qupé (pronounced kew-PAY) fits that bill nicely. I’ve described the open nature and texture of such wines in previous tasting notes – and this Central Coast Syrah reminds us of that warm and honest fruit delivery.
So what then of the history here? Qupé was established by Bob Lindquist in 1982 when he was working as a tour guide for Zaca Mesa winery in the Ynez Valley and it was there that he began to develop his winemaking skills. Qupé was always going to be Rhône led in terms of variety, with Bob’s love of the French Region’s wines, in particular Northern Rhône Syrah such as Cornas, St Joseph and Côte Rôtie. Such continuous improvement for over three decades is a great source of quality, and Bob picks up regular best-Syrah-in-category awards.
A taste then….and it’s a surprise from the word go: soft supple, jammy fruit; fresh but so ripe. But how so? I expected pepper and tobacco, something to chew on, but this is lush and plush. If we’re talking winter pleasures, this is the comfy, modern armchair, and not the firm button-back chesterfield, so will especially please those seeking a silky, comforting red. Overall style and softness is primarily due to the ripeness of the harvest in 2014. It became necessary to pick far earlier than usual, by 4-5 weeks in fact and even though the wine is fermented to dryness and aged for 12 months in French oak, it remains ultra-accessible. In variety, it is Syrah 88%, Tempranillo 7%, Grenache 4% and Mourvèdre 1%. I’m not sure I can taste each variety, but it’s fun to imagine isn’t it?
Alright, I’ll admit it. “Save the world” might be stretching the headline in order to drag your attention to the article, but there are some things that we’re doing to try and help the environment that you can support us with. We may not single handedly clean the oceans or save the polar ice caps, but doing your bit is the bit you can do and all that…
So here it is. The five things we’re doing to do our bit that you can support us with.
We’ll be critically reviewing the extent to which single use plastic is present in our supply chain. We’ll encourage our suppliers to eliminate it where we find it and we’ll take simple steps such as supporting the Final Straw Cornwall which aims to eliminate the use of plastic straws (even the compostable ones which don’t break down if they make their way into the ocean). We’ll be offering paper straws on request to lovers of gin and tonic and tiny tots guzzling apple juice.
What do you need to do? Nothing – we’ve done it for you (easy innit?)
Smug rating: 1 (C’mon all you need to do is not moan about not having a straw!)
When we took over BinTwo four years ago we stopped selling bottled water (even though doing so is quite lucrative) and offered free tap water instead. The whole process of bottling, transporting and selling water in a country with safe, clean water supplies has always sat a little uneasily with me. We’ve now signed up to Refill Cornwall which means we’ll offer to refill people’s water bottle with fresh Cornish tap water. We’ve always done this when asked but now we’re shouting it from the on-line roof-tops! It’s a free service and no purchase is necessary. Through this we hope to reduce the use of single use plastic water bottles. If you turn up with a plastic Evian bottle that you’re re-using then thank you – good job! If you go one stage further and turn up with a “proper” reusable water bottle then you may even get the added warm glow that only comes with a subtle nod of approval from the BinTwo crew.
What do you need to do? Not much really (I didn’t say this was going to be a stretching list of tasks!) Just hang on to your empty bottle and come to us for a refill rather than buying another bottle of mineral water. Simple.
Smug rating: 2 (rising to 3 if purchasing a reusable bottle).
Switching to compostable coffee cups.
In theory our current takeaway cups are recyclable but the lamination that makes them (and all other “regular” cups) waterproof means they can only be recycled in specialist facilities. You’ll have seen the headlines – 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are used in the UK each year and only a tiny percentage get recycled properly. The remainder go to incinerators or landfill. So we’ll be switching over to Vegware takeaway coffee cups and lids which are made from plants not plastic. The clever thing about Vegware is that it can be recycled with food waste which will eventually produce nutrient rich compost. As an extra Brucie Bonus, the process for producing Vegware coffee cups also uses 72% less carbon than the alternatives. Imagine how much more satisfying your next flat white will be now that you know all this!
What do you need to do? Just pop your used coffee cup and lid in a food waste bin (or your own compost). Maybe enquire with your own local coffee shop if they’ve thought about switching to Vegware (don’t be all aggressive and challenging though – you don’t want to be “that” person).
Smug rating: 1 (rising to 2 if you dispose of properly and 4 if you bring another coffee shop on board).
Even better than the warm glow that comes with using one of our new Vegware cups is the smug sense of being on the cutting edge of environmental awareness AND high fashion that can only come from buying one of our funky new reusable coffee cups! Our BinTwo branded Stojo reusable cups are collapsible and fold down to a sort of hockey puck sized package that fits handily into a coat pocket or bag. They have a secure lid which, in my own field trials, means that those last few drops of coffee won’t leak into your pocket or bag once you’ve finished your drink.
We’ve opted for these over the more commonly seen KeepCups as I’ve always found that I never have mine with me when I need it due to them being a bit bulky. I’m gambling that some of you might be in the same position – particularly when you’re off to the the beach on foot once you’ve picked up your flat white from us.
To sweeten the deal when you buy one of our cups we’ll throw in a coffee for free if you have it there and then. Thereafter when you buy a takeaway coffee from us using our (or any other) reusable coffee cup, we’ll deduct 15p to reflect the saving made through not having to use a Vegware cup. We also guarantee not to roll our eyes when you ask us to rinse your reusable cup before filling it!
What do you need to do? Buy one of our reusable cups of course! But if the collapsible thing doesn’t work for you then do consider buying another brand – it’ll pay for itself in no time.
Smug rating: 5 when using a BinTwo cup (falling to 4 if using someone else’s because… well just because).
Upping the ante on our recycling.
We’re already pretty tight on this with recycling our bottles and cardboard (in vast quantities!) But we’ll be trying even harder to make sure that things than can be recycled don’t end up in general waste during the heat of service in the busy season. Call it working on the final 10% if you will. We’ll also develop a way of offering up our used coffee grinds to customers to use in their compost or as a slug repellant. I admit that this may be of limited interest to holiday makers (although you’re welcome to take some home with you) but hopefully we may be able to do our bit to keep the slugs at bay from the allotments of Padstow!
What do you need to do? Come and grab some coffee grinds… please!
Smug rating: 0 (but you’ll at least see off some slimy invertebrates so have a Slug rating of 5!)
Because life is too short to drink rank coffee – am I right? Of course I am. My dirty secret is that, despite owning somewhere that has a well-earned reputation for knocking out excellent coffee, I was very lazy about my coffee making habits at home. I even *takes a deep breath* used to say nothing…N-O-T-H-I-N-G when Mary added a bag of some awful pre-ground coffee to our Tescos shopping – I feel so ashamed.
But, praise the beans, a few months ago I went on a morning course about brewing better coffee at home run by local coffee guru, Hugo Hercod from Rising Ground Coffee. As the former UK Barista Champ and one of the top ten baristas in the world, he’s our very own Obean-wan-Kenobi if you will. A few simple tips have transformed my coffee-making at home and I asked if he could distill his teachings into five, easy to follow steps.
So here you have it. Five tips. Minimal faff. Awesome coffee. Over to Hugo…
Buy better coffee.
It sounds obvious but that means avoiding anything from a supermarket (a good rule of thumb where everything apart from toiletries are concerned). Good coffee is fully traceable; as well as its country and region of origin, it will often show farm/wash station name, bean varietal and processing method as well as a ‘Roasted On’ date, not just a ‘Best Before’. Look out for the term ‘speciality’, which is the good stuff grown, processed and selected for it’s quality. It will cost more, but you’re worth it.
(Hugo was too modest to add a link to his own coffee company, so here it is… www.risingground.coffee).
Buy a grinder.
Pre-ground coffee is stale, so buy your coffee in whole bean form and only grind it as you need it. In terms of flavour, it’s the single most important thing you can do. It’ll stay fresher for longer and you’ll be able to grind it to precisely the right consistency for your brew method. There are two sorts of grinder, Burr and blade. Burr grinders are like pepper mills, they produce an even grind which is good for an even extraction. Blade grinders smash the beans into powder and lumps which is bad, bad, bad.. and please don’t use your spice grinder.
(We bought a small Wilfa grinder available from Relish in Wadebridge. Quiet, fast and effective).
Store it properly.
The enemies of good coffee are oxygen, moisture, light and time. So buy your coffee in smaller quantities, store it like biscuits in an airtight, lightproof jar at room temperature and make sure to drink it within a month of opening the bag. Don’t whatever you do store it in your fridge or freezer, you wouldn’t do that to biscuits would you?
(This is going to sound like a blatant Rising Ground marketing pitch now, but they sell excellent storage tins with a clever one way valve to keep things fresh. They pass Mary’s “counter-top aesthetics” test too).
Follow a recipe.
Drink great coffee every morning by following a tried and tested recipe.I brew using a Clever Dripper, 25g of coffee, 400ml of water, 30 – 50 seconds of bloom and 3 – 5 minutes of brew (depending on freshness) using soft Cornish water at 93 – 95°C. That’ll change with a different coffee and brew kit but the important thing is I won’t guestimate, especially at 0630.
(Like, Hugo I favour the Clever Dripper and you can buy them at… you get the drift by now. But you can also up the ante with Hugo’s simple recipe for your cafetiere – because everyone has one of those in the cupboard: Put 49g of course ground coffee into your cafetiere. Add 100ml of water at 93 – 95°C, stir and leave to “bloom” for 30 seconds (blooming allows any remaining CO2 to gently bubble away), fill vigorously with remaining 600ml of water, leave for 2 minutes, stir gently, leave for two minutes, gently plunge then pour). (A ratio of 70g of coffee to 1L of water works well if you’d like to adjust the recipe to larger/smaller cafetiere).
Don’t buy an espresso machine.
I know you want a nice cappuccino in the morning, just like you get in your favourite café. But unless you are willing to spend a lot of money on kit, waste a lot of coffee, get frustrated, disappointed and drink lots of bad cappuccinos, don’t buy an espresso machine for your kitchen. Buy a decent grinder and accurate scales and spend what you’ve saved on better coffee. There are dozens of ways to brew coffee at home, the simplest are often the best.
(What sort of numpty would buy an under-powered, pretty little espresso machine and expect to make coffee shop grade flat whites at home! Pffft … shuffles from one foot to the other avoiding eye contact*).