My friend Blenchly, who used to live in this area of Bristol, introduced me to this place. They sell ethically-traded speciality coffees (as coffee beans or ground coffee to take home, or to drink in the shop) and their name – Two Day Coffee Roasters – points to the fact that none of their coffees are kept for more than two days after roasting. They have a broad and ever-changing range of coffees available, many of which have been awarded ‘the Cup of Excellence’ mark, an award that is said to be the highest accolade that may be given to coffee. The Cup of Excellence website (2011) states that it “is a strict competition that selects the very best coffee produced in that country for that particular year”.
The owners, Petra and Frank, first came across a ‘coffee roaster’ selling freshly roasted coffee ten years ago in Japan, where they were living at the time. The owner did not speak English and this, as Petra told me, “made communication with him difficult, however they could immediately taste the difference of freshly roasted coffee”.
As well as coffee, Two Day Coffee Roasters sell equipment and wares for you to enjoy your coffee and they have a mail order delivery service too. They also organise tastings of coffees, and a couple of days ago I visited for a tasting.
Petra and Frank selected six different coffees, giving a range of taste, for me to try. First of all, we went through smelling what Petra called the “fragrance” of each of the freshly-ground coffee beans. She then added hot water, creating a froth and “locking-in an aroma”. Petra showed me the act of breaking the seal with a spoon to release the aroma and how, by breathing in deeply, you can gain an insight into the coffee. We then tasted the coffee by spreading the spoon across the coffee, slurping from it immediately to make sure the coffee spread quickly around the mouth. As the coffee grains remain in the cup, the coffee is constantly ‘extracting’ so that if you leave it for more than three or four minutes it can become ‘over-extracted’ and bitter. There is, in fact, a “golden period” during which the flavour will be at its best, although this depends on the amount of coffee and water used. I had never tasted coffee in this way before and it gave me a whole new outlook.
The coffees I sampled were (with tasting notes):
Musasa (from Rwanda) — raisin, sundried tomatoes and chocolate.
Abakundakawa Rusashi (from Rwanda; this coffee has a ‘cup of Excellence mark’) — a well-rounded, jasmine tasting, medium-dark roasted coffee.
Gethumbwini Peaberry (from Kenya) — a fruity, vibrant, sharp yet smooth coffee, with a slight blackcurrant tang.
El Borbollon (from El Salvador) — my favourite in this tasting! A mellow, smooth, dark-roasted coffee.
Finca San Francisco Tecuamburro (from Guatemala) — a fruity, easy-drinking, medium-roasted, microlot coffee. Microlot means that it is growing in a particular part of the plantation and it is therefore processed differently. In the case of this specific coffee it is growing at the highest point of the plantation.
Fazenda Rodomunho (from Brazil) — a nutty, biscuity, well-rounded flavour. A medium-dark roasted coffee.
Petra advised me that coffee loses a lot of its flavour after seven days, so it is worth buying in small amounts, and for a fresh taste it is worth grinding the coffee beans just before you want to drink the coffee.
From the tasting, I found that I prefer darker roasted coffees, although one can of course develop a wider taste by regularly sampling other varieties.
Interestingly, Petra pointed out that the darker the roast, the less complex the taste of the coffee, is likely to be. They can even create a blend of coffee specifically for your own taste.
Two Day Coffee Roasters is well-worth a visit. It will change your perspective on drinking coffee for the better!
Reference: The Cup Of Excellence website (2011) [Online]. Available from: http://www.cupofexcellence.org/WhatisCOE/tabid/184/Default.aspx [Accessed 14th September 2011].