If you’ve visited Village Greens in the past couple of months, chances are you’ve seen our shiny new coffee machine. It’s one thing having the tools to make great coffee but quite another to have the skills and that’s why last month half of our team visited Heart and Graft, our coffee supplier in Newton Heath, to learn all about it.
Chris, Paul, Erin, Dale and I were the first to attend and we were greeted with a warm welcome from James. James and Sean partnered up to create Heart and Graft and what an impressive set up they have! The roastery is a beautiful workshop full of wooden beams, tropical plants and the intoxicating aroma of the coffee. At the back is a training room where budding baristas can learn how to produce the perfect cup.
We were given a brief history of coffee production and James’ passion really rubbed off on us. I was surprised to learn that coffee beans are actually the seeds of the cherries on the Coffea tree. There are many variables that affect the flavour of the coffee including wind patterns, sun exposure and rainfall patterns. This is one of the reasons for the many varieties and flavours available.
We then moved on to brewing espresso. When I was younger I had a brief spell working in a cinema where we served coffee. This led me to believe that making coffee was much easier than it actually is, the reason being that we used pods and so everything was done for us. We just had the task of preparing the milk. Without the luxury of that preparation it is much more complex but the process can actually be quite enjoyable when you get used to it. I hadn’t realised how much precision was needed with regards to the weight of the coffee going in, the weight of the product coming out and the speed at which it comes out…which can be controlled by grinding the beans more coarsely or finely or by tamping the coffee down better. This took quite a lot of practice and this was before we even tackled preparing the milk and then, less importantly, but more fun…latte art!
We left feeling much more confident...although we all need to put in a little bit of practice with the latte art! The videos we've all been watching on YouTube make it look so easy! Soon the rest of the team will attend the training and some of us will be attending Heart and Graft’s advanced training too!
We’ve also recently had our chalkboards decorated by the fantastic Myro! (www.myrodoodles.com) Don’t they look amazing! The empty board will feature information about the coffee we are using. At the moment it is the Brazilian single origin coffee ‘Loveshack’ from Heart and Graft. We love the fact that this coffee comes from Brazilian organisation, Café Delas. Café Delas is based on the idea that, given better access to resources traditionally held out of their reach, and an equal voice in leadership, women will not only produce fine specialty grade coffee, they will create positive impacts within their families and communities as a result.
There's a great blog here that tells you all about the history of women in coffee and the origins of Café Delas.
We also have our own branded Keep Cup. When you buy one you will pay just 50p for your drink if you buy it at the same time. You’ll also received 40p off your drink if you ever bring your own cup to fill.
So, a big thank you is owed to James and the team at Heart and Graft for helping us set up this new exciting new offering at Village Greens. We hope to just keep on improving and keeping things fresh. Our latest being the delicious iced oat latte...we all just love shaking that cocktail shaker!!
Thank you for reading!