We grabbed a cup with Josh Thompson, the man behind “The Specialty Coffee Company” based in Newcastle, UK. In between explaining his motivations behind entering the specialty coffee, and his thirst to keep learning, he handed me a 1kg bag of the “Signature Blend”. A blend of hand roasted medium roasted Guatemalan Antigua and Sumatran and lighter roasted Ethiopian Sidamo.
What’s the Story Behind the Blend?
A couple of years ago, Josh noticed a niche in the market when he visited San Francisco’s reputed third-wave coffee shops. He believed that although the lightly roasted, complex coffees, suffused with floral and fruity undertones and met the needs of coffee aficionados, they wouldn’t appeal to less practiced drinkers. A floral and fruity coffee is unlikely to match the drinkers of darker roasts’ (which are commonly offered at restaurants and high street cafes across the UK), perception of what coffee actually tastes like.
Josh wanted to offer a distinctive, quality coffee that anyone could enjoy, no matter their coffee-drinking history. A solid, accessible introduction to specialty coffee. His solution was the “Signature Blend”, which he informally, named the “in-between” coffee. Why? The full-bodied blend is neither too intensely floral nor fruity as to intimidate the less practiced drinkers, but with enough intensity, acidity, and sweetness to be recognised by aficionados as “great coffee”.
Skeptical about blends? See the YouTube video at the bottom of the page.
The single origins coffees are roasted separately before blending.
So How Does It Taste?
We prepared The Signature Blend using a variety of brew methods but found a (coarsely-ground) AeroPress offered the best results. Why? Due to the blend’s full-bodied mouth-feel.
This three-dimensional hearty coffee hits you in flavour-waves. Each wave revealing the characteristics of each single origin. At first sip the delicate floral qualities of the Sidamo emerge, then you the experience the familiar bite of “coffee taste” of the heavier bodied earthy Indonesian Sumatran. Then for the aftertaste, it rounds itself off with a light, sweet milk chocolate buttery smoothness from the Guatemalan. The smooth aftertaste is crucial as it prevents the bitterness from the Sumatran lingering.
To test the Specialty Coffee Company ethos, we offered this to a group of 10 “less practiced” coffee drinkers. When compared to the Lavazza high street varieties or an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe/Guatemalan Antiguan Blend – it won every time. This suggests that the “Signature Blend” is specialty coffee, roasted to how the average coffee drinker likes it.
Want to try? Visit their website here.
A trip to Ethiopian is what sparked Joshs’ love affair with coffee. The Specialty Coffee Co prides itself in it’s direct and personal relationships with Ethiopian coffee farmers.
How Did We Brew It?
What method? Inverted AeroPress (with Tim Wendelboe metal filter)
How much? 17g coffee, 250g water (30 secs off the boil)
Brew time? 2.30
Grind? Coarse (between filter and french press)
1. First a bloom, 50g water. Stir slightly to ensure all grounds are saturated.
2. At 0:30 – fill up AeroPress to top (circular/spiraling inwards) .
3.Wait until 2.30, then revert the AeroPress and “press”. 30 second slow & steady press.
We tend to prefer single origins, but blending coffee is an artisan craft.
Perfect Daily Grind.