Thursday, 22 November 2012

Tanzania Ruvuma Mbinga, Small Batch Coffee Company, Brighton

This single origin Tanzanian coffee comes from the Ruvuma project which is situated around the town of Mbinga, Ruvuma district, South Tanzania.  Mbinga sits in a remote southern corner of the country and many people there are dependant on the coffee they grow as the primary source of income. 

The soils the independent farmers and small holders work are rich in volcanic materials and the coffee's are noted for bringing an acidic fruity flavour to the table.

Tanzanian coffee has improved hugely in recent years thanks to projects like this. Processing here was poor in the past which resulted in lower quality coffee being produced. The Ruvuma project is sponsored by two coffee companies, Soochak Bush & co. Ltd. and Tropex ltd. They pay a premium for a higher quality of raw beans from the farmers. 

The other aspect of the project is that they have built a central facility for processing and grading who's services are included as part of the price that is paid. In the past the farmers would have had to do the processing themselves or pay for it. With this project the farmers make greater profits and the coffee buyers are ensured higher graded and well processed coffees. 

The premium the projects pays allows the farmers to concentrate on growing the best crop they can and not worrying about other aspects and costs of bringing the product to market.

The beans are light brown and graded AA. This is the 2nd size down from the top and the AA rated beans now make up 14% of the crops from Mbinga. They hold a sweet acidic scent and when ground down further fruity notes were released.

On the Aeropress brew a good thick crema developed with even more fruit filling the air. 

The taste wasn't disappointing, mirroring and enhancing the aromas that were spied back with the whole bean. A full bodied flavour carried a sweet creaminess which was struck through with a bright, light, citrus acidity. The acidity did not overpower the coffee and gave a zippy, cherry noted through line all the way to the finish. It was clean and well balanced leaving a sweet, fruit after taste to enjoy.

As it was single origin a tasting from a slow drip brew was also completed. A Hario V60-02 was used with boiled and then slightly cooled filtered water. 

This provided a more subtle and delicate taste experience but revealed more details. It was a little less acidic and the fruit flavour had more tones and depth to enjoy.

  • Beans: Arabica, Variety: 100% Bourbon             
  • Certification: None - But from the Ruvuma Project
  • Region: Ruvuma district, Southern Tanzania
  • Altitude: 12,000-18,000
  • Process: Washed, wet process

An  enjoyable single origin coffee, full bodied with striking sweet fruit notes and clean acidity throughout.

How do we taste it? Go here.

Small Batch Coffee Company
 01273 220246

Friday, 9 November 2012

The Gantry, Brockley, South East London

Attending a birthday celebration in Brockley I got to sample one of the recently "done up" restaurants around there. The Gantry is broken up into a number of different spaces, bar, dinning room, conservatory and outside at both the front and the rear. The style of the place is generally modern but with nothing too striking to catch ones eye. The food on offer was quite wide ranging but centring in on what I would see as brunch. We were seated in the conservatory at the back and although nice and light I was bothered by a strange odour for most of my stay. 

After an enormous delay (and after some promoting) some good quality complimentary olives and bread arrived to stave off the hunger. A little later the ordered food arrived along with a few mistakes that needed to be ironed out. Despite these issues the quality of the food was good, the produce was top notch and it had been well prepared. Being with the family I managed to sample a wide range of what was available and thought each meal was a solid offering.

A pretty exciting looking Bloody Mary dominated our tables by those who had them. They were a little lacking in vodka for my tastes but perhaps that is just me. 

Of course a black coffee was my beverage of choice so lets discuss. It had a little crema but a good amount of oil tracing across the surface. On imbibing it was found to be lacking in any real kick and pretty devoid of flavour. After some time and tasting I found it carried a gentle sweetness that was quite pleasent but a muddiness towards the end and through the finish started to dominate. 

  • Black Americano, drink in
  • £1.70
  • Weak
  • Small
  • A slight sweetness
  • Very light Crema 
The coffee was bland and uninspired although not undrinkable. The food was good but late.