Well it has been a little while but here is the second half to my previous post about our roasting philosophy. Closing the loop is our axiom for the roasting department of our operation, and it’s why we are confident to sell our coffee on a number of different platforms. What does that mean?
Well, by closing the loop, we refer to the quality control process of our coffee and our roasting procedure. We are on a bit of a hobby horse about consistency at The Single Guys. If you try a coffee off our shelf that you love, we hope you can return and get it the same way again and hopefully better.
Now that doesn’t necessarily mean every time you try our offering it will be always the same but it does mean that we strive to offer high quality every time. Our “loop” is simply a process by which we sample, vet, order, trial roast and then cup; only then do we feel confident to sell our product.
A coffee enters our loop when we receive a sample from a supplier. It is roasted and cupped to assess it’s attributes, compared with coffees of known quality or other samples and then selected for purchase. Once we receive the lot of coffee, we then try a number of roast profiles we feel may suit the coffee based on what we already know about it. We will roast with a certain type of application for it in mind such as whether it is just to be served for filter methods. Does it participate in a blend? Or is it solely a standalone single offering? This is a very exciting part of the process!
Once a coffee is in production, we take samples of every single roast we do (just in case you were wondering, we roast all our green beans separately and blend them after cupping them). Then, the next day, every roast is subject to a stringent cupping process and are scored and assessed blind by at least two of us so we are not biased at all. We use industry best practice scoring sheets to assess them and then rank the best roasts.
Once we are good and full of coffee (even though we spit) we then look at the roasting curves logged on our roasting software and then assign the curve that created the highest scoring roast. That is now our reference for the next time we roast the coffee! We can now rest easy. If a roast is better next time, we then upgrade that reference curve. It is a happy union of technology and craft! And yes, we have thrown out many batches which, for whatever reason, did not stack up… many… sob. We now know our coffee will hit the targets it needs to hit, in the bar, on the retail shelf, and for our wholesale clients.
Can you believe that some companies don’t give a thought to this kind of QC? Without it, our quality shoots off out of loop, and we are left with a “hope for the best” approach. Our coffee and our customers are too valuable for that.
We have a pretty simple approach here at The Single Guys. We love tasty things, enjoy developing relationships with people and seek to try different things in our business. This is why we love to be in control of as many factors in our business and in particular, why we roast our own coffee. With many people asking about our roasting process, I thought it might be interesting to elaborate a little.
We take a simple approach to our roasting style and philosophy. We select coffee that is fresh, is clean and distinct in flavour, and then we roast it in such a way to expose the inherent sweetness in the bean. Generally, we roast a bit lighter than most.
We believe that top quality coffee does not need a huge degree of caramelisation during the roast. This is because high grown, slow maturing coffees have a naturally high degree of sugar, which when revealed, is sweeter than burnt sugars introduced by dark roasting. So to get technical, as soon as we hear first crack (you can Google this or perhaps I’ll explain in another post) in our roast, we pretty much sit within a window of 1:45-2:15 minutes after that and then we spill it out to cool. This allows us to roast a bit quicker and preserve a good amount of acidity, or “zing” over the process. We generally don’t have the coffee in the drum for more than 12 minutes in total.
While those volatile aromatics are lost as we start to pass our window, we try to preserve as many as possible. Our quality control at the cupping table generally vindicates our roasting style and over the various brew methods, we mostly achieve complex, clean and focused flavours. We taste and evaluate our coffee extensively to ensure nothing is left to chance.
As we build new relationships with farmers and importers of great coffee, we are excited about our quality heading north and offering our friends a great offering of delicious coffee! I will be sure to elaborate more in the coming weeks.
We made it!
A whole year, which seems like a heartbeat, has come and gone since we humbly opened the doors to our little shop in Kenmore. Since that day, 2 January 2013, we have been overwhelmed by the response of the local community in embracing us as their own little haven to drop in for something delicious and a chat with that cute barista.
So thank you very much.
We have been encouraged by this success. Encouraged to try some interesting concepts, roast some great coffees, and offer our coffees to a wider audience, launching a wholesale department to look after offices, cafes and home brewers interested in using our coffees. We are extremely buoyant about what the new year holds.
You can expect our food offering to get a bit more diverse, and ever changing; you can expect our coffee service and quality to increase as we build on the relationships we have begun with our importers; and you can expect our wonderful team led by the unflappable Mac Dixon to welcome you armed with more skill and knowledge than ever before!
So we hope to celebrate with you on the 2nd of January with a coffee and a chat. It's on us!
We are so glad you managed to find your way to our website where you can find out all about us, view our products, and even indulge in a purchase of some delicious beans for home. Our aim is to make our coffee as accessible as possible, and as always, as tasty as possible!
We are proud to roast our own coffees and we are fortunate to partner with a number of great importers who source some exemplary coffees from some of our favourite origins. We sample and cup a large number of coffees before deciding which to buy and are gradually working towards sourcing exclusive lots - sourced by us, and available only from The Single Guys!
You can find our coffee at a growing number of espresso bars and cafes around Brisbane; quality operators who have identified our style as a good fit for their business. We are honored to be featured in such venues as Bunker in Milton, Roost in Kelvin Grove and Seed Coffee in Ipswich. We also supply several corporate offices such as Elevation Architecture and Wotif.
We operate our flagship café in the leafy western suburbs of Brisbane at 2/2051 Moggill Rd Kenmore, 4069. Come in and have a cup and a delicious snack as well!
Our operation rests on one major plank, and that is a philosophy of uncompromising quality - from our choice of coffees, to our service in store, packaging and webstore, we believe in striving for the best we can achieve and drawing on our combined experience to make it happen for you, our valued guests and customers.
So here we go!
Our method of sourcing coffee is extremely exciting. Not just because we have access to some amazing coffee, although that is great. We are excited because you never know what you are going to find next.
We will not be offering the broadest range of coffees out there nor will we be offering a myriad of different roasting styles just for the sake of it. Our featured offering will always be focused and in-season based on what we feel is the best out there at any point in time.
And just as season’s come and go, our coffees will come and go. That is because most countries that produce coffee only experience one harvest per year. The exception to this being countries such as Colombia and Kenya who produce a “fly” crop of usually lower quality, less developed coffee.
Like any fresh or natural product cultivated from natural growing conditions, coffees fade pretty quickly from a flavor point of view. The difference between a Brazilian coffee harvested say four months ago compared to one from nine months ago is stark. Baggy tastes tend to rear their head and flavours can become flat and bland for example.
Two countries we are focusing on at the moment are Brazil and Rwanda. Through our friends at Melbourne Coffee Merchants, we have selected four superb lots to create our espresso blend and feature on espresso and filter as single origins. They were all harvested around July 2013 and all are as fresh as access permits given the distance from origin. These are what we call ‘fresh crop’ coffees which are brimming with flavor and ready to go!
Far from regretting the final roast of these coffees, we will then look forward to an influx of more ‘fresh crop’ from places like Bolivia, Ethiopia and Kenya, as well as Central America mid next year. The cycle continues!To start tasting some of these amazing coffees, why not visit our webstore!
Sophistication, character and integrity. That’s what The Single Guys believe in, and that’s what we source and strive for in our coffee. We believe your coffee experience should be memorable, charming and consistent. We believe in committed relationships with the best rather than one off memories with no style.
Our ethos is one which goes beyond our products and service and extends to every relationship we establish. One of our key goals is to create valuable relationships with our immediate community as well as the communities that we connect with internationally through our industry and friendships.
One such relationship that we are very proud of is with Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia (Australia) and Dr Catherine Hamlin. We supply and roast Hamlin Roast, an ethically sourced Ethiopian Sidamo which is sold by Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia both online and in their Sydney store to raise funds for The Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia.
We will soon be stocking this product in our online store! To read Dr Hamlin’s story or for more information, visit www.hamlin.org.au