Longberry 2 now available

Just a quick note that Longberry Issue 2 is now widely available. If you want to pick up a copy direct from us, or buy wholesale, then just head over here to the Longberry Store.

As before, there’s a digital download available (though you really want the physical of this issue…) When we’ve sold out all the physical copies then the digital will continue to be available.

We’re really proud of this issue, and I think it is a big step forward from the first. It’s going to not only interest you but also challenge you, whether you work in coffee or just enjoy drinking coffee. There’s an overview of the issue here.

As before: we produce the magazine without any advertising in it and pay our writers and contributors, and with your support we can continue this (very) occasional journal of coffee. If you want to write for us then email editors@longberrypress.com.

Lightness and Darkness in Roasting

Roasting coffee is, put kindly, a fickle affair. On a good day it feels like chasing a dropped piece of paper in the wind. On a bad day it feels both impossible and unknowable.

In recent years roast degree has become imbued with a kind of morality. A tenet of modern coffee is transparency, and we know that any step in the seed to cup process can cloud it or leave it clarified. Roasting, of course, is perhaps the most obvious step for scrutiny. Roasting a coffee to a deeper degree obscures its origins, any taste of place smothered under generic, carbon-like roast notes. This was considered bad, because this practice works well should your taste of place not taste very good. Low quality coffee would obviously be roasted darker to hide its shame. 1 Starbucks were long held up as the evil doers in the world of dark roasting. The reasons proffered within the community were many and varied: “They do it because they buy bad coffee.” or “They do it so their coffee tastes the same all over the world.” or “They do it so it is easier to extract/it’s more tolerant.”. Now is to the time to examine or debunk these claims, perhaps another time… Continue reading “Lightness and Darkness in Roasting”

  1. Let’s avoid the substantial contrary evidence of instant coffee and rapid roasting, where the coffee is roasted very quickly and dropped quite early. This has the dual benefit of leaving more soluble material and not causing problems – like fires, that rapid roasting to second crack will inevitably cause.  ↩︎

Longberry Issue Two & A Dinner

Perhaps some of you doubted that Longberry would return for another issue. Perhaps some of you thought that the strap line of “An occasional journal of coffee” was a strange choice. Either way, I hope you’re pleased to hear that Longberry is returning!

Issue Two will be available very soon, shipped by us direct to your door and also available (we hope) at cafes, and places, all around the world. (Because this time it will be available wholesale also).

To celebrate the launch Longberry 1 are collaborating on a dinner with the rightly lauded chef of Silo in Brighton, Douglas McMaster. The dinner takes place during the weekend of the UK Brewers Cup, also taking place in Brighton this coming weekend.

Tickets for this dinner are still available, and they consist of an £8 donation to charity. Don’t let this absurdly low number fool you, this is going to be one of the most interesting dinners you could attend, if you’re in any way interested in coffee, sustainability and waste. (Carrots slow cooked in the heat of coffee compost anyone…?). Douglas is one of the most innovative, interesting chef in the UK and you should visit Silo if you get the chance.

Somehow there are some tickets left, and I strongly recommend you buy one. Adding on a train ticket and a hotel in Brighton won’t prevent this being a bargain. Tickets are here.

Back to the magazine: what can you expect in this issue? More stories from origin that never get told (reactions to this piece are going to be interesting…), plant sentience and coffee fighting back, an exploration of the forgotten fruit, and plenty more. We’re very proud of this issue, and I like how it has progressed from the last one. Right now we aren’t accepting wholesale or retail orders, but I will post again as soon as we are.

longberry2

 

  1. I say Longberry, aware that the work is really being done by Editor Ben Szobody  ↩︎

The latest version of Coffee Jobs Board

We released the latest version of Coffee Jobs Board last month, and I thought I’d share a little bit here about what we’ve changed and improved – and also why we did what we did.

  • Firstly there was a site wide design refresh. New colour scheme, new everything really.
  • Some of the quieter city boards have been cut. If there’s enough interest then they’ll come back
  • A few new features: if you want a reminder to apply for a job (because you’re on your phone and you shouldn’t be applying for jobs on your phone) then the board will do that.
  • A newsletter. Two in fact! One for job seekers, one for employers. If you’re either I recommend signing up. We’ve got some cool stuff lined up that will be dropping in the next month or so.
  • You can browse employers, rather than jobs, and see more about the employer (including photos etc). Here’s the UK list for example. You can also browse for jobs on Instagram too.
  • Classifieds have been revamped a little – still free to use, and always will be.

We’re also happier to see more international jobs on the board – especially in the US and Australia. The growth in applications (and page views) is really pleasing to see. While we’ve introduced a featured job posting tier, the goal is to make sure pricing stays as approachable as possible while allows us to continue to invest in developing the board.

If people have requests or ideas then I’m always open to that. Let me know…

A Coffee Variety Family Tree Timeline Poster

This is a little project I’ve been wanting to complete for a very long time. Working on the World Atlas of Coffee gave me the additional nudge to do the work.

I’m producing a poster that I thought would be useful, interesting and hopefully a little bit of fun. It is a Coffee Variety Family Tree Timeline poster. It shows a selection of the most common varieties, and how they connect to each other as well as when they came to be.

Selling the poster direct is not something I have the resources to do, so we’re going to be making it available wholesale only. This means it ships in multiples of 10 posters, 10 being the minimum order.

To help size the print run correctly I’m asking people to express interest by filling in the form below. This isn’t a commitment to buy, just an expression of interest.

We’d expect the poster to retail for about £10-12/$15-17, and it will be A1 sized (841mm/33 inches x 594mm/23inches). Wholesale pricing is going to be at least a 50% discount, and we’re working to make sure shipping worldwide is as cheap as possible. We’ll be in touch with you with more details soon.

Here’s an image of the poster:

Variety Poster Teaser

I’m delighted (and relieved) to get this to the point of completion, and hope people really like it! If you’re interested, or your cafe/roastery/bookshop/place of business is, then do please let me know below:

2015 in review – a comparative edition

Last year I wrote a “2014 in review – number edition”, and I thought I’d write a comparative one to see how the year changed and what that means.

Words written on the blog: 18,240 (2014) vs 18,376 (2015)

This was something of a surprise, mostly because I’m not very good at remembering how much or how little I write on here. More surprising was the fact that 2015 saw the highest pages views of any year.

Here’s a selection of my favourite/the most popular posts from 2015:

Make or Steal
My Favourite Question
The Cappuccino Index
The Price of Coffee in London (2015)
An Analysis of Nespresso Part 1 1
The Coffee Professional Beginners Guide
The State of Espresso (2015)
Part 1: The Lull
Part 2: The Bubble
Part 3: Implications and Predictions

Flights Taken: 44 (2014) vs 51 (2015) Distance Travelled: 69,788 miles (2014) vs 98,562 miles (2015)

In the past I had mixed feelings about the amount I travel. I don’t anymore, I have no doubts that I travelled too much this year. I know this because I really don’t want to travel this much next year. (It probably didn’t help that my average flight distance went from 1,586 miles to 1,932 – a 22% jump).

When travel is considered aspirational, I’m aware that complaining about too much of it is like complaining about too many meals in good restaurants. However, I don’t want to complain – I just want to try and learn my lessons about what makes me happy and what doesn’t. I have no intention of consigning my passport to a drawer and not leaving the UK for the foreseeable – I just intent to be a bit smarter about the travel I do.

Applications through Coffee Jobs Board: 14,905 (2014) vs ~30k (2015)

I don’t actually know the real number here as we now have to purge older applications from the server, because there were too many and they were taking up unnecessary space. This is a guess based on what I can see now. I’m investing a lot into making the site better, and version 2 should launch in the next 4-5 weeks. I want it to be a better service, and to be more useful to the industry, more valuable. It is an enjoyable challenge.

Plans for 2016

I seem to alternate between years in which I plan, and years in which I do. I get a growing feeling of frustration and dissatisfaction when I don’t finish things – and 2015 has been a frustrating year that way.

I want 2016 to be a year of narrowing focus; a year of finishing off things that I’ve started, and doing more of the work I enjoy.

  1. I know, I know – I will continue this series in 2016, I promise!  ↩︎

Part 3: Implications & Predictions

The State of Speciality Coffee – Part 3: Implications and Predictions

In the previous two posts (Part 1 & Part 2) I’ve explained how I currently see the market in speciality around the world, and how it has evolved to date. I am happy to state that generally humans aren’t particularly good at predictions of the future, even in the 3–5 year range we are discussing here. However, in this situation I am happy to be wrong. As a business owner, if I act on these concerns – and what I believe to be likely – then my business should not suffer (though perhaps its growth would be slower).
Continue reading “Part 3: Implications & Predictions”

Part 2: The Bubble

The State of Speciality Coffee – Part 2: The Bubble

Previous post: Part 1: The Lull

The growth in speciality coffee shops in the last decade has been astonishing. While different markets have grown at different rates , the patterns and trends of growth have been very similar.

Pioneers open a speciality coffee business in a city, serving something genuinely new and substantially better than the rest of the market. These coffee businesses are usually run by people with a burning passion for great coffee, who would be opening their business regardless of economic climate – in many cases cities saw a boom in the coffee cultures during the recessions brought on by the global financial crisis in 2008.

Continue reading “Part 2: The Bubble”

Part 1: The Lull

The State of Speciality Coffee – Part 1: The Lull

This is the first of three parts, covering how I see the current state of the speciality coffee industry around the world. I’ve spent the last year thinking about this, and have had the chance to talk to people in the industry in cities around the world. I believe that much of what I’ll discuss has a global implication – even if not all of it is applicable to any one particular local market.

Continue reading “Part 1: The Lull”

The State of Espresso in 2015

These are the results of the survey I conducted over the last two weeks. I had a great response to the survey – around 1,500 replies. I needed to clean up a little bit of the data (which meant discarding quite a lot of weird responses), but there was still a lot to work with.

I hoped that the data would give some insight into global, as well as local trends. I was also curious to know if there was much correlation between home consumers and professionals, in their tastes and styles.

Continue reading “The State of Espresso in 2015”