'If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing well', that's what my mother always told me. And that is definitely the advice we have followed in planning our coffee making at Birkinshaw's. We knew we wanted to serve great coffee, we also knew we wanted it to be roasted here in Nova Scotia. Having researched the options and clocked up many miles in order to taste various coffees, Birkinshaw's are thrilled to be working in partnership with Aroma Maya. This small craft coffee roaster is based just down the road in Truro. Sergio and Kristi roast their Guatemalan beans in small batches and supply them in special 'state of the art' bags that preserve their 'just roasted' freshness.
Here at Birkinshaw's, we are supplied whole beans which we grind for each coffee. This maximises the flavour extraction making a truly great cup of coffee, however you take it.
Now coffee, like most things, is down to personal preference but we were greatly heartened when we chose our house blend that the dozen or so people in our tasting group all came to a unanimous The blind tasting by the Amherst area folks received great feedback.. 'smooth', 'packed with flavour', 'excellent' were some of the comments made and we can't wait to see what more of you think when you visit us.
So, what makes our house blend such a wonderful coffee? Well, the beans are from the Huehuetenango Highlands in Guatemala. Grown at an altitude of between 4,200 and 6,000 feet above sea level, this is one of the world's best growing coffee regions. Huehuetenango rests proudly at the foot of the Cuchumatanes Mountains, the highest, non-volcanic mountain range in Central America. Here, currents of hot air from the isthmus of Tehuatepec meet the cool air from the mountains, creating a warm climate where coffee beans can be cultivated at altitudes up to 1,900 meters. The resultant coffee is characterised by
- fine floral aroma
- caramel sweetness
- notes of almond and milk chocolate
- a pleasantly long, lingering finish.
We will be using this premium coffee for all of our house coffees and, when you taste it, you will understand why. We will be offering a dark roast from Aroma Maya too. This was chosen by our tasting group too and is a great choice for a slightly different coffee experience.
As well as serving Aroma Maya's coffee at Birkinshaw's, we are pleased to be able to offer it in bags in different grind qualities for your own coffee drinking pleasure at home. Good coffee is dependant on several factors: the quality and freshness of the beans; the correct grind; and the method of extraction (how you get the flavour out of the bean). It is generally considered that the beans should be used within two weeks of roasting to gain maximum benefit. We are supplied beans that are roasted the day before us receiving them. As soon as the beans are ground, the flavour starts to leach away, which is why we grind the beans each time we make a coffee.
Of course, one of the essential factors is how you extract, that is to say, how you get the flavour from the beans and into a cup of coffee. Espresso and espresso-based drinks like latte and cappuccino are made by very finely grinding the beans and then extracting by the use of high pressure water being passed through the compacted beans. This gives the rich full bodied flavour so typical of an espresso shot. At Birkinshaws we have our own hand made machine from Milan from the Rocket company, one of the most prestigious suppliers of espresso machines. For those of you who like a bit of detail, the Mozzifiato Evoluzione is a compact powerhouse that uses digital temperature control to ensure the water is the optimum temperature for making the coffee. It also has a belt driven pump for more power to froth the milk at the same time as extracting the coffee. Espresso is very much an acquired taste, usually served black and in small quantity, whereas the latte and cappuccino have the frothed milk and foam which makes for a smooth and more comforting drink. Most baristas are associated with the espresso type drinks, and it is an important part of the job, but they are also familiar with all the other methods of brewing and full cleaning of the equipment. An understanding of how a well-serviced and clean machine enhances the flavour of the coffee is also integral to their skill set. A successful completion of a Barista training program is a part of Birkinshaw's requirements for staff but, even with the certificate, it is practice and repetition that ensures consistently great coffee. Our Rocket machine has already brewed many, many litres of coffee in readying itself to make coffee for you!
We also will be serving filter coffee for both sit down or take out, and for a full immersion style coffee, cafetiere or French Press. The French Press uses the coarsest grind for the coffee, and the flavour is extracted by the grounds being completely immersed in the water for the full duration of the drink. A cafetiere is the ideal choice if you want to sit and relax with a drink and a slice of cake and like to have a couple of cups.
Whichever way you drink your coffee, with Birkinshaw's and Aroma Maya, you know it will be excellent.
P.S. Keep tuned for a special coffee tasting event to be organised in the new year where we will be having Sergio and Kristi down to share their knowledge and their coffee with us, along with a selection of cakes, pastries and treats from the kitchen