Just as I was discovering the wonders of a cup of coffee for the first time, what should pop into my inbox but an invite from Taylors of Harrogate to join them at their HQ for a masterclass on the subject. Perfect timing!
After a scenic train ride up north I arrived at Taylors of Harrogate with two other foodie bloggers. Together we headed through to the impressive coffee kitchen to meet Krisztina, one of their expert Q graded coffee tasting buyers who took us on a coffee journey from bean to cup!
We started in the coffee storeroom where shelf after shelf of freshly imported coffee packages were neatly arranged, labelled by origin and date. All of the coffee Taylors buys comes from independently certified farms and co-operatives around the world which are either Fairtrade, UTZ certified or Rainforest Alliance. The coffee is tasted as soon as it arrives into port and then again at HQ to ensure that only the highest quality makes it into your cup.
I’ve never really thought of where the coffee beans actually came from before, so I was a little bit surprised to learn that they are harvested from trees and start life as a little red cherry fruit.
The cherries are dried and then hulled to reveal two green coffee beans inside which are then roasted to bring out the aroma and flavour. This process transforms them into the much more recognisable dark brown beans that I associate with coffee.
I got to see expert coffee roasters demonstrate the process for us. They continually spoon the beans in and out of the roasting machine and can judge by sight when the beans have been roasted to perfection. I have always loved the aroma of fresh coffee and the smell in this room was out of this world.
We returned to the kitchen, which is where Taylors create their seasonal, special edition blends. Did you know that coffee has over 900 chemical compounds? This is where the flavour comes from and because each variety of bean is different, there is a huge range of possibility.
Their latest bespoke blend is an Iced Coffee that you can make at home with a cafetiere.
Sales of traditional coffee tend to drop off in Summer but coffee shops do a roaring trade in iced versions, so Taylors decided to create a purse friendly alternative. It had been put through rigorous tasting and refinements to get the ratios just right for a beautifully balanced barista-level flavour.
To demonstrate how easy it is to make they let us loose to have a go! Despite the fact that I’d never used a cafetiere before it really was incredibly simple. I’ve popped the recipe below, along with a cheeky alcoholic upgrade!
*With a twist!: Add 1 tbsp of Irish cream liqueur to your glass for an extra kick, or double the fun by adding 1tbsp vodka too for a Taylors take on a White Russian cocktail.
As a coffee newbie I was a little apprehensive to try the Iced Coffee because the blend is stronger than your standard hot variety and it isn’t designed to be taken with sugar or sweetener. However after a tentative first sip I was pleased to find it plenty sweet enough for my taste with the milk and the icy temperature.
This is my idea of a great lazy Sunday drink to enjoy out in the garden at the height of summer.
I learned so much about coffee that I went straight home and shared it all with my coffee obsessed husband. Thank you Taylors of Harrogate for your wonderful hospitality, I feel like an expert now!
Did you know that Taylors of Harrogate are a family business who also own Bettys? I was over the moon to discover it and we ended our afternoon with a visit to Bettys Tea Rooms! Watch out for a post on that coming very soon!