It’s March, spring is breaking through (well, in parts of the Northern Hemisphere!) and the world may be getting ready to start opening up again…
If that wasn’t enough reason to be positive, well, here is the latest monthly Bean Bros box and we are featuring a new roaster for us, and maybe you, 19grams…the Berlin based coffee maestros!
We took some time to discuss all things 19grams with them, please enjoy your coffee this month and this interview.
Interview by Kris Thurbin
19 Grams Roastery in Berlin, Germany
Tell us a bit about 19 Grams
Being one of the first Specialty Coffee Roasters in Germany, we began our operations in 2002. Through our business experience and the experience of our multicultural team, we aim to close the gap between coffee farmer and consumer. Sourcing coffee sustainably and directly from farmers at origin and bringing it to Berlin where we roast, cup, calibrate and repeat until each bean best represents the natural flavor characteristics of their origin and varietal.
What’s behind the “Bloody good…” phrase
At 19grams our mission is to make Specialty Coffee approachable. Drinking a Bloody Good Coffee is a lifestyle choice and we believe it should be an important part of everyone's day!
What main challenges have you faced and nice surprises maybe, for the different parts of the business recently?
Like many small businesses we have felt the pressures of Corona, both on a B2B and B2C level. We have found the silver lining of having more time to focus on sourcing green coffee; experimenting with different varietals and processing methods, speaking to farmers and growing our networks at origin. In our cafes, the kitchen managers have had more time to create new concepts for their brunch menus and our FOH managers have found ways to structure the day to day operations on a tighter, but still efficient schedule. For our sales department, we have gained new insight into reaching different coffee partners and offering a larger assortment of products that focus solely on consumer satisfaction and thus repeat business.
Are you sourcing through established suppliers or any direct relationships with origin?
Most of our coffees are bought through direct trade. We have been sourcing green coffee since 2002 and thus have made many longterm friends from the best growing regions around the world. When we only want to/can only buy small amounts of green coffee, or, when it is not possible to buy direct, we source through exporters that deal directly with the farmers. This allows us to still communicate with growers and producers at origin and to have access to all the information regarding the coffee and the harvest.
How do you profile for roasting – are there particular concepts you feel are specific to what you want to achieve, or put in the cup?
Rich, sweet and clean with ample amounts of sweetness, is what we strive for with every batch of coffee roasted at 19grams.We roast to showcase all the intrinsic qualities of the bean without hiding anything behind roasty notes. Balance is an integral part and coffees with naturally high acidity will be roasted and developed so the sweetness, acidity and body of the coffee are in perfect harmony.
Great selection for this month, tell us a bit about them
Our Head Roaster, Anthony, has sourced some exciting fresh crop Colombians from our great and well respected coffee friends, AZAHA. A company who was talking about sustainability before it was even cool. They do amazing things for farmers and reward them on a tiered based system for their hard work and quality coffee.
We have also sourced a few Rwandan coffees from Simbi, a connection we made from COE in 2017 where we were lucky enough to have met the farmer, Abdoul.
We have also been fortunate enough to cup some amazing Geishas this year and are thrilled to have so many on offer this month!
Featured coffees in our March 2021 Guest Roaster Subscription box:
La Granada - Colombia
NOTES: Honeysuckle, Sugar Cane, Grape- fruit PROCESSING: Washed after extended fermentation of 90 hours
VARIETY: Pink Bourbon ALTITUDE: 1650 masl
FARM NAME: Finca La Granada HARVEST YEAR: 2020
Finca La Teja - Mexico
NOTES:: Lychee, Sugar Cane, Honeydew Melon
ALTITUDE: 2150 masl FARMER NAME: Climaco Cruz
Sonora Geisha Natural - Costa Rica
NOTES: Mango, Passion Fruit, Honey PROCESSING: natural processed & sun dried
ALTITUDE: 1300 masl
FARM NAME: Hacienda Sonora HARVEST YEAR: 2020
Any brew recommendations: recipes you would like to share?
We roast to extraction, making it easier for us and our customers to brew our coffees consistently and reduce any waste. For filter, we recommend using a brew ratio of 1:16 in a brew time of 3-4 minutes. At the moment we have really enjoyed brewing our La Toma Geisha using the Stagg X dripper.
For espresso we recommend a brew ratio of 1:2 in a brew time of 28-32 seconds. Our Costa Rica L9 has been a crowd favourite in our office and we are looking forward to dialing in the new Rwandans in the coming weeks!
For more brew recommendations visit our Brew Guides page
Whilst now isn’t the time to compete, what is your view on competition and are there any that interest you particularly?
We find competing is a great way to not only increase our reach as a company, but to better ourselves as individuals. It’s important to be present in an industry that is adapting and progressing constantly. Knowing what others are doing is very important to us.
When competitions are allowed to take place again, we are looking forward to competing in the Brewers Cup and Coffee in Good Spirits. These are the most interesting to us as the competitions drive innovation in coffee processing and brewing.
Our company has also been a part of COE for many years and our staff have regularly taken part in the competition. It’s a great and unique experience that allows people from our industry to improve their cupping skills and immerse themselves in a country's culture, farming and community. It allows farmers to promote their harvest and their farm and for roasters to expand their networks and buy better coffees.
Do you have any significant plans for 2021?
Our company will be working more closely with COE this year and we are excited to announce our plans in the coming weeks!.
Any words of wisdom or hope to share with our subscribers at this time?
Stay safe and drink Bloody Good Coffee!