17 February 2017,
The best baristas - you know the ones that throw mean latte art, know the latest brew methods, can talk for days about provenance and process - these folks are universally obsessed with the craft and keep learning throughout their careers. It’s impossible to be the link between professional coffee world and its consumers without up-to-date knowledge. But also by being the person who actually brews coffee and serves it, the barista is given a unique chance and responsibility for giving the final shape to the fruit of coffee farmers’ work. Even the best coffee may not work without the suitable presentation.
Coffee skills take practice to develop. There are several decent paths to quality barista training, even if coffee isn't part of your professional life. You can speed up the learning process with a trainer’s help or that of a fellow barista who can help push you to challenge yourself. If you work in a cafe, the roastery you use may also be able to help. If you’re serving Volcano in your cafe or restaurant you’re very lucky here, as we are known for delivering professional training tailored for specific cafe needs as a way to support our wholesale clients. For the most official form of training, you may consider taking up the SCAE diploma which contains six modules: Introduction to Coffee, Barista Skills, Brewing, Sensory Skills, Green Coffee and Roasting. The actual certification is issued when the required total of points is earned so you can choose the modules that you are interested in. If you’re unsure about your coffee career path, it’s good to begin with Introduction to Coffee as helps clarify where your interests may lie.
Thankfully you don’t need a professional lab or a lot of kit to excel as a coffee expert. Great coffee is all about tasting and making adjustments for the best flavour. To practice cupping or even brewing a Chemex, you don’t need the most expensive grinders or filtration methods. Use what you have on hand and experiment a bit to make the most out of it.
If you need to improve your commercial coffee skills, first take a look around your coffee shop to understand the workflow. Can anything be improved or rearranged to prepare great coffee more efficiently? Try a few changes. Are there any new baristas who are just learning the basics? Some of them may want to become your new trainees. When you help others by training or coaching them, you not only help to expand the specialty coffee scene but also giving your own abilities a stronger foundation that will help you enjoy coffee more and take it even further.
Technical ability is not everything. Great baristas shouldn’t forget how important it is to be sociable and curate a relaxed atmosphere. Without that, the quality drinks or great knowledge alone may not be enough. People go to cafes to be somewhere outside of their day-to-day experience and have a great time. Perhaps you've come across a grumpy barista at some point and you remember how it affected your cafe visit. It is crucial that a good barista doesn’t give attitude to his or her guests or other staff.
Other people’s passions can fuel us to do even more, so it’s very important to engage with and be a part of the coffee industry. While working in a cafe you probably chat with coffee geeks everyday, but still it’s worthwhile to go to as many cuppings and talks as you can. Sign up for a latte art or Aeropress competition - they are probably easier than you think. If you like to organise stuff, maybe you should hold a Latte Art Smackdown in your cafe?
Regardless of your abilities and knowledge, there is always much more to learn and explore as the industry grows and conducts more research and wacky experimentation. Don’t let yourself stagnate and get stuck with thinking you have learnt enough. Keep on finding ways to improve, help others to nurture their passion and share your own!
25 November 2016,
There is a lot of work put into coffee before it arrives at a roastery. While there are different ways to prepare the beans for roasting, washed process starts with de-pulping, in other words, the removal of the coffee cherry pulp (skin) from the coffee bean (seed). The Spanish name for this removed cherry pulp is cascara. Cascara has a long history of being drunk as a tea, dating back to at least 1400AD. Those who have read the popular coffee book, the Devil’s Cup, may recall the traditional Qishr brew from Yemen, usually seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Fast forward to present day, and Cascara has recently become a popular drink in cafes. It’s usually served as a hot brew or found as a flavour in specialised soft drinks. Its use is not limited to drinks… just think about cascara chocolate, for example.
For a long time it has been believed that cascara contains very high levels of caffeine, owing to the buzz that drinkers reportedly experience. The opposite was displayed in a report released around that time: cascara contains from 3.5 to 7 times less caffeine than a standard cup of coffee. We would like to take a closer look at that.A. MOLDVAER, ‘CASCARA AND CAFFEINE’, Square Mile Coffee Roasters [web blog], 30 August 2013, http://squaremileblog.com/2013/08/30/cascara-and-caffeine/, (accessed 21 September 2016)
The Square Mile Blog article provided excellent and interesting data, although the testing used a fairly weak brew of only 20g cascara per litre (g/L) of water. Typically cascara brew recipes would contain a significantly higher dose of cascara than that. After brief research, it was found that Cafe Imports used 33.8g/L, 44 North Roasters used 63g/L for their Cascara Hot Toddy, and Sample Coffee Roasters used 72g/L for hot brew and a whopping 140g/L for cold brew (which can be explained by lower temperatures causing slower extraction). Bird Rock Coffee Roasters recommend 18g/ 300ml which works out about 60g/L. Therefore, it seems that it’s necessary to compare caffeine levels once again.
Based on caffeine content data from: Mayo Clinic,’Caffeine content for coffee, tea, soda and more’, Nutrition and Healthy Eating [Web Blog], May 13, 2014, http://mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/caffeine/art-20049372 (Accessed 15 September 2016). 60g/1000ml brew is estimation based on 10g and 20g brews
There was no 60g cascara brew in the original experiment but we can expect caffeine to dissolve proportionally (as it did for 10g and 20g samples). Assuming a usual cascara dose of 60g/L, we would get caffeine content of about 76 mg per a usual, 8oz cup. So, we reach our conclusion, that this is not much different from the caffeine content of a similar sized cup of instant coffee, and about half the caffeine of a cup of drip coffee.
16 November 2016,
We're proud to announce that Volcano Coffee Works - and its sister brand Assembly Coffee - have established a new home in the beating heart of Brixton.
From 16th November 2016, this brand new space comes online for its wholesale roasting, dispatch and administration, as well as heaps of barista training and coffee tastings.
Watch this space for home brewing, coffee experiences and home barista classes coming soon on evenings and weekends.
Located just off Brixton High Street - 244 Ferndale Road, SW9 8FR. Wholesale Operation runs Monday to Friday, from 9am to 6pm.
Since Volcano first set foot into London’s burgeoning coffee scene, our full-service dedicated wholesale roasting operation has gone from strength to strength.
November 2016 marks the end of a three year search and a six-month bespoke, in-house build.
Having secured Lambeth’s first Fire Station predating 1870, Volcano's founders have honoured the building by using only noble materials with minimal modifications to maintain the original features while reimagining the long-neglected building.
Brixton's own Roastery is both a new showcase of small-batch roasting and an open-door to the London coffee industry and our global community.
Inside you'll find Volcano's world-class coffee training and education facilities, a long awaited location for Assembly's Sensory Lab where coffee research, product development and advancing quality control can have a place of its own.
The new site offers Volcano greater accessibility and first-hand transparency for its broad wholesale customer base.
Volcano & Assembly welcome all with open arms because anyone enjoying coffee may also share a common philosophy emphasising the value of specialty coffee which ultimately leads to greater rewards for coffee farmers in countries of origin.
The new roastery space allows us a chance to continuously develop communities from our immediate neighbours in Brixton, to the rest of London and the UK, and onwards between the many countries of the coffee origin as well as the progressive European coffee market.
We're happy to welcome our clients and wholesale partners to the new site in Brixton, and are cheerfully opening the doors to our local community and coffee-loving public.
04 August 2016,
Full Steam Espresso
We’ve been eagerly awaiting the landing of our new crop direct trade Peru. We’d like to tell you about why we're excited, and what this means for your Full Steam Espresso Blend.
We are thrilled to be in our second year working directly with the ACPC co-operative of Pichanaki, in the Chanchamayo District of Peru, in partnership with Peruvian coffee specialist Leon Woffenden of Freeman Trading.
After travelling to Pichanaki last month, we will be publishing a series of pieces about what we learnt and experienced on this trip, as the new cop makes its way into your hoppers.
ACPC Pichanaki has over 300 members, and from those lots the best are selected to make up our premium lot for the Full Steam Espresso blend. For this, we pay a specialty quality premium which contributes both to the individuals whose coffees were selected for our lot, as well as improvements to the facilities at ACPC.
The fresh crop is now with us - and it is tasting beautiful! As we transition into this coffee over the coming weeks, your coffee will pick up in sweetness and the intensity of flavour will increase. There will be subtle differences in the flavour, as is the delight of working from year to year in any crop – but rest assured, the underlying flavour profile we’ve come to know and love will be the same for you and your customers.
We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
Yours in coffee,
Director of Coffee
11 July 2016,
"World Coffee Research is a collaborative non-profit research and development program developed to grow, protect, and enhance supplies of quality coffee while improving the lives of the families who produce it.
Now with the backing of USAID and PROMECAFE, the World Coffee Research group has prepared a new Coffea arabica catalogue that covers 33 major cultivars of Central America, Mexico, Peru, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica. Not only will this massively help coffee farmers, but it will also stimulate the imaginations of coffee geeks worldwide!
A coffee tree’s lifespan is typically 20-30 years, so a coffee farmer’s choice of cultivar is a lasting choice that may affect the next generation(s) of farmers.
This well-curated resource from World Coffee Research will assist farmers in choosing the right coffee to suit terroir and farming approaches, as well as helping to avoid various diseases - especially leaf rust.
The catalogue can be found here.
20 April 2016,
LCF was also an ideal opportunity for those looking to experience cascara - the dried fruit of the coffee cherry. We enjoyed several sparkling cascara variations full of vibrance, highlighted with some additional acidity and sweetness from fruit juices.
As you may already know, we cold-brewed some gorgeous Bolivian cascara to use in our Negroni for a fruity yet earthy finish. The Cascara Negroni went down an absolute treat!
Coffee & Food Pairing
The rise in demand for more complex and delicate coffees is causing a stir in the culinary world with coffee and food pairings becoming more frequent. The House of Coffee & Co. offered an adventurous three-course menu of food and coffee at this year’s festival that both stimulated imaginations and tastebuds. Imagine this: Smoked Normandie oysters paired with Tim Wendelboe’s Sitio Canaa - a semi-washed Red Bourbon from Brasil - chilled and served in a frosted wine glass. One London roastery went a step further and served snacks that actually contained coffee, including rye bread with ground coffee and butter with coffee chaff - the skin coming off coffee beans during roasting - as well as a chocolate made from cascara itself. Exciting times for coffee lovers!
Brewing 'Outside the Box'
LCF wasn’t short of controversial ideas. Gentlemen Baristas and Bulleit teamed up for a limited-edition batch of coffee beans rested for two weeks in American bourbon casks to let spicy flavours of Kentucky bourbon to blend with the beans’ natural character. The filter coffee on show had some nicely balanced bourbon flavour at the end, while the espresso tasted of bourbon through and through, nearly to the point where you’re not too sure whether it’s espresso or bourbon you're drinking! It was a really interesting experiment!
That wasn't the only concept to cause lively discussions… At the Colonna stand, Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood of Colonna & Small’s put his outstanding roasts next to Nespresso capsules. Surprisingly, the pods really did the job and proved to be a viable option for those who want the taste of specialty coffee at home but don’t have the time to perfect the science of it.
We also had a chance to play around with some of the new Sanremo espresso machines, that feature some serious improvements for better consistency and shot quality. Their Opera has a new, multi-boiler PID system (temperature stability control) with independent half-litre boilers for each group head, precise volumetrics, variable pressure and real-time extraction temperature display. Programming can be done manually or using an included tablet interface system.
The Sanremo team has always been big on implementing the latest technology, but design is never an afterthought. Their special 'stickerbomb' Verona was rightfully garnishing a lot of attention.
Upstairs, the Titus stand was unmissable. Their strikingly beautiful boutique grinders boasted meticulous metal coating finishes and novel approaches to precision and conservation. After several years in development of a special vertical mechanism and experimentation with different burr coatings, Frank came up with a design to eliminate coffee being wasted in purging between doses. What a dream come true!
19 April 2016,
Queues snaked down Brick Lane as a record-breaking 30,488 people attended this year's London Coffee Festival. Each year, the festival takes over the vast halls of Old Truman Brewery, increasing its impact another time, and with this year's numbers we raised over £100,000 for Project Waterfall - a charity that exists to help provide clean water to coffee-producing countries. For us here at Volcano Coffee Works, it required loads of hard work and ended in even more fun with endless interactions with fellow coffee fanatics!
Milk & Sugar
Milk & Sugar has been the festival's fashion and lifestyle ‘district’ for the past few years, but this year it was particularly caffeinated.
The Department of Brewology stand caught our attention right away.
David Salina is a typography designer from Texas, who came all the way over to LCF to present his artwork to audiences here in London. His serious barista background is evident once you take a closer look at his intricate designs.
You may have come across David's portafilter or Chemex illustrations in Caffeine magazine - particularly his 'Dark Side of the Moon' design with a Chemex brewer in place of the iconic prism!
They are much lighter than porcelain, but charm with an organic clay-like texture that varies from cup to cup, making each one totally unique.
Perhaps the real eye-catcher in Milk & Sugar was a massive steampunk contraption constructed by Professor Harris that seemed to command a huge crowd every day of the festival. Despite a very complicated appearance, the machine was actually a drip tower producing a smooth cold brew coffee with great clarity!
It was impossible to pass through Milk & Sugar without noticing the Coffee Art Project. As every year, the walls were filled with countless pieces of engaging artwork that were always connected to coffee. One of the exhibitors - Paul Chilton - even designed a stunning Volcano tote bag screen printed on jute!
The Coffee Masters competition ran the entirety of the festival, with early rounds on Thursday and Friday, knock-out quarter finals on Saturday and the final four competing on Sunday.
Contestants demonstrated cupping, brewing, latte art and workflow understanding, while also preparing their own signature drinks and designing a bespoke espresso blend. It was judged by renowned specialists, ran at a very fast pace and drew a great crowd each round with its tight competition and sport-style commentary from Gwilym Davies or Vic Frankowski.
Congratulations to Ben Morrow of St. Ali who won the London Coffee Masters! His signature drink was nothing short of extraordinary: It starts with soaking a peach in an espresso and honey solution, then later topped up with a fresh brew of Cerro Azul before being covered with ‘late evening seaside fog’ - a beguiling concoction made of dry ice and seaweed brew – designed to transport the guest to the plantation itself.
Volcano's VIP Suite Bar
Not many of us were lucky enough to taste the drinks presented by the competitors, but even outside the competitions it was clear that ‘coffee dominant’ cocktails were huge at LCF! This was one of our motivations to design the cocktails for our Volcano VIP Bar with all 3 of our specials letting you experience coffee in different ways.
A bold cold-brew concentrate of our Full Steam Espresso was the backbone of our Nitro Spro’tini. Delicately brewed Guatemalan El Libano filter coffee was infused with fresh vanilla pod, cocoa nibs and Cuban rum in our Havana Diplomacy. A staff favourite, our Cascara Negroni owed some of its fruity complexity to cold-brewed dried cascara fruit.
Even though we learned a lot about coffee amongst many fellow professionals, London Coffee Festival isn't just about work. Italian legends FAEMA and La Marzocco really know how to throw a great party.
Many thanks to everyone who came to have some fun, learn, explore or help!
05 April 2016,
This week holds the annual London Coffee Festival celebrations at The Old Truman Brewery, bringing the industry together to showcase recent achievements, share the love and to inspire both coffee lovers and fellow professionals to push even further.
We are attending the London Coffee Festival for the 6th time to enjoy over 250 artisan stalls, numerous tastings and demonstrations from world-class baristas, workshops, street food vendors, cocktail slingers, live music, DJs, art exhibitions and much more. Last year, a record 23,642 people took part in the 4-day event - and we won’t be surprised if the Festival breaks another record this year. The first two days of the festival (7-8th April) are for industry folk only, but will launch for the public with an Espresso Martini Launch Party at 5:00 on Friday night (8th April).
Volcano hospitality in VIP Suite
We were invited by Allegra Events this year to work in the VIP Suite, partnered with the House of Coffee in their Scandinavian-style interior to give a multi-sensory experience along with Scandinavian Embassy pop-up restaurant for the lucky owners of VIP passes.
We teamed up with Brixton Brewery, Fabiano Latham of Chotto Matte, Marcis Dzelzainis, from Sager + Wilde, One Point Eight Bar, Soak Shakes and Raw Press for some exciting experimentation with three stunning cocktail recipes inspired by the all-time classics, but with some serious barista twists and a hint of seasonality to celebrate origin and craft.
The Nitro Spro’tini is our concept to bring you a full-bodied Espresso Martini on a grand scale without compromising texture or, indeed, character. We chose the full-bodied Vestal Blended Potato Vodka and paired it with our direct-trade, twin-roast, single-origin Full Steam espresso, which we cold-brewed with magnesium-rich water to achieve 3.6 - 3.9 TDS (most of high-volume-produced cold brews is around 1 - 1.5 TDS). Nitrogenating cold brew products is slowly becoming more prevalent in trendy venues, but it’s rarely done in 400-litre batches! This process lends a beautifully creamy mouthfeel to the drink’s big and complex flavours without taking away from the coffee’s naturally clean and bright acidity.
At Volcano we celebrate with Negronis - it’s what we do. It was a no-brainer for us to add a Negroni to our cocktail menu, but to keep in vibe with the London Coffee Festival we’ve augmented the classic drink with a gorgeous infusion of cold-brewed cascara - the dried fruit of the coffee cherry. The Bolivian cascara we’re using has wonderful flavours of cherries and lemon zest with a fascinating earthy bouquet. With all components together and balanced, our Cascara Negroni is something we’re seriously proud to serve at LCF.
If you’re craving something a bit more tropical yet still light and refreshing - go for Havana Diplomacy. Havana Club 3-year-aged rum meets raw coconut water in a tall glass, and is then bolstered by an infusion of fresh vanilla pod, Granada’s finest cacao nib and our Guatemalan El Libano. This coffee was brewed cold and compliments with a creamy cocoa base that leads to candied peach, then even more vanilla and a hint of fruity acidity in the finish.
Photography by James Bryant
Celebrate With Us, Support Those In Need
Half of the proceeds from LCF ticket sales are going to Project Waterfall - a foundation helping to deliver clean water to African communities, which grow our coffee. LCF is the official launch event for the UK Coffee Week, which is a chance for cafés and suppliers to both celebrate another successful year in the industry and support Project Waterfall. If you would like to support them further, make sure to donate some change as you enter the Festival.
The soft drinks we chose for the VIP bar are by Karma Cola - a company which is all about improving the lives of people who produce the ingredients they use. For example, they use cola nuts from Sierra Leone and the proceeds from each bottle of their botanic cola are used to help the people there touched by civil war or disease. Karma Cola and its other drinks - Lemony Lemonade and Gingerella - all contain organic sugar and spices sourced in a way assuring a fair deal for the farmers.
That’s Not All…
We’ll have a La Marzocco GS3 near our bar available for you to test - with an EK43 grinder! The GS3 is a single-group, dual-boiler espresso machine with a saturated grouphead and PID controller technology. It’s a micro version of the classic Strada machine, designed to provide commercial espresso quality in a small-footprint, kitchen format. Can’t wait? Click here to design your own custom GS3!
The London Coffee Festival is the best time of the year to meet and have a chat with the best, most passionate people in the coffee trade from all over the planet. We can’t wait to see you at LCF this year and hope to see you over a drink (or two)!
14 January 2016,
Article on Daily Coffee News at Roast Magazine, find it HERE...
05 January 2016,
Find the original article here.
04 January 2016,
11 December 2015,
10 December 2015,
08 December 2015,
17 November 2015,
17 November 2015,
12 November 2015,
This SATURDAY at the Roxy Bar & Screen.
02 November 2015,
Wimbledon Sewing Machines.
27 October 2015,
21 October 2015,
excerpt from Holly Shackleton at Specialty Food Magazine
13 October 2015,
Tell us a bit about Volcano’s collaboration with SOAK Shakes & Co. to create a cold brew iced coffee.
Roxy and Emma from SOAK Shakes & Co. approached us having tried our cold brew coffee (Volcano Engine Oil) previously at Ben’s House. They explained that they were looking for a premium product which was sustainably and ethically sourced. That’s something which mirrors Volcano’s philosophy also so it was about so we were excited to start working together. Ultimately it is always about taste and the ethics behind what our business is supporting.
In my role as Head of Quality, I became involved in working with the guys to develop the best tasting cold brew possible and to ensure it was delivered consistently.
For me working with SOAK is about giving people a better option that responds to their values and encourages them to embrace better coffee.
So, ‘dairy free would be one example of responding to consumers values?
Absolutely. People are looking for better alternatives for everything. This gives consumers a dairy free and refined sugar free option.
Why Cashew milk specifically?
Cashew milk has a really interesting tactility. It’s mouth coating so is unique because of the mouth feel but also increases the length on the palate.
Tell us about the process for creating the cold brew coffee recipe. What were you looking to achieve and how was it carried out?
Well the ultimate aim was to create a beverage which is balanced and preserves the characteristics of the coffee.
We began with selecting the specific cashew milk to work with. Cashew milk brewed with dates is inherently sweet and also contributes to the viscosity of the drink so we selected a recipe which presented the most balanced perceivable sweetness.We then explored different ratios of Volcano Engine Oil to the cashew milk and concluded that the higher the ratio of cashew milk we could use, while still being accurate to the coffee, the more we would retain the tactility of the cashew milk that makes it so unique. We then moved on to testing various coffees.
As in specific origins or particular flavour profiles may be better suited to the drink?
Exactly. We narrowed the coffee down to a shortlist of three coffees from Brazil, Colombia and Peru respectively. We concluded that the Peru’s flavour profile worked best with the tactility and length of the cashew milk. Furthermore it’s acidic properties intensified the sweetness of the brew and ultimately proved the most balanced drink.
From this point I focused on the actual brew strength of the coffee. Basically we didn’t want to dilute/thin the cashew milk out which meant the volume of coffee we could use was fixed. I then experimented with different levels of ‘concentration’ in the coffee to ensure that the ‘coffee notes’ came through in the final drink but without being overbearing
Where can we drink the SOAK + Volcano Coffee Works Cold Brew?
Selfridges & Co., EAT17 Walthamstow and EAT17 Homerton, Ben's House, Harringay Local Store and The Albany Club. Also supplying exciting tech startups, like Percolate. More stockists to be announced soon..
twitter + Instagram @SOAKshakes
facebook/SOAK Shakes and Co
Photos : Charlie McKay
11 September 2015,
This weekend, September 12th and 13th, Volcano Coffee Works are proud to be sponsoring the annual David Creasey Memorial held at the Herne Hill Velodrome. Now in its 6th year the event celebrates the life and contribution to the cycling community of David Creasey. Volcano are event sponsors for the weekend’s activities as well as main sponsors for the Women’s Omnium series.
Friends of Herne Hill Velodrome will be selling the ‘Souplesse’ blend which has been created specifically for the event. As per tradition, cyclists will also be showering the attendees with gifts from the track including many bags of the exclusive coffee!
We have collaborated with Milltag to create Volcano cycling jerseys, which will also be for sale over the weekend in limited quantities.
Looking forward to a great event!
02 September 2015,
11 August 2015,
BARISTA SKILLS 17 February 2017
CAFFEINE CONTENT IN CASCARA BREW 25 November 2016
VOLCANO OPENS IN BRIXTON 16 November 2016
NEW CROP PERU 04 August 2016
COFFEE VARIETIES CATALOGUE 11 July 2016
TRENDS AT THE COFFEE FEST 20 April 2016
LONDON COFFEE FESTIVAL 19 April 2016
COUNTDOWN BEFORE LCF 05 April 2016
INSPIRING NEW MOVEMENTS 14 January 2016
TWO FRIENDS LEAD THE BEAN SCENE 05 January 2016
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