July 07, 2014

I’m sure many of you will have noticed that I’ve been working closely with some new people recently. I thought I’d write something here by way of an introduction. I first met Callum and Fran through Upshot Espresso. Anyhow, you know how these things go, conversations lead to roastery visits, which lead to email exchanges – and all of a sudden you have what can only be described as a coffee lab appearing where your office used to be!

So, stepping back a little, how does all this fit in with the roastery? It’s pretty simple really. We have something pretty unusual at Foundry Coffee Roasters in the form of a very high quality but small capacity coffee roaster. Although the size is not an immediately obvious advantage, it does mean that we’re more easily able to experiment with what we are doing. I’ve always had an absolutely unmovable principle around the fact that I won’t sell any coffee unless it’s as good as it possibly can be and I hope that this is something we have in common with other coffee roasting companies. If you’re roasting large amounts of coffee every time you try out something new (as many roasters are forced to do due to them using larger capacity roasters) then experimentation of this kind quickly becomes very expensive. We are only roasting 3kg of beans at a time so we can run a lot of roasts in pursuit of the perfect profile without worrying too much about the costs involved in getting there.

So, we have the right conditions to adopt an innovative, experimental approach and this is where Obsessivity come in. The thing that impressed me most about Callum and Fran was their knowledge, passion and curiosity around coffee. Although when I met them it was their barista skills that were immediately obvious, it was their approach and respect for coffee that meant I wanted to work with them. The early discussions we had were stimulating in the sense that they kicked off a very organic development of ideas. It suddenly seemed obvious that applying robust and methodical practices to the cupping and profiling process would help push our roasting to the next level.

So, one minute we’re having a lot of fun cupping beans together in the kitchen at our roastery and a few weeks later these guys have cleared out the office and replaced it with a load of brewing equipment, admittedly creating a really beautify workspace in the process! I’ll leave it to them to talk in detail about the equipment, but as you can see from the pictures, it’s a really nice setup and the coffee that we are drinking there now is unbelievable. Obsessivity have been instrumental in developing the profiles for our current crops and the results speak for themselves.

We’ve recently started working together to develop recipes for different brewing methods and this process is really exciting. It’s one thing making amazing coffee in the roastery but the real buzz for me is in working on how we can help people reproduce these results at home or in their cafes and coffee shops.

We now have so much more to offer to our wholesale customers too. We can offer training, help with equipment issues and really help our customers to get the best from our coffee.

Plans for the future are evolving all the time. The never ending search for the next crop is the main focus for me, along with the rigorous approach we now have for ensuring that we get the very best out of each bean through the roasting process. Obsessivity are already able to offer training and consultancy services and we’ll probably be jointly hosting events at the roastery in the fairly near future. We’ve already operated our first ‘pop-up’ at Nether Edge Market and it couldn’t have gone much better for a first outing.

There could be something pretty big on the horizon too, but it’s early days – we’ll let you know as things start to take shape. In the meantime, you can read more about Obsessivity on Twitter here or check out their blog.

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