AMBER is a new project we’ve been working on in collaboration with our friends at Square Root SodaWorks.
As a quality focussed roaster it’s inevitable that you create roasted coffee stock that you aren’t willing to sell to customers.
It’s all part of Research and Development, and Quality Control.
For instance, when we want to release a new coffee into our range, we carry out test roasts. We learn as much as we can about the green beans by sample roasting, cupping and tasting, taking density, moisture and water activity readings, colortrack readings and comparing it with our existing coffees and their respective roast recipes. This puts us in good stead to write a plan for the initial roast; the initial gas setting and subsequent gas changes, the temperature at which the batch is charged and the target for end time and for temperature — all provide a guide on how to approach the roast.
However, every coffee behaves differently in the roaster.
Adapting to how the batch of coffee takes on heat and develops momentum up to and through first crack is part of the skill of a roaster. We rest the coffee and taste it time and time again to understand what flavours we're able to highlight and bring out with the roast approach. As we gather more data through roasting more batches of the same coffee, we’re able to tweak that initial recipe to ensure that we’re only ever sending coffee with a complete and round flavour profile out to our customers.
We’ve never wanted to sell either test roasts or blown batches. They simply do not reach our quality criteria. Instead, we’ll use them when training our baristas (particularly when it comes to practicing latte art), to season new coffee burrs or we simply donate it. In many instances though the coffee is still very good and totally enjoyable.
But in AMBER, we’ve found the perfect solution.
By first flash heating the ground coffee before slackening down with cold water, we’ve found that we’re able to achieve a wonderfully round extraction whilst not driving off too much aroma. Avoiding the pitfalls of cold brew such as a stale, oxidised flavour, and the issue of flat flavours that come with hot brewed coffee left to go cold, we’re able to get a nice flavour in the brewed coffee which we can then modify and enhance with the addition of a few ingredients.
Sugar in coffee is considered taboo in some circles, but in cold drinks a little sugar can go a long way to enhancing overall flavour. It increases body and length and helps to balance and round out the edges of an incomplete flavour profile. Lemon juice then marries with the sugar, adds a refreshing bite and lowers the pH of the drink, meaning we gain a twofold benefit of a more intense flavour.
Lemongrass was the last to join the party. We wanted to add something to create more aromatic complexity and bolster AMBER's natural sweetness. Cold drinks without alcohol don’t tend to be intense in aroma, and so by adding a very fragrant and delicate, complementary flavour we lift out a little more of the coffee aroma.
And then we carbonate. Bubbles make everything more fun, but they also make the drink that bit crisper and brighter.
Available in all of our coffeebars and in our online shop, AMBER is refreshing straight from the fridge or over ice. Complex and totally more-ish, it also works superbly as a mixer as well as a drink in its own right. We’ve been enjoying it with aperol and grapefruit bitters, or with a floral gin and a slice of orange.
If you want to stock AMBER in your café or buy it in bulk for your office then do get in touch.