We started speaking with Pump Street over a year ago, as enormous fans of their approach, their chocolate and their delicious Eccles cakes. The idea of of collaborating was both exciting and, for a plethora of reasons, obvious.
Pump Street is an award-winning bakery in the village of Orford on Suffolk’s Heritage Coast who, after mastering naturally-leavened bread, ventured into chocolate. Importing their beans form high quality single estates and cooperatives around the world, they’re committed to producing some of the UK’s and the world’s finest chocolate. That means sourcing cacao from the best growers at origin.
It’s not difficult to see the parallels.
Our first collaborative bar brings together cocoa beans from Finca Tres Marias in Honduras and our very own Apolo 11 – a coffee from neighbouring Nicaragua grown by John Mark LaRue Palacios on his family farm. In both cases, an enormous amount of work is carried out on the respective farms with regard to growing, harvesting and processing to ensure the raw ingredient each of us ended up working with was of excellent quality.
But before the two were able to combine to become the bar we’re proud to have created, a number of steps still needed to be carried out.
Whilst our green coffee arrives at our Roastery having been graded and sorted at origin, this is something that happens in-house with Pump Street’s cocoa before they then roast the beans in their bread ovens.
Once out of the ovens, the beans are then broken down into husks (the outer portion of the cocoa bean) and the nibs (the segments of the inner cocoa bean and the most basic form of 100% chocolate. The two are then separated during winnowing, a jet of air separating the light, flaky husk from the heavier nibs.
Ground roughly, these nibs were then combined with a small percentage of sugar and cocoa butter and, in this case, ground Apolo 11 Espresso before entering the conching stage. Joanna Brennan, Pump Street’s Co-Founder, explains:
“The conching process takes almost five days for us and is crucial to the quality of the final bars flavour and mouthfeel. It’s a long grinding process that reduces the particle size of both the chocolate and the coffee, as well as releasing unwanted gases”.
Whilst delicious immediately, the finished bars flavour benefits from a further maturation stage, the time allowing the flavours to meld together, and so iron-willed patience was exercised whilst the bar aged for thirty days before tempering and molding.
The final bar – limited to just 300 across our stores and online shop – combines sweet and spicy tasting cocao with the rich, complementary flavours of maple syrup, brown butter and pecans.
It’s decadent, delicious and it was a lot of fun to make.
Pump Street’s Orford Cafe will be serving our Pedregal Espresso to celebrate the collaboration. You can find out how to visit them here. You can purchase our first coffee and chocolate bar from our online shop.