At the time I joined the company, one of our most popular blends was a very dark roast which contained a high proportion of a Robusta. This variety of beans were very dry and chippy so roasting them was a challenge.
The blend was popular because of its very powerful aftertaste. A famous film producer would send for it when he stayed at Claridges Hotel. Some customers commented that in the case of a hangover, its effect was to shock you back to reality. I couldn’t comment about that, but I do remember when cupping it with my father commenting on its smoky bite and tarry acidity giving it a kick that was unequalled. My father said I was just about right. To achieve the flavour customers wanted, the beans had to be roasted very fast. The downside to this is that they would become very combustible.
Many times I had seen the manager despatched to the roof to attempt to stop sparks igniting the chimney when the roast had gone too far. On this occasion, as the trainee, it was my turn!
I reached the roof and there was the chimney pot way above me. Around the edge of the roof was a two bar rail to stop one falling over the edge. I would have to climb on the centre bar of the rail, brace myself and let go because I would need both hands to pour the water. There, far below me, was South Molton Street and Oxford Street. People and buses like toys. What if I dropped the bucket? It was unthinkable! But I had to get on with it.
I am not sure just how effective my ministrations were. To my relief, I heard the reassuring bells of the fire brigade who quickly sorted the situation. Customers in the shop said that they wouldn’t have missed the excitement for world, but up on that roof I saw things from a different perspective!
The pattern of our lives seems so different at the moment. But even when times are normal, I think that our palates can ask questions of us as if to challenge us to explore a new perspective. If we drink the same variety relentlessly and over a long period, there can come a time when those finer points we so enjoyed just don’t seem to register in the same way, because our palates have become so used to them.
So my suggestion is to try a different coffee or tea with your usual order from time to time. For example, if you enjoy the smooth mellow flavour of Brazil Santos then why not try our Brazil Daterra Bruzzi with its hint of chocolate. Or if you are a fan of our Creole Blend, the Peru Inambari Very Dark Roast would be worth investigating. I know of customers who were convinced that only medium roasted mild coffees suited their palates, only to discover the delight of darker roasted varieties.
By doing so, not only is there the possibility of a new discovery, but there is every chance that your palate will rediscover, all over again, the delights of your favourite.
And of course, we are here to help. Look out for our monthly recommendations through our “Mr Higgins Recommends” feature. Our blog is also filled with information, including a recent piece on Dark Roast Coffees - Your Questions Answered. You can always find details of all our coffees and teas on our website.
Please enjoy exploring and don’t hesitate to ask our advice.
Take care in these times.