Thank you to all our subscribers for your continued custom and support during these times. We wish you and your families all the best. Hopefully, your monthly coffee drop helps bring some light relief and pleasure!
Hot on the heels of a fantastic month from a new featured roaster, we bring you another! This time we are proud to be working with a fantastic Swedish roastery; Muttley and Jack.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Jack and bring you some wonderful insights.
Interview by Kris Thurbin
What drew you to specialty coffee?
Initially, it was just plain curiosity. My curiosity has taken me down a lot of interesting paths over the years and when I started reading blogs about speciality coffee ten or so years ago, I wanted to find out what all the fuss was about. Even from the first few cups my mind was totally blown by the range of sensory experiences one can have with coffee and it was this sensorial adventuring that has kept me hooked.
What was the prompt for starting your own business?
Despite working for most of my adult life in the non-profit sector I’ve always had a lot of business ideas, but the fun parts for me were the creative aspects – the dreaming, visualising, planning. I was less interested in the capitalistic side of business figuring that most businesses make their profits from exploiting people or the planet to some extent. Then, as my interest in coffee was bubbling over and become more than a hobby, I was starting to figure out that working with speciality coffee according to strict ethical principles could be a sustainable way to run a business and still hold on to the values that drove me in the not-for-profit world.
How did you start roasting?
Technically the very first time I roasted coffee was over a camp fire when visiting a coffee farm in Rwanda during my research. Once I had decided that roasting was for me, I started off with some professional roasting courses and then apprenticed myself to some roasters whose business practices I admire and whose coffees I like to drink. Some generous colleagues in Sweden allowed me to use their roasteries to get started and then finally I got my own roastery at the start of 2018.
What are you most proud of in your own business and your interactions?
I’m proud of being a part of the solution when it comes to creating a fairer and more sustainable world. I’m so happy to stand for quality and fair prices in an industry that mostly just pays lip service to those ideals for marketing purposes.
What objectives have you achieved and what more do you want to do?
Currently we’re auditing the climate impact of everything we do – shipping, roasting, packaging, origin trips, postage, deliveries and putting in the work on calculating our exact carbon footprint. It’s time consuming and complicated but it’s a figure that is important to know.
In the meantime we’ve switched over to an electric vehicle for local deliveries and our new coffee bags (which because of covid-19 related delays haven’t arrived at the roastery yet) will be the most environmentally friendly ones on the market.
Once we know our exact climate footprint we will work towards making each bag of coffee sold climate positive – a step beyond co2 compensating.
Great selection for this month, tell us a bit about them…
It’s a little party from East Africa with Rwanda, Burundi and Kenya featuring in the box. Rwanda has a special place in my heart as it was where I first visited coffee in its natural habitat and the coffees from this tiny nation punch well above their weight on the global stage. I’ve chosen a washed bourbon from the Mahembe Washing Station in Western Rwanda that has a really balanced profile and a great texture.
The Burundi coffee was grown less than 200km from the Rwandan but has a totally different profile. It has more acidity and, in many ways, reminds me a lot of how Kenyan coffees were tasting a few years ago. The last coffee is an actual Kenyan – coming from Kirinyaga – a region that produces stellar coffees year after year. I’ve chose the AA from the Thimu factory because of its intense berries and floral profile and even a cheeky hint of rhubarb.
Any brew recommendations or recipes you would like to share?
I always say start with a pour-over: 30g coffee, 500g water, 96 degree (approx.) and a medium grind and adjust as you go. Try to finish the brew between 2:30 and 3:00. Also, give the Kenyan a try in the French Press – it’s not very fashionable but we’ve gotten some crazy good Kenyan brews from it recently.
What are your current plans for the future and have these changed radically due to current times?
I did hope to compete and maybe even become the Swedish Roasting Champion this year after 3 years on the podium with Bronze and Silver, but all competitions have been cancelled for this year. In the meantime, I’ll keep on practicing and getting better.
How did you find the Nordic roast Comp and will you compete again?
Taking part in the Nordic Roaster Competition has been great! Experiencing how many top roasters approach the same competition coffee offered wonderful insights, and it was reassuring to realise that our approach to roasting is appreciated by a roomful of discerning jurors. I’ll definitely compete again – would love to see the competition held in Sweden some time too!
Are there any other competitions you would like to be a part of?
Brewers Cup and Cup Tasters, probably, when competitions start up again.
Any words of wisdom or hope to share with our subscribers at this time
A big thank you to all of you for supporting small roasters and other handcrafters out there. I hope you and your loved ones are managing to stay safe and that you find some joy and mindfulness in a well brewed cup.