Category Archives: Masterclasses

10 Tips for Great Coffee

Do you know how to brew a great cup of coffee?

Of course you do!

How do we know that? Well, you’re currently reading the Taylors Coffee blog… which tells us that you’re browsing the Taylors Coffee website… which tells us that you’re interested in Taylors Coffee… which tells us that you have great taste.

In fact, you’re precisely the kind of person who would know how to make a cracking cup of coffee. We wouldn’t insult you by suggesting otherwise.

But have you ever wondered about the fine details? Ever pondered about the perfect brewing temperature, or the golden ratio of coffee grounds to water. Ever brewed it for a little bit longer to make a stronger coffee, then wondered if you might be missing out on an even tastier tactic?

Then have we got the video for you. With the help of Jamie and Jamie from our coffee team (all the best coffee companies have two Jamies) here are 10 quick tips for great coffee.

And you can view more of our lovely videos right here.

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Ever tried an AeroPress?

A few years ago, we fell in love with The AeroPress – a seriously innovative device for brewing coffee.

Invented in 2005, it uses pressure to make a clean, flavour-packed cup in a seriously short time. And it’s a versatile little thing, which can make espresso-strength coffee or a longer, cafetière-style coffee, depending on how you use it.

Our coffee buyer Emily prefers the latter, and if you watch the video above you can see how she does it.

But if you take the plunge and buy one, there are a whole hosts of techniques to try, all of which all have an effect on the flavour. A great place to start is by checking out the winning recipes from The World Aeropress Championships.

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Coffee and cocktails

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Coffee is great. Cocktails are great. But which should you drink on a Friday night?

Obviously, we’d say coffee (we’re slightly biased) but, thanks to some talented friends, we’ve discovered a way to have both at the same time.

At Mojo, a bar just down the road from us in Leeds, they know their way around a cocktail. And they’ve brewed up a couple of cracking drinks which take classic cocktail recipes and add a delightful caffeinated twist.

One of them features coffee, and the other features green tea by our sister brand, Taylors of Harrogate. Read on for the recipes.

Hot Lava Java Martini (pictured above)

Uses strong, over-brewed coffee – the extra bitterness works well with the sweetness of the pisco and crème de cacao.

Fill a cafetière ⅓ full with Hot Lava Java.
Fill to top with boiled (not boiling) water.
Leave for 5-10 minutes, and press.
Then take:

1 part ABA Pisco (or vodka)
1 part White Cacao liqueur
3 parts Hot Lava Java

Add to a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice, shake, then strain into a martini glass.

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Green Tea and Ginger Mojito

First off, make a simple syrup: add boiling water to white sugar (1:1 ratio by volume) and stir well to dissolve.

Then turn it into a green tea syrup – essentially a very sweet, over-brewed green tea – by adding Taylors of Harrogate Green Tea with Lemon tea bags. Wait a few minutes for it to cool a little, then use 2 bags per litre of syrup and leave for around 10 minutes.

Then add the following to a highball glass:

1 ½ parts Havana Club Rum
½ part Kings Ginger Liqueur
2 lime wedges
2 Mint Sprigs
¾ Green Tea Syrup
¾ fresh lime juice

‘Muddle’ in the bottom of the glass (that’s basically mixing and roughly squashing it – a wooden muddler is perfect, but you could use a wooden spoon). Add lots and lots of crushed ice, then top up with soda.

More from Mojo: Twitter / Facebook

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Top of the blogs

Last month, we hosted a visit from a dozen food and lifestyle bloggers.

They took part in a coffee masterclass, learning how it’s grown and produced, tasting single origin and blended coffees and touring our factory.

And we’re delighted to report that there are now some brilliant blog posts about the day.

Becky from Baby Budgeting wrote: “I love that despite being seen as a luxury brand Taylors of Harrogate are not at all snooty about their coffee. They want everyone to enjoy it and feel confident making it.”

The tasting went down well with Amanda from the Ana Mum Diary, who wrote: “Once we were given the opportunity to ‘slurp’ (kinda like wine tasting but from a spoon) with the expert Emily, I really started to get it.”

Kate from The Five Fs agreed: “The difference in taste was amazing – some of the coffees actually had a citrussy taste to them that you’d never expect coffee to have.”

And it sounded like Kellie from Big Fashionista had a fantastic time: “I am now a huge fan, not only of their coffee, which I loved already, but the brand as a whole.

“A family-run company with a great product and staff that are quite rightly proud of themselves, from the lovely ladies on reception to the wonderful canteen staff who made us lunch, everyone was happy to go the extra mile and with a smile on their face at the same time.

“If I ever move to Harrogate, I want to work at Taylors (and drink the coffee non-stop).”

And there are also some great write-ups at Feeding Boys and a Fire Fighter, Vegemite Vix and Utterly Scrummy.

A big thanks once again to all our bloggers. We’re glad they enjoyed their visit as much as we did.

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Invasion of the Coffee Bloggers!

Yesterday, a dozen of some of the UK’s most respected food, drink and lifestyle bloggers descended on our factory in Harrogate for a coffee masterclass. They were invited, actually. We wanted to meet them, have a chat over coffee and cake and see what they thought of our new Coffee Selections.

Jen, Sally, Michelle, Katie, Kate, Becky, Amanda, Helen, Chris, Vicki, Jai’me and Kellie arrived just in time for lunch. After getting to know each other and exchanging blog addresses and twitter handles it was straight over to Emily one of our expert coffee buyers to hopefully enhance their already impressive knowledge of coffee.

Emily began by giving an introduction to coffee: how it’s grown, harvested, processed and shipped to us here in Harrogate. All the while, the bloggers were diligently taking notes, asking some excellent questions, tweeting, filming and taking shots for their blogs’ avid followers with their smartphones and tablets.

Next, the serious business of tasting caused quite a stir. Few of them could quite emulate Emily’s slurping and spitting – well, it takes years to perfect. In fact, there seemed to be more giggles and snorts than anything else as they tasted single origin coffees from all over the world – South America and Africa in particular. It was really interesting to see just how much individual tastes and opinions differed.

Now, with their taste buds loosened up nicely, Emily moved our esteemed bloggers on to discover the flavours of all eight blends that make up our new Coffee Selections. There were two Coffee Selections to taste, each containing four different blends. The Rich Roast contains Rich Italian, Hot Lava Java, Café Brasilia and After Dark. The Medium Roast features our Lazy Sunday, Take It Easy, Fairtrade Organic and Café Imperial blends. These seemed to get a great reaction and each blogger had their own particular favourites. We could see that the bloggers were thinking how anyone at home could actually enjoy a similar tasting experience to them by trying both Coffee Selections for themselves.

“I do like good coffee. I think it’s one of those luxuries in life that don’t cost too much but can really, really make you happy. I’m very interested to find out about what makes this such a good brand” said enthused blogger Becky Goddard-Hill.

After discussing some of the finer points of coffee growing and probing our ethical credentials, they also got a rare peep at our the coffee we grow here on-site. Then, in flattering white coats and hair nets, they were whisked away for a fascinating tour of our factory including seeing our huge coffee roaster first hand and the secret to how we keep the coffee in our packs so incredibly fresh.

If you’d like an easy and convenient way to try our most popular medium and rich coffee blends, our Coffee Selections are the perfect way to expand your coffee repertoire. And if you’d like to see what each blogger thought of their visit here, please do visit their blogs by clicking their names above.

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Two’s company… 190′s a crowd

Phew! We’re back from a hugely enjoyable – and very busy – Cheltenham Literature Festival.

We were a principal supporter this year, which meant we kept visitors perked up in the cafes, sponsored a whole host of events, and even hosted one of our own.

The Taylors Coffee Masterclass took place on Saturday in front of a sell-out crowd.

“It was all about how farmers make great coffee, then how we make great coffee, and how you the public can make great coffee too,” said our expert, and host, Rick Tingley.

The session lasted for an hour in the festival’s stunning Spiegeltent – though Rick wasn’t quite prepared for just how popular it would be. “At 11.20am we opened the doors and about 190 people flowed in. I was quite nervous,” he said.

He talked to an enthusiastic crowd of coffee-lovers through the beans’ path from bush to cup, then picked out a bunch of coffees from around the world and set about tasting them, explaining the flavours as he went.

If you’ve ever seen a professional taster, you’ll recognise the loud slurp that accompanies each spoonful. “We had to turn the volume down,” he said. “The slurping nearly blew the microphone!”

Next, some volunteer tasters joined Rick on stage, before he moved on to the art of blending – how we pick out the right flavours for different occasions (like After Dark, or a Lazy Sunday) then balance them into a great-tasting blend.

The session ended with a Q&A and a sea of hands from a very knowledgeable audience. We’ll be posting some of the best questions, along with Rick’s answers, on our Facebook page so look out for them coming soon…

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Something for the weekend?

The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival is in full swing. Running from October 4 – 15, this famous annual event attracts the biggest names in books, with this year’s line-up including the likes of JK Rowling, Sir Terry Pratchett and Kofi Annan.

As one of the event’s principal supporters, we’re helping to keep visitors perked up at the festival’s cafes, and we’re also sponsoring a whole host of events.

Each one is partnered with one of our coffees – so Kirstie Allsopp is talking crafts with the help of Lazy Sunday, Hot Lava Java is sponsoring the tirelessly energetic David Walliams and Nigella Lawson’s new Italian cookbook, Nigellissima, is matched with Rich Italian.

And we’re also hosting our own event. This Saturday we’ll be holding a Taylors Coffee Masterclass which, we’re pretty excited to say, has already sold out.

Held in the festival’s Spiegeltent on Saturday, it’ll see our our expert, Rick Tingley (one of the few people in the UK with the world-class Q-Grader qualification) talking through the way beans from different origins can be used to create different blends, and revealing plenty more fascinating coffee secrets.

If you’re down there, let us know. And if you’re not, post a coffee question below and we’ll do our best to answer – it’ll be like you’re there (almost)!

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How To Keep Your Coffee’s Character

Freshness is the key to coffee. Like bread, once roasted coffee is exposed to oxygen, it starts to slowly go stale, losing its flavour and aroma. So unless you like your coffee lifeless, cardboard-like and papery, do read on.

We do everything we can at Taylors to keep coffee fresh, including grinding beans straight into packs that are then flushed with nitrogen to drive out as much of the oxygen as possible. Each pack even has a special valve to keep the freshness in and oxygen out. But what happens once you’ve opened a pack?

Different people have different ideas on the best way to store coffee – and we’ve always advised that its best kept in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. But, when we received a tweet from a customer who queried this advice, we decided to put it to the test.

Taking several packs of our best-selling Rich Italian from the same batch, we put the contents of one pack in a plastic airtight container, another in a caddy, and the other we simply sealed with tape. We did this three times, placing one set in a cool dark cupboard, one set in a fridge and another set in a freezer.

Two weeks later, our coffee buyers blind tasted the lot to compare their aroma and flavour with a freshly opened pack from the same batch. The difference was pretty startling.

All three that were stored in the cupboard were by far the flattest in flavour and had the weakest aroma. In fact, the poor aroma of the coffee grounds alone made it incredibly easy to pick them out before even tasting them. While the coffees stored in the fridge or freezer had kept more of their freshness and character, it was difficult to tell them apart. As expected, the unopened bag was the most characterful and freshest of all.

Two weeks later, after four weeks of storage, we tasted them again. The cupboard-stored batch were unsurprisingly all completely stale, but the coffees from the freezer were considerably fresher than the fridge-stored coffees, and the closest to the freshness of a newly opened fresh pack. The airtight plastic container also proved best for storing coffee in.

Finally, after a total of six weeks, we took the last set of packs out of the freezer and these were a little flat in aroma and taste.

In short then, our experts found that the best place to store coffee depends on how long a pack usually lasts you. If you are going to drink it within 2 weeks, the fridge or freezer are equally good. Any longer, and the freezer’s best. But whatever you do, always store coffee in an airtight container if possible – and never in a cupboard unless you have no choice.

Of course, for the fullest flavour, aroma and character of any coffee, we recommend you drink it as soon as possible after opening the bag. And with a coffee as delicious as Rich Italian, it’s unlikely to hang about for long.

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