Home Blog From seed to serve: how we create our signature blend

From seed to serve: how we create our signature blend

We want everyone to love Northern Espresso – from coffee aficionados to casual coffee drinkers. That’s why we aim for a smooth and easy drinking taste profile for our day-to-day clients, while also making sure our blend is interesting enough to offer something a little different for those that are a little more ‘into’ their coffee.

The way that we select beans for our Northern Espresso blend means that we have a little room to manoeuvre in terms of coffee bean selection. However, for a consistent approach that means each cup is as delicious as the last, there are certain things that we always keep in mind and certain criteria we aim to meet with every batch.

Here’s what we look for in our espresso:

  • Sweetness
  • Bright acidity
  • Balanced and well-rounded
  • Complex and not one-dimensional
  • Interesting and with plenty of character

When combined with milk, we want our coffee to:

  • Cut through the milk
  • Be easy drinking and smooth
  • Have its acidity balanced with the milk

For our Northern Espresso, we usually blend two different coffees. The first is the base, which creates the foundation of the blend. This would normally be something balanced with sweet, chocolate tasting notes. The second component of the blend consists of something a bit more interesting, with brighter, fruitier tasting notes.

The harvesting process

When we import coffee beans, they’ve already been through a fairly long journey since they were first planted. Coffee seeds are usually planted in large, shaded areas during a wet season, so that the surrounding soil remains moist. A newly planted coffee tree can take up to four years to bear fruit. The fruit is referred to as a coffee cherry and turns a deep red shade when it’s ripe.

Once the cherries are ripe, they are picked and processed. Processing can take place in a couple of different ways, but ultimately the process dries the cherry and separates the fleshy fruit from the bean coffee itself.

How we choose our coffee beans

As coffee is technically a fruit, the availability of it depends largely on the season. Luckily, coffee farms across the world have different harvest times, and many produce a second, smaller harvest within the same year. This means we’re able to source coffee beans for Northern Espresso all year around.

To choose the coffee beans we buy that eventually go into our signature blend, we routinely order samples from our preferred coffee importers. We then cup (or taste) them, along with everyone in the team. Samples are then chosen for Northern Espresso based on their flavour profile. Our coffee samples go through different rounds of cupping in order to find the best pairing of two coffees for the blend.

It’s important for us when buying coffee to be able to trace it back to the source, so we look for a high level of transparency with our importers. The more information we can get on the source of our coffee, the better. Generally speaking, the more traceable a coffee is the better the chance that it is a high-quality product and that it was traded at a sustainable price. This traceability also provides key information for us that helps us decide how to approach the roasting and the brewing – ultimately resulting in a better cup of coffee for our customers.

The roasting process

After we’ve sourced our beans, they arrive to The Barista HQ green and unroasted, ready to enter the roasting stage. Each coffee has its own roast profile which will be developed through trial roasts, as well as the team’s prior experience and knowledge. Our coffee beans are roasted in our micro roaster at around 180°C to 200°C and will generally take around 8 to 10 minutes for the perfect roast.

Once our coffee beans have been freshly roasted, we rest them for around 10 days to let them reach their optimum flavour. Then, the blend is packed up ready to join us at events, conferences and exhibitions around the country (and beyond!).

We hope you enjoyed finding out a little more about how we create our signature blend. If you’ve got an event coming up and want to make a lasting impression, let’s talk. We can whip up coffee, as well as smoothies and juices, for your exhibitions, launches, conferences and more.

2 September 2022 - The Barista


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