We've Bean Thinking Blog

We love discovering new blends and roasts.

An everyday cup of joe? It’s anything but.

The pandemic changed many habits. While others tackled fitness, mastered new languages or learned musical instruments, I threw myself into the world of coffee.

Let me start by saying that I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a coffee expert, more an explorer of coffee. I’ve always loved discovering new food and drink tastes. Rumour has it I can remember everywhere I’ve been in the world by what I ate or drank there. True story.

My lockdown adventures in the caffeinated commodity has included tasting experiments, purchasing grinders, brewing adventures, starting a coffee company and opening an artisan coffee house. Admittedly, I might be taking the amateur interest a bit too far. As I’ve been absorbed into the intricacies of coffee’s addictive spell, I’m amazed at how much depth there is to a product that we take for granted. With your help, I’d like to change that, and share my coffee adventures with you, right here.

Artisan coffee, the kind where it’s roasted in small batches by small producers rather than in bulk quantities to be freeze dried and sold in supermarkets, saw a massive boost during the pandemic. Coffee’s coming of age has been a long time in the making, but now there are roasters in most major cities, with new roasteries opening every week.

So how should we start our coffee adventures? Well, you won’t go wrong with latest edition of The Scottish Independent Coffee Guide, out this month and packed with hidden gems that are roasting and serving artisan coffees right on your doorstep.

Take the Cairngorm Leaf & Bean roastery in Grantown on Spey, for instance. It’s a small roastery, part of the growing artisan army, whose Backyard Coffee Blend fair cheered up my Monday morning with its smooth sweetness and dark chocolate notes easing me gently into the day. And, because I love a bit of variety, I’ve also been tucking into Unorthodox Roasters’ Wee Stoater, a single origin coffee from Brazil, roasted to perfection in the Perthshire town of Kinross. This coffee has a lovely body, gentle flavours of chocolate, hazelnut and caramel, and has been my go-to mid-morning latte for the last few days.

Mixing up your morning brew is a good place to start. There’s a coffee out there for everyone and, as I’ve discovered, many more than one. With a whole world to explore, we’d better get the kettle on.

Article First Published in The Menu Magazine on 9/10/21 in The Courier and Press & Journal

Meet the Roasters: Blind Owl Coffee Co.

This small team has been roasting together since 2018, where they began on their 5kg roaster named Ozzy in an old stable block. Since then, they’ve moved to the historic district of St Philips Marsh in central Bristol, with Ozzy in tow to help them carve a small corner for themselves amongst some of the greats in artisan roasting. Their roastery shop has become a small hub enjoyed by coffee enthusiasts and newbies alike and is the ideal place for them to showcase some of the finest flavours from around the world.

Starting with responsibly sourced, top quality coffee beans, they hand roast in small quantities to ensure that every batch is roasted to the highest standard. Relying on their senses of sight, taste, and smell, they consider their method to be as much an art form as it is a science. 

Their team consists of passionate baristas, coffee enthusiasts and roasting nerds, as well as a slightly shy but quite arrogant cat. While they all share a passion for roasting and drinking great coffee (well, the cat is still a bit reluctant), they also share a belief that the sensory experience of a good coffee should be savoured and enjoyed, just like listening to your favourite music. Which is why they name their house blends after some of their favourite songs, helping to remind themselves of this belief and in the hope of sharing that moment with you too.

Share a moment with Blind Owl Coffee. Available to buy here.

Meet the Roasters: Two Dogs Coffee

Fed up with the poor quality, unvaried, unloved coffee being served in cafes and coffee shops, husband and wife duo, John and Sian, took matters into their own hands and started an online small batch coffee roasting business, focusing entirely on quality.

Fast forward four years and the Two Dogs Coffee roasting company (named appropriately after their two terriers Jack & Gelert) has grown significantly; however the focus on quality is still very much at the core of the business’ ethos.

The HQ roastery has been revamped and a mobile van has been converted and added into the mix.

Their two house blends, inspired by their terriers Jack and Gelert, are a favourite amongst all and it is clear to see that John and Sian are not only passionate about coffee but about their dogs too.

And in our opinion this is a fantastic combination.

Along with John and Sian, and all of us at Mhor, if you are passionate about good coffee and dogs then this artisan collection is perfect for you.  Even minus the dog love the coffee is tremendous, so don’t worry if you’re a cat kind of person, you will love it too!

Check their range of artisan coffees here.

The Capo in B: Serving Coffee the Trieste Way

It was well over 20 years ago I first sat down in the famous Caffe degli Specchi in Trieste and ordered myself a coffee to enjoy amid the majestic grandeur that inspired the writing of the likes of James Joyce and Kafka.

What started as a coffee simple order quickly became a personal learning journey in the world’s favourite caffeinated drink. It was clear from the get go that the home of coffee in Europe took coffee a wee bit more seriously than other cities. Home to the massive Italian coffee brand, Illy, Trieste was the main European post for coffee imports for decades, and has taken its influence from Greek, Italian, German and African cultures. So particular is this city about its coffee and how to drink it, that any subsequent visit to Starbucks will make you think that they just don’t offer the customer any choice at all.

Order a capuccino in Trieste, in any coffee house, and you’ll be surprised to receive your drink in an espresso cup, minus the traditional chocolate dusting that we’ve come to expect with our cappuccinos in the UK.

One of our absolute favourite serves (and it’s ALL in the milk, and perhaps a little bit to do with the glass) is the “Capo in B“. This one’s on the menu at Mhor Coffee House in Perth because it reminds us of sunny days in Piazza Unita, watching the world go by, and the glitz and glamour of the Caffe degli Specchi.

The Capo is short for cappuccino, the B is short for Bicchiere (which is Italian for drinking glass) and this extremely popular drink is served, as you might expect from its title, in a small glass, rather than a cup.

The serve is a single espresso with a milk froth on top. Crucially, it’s not to be mistaken for a Caffe Macchiato which has become more popular in the UK over the last few years. The Capo in B is a hybrid of the macchiato and a schiumato. Macchiato is served with a “dash” of steamed milk, whereas Schiumato is a dash of foamy milk. It’s a tiny, discernable difference but, if you’re serious about your coffee, it’s enough of a difference to alter the whole experience.

So popular is this serve that there are annual Capo in B Chamionships where baristas from around the region compete to demonsrate the perfect serve. So, the next time you’re in our Perth Coffee House, order yourself a Capo in B, sit back and enjoy your moment of Italian glamour.

Hario v60 Drip Decanter Coffee Maker

Could the Hario v60 be the best at home coffee maker?

Much like a fine dining experience, if you are looking to tickle your taste buds and really taste your coffee (and we mean really taste your coffee), then don’t look any further than the Hario v60.

The Hario v60 is easy to use, reliable, and inexpensive way to make pour-over coffee. It’s also one of the most popular and recognizable pour-over drippers on the market. Available in plastic, ceramic, glass, and metal variations, and with a few color options. We stock the v60 pour over kit in red, size 02 as well as a range of smaller (01 – perfect for a single cup) and other options but they all work the same, so select a size that fits your needs.

The dripper is a small inverted cone, with a base just wide enough to fit over the top of most mugs. A series of spiraling ribs inside the cone prevent the filter paper from clinging to the side, helping the water flow through the grounds to generate an even coffee flavour extraction.

The bottom of the cone dripper is open for your brewed coffee to drip freely into your mug or pitcher. The dripper has a handle on the side so you can pick it up without scalding any fingers and clean it when you’re finished. And it’s super easy to clean. Bonus.

However what we love about the v60 is that it’s all about great flavour. The v60 creates a clean and ‘bright’ coffee that demonstrates a full range of flavor notes. Trust us, even your favourite coffee will taste more interesting, lighter, more flavourful, once they’ve been given the v60 treatment.

How to use the Hario v60

The v60 allows you to control every variable of the brewing process with absolute precision if that’s what you are looking for. Many v60 geeks use kitchen scales, thermometers, and special kettles for really accurate measurements and to exert maximum control over each step.

But it doesn’t need to be that complicated, so here’s our five simple steps to making a coffee with the v60.

  1. Put a filter in the cone and rinse it with hot water.

2. Grind your coffee to a medium-fine grind and put it into the filter. Or, if you don’t have a grinder, out coffees are all available in coarse grind which would be suitable.

3. Place the dripper over your mug or pitcher.

4. Pour hot water (ideally 190-205 degrees Fahrenheit) over the grounds, but only just enough to get them wet. The recommended coffee-to-water ratio is one or two tablespoons per six ounces of water. However there’s no need to be this scientific – use your eyes, watch the levels of coffee coming through into the decanter and you’ll still get a great result.

5. Once the beans are soaked, wait about 30 seconds. This process is known as the “bloom.” Once the coffee has bloomed, gradually pour hot water over the grounds but be careful not to let the water overflow out of the dripper.

Where can you get one?

The Hario v60 is an affordable and essential piece coffee maker that is ideal if you are really wanting a great cup of coffee and fancy being a little more exploratory (or scientific!) with flavour.

We’ve got a range of Hario kits and accessories to choose from. If you’re just getting started, the v60 Pour Over Kit is recommended, although the Drip Decanter does look gorgeous on your kitchen table.

Happy brewing folks!

Lars & Margo Coffee Roasters at Mhor Coffee, Artisan Coffee Delivered Directly to your Door from the Roaster

Meet the Roasters: Lars & Margo

When a massive change in circumstances arose out of the blue Peter and Mandy, the founders of Lars & Margo chose to view their glass as half full – ever the optimists! Unknowingly entering into the Covid-19 pandemic, whilst newly employed within the NHS, they set the wheels in motion to follow Peter’s dream to set up a Speciality Small Batch Coffee Roastery in their home town of Liskeard, South East Cornwall.

With support from their families, friends and local community, ‘Genevieve’ their beautiful 5kg Toper Roaster, shipped in from Turkey when most UK roads were redundant thanks to lockdown. They bravely and confidently stepped forward into the world of coffee roasting. 

So who are Lars & Margo?

In recent years, knowing he was born in Cornwall, Peter decided to trace his birth family…on doing so he was surprised to discover his Danish heritage and that his original birth name was Lars! Always looking for the next exciting challenge in life, Mandy parted from her former vintage inspired lampshade business, Margo Popped In, and merged her original brand moniker with Lars to form the perfect blend: Lars & Margo.  

About Lars & Margo’s Coffee

In order to obtain the best coffee Lars & Margo work with a network of coffee bean farmers, some of which are co-operatives, located around the world. With a passion for their crops and a desire to innovate and experiment, they continue to create outstanding beans of exceptional quality. They carefully select growers from four continents of the globe; South America, North America, Africa and Asia. Taking these beans and creating incredible hand roasted coffee, ensures quality over quantity every time. They pride themselves in careful consideration of the qualities each regional bean has to offer, comparing aroma, flavour, colour and strength.

Lars & Margo only offer speciality coffee, be it a single origin or in blends, where every component coffee is a speciality bean in its own right.

Ian, one of the founders of Mhor Coffee, has been enjoying Lars & Margo’s signature Ethiopian roast this week. He commented “It’s really great to have Lars & Margo selling their roasts on our artisan marketplace. Discovering fantastic produce like this is exactly why we wanted to create a coffee marketplace that shines a spotlight on smaller artisan coffee roasters. Lars Margos Ethiopian signature blend has been fuelling me this week with its rich, dark chocolate flavours balanced with the fruity tang of raspberry. It’s been fairly perking up my flat whites in the morning.”

Check out the full range of Lars & Margo coffees here.

White Rose Coffee Roasters at Mhor Coffee - Artisan Coffee

Meet the Roasters: White Rose Coffee

White Rose Coffee Roasters started from a passion for coffee excellence thirty years in the making. The head roaster, Robert Cooper, has a long history of experience with commercial coffee equipment and supplying the catering trade.

They roast in Halifax, West Yorkshire and are proud to carry the Made in Yorkshire Mark which is dedicated to highlighting the best in food and drink exclusively produced in the Yorkshire Region.

Their roaster is manufactured by Toper Coffee Roasters in Turkey. It is a traditionally designed drum roaster making use of a gas flame under the drum and also air flow through the drum itself to roast the coffee beans. They roast their coffee in small batches daily. Their TKMSX5 roaster by Toper allows fine tuning of the gas flame height and air flow so they can make sure every roast develops perfectly.

In 2019 they were proud to receive a Great Taste Award Award for their unique espresso blend, Cattle Market Espresso, getting a 1 Star Rating from the judges.

The Mhor Coffee team have enjoyed tasting Robert’s coffees since he joined the platform.

Tricia, a founder of Mhor Coffee commented “There’s nothing we like better than exploring new coffee tastes – it’s exactly why we founded the site in the first place. Robert’s Cattle Market Espresso was a really tasty coffee and really brightened up our weekend roast. A friend of ours ordered the Rwandan Blueberry Candyfloss and hasn’t stopped raving about it since.”

You can check out White Rose Coffee Roasters’s full range on the site here.

The Sttoke Shatterproof Reusable Mug

Where sustainability meets design: The Sttoke Shatterproof Reusable Mug

Sttoke reusable cups might just be the most beautiful reusable mugs to arrive in the UK. Ever.

The Sttoke reusable cup has some really gorgeous features, not least because it’s made out of a shatterproof German-engineered Greblon Ceramic which is scratch- and temperature-resistant. In your hand it feels like a proper cup. Goodbye flimsy plastic reusables, hello swanky ceramic coffee cup. It’s where sustainability and design meet to do good things together.

Sttoke claims that their mugs will keep your drink hot for up to three hours and we have put this to the test – filling up first thing in the morning, and still being able to sip hot coffee at lunchtime. The hardest part? Pleasure delaying the drinking of your coffee for that long. Seriously. All in the name of research, right? The ceramic coating envelopes a double-wall-insulated stainless steel for optimum heat retention. This construction means your Sttoke will maintain its design beauty through your everyday wear and tear.

The “spill-proof,” BPA-free plastic lid is well constructed with a sliding open/close valve for drinking. Far and away the best “drinking spout” on a reusable cup, and easy peasy to open and close.

The mug fits very well in our hands due to its ergonomic design, and its lightweight materials make it easy to carry, even when full.

The Sttoke mugs were also named a Gold Winner at the Good Design Awards, and it is easy to see why when you take a look at the stunning list of colors they’re available in.

Mhor Coffee is currently stocking three of these colours in the 8oz format: Coral Sunset (which we tested and it absolutely looked the business sitting pretty on our desk), Luxe Black which is it’s classic cousin, and Angel White which glistens gorgeously in the sunlight.

Mhor Coffee Meet the Roaster Abe and Co

Meet the Roasters: Abe & Co

As a Speciality Coffee roaster, Abe & Co seasonally source and roast the finest coffee for their customers.

They believe that every cup, whether it be for surviving the morning after the night before, preparing for a tough workout,  pushing through the afternoon dip or enjoying a peaceful moment, should be special.

Founder Guy Levine’s journey from coffee lover to coffee roaster is an unusual story, though. We caught up with him to find out how Abe & Co came to be:

“It all started with my love of cycling. There is a tight link between the cycling and coffee world. Espresso before sessions. Caffeine in sports gels. Coffee companies sponsoring cycling teams of the past. The history is there. So as a keen cyclist I decided to buy an espresso machine neatly 10 years ago. I have never really looked back.”

“My first was a beautiful Rocket Giotto. I had 7 years of great fun with it, learning to keep it clean and replace the parts as they wore out. Being built around the famous e61 brew head meant it was pretty bombproof and easy to take care of and service. However, with a single boiler and no PID, there was quite a lot of flushing and tweaking each shot you pulled, but get it right and the shot sung. I decided on an upgrade.”

“I was looking at the Rocket line of machines (R9 one), the Lamarzocco Mini, and out of nowhere the Decent Espresso DE1. I went with the Decent, which I have to admit was a brave choice. There is no real provenance there, the technology is on the bleeding edge, and compared to the other brands – its looks are polarising. I have to say, I am very impressed. So impressed with the control I now had over my shots, I wanted to move on to roasting. The control from green coffee seed/bean to the final cup appealed. I can get quite obsessed over things!”

“My choice of roaster to start was the Aillio Bullet. But, safe to say, for small-batch, repeatable quality roasts, it sits at the top of its tree. There are upgrades of course, but for now…. this is where it is at. And here we are today. A pretty new roaster but obsessed. I look forward to sharing the journey with you.”

You can order Abe & Co’s range of coffees at Mhor.Coffee

How to make your coffee habit more sustainable

At Mhor Coffee, we believe in sustainability. While the coffee industry has not always been the most sustainable, it has come on leaps and bounds in recent years due to the efforts of consumers and shops alike. But, to take it one step further, we thought we would share some ideas for how to give your spent coffee grounds a second life…

Get Back to Nature

Plant parents rejoice! Coffee grounds can be mixed in with plant soil as a kind of natural fertilizer. It turns out that our leafy loves are just as in need of a caffeine hit as we are! By adding a tablespoon of coffee grinds to the soil, you can give your green pals an extra boost.

Compost that Caffeine

If you have a compost heap or a worm bed, coffee is a really wonderful addition. Just like adding coffee grounds to your household plants, a compost mixture enriched with coffee is amazing for creating lush gardens.

Wear a Mask

We’ve got so used to wearing face masks to stop the spread of COVID-19, but with all that mask wearing, it’s taking its toll on our skin. Self-care has never been more important than it is now so taking a moment to look after yourself is the way to go. Save your used coffee grounds in a bowl or tub and keep them in a cool, dry place. Use a few teaspoons of them with a glug of olive oil and a splodge of honey (or agave syrup!) to make the perfect weekly face and body scrub! Fine grounds are best for this and remember not to scrub your skin too many times a week!

These are just three of the many and varied ways in which coffee can go on and on after you’ve enjoyed your morning mug. We’re all doing our bit for the planet and we hope that these ideas have given you some inspiration on your journey to a more sustainable, coffee-fuelled you!

Happy brewing! You can order our coffees online here.