We've Bean Thinking Blog

We love to write about coffee.

Mhor Coffee tops the ‘Indy Best’ list for annual coffee subscriptions

A Perth-based coffee brand that started their business during the first lockdown is celebrating this week after being voted ‘Best Annual Coffee Subscription’ by The Independent.

Mhor Coffee, run by husband and wife team Ian Christie and Tricia Fox, launched their own range of artisan coffees and a digital artisan coffee marketplace in response to the huge surge in demand for good quality at-home coffee options experienced during the pandemic. 

Avid coffee lovers, Tricia and Ian found themselves ordering regularly from a range of artisan coffee producers and spotted a gap in the market for pulling all these specialists under one roof for other coffee lovers to discover and explore.

Reviewers for The Independent’s ‘Indy Best’ praised their e-commerce platform for the wide range of Mhor Coffee’s exclusive roasts, plus the selection of guest and seasonal blends for purchase, all delivered direct to the customer’s door.

Recommending Mhor Coffee’s Annual Subscription as an ideal gift, reviewers were impressed with both the price range and the individual approach to packaging, highlighting the handwritten illustrated card that accompanies each subscription as a particularly welcoming touch.

“We’re very excited to have been voted Best Annual Subscription in the Independent’s Indy Bests, this has just made our whole year and is a lovely way to move forward into 2022,” says Tricia.

“We’re a tiny team, who started business during a pandemic, and we’re now sending coffee and accessories all around the UK every month. Support from the public for small businesses is so very important at the moment and we’re incredibly grateful to all our loyal subscribers who have been very much a part of this success.”

For more information on coffee subscriptions, visit www.mhor.coffee  

In search of perfection….

I’ve been trying to decide if coffee brings out the perfectionist in me, or whether it’s the combination of the pandemic and too many cups of the caffeinated stuff has heightened my anxiety.

You see, there’s a distinctive noise that my Wilfa Svart coffee grinder makes when it runs out of beans, signalling to me that the coffee is ground and ready to brew. My husband, however, likes to load it with beans, and then leave some in it, unground. It’s this haphazard bean abandonment that’s making me a little bit twitchy.

The perfect cup of coffee is all about measurement. Weighing (yes, weighing) the beans to get the perfect serve, honing the grind and measuring the right amount of water into the coffee maker. For perfectionists, this is nirvana. Every. Single. Stage. Must. Be. Right.

Failure in any one of these critical steps can lead to, well, a less than perfect cup of coffee.

But I’ve never been one for following rules so the coffee grinding twitchiness is a new sensation. The Wilfa is not my first grinder. My first was, I’m slightly ashamed to admit, a cheap cylindrical object I bought on Amazon and gifted to the aforementioned husband for Christmas. What’s his is mine, right?

It was fun while it lasted. The grinder, not the husband. The blades eventually carved a considerable groove in the metal-casing. Goodness knows how many tiny shards of tin we’ve consumed as a result. You are duly warned.

When it came to purchasing the next grinder, I was wiser. The beautiful Wilfa Svart came into my life just shortly afterwards with all its lovely burrs, buttons and bean hopper. It grinds for every type of coffee maker, from cafetieres to espresso machines, with some grind finessing options in between. Because, when it comes to making that perfect cup, a quality grind reigns supreme. You can have the very best espresso machine but, with a poor grinder, your brew will ultimately suffer.

For me, grinding is the whole fun of at home coffee making. You get to take the whole bean and grind it down to size, ready for extraction in whatever method you deem necessary. It’s what makes you the coffee chef. Master of the ingredients. Queen of the bean.

And, for those last-minute gift purchasers like myself, if you order quickly, you’ll get it in time for Christmas.

Wilfa Svart Grinder: Available Online, priced from £89

Article First Published in The Menu Magazine on 11/12/21 in The Courier and Press & Journal

Shhhhh. It’s too early to mention the C word…..

I’m sure I won’t be the first to mention this, but please forgive me if I am: Christmas is coming. The coffee world, mindful that the festive season is a challenge with which higher levels of caffeination can greatly assist, is already gearing up for the festivities.

Seasonal blends have hit the shelves in full force this month. Darker roasts, more closely matching winter temperaments as they navigate pitch black mornings and fervent preparations for the “Big Day”.

Festive Mhor was the first seasonal blend out of the roastery for Mhor Coffee in its inaugural year. We were astonished by its popularity, particularly with super busy Mums who were knocking down our door last Christmas Eve, demanding we sell them all remaining bags.

One of my festive favourites is a visit to The Bean Shop in Perth. Their Christmas Blend changes every year but always delivers thanks to Lorna and John Bruce’s combined decades of exceptional coffee roasting knowledge.

Christmas is also to thank for kickstarting my coffee brewing experiments. Until I got my very first Aeropress, courtesy of Santa, I’d been a stalwart of the cafetiere. This strange, plunging contraption, unwrapped on Christmas morning, promised the unthinkable: a cup of coffee without tiny bits of coffee grind floating around in my cup. This was a genuine benefit indeed.

A relatively new brewing invention, the Aeropress has only been around since 2005 and I’ve had mine for at least a decade. It’s such a hit with coffee afficionados that many have their very own Aeropress travel kits. While I prefer to travel light, I do have an Aeropress setup in the office, as well as at home.

When it comes to my daily dose of coffee, it’s all about the taste, and the Aeropress guarantees that in spades. There’s two methods of brewing: traditional and inverted. The latter option is not for the faint hearted and generally prone to accidental spillage, but both methods offer a short period of steeping followed by a tiny degree of pressurised extraction. The result is a rich, strong black coffee, completely grain free and delightfully smooth.

While I do still regularly brew with a cafetiere (easier if it’s coffee for two), when it comes to solo coffee indulgence, the Aeropress is at the very top of my list. Quick to use, easy to clean, and delivers smooth delicious coffee each and every time. I love it.

Article First Published in The Menu Magazine on 14/11/21 in The Courier and Press & Journal

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

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!

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.

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.

How to select the right ground of coffee

Whether you’re looking for the perfect bag of coffee to liven up your dreich Scottish mornings or something special to gift to a loved one, figuring out the right grind for your coffee needs is essential.

So what do we mean by ‘ground’?

Coffee beans are harvested green and then roasted. The beans are roasted whole, and they are sold either as they are or ground up for different methods of coffee-making brewing. There are three main forms of grounds that we sell: whole bean, coarse ground and fine ground.

Whole bean is for the folks who run coffee shops with specialised grinders or the folks who have the means to grind their own coffee beans at home. I’d recommend this option for certified coffee geeks (who own a grinder, of course)! That way they get the exact grind they love for their morning mug.

Coarse ground coffee is best used in things like cafetieres (French press). It’s chunky and feels rougher to the touch than its fine ground sister. French press is one of our favourite ways to make coffee at home. It’s a very affordable, quick and easy. For those who love a bit more of a ritual to their coffee breaks, there’s the v60 or the Chemex,  both of which are best used with coarse ground coffee.

Fine ground coffee has a soft, sandy texture and it’s what’s used in coffee shop espresso machines to brew your favourite beverage. It’s also what you would use in an Aeropress or an at-home espresso machine if you don’t have a grinder.

Before deciding on which grind to settle on, be sure that it matches up with your at-home brewing method. Once you have figured out your ideal coffee, you can start the day with a wee bit more pep in your step!

Happy brewing, friends!

Meet the Inventor of the Aeropress

Fast Company has a nice interview with Aerobie AeroPress inventor, Alan Adler, covering his background briefly as well as some of the back story behind the development of the Aeropress. This is the coffee maker that spawned a legion of coffee geeks (including the team at Mhor Coffee). It’s the cheapest and easiest entry into the world of specialty coffee at home.

“In the case of the AeroPress, I was just experimenting with a better way to make a single serving of coffee. This was in 2004. I had a conversation with Pam Abbott [the wife of Aerobie sales manager Don Abbot] and we were both commiserating about how crummy the result of trying to make one cup of coffee in a drip maker is. It just didn’t really come out very good.

So I took up the challenge of making a better single serving of coffee, never thinking for a moment that it would come to be a product. Eventually, I developed some techniques for making a pretty decent cup of coffee in a filter cone–the kind you just put over a cup. But I was troubled that it took about four minutes to pour through. During that time, a lot of bitterness was being extracted from the coffee grounds. And so I wanted to experiment with a much quicker process, and I got the idea of building what became the AeroPress. By applying air pressure, it took the brew time to below a minute.”

Check out the full feature here and if you haven’t yet tried Aeropress, you can purchase them online here.