Category: Coffee Chat

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.

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!