Pact Coffee Flavour Callum

 

Pact Coffee Flavour Callum Matt

Pact Coffee Flavour Callum Alasdair

Pact Coffee Flavour Callum Laura

Pact Coffee Flavour Will

Pact Coffee Flavour Will

 

How did we come up with these? Good question.

As part of our DIY, homespun Christmas party we all brought dishes along to make up Christmas dinner and I put together a quiz. The structure of this quiz is now becoming a tradition for Pact Christmas parties (I’ve now done it two years in a row), so I thought I’d share it with you.

A week before the party I emailed everyone asking them to send me answers for each item on the list below. I then used those answers to put together three rounds:

  • Round 1: Family Fortunes (AKA guess the most popular answer)
  • Round 2: True of false (I used the answers to make up true or false questions)
  • Round 3: Who said that?! (That one’s self-explanatory)

Here are the questions:

Please name…  Answers here…
A bad film that stars Tom Hanks
Something that’s like a cucumber but isn’t a cucumber
The best Christmas gift you’ve ever received
The worst Christmas gift you’ve ever received
The rudest word you know
The worst job you’ve ever had
The name of your debut platinum-selling album
Something you might find on Bono’s bedside table
Something you might do with a carp
Something you hate that starts with the letter ‘P’
A piece of advice you’d give your 15 year-old self
Your signature dance move
What you’d call a puppy if you got one for Christmas
Our next coffee flavour description

Obviously it was the last box that inspired the answers above.

Interested in how Will comes up with our actual coffee flavour descriptions? Have a read of this blog post >

Wondering what’s on our current menu? Click here to take a look > 

Got an idea for your own terrible coffee flavour for us not to use in 2015? Pop it in the comment section below.

When coffee is roasted lightly, as ours is, it gives the flavours in the coffee more of a chance to shine. That means that each coffee on our coffee menu can treat you to a whole different taste sensation. Here’s an example:

Pact Coffee Finca la Joyeria

Obviously the way we taste things is really subjective. Flavours can depend on how you brew your coffee, how strong you make it and even the type of water that comes our of your taps. But Will (our Head of Coffee) likes to give you an idea of the flavours you might be able to pick up from our different coffees. He comes up with these descriptions by doing a cupping for all of our coffees…

What is cupping?
‘Cupping’ is a fancy word for the tasting process, which is in reality very simple to do. It needs to be kept simple so it can be done anywhere in the world (from coffee farm to coffee shop) and produce consistent results. All you need is a soup spoon, and to take big loud slurps of coffee. This lets the liquid cover the inside of your entire mouth, including the taste buds and nasal cavity, so you can fully experience the flavour.

What are the key things Will looks at when he’s cupping?
Flavour
It may sound weird but this is not what happens on your tongue (that’s taste) but what happens in the space behind your nose. Flavour is usually delicate and can be things like raspberries, chocolate, hazelnuts or it can even be floral.
Sweetness – The sensation of sweetness on the tongue, which can remind you of lots of different things; white refined sugar, brown sugar, fruit sugars.
Acidity – This actually has nothing to do with the pH of the coffee, but refers to the tangy, fruity, brightness that creates complex tastes in the coffee.
Mouthfeel – Describes the way a coffee would move or dance in your mouth, e.g. coating, juicy, tea-like, heavy, round, light.

Where does Will go from there?
Let’s say the flavours Will gets are of dark chocolate and cherry and he finds the acidity is grape-like and the sweetness syrupy. He’ll think of something that encapsulates all those things, in this case, a chocolate cherry liqueur. It’s not that the coffee tastes exactly like a chocolate cherry liqueur, or that it’s been flavoured with it even. Will just hopes that by suggesting that taste sensation, he’ll help you tap into what might be going on on your tongue…

What do you think?
We’ve asked quite a few customers what they think of the way we put together our flavour notes and they seem pretty popular, if allusive at times. But if you have any thoughts or feedback on how we do what we do, please do feel free to leave a comment below…

Dear Brendan Pact Coffee

Hi Brendan,

While I’m really into Pact Coffee, I’m slightly concerned that we view our relationship in different ways. Pact wants to hook up every week, but I’m a little more relaxed about our arrangement. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a commitment-phobe and I really like the coffee – I’m just quite casual about my plans from one week to the next. Are we totally incompatible or is there a sensitive way I can let Pact know that I’d like to take things a little more slowly?

Sincerely,
Luke Wild Oats, Sheffield

Pact Coffee Beans

Hi Luke,

I’m glad you’re being honest with yourself – and with Pact – about your expectations. If you probe a little deeper, I suspect you’ll find that Pact is totally open to a more casual relationship.

In the ‘Your coffee’ section of your Account Page you’ll see details of your next date (or delivery) and a little link that says ‘Change shipping date’. By clicking on this you’ll be able to push your next rendezvous back a bit. Alternatively, by clicking on ‘Delivery Preferences’ you could arrange for us to deliver every two weeks rather than every single week.

I hope that’s helpful and that you find this flexible arrangement both satisfying and enjoyable.

Brendan

Pssst. Brendan’s always here to resolve your coffee quandaries, just email brendan@pactcoffee.com or tweet @pactcoffee

As seen in the November issue of our free coffee magazine The Perc.

Meet Aissatou. She’s French. She’s got an incredible palette. And – as of this month – she’s going to be roasting your coffee. It’s time to learn more about the lady who’s bringing the heat…

Pact Coffee Roaster

Aissatou (or Aissa as she’s known in these parts) has actually been working in the Pact Packing Room since April. Then in summer we decided we wanted to start roasting our own coffee, rather than outsourcing it to the lovely Peter, who’s based all the way out in Hereford. Along with a fair few other applicants, Aissa stepped up to take part in our slightly off-the-wall interviewing process.

What made you want the job in the first place?
I love coffee and I liked the sound of this job because it’s new and challenging. I always like to push myself into new things, it keeps life interesting. In the UK now there are only something like 150 trained coffee roasters, it’s not really a job that people think of as a job.

What was the interview like?
It wasn’t a normal interview. Will (Head of Coffee) and Laura (Head of HR) weren’t looking for someone with coffee roasting experience. They wanted someone with an interest in food and flavours who could then be trained up. So for the first round I was asked to prepare something delicious to share with them.

What did you make?
I did verrine – little shot glasses – filled with pesto, sundried tomatoes and cherry tomatoes with a goats cheese cream on top. Then I did miniature tarts; homemade shortcrust pastry with courgette, mint and goats cheese (I’m really into goats cheese). I was also asked weird questions. One I remember was ‘If you had to fight against a duck the size of a rhino or 50 rhino the size of ducks, which would you fight?’ I think they were trying to make me feel relaxed.

Did you choose the giant duck or the tiny rhinos?
One giant duck. I learned about the danger of lots of small angry creatures from that scene in Jurassic Park.

And the second interview?
It involved actual coffee this time. Will did a coffee tasting where I could ask all the questions I wanted to. It was quite intimidating trying to work out what I could taste, and I thought they’d be harder on me since I work here already, but it turned out to match up to what Will could taste.

What do you think made you stand out?
I asked lots of questions. I thought that might make them think I didn’t know anything but instead Will said they liked that I was interested. I find the whole thing really fascinating.

What training have you had since getting the job?
Loads! Before starting I didn’t even know that pre-roasted beans were green. I’ve spent three weeks with Peter getting to grips with roasting. How to profile coffee. Getting experience with the equipment. Of course, it’s a really long process that takes years to truly master, tasting everything you roast as you go. With every roast you get better and better but I’ve got a good foundation now thanks to Peter.

What’s the most daunting thing about roasting coffee for Pact?
I didn’t know it was that technical before my training. One degree different can make a huge difference to the taste of the coffee. When you think of the number of orders we do now I can’t afford to get it wrong and I’d feel horrible about wasting such amazing coffee with a bad roast. That would be a tragedy.

Tell us about the roaster you’ll be using…
It’s twice the size of Peter’s, which I learned on so I’ve done a lot of trial runs. I talk to it in French and I think it’s male but we’re not on first name terms yet. Given the amount of time we’re going to be spending together it won’t be long…

What do you enjoy about roasting coffee?
The product. This is incredible coffee. I also love the fact that I can only get better with time. You can never get bored when you’re learning and I don’t like being bored in my life. Maybe it’s my Frenchness…

Jurassic Park Pact Coffee

Jurassic Park, movie knowledge that helped Aissa nail her interview.

As seen in the December issue of our free coffee magazine The Perc. 

On the face of it, the decision for a coffee company to work with coffee-growers directly seems like an obvious one. But here at Pact we were unable to do this when we were small. To put it simply, we weren’t selling enough coffee to cover the cost of a plane ticket, for someone to go out there and shop for coffee.

However things have changed since we launched and Will (our Head of Coffee) has now been on coffee-sourcing missions to both Guatemala and Brazil. By the end of 2015 we hope to have imported 50 different coffees for our Coffee Menu, all bought directly from farmers all over the coffee-growing world. To give you an idea of what those farmers are like, here’s a little Q&A with two of our guys out in Guatemala…

Chalabal Estrella

Farm: Chalabal Estrella.
Owner: Alfredo Amenábar
Location: Acatenango, Guatemala

Did you buy the farm?
No, it’s belonged to my family since 1930.

What about your farm are you most proud of?
The quality of the coffee and that 30 per cent of our farm is natural reserve.

Tell us something about your farm that you could only know by working there…
There’s a lot of peace, watching the Acatenango Volcano erupt under the sky full of stars.

Who are the biggest characters on your farm?
The Saints of Chalabal, these “saints” are actually two big rocks that are at the top of a rocky mountain, and when you are at the farm they look like two people that are watching over our farm.

What do you and your workers usually eat for lunch?
Tortillas and black beans.

What’s the highlight of your day?
We are very happy with our little plantation of avocados that we started planting today.

What do you do once you’ve finished work for the day?
Play soccer with the workers and making little gardens.

What’s your favourite sports team?
The soccer team of Chalabal Estrella farm.

Where’s your favourite place to relax on the farm?
The hallway of the house, where you can watch the Acatenango Volcano.

Pact Coffee Beans

Farm : San Julian
Owner: Inversiones Mimosa S.A.
Location: Palencia, Guatemala

What’s the appeal of working with Pact?
Starting a relationship with Pact, England, wow. Our coffee going to Europe has been one of our dreams. You just made it happen. And for that we are very thankful to you.

What about your farm are you most proud of?
To have four consecutive Cup of Excellence awards, 2009-2012. That is a miracle, and I’m proud of that, very proud.

What do you and your workers usually eat for lunch?
For lunch we eat different kinds of meals. Some of our employees love to drink Coca Cola, others prefer drinking fresh milk out of the cow. Well, that is a different experience. Me personally I pass. But our people love it.

What’s the biggest ambition for your farm?
To make you laugh a little bit, well I would love to have a  coffee commercial for the PGA Tour. Can you imagine to have a commercial for our farm, our coffee? Very few have achieved this, but is possible. Everything is possible.

What’s your favourite sports team?
NFL my sports team is the Tampa Buccaneers. In NBA I like Miami Heat. In PGA Golf I enjoy watching Bubba Watson, great guy.

Where’s your favourite place to relax on the farm?
At the end of the day I love to go to the upper part of the farm. 6,280 feet above sea level. Especially in November. The view is spectacular. We can see the three volcanoes and the city lights.

As seen in the November issue of our free coffee magazine The Perc. 

In our festive December edition of The Perc. (our free coffee magazine), we asked our customers to show their generous side. As well as popping a DIY craft robin in there, we also included a snazzy ribbon and tag to be tacked onto a mug of Pact Coffee. The idea was to share your Pact with someone deserving…

As you can see, lots of people shared their efforts with us via the tag #pactfestivemug and were entered into our competition to win one of 30 ecoffee cups (running until the end of December 2014). You can take a look at them here or use the link below to make your own:

Here’s your own printable version of our Christmas Coffee Accessories >

Pact Coffee Christmas mug MrsB

Pact Coffee Christmas mug Maria

Pact Coffee Christmas mug Clarkson

(Check out the Pact Robin in the middle of this merry scene!)

In our November edition of The Perc. (our free coffee magazine), the star of the show was arguably the Pact Stag.

This majestic craft task involved a small amount of cutting and sticking. And then a large amount of sharing, tweeting and general craft-related showing off. You can see a few fine examples of the stag in action below, thanks to everyone who shared theirs via #pactstag

Fancy making your own?
You can do that with this printable Pact Stag PDF

Pact Stag McComb

Pact Stag erianook

Pact Stag Lorna