If you know me, you’ll know that I love coffee. Lately, I’ve been going bananas for a one rather cool brand! So when I was invited down for a Two Chimps Coffee Roastery tour I couldn’t say no! After the obligatory cup of drip coffee and taking a billion pictures of their super cool space, I went on a journey of coffee discovery. I couldn’t believe how much there was to learn and how precisely scientific their hand roasting process was. So sit down, grab a large cup of coffee and by the time you finish reading you’ll have a whole new level of appreciation for your humble cup of java.
The Types of Coffee Beans
There are two types of coffee beans – Arabica beans and Robusta beans. The latter are lower quality and don’t taste that nice. Two Chimps only us the highest grade of Arabica beans, meaning that only ten in one hundred can have a defect. If you think about the size of a sack of coffee, that’s not many at all! They use a range of different types of coffee beans from all over the world. Each has its own distinct and unique flavour. The more fruity or acidic coffee beans are grown towards the top of the mountain and those with a more chocolatey taste are grown further down the mountainside. It’s the intense heat of the sun at the top of the mountain and the sudden temperature drop in the evening that gives the coffee a more acidic taste.
Do coffee beans hang on trees?
Not exactly. Coffee beans grow inside coffee cherries on trees. Two Chimps coffee beans are all hand-picked when they are perfectly ripe, ensuring that they are top quality. There are two ways of extracting the bean from the cherry. The first is to leave the cherries out in the sun, until the flesh melts away. Alternatively you can partially remove the flesh and then leave the rest to disappear in the sunshine. The latter is slightly quicker but it gives the beans a different flavour.
What about Decaf?
All coffee beans start out life packed full of caffeine, before being turned into decaf coffee. There are two ways of extracting the caffeine. You can either use chemicals to draw out the caffeine or use a Swiss water process. Two Chimps do the latter. Here the coffee beans are placed in an organic solution which draws out the caffeine using osmosis. Another batch of beans is then poured in and the caffeine from the previous batch draws out the new caffeine, and so on.
The Two Chimps roasting process.
Now here’s where it gets super sciencey. I’m not going to go into the nitty-gritty as that’s super secret but here’s a brief overview of the roasting process.
It’s unique to each batch.
A sample of the beans it taken and measured for moisture content and density, before being added into the snazzy orange roaster. This reading then helps Two Chimps to work out the correct temperature and timing for roasting. Each batch is unique and the process is customised to the readings.
Into the roaster
Two Chimps use a Diedrich roaster which uses infrared to heat up the barrel and evenly roast the beans. The whole process takes fifteen to twenty minutes and it’s done by hand. The secret to a good roast is controlling the temperature via air flow, having a good sniff and carefully monitoring the process. I make it sounds rather simple but there’s way more to it. For example, their recipes are actually graphs!
Grass, Hay and Bread
As the barrel turns and the coffee roasts it starts to smell a little different. It begins with the beans smelling of freshly cut grass, before moving on to the smell of hay and then freshly baked bread. The coffee beans sound like popping corn as they roast too making it a feast for all of the senses. After regular checks to ensure the optimum roast, the beans are let out of the barrel and left to cool. They are then bagged, sealed and ground, if necessary. Et voila – there’s the coffee that we all know and love! To call it a labour of love would be a slight understatement.
So what makes Two Chimps Coffee unique?
Process, knowledge and machinery aside, the beauty of Two Chimps is in the simplicity of the coffee. Coffee tasting is akin to wine tasting – it’s all really complex, it can be confusing and overwhelming too. You won’t find Two Chimps preaching about how to make the perfect pot, or detailing the complex flavours. They’ve simplified the process, by dividing their products up into the time of day and how you make your coffee. If you drink coffee in the morning, opt for one of their morning brews. If you use a cafetière, select the cafetière blend and so on. They’ve even gone one step further and designed a quiz on their award-winning website. It takes a minute to fill it out and it tells you which batch is the one for you. Simple!
It’s time to say goodbye to standing in a shop, staring at a shelf for half an hour before grabbing a blend with a cool name! I mean you don’t even need to leave the house to find good coffee. It’ll come straight through your letter box on a regular basis if you sign up to their subscription service.
So quit monkeying around with your coffee and leave it to those cheeky Two Chimps!