As we have now entered 2021, leaving behind a year that was difficult and trying for many- we want to look back on some of the things that made us smile or just feel calm and at ease- even if just for a brief moment.
One of those things for us at Bailies Coffee Roasters, was of course, Coffee.
It was a privilege to be able to still provide coffee for all of you, and our wonderful wholesale customers over the past year, particularly at times when it was sometimes the simple pleasures that were getting us all through.
We're looking back on the year at some of our favourite coffee releases voted for by our Bailies staff members, some of whom were working and brewing from home; working in the roastery under new restrictions or brewing up a coffee for the road.
First up, we asked resident Irish Barista Champion 2020, and Bailies Trainer, Sarah Hannaway what was her standout coffee of the year, which, wasn't much of a surprise!
"Well, for me- as you can probably guess- has to be the one I competed with back in May of 2020, Honduras, San Jacinto. Isaura (farmer) is a boss!
Isaura has been working directly alongside Bailies for around four years. She has several farms (San Jacinto, La Florencia) in Honduras that we have worked with every year since then. Her coffees are just incredible, as is her story and the hard work that she puts in to create and maintain these beautiful farms. She is truly inspiring.
It's a wonderful example of how direct relationships are so beneficial and rewarding for us all. I believe the judges on the day felt the passion and enjoyed the coffee and story as much as I did- which was the best outcome imaginable when putting the presentation together for both Isaura and I."
Stephen Houston (Irish Aeropress Champion, Head Roaster) gave us his take on his favourite brew of 2020. For Stephen, his choice of coffee was one that had a personal resonance and some fond memories too:
"I suppose, for me, the Monte Verde Mokka was a standout coffee, especially since I was able to use it before in the Irish Brewers Cup Competition back in 2017, which I then went on to win.
In 2019, Jan and I then travelled to Colombia and were fortunate enough to visit Monte Verde and meet the Gutierrez family who produce this incredible coffee. To see the farm in person adds a entirely new perspective, especially as when we visited the farm they had just carried out extensive 'Pollard' pruning on this lot of coffee (382 trees). This method of pruning in common practice for most crops, usually happening once every 3-4 years. The trees are pruned back to the trunk of the plant to ensure better yielding results the following year. It also means however, the production the following year is a lot less- so we were extremely lucky to have the entirety of this lot here in our roastery, a total of 18kg.
And also- the Mokka's characteristically wee tiny beans are so rare. Being so small, yet so incredibly dense- making them an especially challenging coffee to roast but resulting in an amazing coffee to drink and enjoy.
Similarly, to Stephen, our Head of Quality Control, Green Bean Buyer Jan Komarek also voted for Monte Verde Mokka as his favourite coffee of the year alongside Monte Verde Geisha:
“For me, I would probably vote for the Monte Verde coffees, in particular, the Mokka- which is probably a very obvious answer!”
These were incredibly exciting coffees to be able to share with customers. Particularly as not only were these exclusive coffees, both being rare and sought-after varieties but also being from a farm that we have such close and personal links to as a roastery.
For some of us, lockdown was a chance to really switch up our coffee game; whether that was by trying new brewing methods, and recipes, or even investing in new equipment, our teams working from home quickly found their way into new coffee at home routines.
Sales Account Manager Emma West found her new favourite Bailies coffee and brew method whilst working from home:
“My favourite coffee this year was Guatemala La Bella, made at home on our ever so humble French press! I loved the taste profile of this coffee, with notes of pear and muscovado sugar. I found it a really enjoyable coffee to drink and make using a favourite home brew method.”
Another coffee that proved popular amongst several Bailies staff was Ethiopia, Yabitu Koba. Marketing Assistant Becky Warde of one staff member for whom this coffee was a standout:
“This year, I really loved our Ethiopian Microlot, Yabitu Koba. I remember tasting it for the first time on Fresh Roast Friday in Bailies (pre-lockdown)- it was made as a batch brew for us all to try and I really loved it, as I could taste the notes Apricot and Pomegranate flavours coming through. When we were then working from home from March onwards, I was brewing it on my French Press (which was my only brewing device at home at the start of lockdown) and still really loving it. At the beginning of lockdown I also invested in a Baratza grinder, which really made life a lot easier as well as helping improve my home brews. I have been using it every day for my morning coffees and it’s brilliant.”
Accountant Janey Mitchell was also a fan of Yabitu Koba alongside another of the African coffees we were privileged to roast this year, Rwanda Gasigati.
“I loved Yabitu Koba & Rwanda Gasigati – why- is a good question! I guess, being not the most confident home brewer, I would say I loved these coffees so much because they were the only ones that when I made a V60, I thankfully got it spot on every time haha!"
Alongisde our Roasters and Production staff who were working tirelessly throughout the pandemic, our Engineering team were also working on-call and behind the scenes offering repairs and servicing when it was needed by customers.
For Engineer Andy- his sentiment on his favourite coffee of 2020, was, an oh so sweet tribute to one of his favourite co-workers…
“Christmas blend was my favourite. Why? Because it tasted like a big hug from Stephen Ho Ho Houston ❤️😍.”
Thank you all for supporting us at Bailies Coffee Roasters throughout the past year. We couldn’t have done it without you all. Here’s to 2021 and many more great coffees to share!
Bailies Coffee Roasters is still operating, with our roastery still working with reduced number of staff working the premises during the Covid-19 pandemic, and other staff members working from home.
If you are a customer in need of engineering support, please contact our team on their support line:
028 90 771535 (Ext 2) Mon-Fri 8.30am-5.00pm or alternatively, you can email: [email protected]
If you wish to sign up to our wholesale portal or open an account with us, please contact us: [email protected]
Bailies Coffee Roasters.