A visit to the roastery…
On the 6th of April, 2016, I was initiated in the ways of the 200° barista. Arriving at an unassuming warehouse was the cozied away roastery; save for a small sign in the window, I only knew I was in the right place from the heady smell of coffee drifting onto the street.
Myself and Mike (husband to Jennifer Walker and with her, co-owner of The Split Screen Coffee Company) were introduced to the Californian coffee-guru Alex and head roaster Mike. They gave us thorough training, with tips from the perfect tamping method to frothing milk to create the perfect taste and texture. About ten practice lattes later, and a lot of frothing washing up liquid in water (which is surprisingly akin to milk when using a steam wand, and saves wasting a cow’s worth of milk in training) Mike and I came on leaps and bounds with our coffee making skills.
200 Degrees have blown up with success from the demand from coffee fanatics. We were told how busy their café is on an average day, the sheer volume of roasting that goes on to keep up with demand, and their plans to open two new shops (one near Nottingham train station – if those works are ever finished!) so they’re pretty much going all out to test, roast, and blend the best coffee in such a relatively small operation.
I’ve been working alongside Jen at Split Screen since September 2015, so pretty much from then, we’ve been trying our best to deliver the best coffee out of the confinements of a ’65 VW Van.
We’ve had a fair few compliments on our coffees, teas, and hot chocolates, but I feel so much more confident with producing high quality beverages consistently now. (Although that may still waver on the cold evenings when we have a huge queue of people all wanting everything so quickly).
There’s so much to be said for the independent businesses trying to make it in cities where so much is franchised out and the heart is often gone. The care and effort that goes from the produce, to preparation, to the customer is so obvious with 200°, and it makes us all the more proud to be using their coffee in the van.
As Alex told us during the training, “there’s not a lot to coffee, but there’s a lot to coffee… it takes so little to either make or break a good cup of coffee – and just a bit of know-how to take something from a good coffee, to an great one”, words to live by.
Since I graduated from university with my degree in English literature, I’ve had very little inclination to do any writing, but having been around people so passionate about something they love and so clearly care about, it’s given me the impetus to start doing some write ups. Here’s hoping I’ll keep up with this!