It doesn’t take much research or watching of the news to realise there is a change afoot. People are wanting to know where their products are coming from and they want to know the people they are buying from. Businesses with a good knack for interacting with their customers on social media or in more traditional methods seem to be making gains in ways that larger, more austere and rigid companies are not. Flexibility and a human face seems to be what is generating the most interest and excitement.
I find this an excellent prospect as a consumer and as a small business owner. Knowing the makers is wonderful.
With all this in mind I have decided to make a change in my coffee supplier. For those of you who know us, we have been with 200 degrees for the past 3 years and have nothing but praise and admiration for them. They have always been hugely supportive of what we do and I will miss the people and service they offer (not to mention their wonderful coffee). But, in the spirit of keeping things small and being able to walk into the roasting house whenever I want to (I love being able to go into the roastery and have a nosy) I have decided to start a new coffee relationship with the lovely people at Stewarts of Trent Bridge. Stewarts is named after Nottingham’s coffee visionary Stewart Falconer, who hand roasting coffee in the 80’s, before the word “artisan” even existed. They are still using the original roaster he bought for the job all those years ago which is a joy to watch – easily done by peering through the glass windows of Sneinton Market.
So far we have had a lot of love for our coffee and I hope this continues. We still feel there is no excuse for bad coffee anywhere anymore.
Quick-fire Aeropress Review
I bought an Aeropress and I love it. If you are thinking of trying out this new (i.e. not ancient) brewing method here are the positives and a few, slight, minor, negatives.
it makes a good cup of coffee,
there is no grit or grinds in that afore mentioned good cup of coffee,
it’s easy (once you’ve worked out what all the separate parts do) to make a good cup of coffee and you can experiment with different ways and types,
good brewing method on-the-go and when travelling/camping,
it’s easy to clean,
there are a lot of parts and they don’t stack in a tidy way,
Forget what you think you know about car boot sales. All traders are hand-picked by the Hemingway team and you will find some of the tastiest food around all served out of vintage vehicles. I was tempted to annihilate your inbox with atmospheric photos from The Classic Car Boot’s Facebook account (photo credit to Mykola Romanovsky http://www.romanovsky.photography) from last month but encourage you to visit and peruse at your leisure. It is a real feast for the eyes and will have you translating each face for meaning and looking for hidden treasures amongst the classic cars and London brick.
Of course we were there serving up the hot coffees for all the cold punters as it was a chilly weekend in London Town but that didn’t stop the cars, dancing, cycling and amazing vintage outfits from coming out of the woodwork.
Always a pleasure and looking forward to next year.
The Craft of Sourdough
I’ve developed a liking for sourdough bread and was keen to find out the science and learn some tips about how to bake the best loaf. So, I booked myself on the half day course at the wonderful School of Artisan Food https://www.schoolofartisanfood.org in Nottinghamshire’s Welbeck estate. It’s a beautiful place, located in Sherwood forest, you feel inspired to join the impressive ranks of artisan food alumni just driving up the long drive to the school.
You may recognise it’s founder, Alison Swan Parente, from the BBC two series, Top of the Shop (https://www.schoolofartisanfood.org/page/top-of-the-shop) who began the school from very noble and admirable intentions – baking and making can change lives. The School is a registered charity and, as a not-for-profit institution, is committed to providing the widest possible access to its facilities. This was my third time and each time I come back inspired and determined to be braver in the my business and my kitchen.
I was lucky enough to be taught my David who had been made redundant and got through tough times by baking bread which then developed to him being a teacher at the school. He’s enthusiasm for the benefits of bread making are contagious and his knowledge enlightening – and like a true educator you can ask him anything.
My own adventures in starting a culture have been mixed. First few days I meticulously added more flour and hand warm water, tucking it safely away in my airing cupboard to then forget about it when we had friends up for the bank holiday weekend and discover it had exploded. Not to be deterred by the failure of my first attempt I plan to start another in the high hopes that the next levain will become something of legend I can pass down to my children (so far they seem unimpressed by the idea).
The Split Screen Coffee Co will be coming to Derby Festé for the first time this year and will be serving award-winning coffee and cake – what’s not to love? We talk to Jen Walker about how she will be able to sneak and take a look at the events in between serving Festé fans.
“We are new to Derby Festé this year and can’t wait to deliver some beautiful award-winning coffee and homemade baked goods to the people of Derby over the two festival days out of our beautifully converted 1965 campervan May.
“We have traded at Sheena Holland’s wonderfully eclectic Night Markets for the past two years, both in Derby and Nottingham and they really do showcase some of the amazing small, unique independent businesses we have here in the East Midlands. The Derby Festé organisers knew what they were doing when they asked Sheena to organise a Night Market for them.
“I’m sure there will be a buzz around the beautiful Cathedral Quarter during the colour parade and will be one not to be missed. I will be ready with my camera to grab some colourful shots to be splashing all over my Instragram page.
“Obviously, being a campervan owner myself, I am gonna try and sneak out to see Campervan of Love and I love acrobatics and seeing how people can train their bodies in all sorts of ways so will be heading to the World of Circus to be wowed.
“There also has to be a call to the people of Derby and the East Midland to make the effort to get out and make the most of this kind of event. As we have seen these past years, if we don’t use it, we can lose it. So get out there and enjoy and pop by to see us and grab a coffee as you soak up the atmosphere on your doorstep.”
It’s been a little while since we posted here, but May has returned from a glorious Glampfest set in the picturesque God’s Own County of Yorkshire, and we felt it was well worth sharing. It was all friendship, love, the great outdoors, and food. What’s not to like?!
Please do have a read of this wonderful blog, which beautifully photographed and documented the occasion:
Apologies for the lack of posting, we’ve been so busy and active elsewhere.
2016 was a resounding success as we had our first full year of business.
We went to so many shows, markets, festivals, weddings, and fairs. We’d like to thank everyone who supported, and continues to support, our trade.
We’ve grown as a business; taking on new employees, exploring new opportunities, and always taking on a new challenge. I don’t know how we’d keep our energy up if it weren’t for coffee!
With the new year comes plenty of bookings. We’re looking ahead to a very full year (keep in the loop through our social media or the Upcoming Events on this blog which will be updated).