We get excited about coffee. From the smell of freshly ground beans to trying out a new brewing method everything about coffee excites us. In particular we like to talk about coffee. Whether that's to friends who share our love for speciality coffee, family members who we bore with endless talk of tasting notes and levels of extraction to the roasters we work with who impart so much knowledge about the cup in our hands and the heavenly brew we’re sipping on.
The idea of Pinch Flat came to us organically, naturally and without any contrived intention other than to explore the drink we are so passionate about and to share it with as many people as possible.
The wonderful thing about speciality coffee is the number of moving parts that go into the cup you have in front of you. You have the growing of the cherry, the roasting of the bean and then the brewing. Within each of these steps are so many variables.
When it comes to growing the cherry there are a number of factors that contribute to the end result. In no particular order these variables include the atmospheric conditions of the farm, the soil, altitude, harvest date, method of washing and drying of the beans and of course the variety of coffee plant grown.
Then during the roast the beans take on so many more flavours. Time is the main contributing factor that alters the body of the beans. A shorter roast will mean a lighter colour bean that is full of sweetness has a light body but can sometimes be a bit sour. Whereas a longer roast will create a darker more full bodied bean that is strong in flavour and aroma but might not be as sweet.
Finally when you brew the coffee bean you introduce another huge array of factors that influence the final taste. For example using clean filtered water will give much more subtle flavours and really allow the bean to shine. Likewise how coarse your grind is will impact the extraction. Each brewing method requires a different coarseness. From finely ground espresso coffee to a coarse grind for a french press or cafetiere getting your grind size right will dramatically change the flavours in your coffee. We haven’t even touched on milk coffee drinks which adds a new layer of complexity. Milk that is on the hot side will be slightly more bitter than a cooler milk which is sweeter.
All these variables mean that two cherries harvested from neighbouring plants in the same farm could be processed, washed roasted and brewed to give totally different tasting drinks.
To us this is where the beauty of coffee lies. Its’ complexity.
Once you taste speciality coffee it can be hard to go back to mass produced or even dreaded instant coffee. Almost like a veil is lifted you see coffee in a different way. In this regard the world of coffee isn't dissimilar to, for example, the wine trade.
You can buy a cheap bottle of wine for less than five pounds and be satisfied with its outcome much like a jar of instant coffee will give you a caffeine boost. But once you start to spend more then you stop drinking to get drunk or energised but because you enjoy the flavours of what you're drinking and the experience of tasting new flavours.
This idea is behind all coffee bean subscription services. If you want to try new and exciting flavours of coffee then sign up to receive exactly that whenever you want. We have for a long time been fans in this particular game ourselves. But tired of excess packaging and costly shipping we decided to try and change the way you buy coffee beans. We wanted to become a player.
Pinch Flat revolves around the following key principles. We want to deliver speciality coffee beans, where possible by bike, and not in the post therefore removing shipping costs for you the consumer whilst at the same time reducing our carbon footprint.
To make this possible there are two things we need to do. Firstly we are based in Oxford and so delivery by bike means anywhere in the city of Oxford or in the close surroundings. This is something we will look to expand but for now we are keeping things local.
Secondly, at the moment we source beans from our favourite roasters from round the country but in the future we would love to start roasting our own beans, taking full control of the coffee beans we sell and their flavour.
Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed this explainer of how we came up with Pinch Flat and our core beliefs or principles. If you like what you’ve read then we’d really appreciate it if you subscribed to our newsletter to keep in the loop with Pinch Flat and follow us on our journey.
But for now, ciao!