In this last post of 2022 we thought we'd give a little review of our year in and out of coffee: our favourite moments, our achievements and a little preview of what's to come.
* New web site and new subscription model
* New roaster
* One percent fo the Planet
* Colombia trips
* Our dedicated training space and public cuppings
* 2022 Roast year in numbers and new coffees for the New Year
We started the year with a new look and feel to our web store. It was a long time in coming and the main update was to the subscription offerings with three different options. Two recurring billing options: The Classics and World Tour, and a rejig of the old pre-paid subscription.
It hasn't been without it's challenges and there remain some glitches which some of you have helped us identify. Thank you.
Perhaps the biggest moment in the year and arguably one in the eight years of Crankhouse was the arrival of our new Loring roaster (aka Loretta). Our old faithful Petroncini had been a core component in our growth since the early days in Dave's garage, a spell out at Longdown and then in our current location. Upgraditis and a 'want' rather than a 'need' resulted in our new S15 Falcon Loring Smartroast arriving in June. We wrote a blog piece about it here if you didn't catch it at the time.
In order in the picture above is Malcolm, the genius engineer who installed Loretta (3rd in line). The rest you know 😉
Six months in and Loretta hasn't missed a beat. Fast, efficient and very very good looking, she has more to offer us in terms of automation when we feel we want to take that next step. Our roasting style has remained the same and we feel our coffees are just as good if not better than they were before. We hope you agree.
This year marked our first 12 months membership of 1% for the planet which encourages businesses to contribute 1% of their total income, regardless if they are profitable or not, to help fund diverse environmental organisations. We were inspired to do this by a customer, friend and mentor William 🙏🏼. We wrote a litte blog piece about it here.
Here's the breakdown of our contributions in our first year. We hope you approve since it's your support throughout the year that has enabled us to make these donations:
Colombia has become one of our favourite origins in the last few years. The diversity of climates, varieties, processes in themselves have meant there have always been a huge range of flavour profiles from this country. In recent years it's also become known as the place where novel processing methods have been developed creating extraordinary coffee flavours. We've been lucky to have some of these coffees to offer to our customers. It was an obvious choice for Jack's first trip to a producing country, and when he was invited by one of our import partners Cofinet for their trip in May, he jumped at the chance. Full report here if you missed it. The coffees we booked based on that trip have finally arrived in the UK and we'll be launching the first of them early in the new year.
July came and it was Dave's turn to head to Colombia, not on a 'buying' or 'sourcing' trip this time, but a week's hands-on fermentation workshop in Risaralda run by Lucia Solis. Lucia is a fermentation specialist who came out of the wine industry with a biochemistry background from the UC Davis wine school. Her podcast is well known throughout the industry as a place to go to learn about fundamentals of processing and the power of microbes (yeasts and bacteria) and how by controlling them you can control the precursors of the flavours imparted into the seeds.
Then Dave had an invitation in November not to be turned down from Raw Material who we've been buying Villamaria and other coffees from for the last six years. The small group headed to Bogota and then down to the famous Huila region to the El Carmen de Acevedo Association: an AGM, a competition to select single producer single lot coffees, play Tejo and eat lots of delicious local food. Then up to Manizales for a visit to Colombia's only EA decaffeination plant before a short visit to Raw Materials own experimental farm El Fenix.
I think it's clear - we love Colombia and we love Colombian coffees. You'll be seeing more from this incredible country in the coming months.
This year we finally completed the fit out of our dedicated training and education space, complete with espresso and filter brewing stations, a collection of books, industry related journals, and the Nez du Cafe aroma kit. The idea was and is to run public events such as coffee cuppings and tastings of our own coffees but also coffees from other roasters such as the one we held back in September after the Caffe Culture event. To date we've held cuppings once a month since the middle of this year. These will continue and we'll also be launching filter and espresso brewing classes for individuals and groups early in the new year.
The uptake for the tasting sessions has been slow and if you've got any suggestions for the type of activities you'd like to see then let us know.
Finally, and by way of tradition, we've totalled up our roasting records for this year. It shows how even we're split between 'traditional' washed and naturals but also the special process anaerobics incl. carbonic maceration, anoxic, double extended fermentations and the like.
We feel like we've offered a good balance of classic flavours as well as some of the latest fermentations and wacky off the scale profiles. We hope you agree and we'll continue in the same manner going forward unless we hear from you, our customers, to let us know that we're doing it wrong.
We've seen Crankhouse served across the UK in some of the best speciality coffee shops as well as in Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi this year. The reputation of our brand seems to be growing steadily within the industry which was evident at both the London Coffee Festival and Caffe Culture events. We even came away with a win in the 'best flat white' contest hosted by Minor Figures at Caffe Culture.
We'll start 2023 with some new coffees and our newsletter subscribers will be the first to know about these coffees and forthcoming events. As a sneak peak we'll be launching three new coffees in the new year: Ethiopia Halo Beriti washed, Rwanda Kinini Spring Harvest natural and DR Congo Coopade washed Bourbon from the Virunga Park region. We'll put a little automatic discount code on the site which will give you 10% off if you order all three. Look out for the announcement through our newsletters or our instagram channel.
We would like to say a massive thank you to all our customers for your support throughout another year. We're continually striving to offer interesting and varied coffees, and roast them with the latest tools and techniques available. We 'think' we're doing a good job but it's not us that makes our business work. It's you, our customers. If you continue to enjoy our coffees and the service we provide then we can say we have really done a good job and we will continue doing so to the best of our abilities into 2023 and beyond.
We are closed from December 23rd to January 2nd. Any orders placed in this period will be processed on our return. Hopefully by then the Royal Mail strikes will be over and the huge delays we've all experienced recently with the postal system will be a thing of the past.
Enjoy your festive break and if you celebrate Christmas then we wish you a merry one.. with some delicious coffee to help you along the way.
Dave and Jack (Team Crankhouse)