It's that time for us to be working on selecting the components for our next 'house' coffee CHX. This is the 10th version of our CH blend since starting Crankhouse and you'll see we've gone a little Roman with the numbering this time. Ingenious I know.
The CH Blend has been the stalwart of our offer list since the beginning and was always intended to fit that middle ground of something good and tasty that is easy to brew for both home users and professionals. Nothing too bright and fruity, nothing too bold and funky, but something tasty that can be brewed just as easily on a cafetiere on a Sunday morning or as a Flat White or Espresso at your favourite coffee shop.
At last nights cupping held at The Exploding Bakery we focused on creating CHX and I think we nailed it and after a little bit of final testing today I'll hopefully be securing a sizeable quantity of greens for it. A massive thanks to Tony (pictured below in our first cupping at EB in 2014) for allowing us to run another session at the cafe. It might be the last regular cupping session there for a while.
The selection process for the components is based around various factors: price and availability, freshness and likelihood of staying fresh over it's course, taste and flavour profile, density, process, moisture content and relationships.
I wanted to expand on the 'relationships' aspect since after the cupping I went to a leaving dinner for a local barista friend who's heading back to his homeland. He mentioned that he buys his coffee for personal consumption because of the coffee, not the roaster or the people behind the business he buys from. He said the roaster is just an intermediary and the most important thing is the quality of the green coffee they are buying and, assuming they do a good job, he doesn't really care who it's from.
I couldn't have disagreed more. For me coffee is all about relationships. I would like to think that those cafes that put Crankhouse coffees in their hoppers to serve their customers do so because they like and respect the Crankhouse brand, and those home brewers sitting down on a Sunday morning are doing the same. Of course fundamental to that is the quality of the coffees and that comes down to how we select and then roast them, but in my mind that's a much smaller part of the overall picture.
In the past I've bought some green coffee without caring too much about the person I bought it from. It was a significant quantity of Brazilian coffee for a previous blend version from a very pushy green importer who's tag line was (and is still) "we'll beat anyone else's price for similar quality". I got sucked in since I thought I was getting a deal and saving money. The same importer called me from Brazil a month or so ago during the harvest and said this was my last chance to secure some great coffee at low prices. I politely declined.
I buy green coffee from the people I like in the businesses I respect. I'd like to feel that over the course of the 4 years or so since starting Crankhouse, I've established good relationships with these people and further like to think they have strong relationships with the farmers and cooperatives that they source their coffee from. Not purchasing for today's bottom line but for the future.
The selection of coffees for CHX was about these relationships. I like the people and businesses I'm going to buy from and it's not just a coincidence that their green coffee offerings were some of the tastiest on the table.