New monthly columnist Tricia Fox, a coffee lover who owns her own coffee shop, shares some of her favourite Scottish brews.
The pandemic changed many habits. While others tackled fitness, mastered new languages or learned musical instruments, I threw myself into the world of coffee.
Let me start by saying that I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a coffee expert, more an explorer of coffee. I’ve always loved discovering new food and drink tastes.
Rumour has it I can remember everywhere I’ve been in the world by what I ate or drank there. True story.
My lockdown adventures in the caffeinated commodity has included tasting experiments, purchasing grinders, brewing adventures, starting a coffee company and opening an artisan coffee house.
Admittedly, I might be taking the amateur interest a bit too far. As I’ve been absorbed into the intricacies of coffee’s addictive spell, I’m amazed at how much depth there is to a product that we take for granted.
With your help, I’d like to change that, and share my coffee adventures with you, right here.
Artisan coffee, the kind where it’s roasted in small batches by small producers rather than in bulk quantities to be freeze dried and sold in supermarkets, saw a massive boost during the pandemic.
Coming of age
Coffee’s coming of age has been a long time in the making, but now there are roasters in most major cities, with new roasteries opening every week.
So how should we start our coffee adventures? Well, you won’t go wrong with the latest edition of The Scottish Independent Coffee Guide, out this month and packed with hidden gems that are roasting and serving artisan coffees right on your doorstep.
Take the Cairngorm Leaf & Bean roastery in Grantown on Spey, for instance.
It’s a small roastery, part of the growing artisan army, whose Backyard Coffee Blend fair cheered up my Monday morning with its smooth sweetness and dark chocolate notes easing me gently into the day.
And, because I love a bit of variety, I’ve also been tucking into Unorthodox Roasters’ Wee Stoater, a single origin coffee from Brazil, roasted to perfection in the Perthshire town of Kinross.
This coffee has a lovely body, gentle flavours of chocolate, hazelnut and caramel, and has been my go-to mid-morning latte for the last few days. Mixing up your morning brew is a good place to start.
There’s a coffee out there for everyone and, as I’ve discovered, many more than one. With a whole world to explore, we’d better get the kettle on…