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EDGCUMBES > COLOMBIA 2019

Part 1: Return to Origin

Back in December 2019, our Directors Alice and Chris Edgcumbe-Rendle returned to Colombia to visit a clutch of extraordinary coffee plantations whilst taking the opportunity to soak up some of the vibrant Colombian culture. From the hustle and bustle of the huge capital Bogota, to the epic mountain range of Sierra Nevada, Alice and Chris explored the lush tropical jungles and spent many afternoons doing what they enjoy best: confirming that Colombia really IS home to some of the world’s best coffees…(just to save the suspense, the coffee didn’t, ever, disappoint!).

To give you a full and in-depth account of all things Colombia, Coffee and Culture, our directors wanted to share their travel blog with you. Read about their wild adventures hiking to the most picturesque and inaccessible points and relaxing in traditional and modern cafes. But, most importantly, getting to know the welcoming farming communities that grow the amazing Colombian coffees we all enjoy and love here in the UK.

The Journey:

“Edgcumbes sources speciality beans from far-flung locations” Alice explains. “We roast them in our Dutch barn close to the historic town of Arundel in the UK, serving coffee loving customers and visitors in Sussex and beyond! 

There is something that draws me to Colombia. Myriad reasons – its people who are unfailingly warm hearted and welcoming to visitors. Its culture of art, design and music; its architecture from the Havanesque Cartagena to the hip streets of Medellin.

But above all it has to be the land –imposing mountainous ranges, rainforests, inaccessible small holdings, babbling brooks and languid rivers…. Aaah!! Have I set the scene?

We decided to return to visit some of the coffee people with whom we work on a regular basis.  We were excited to cup new crop samples and order pallets of green beans, which are destined to be shipped half way across the world back home to our Sussex Roastery

The coffee supply chain is a long one. Starting with the farmer, who grows the tree from seed, harvests and processes it. The receiving mill prepares the coffee ready for export to the world. Followed by shippers who bring it to our shores, then roasters (us!) who morph the hard green bean into that tantalising, aroma-filled final result…and then, the barista (also us!) who turns the bean into the cup of Joe that we all love and recognise. 

The trip we planned was going to mean 9 flights in 2 weeks. It is hard to imagine sometimes just how large Colombia is! From the Caribbean coastline to high up in the Andes where the air is as thin as you will find in the Alps – Colombia has it all. 

Capital Chaos:

Bogota, the capital of Colombia was our initial destination. Vibrant, with a population of over 10 million, it is perched high in the Andes where the air is clear and the nights are cold!

We realised that our arrival had coincided with a major round of street protests which kept us busy, huddled in some of the local coffee shops. I must say, they have hugely improved since my last visit in 2015. 

It is great news that the speciality coffee scene is now flourishing in the countries of origin. For far too many years they had the worst, while the rest of the world got the pick of the crop. Mind you, one of the cafes had a rather lovely blend all the way from Australia! Such is the power of the speciality coffee scene.

Coffee truly is a global product.

Street protest in city – more music than anger!

Escape to the mountains:

The next day it was an early flight to Valledupar for our Sierra Nevada adventure. We landed in searing heat and bounced our way from the airport in one of the many taxis for whom decent suspension is an alien concept.

The views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains surround this small town and they are truly spectacular. It felt almost as if we had fallen straight into a David Attenborough documentary with the edginess of a Steven Spielberg movie. Indeed, this is one of the highest coastal mountains range in the world and is the home to 4 indigenous tribes, some members of whom we had arranged to meet.

The view from the hotel window had me lost for words. The mountain range reaches heights of 5700m – you can’t beat that sort of view!

Coffee & Climate:

The small town of Pueblo Bello was our destination – an hour from the plains of Valledupar, climbing steeply on a well-constructed road (a welcome change from the Costa Rican roads which are atrocious!). We first stopped off at one of the Coffee Research Stations which are owned and managed by the National Federation of Coffee Growers.

The station is invaluable as a weather-vane for monitoring the effects of climate change which is a hot topic in the area. They have seen temperatures rising, which means that coffee has to be grown in higher altitudes. This in itself is not a bad thing for lovers of quality, for speciality coffee thrives in these conditions. However, it makes the process harder, less accessible and ultimately more expensive. With the current low prices being paid for coffee, the status quo will have to change if we are to have a strong coffee economy in the future. Many young people are deciding against a career in coffee which will have long term ramifications for the whole supply chain in coming years.

This is why we believe that these trips to meet the growers are of significance as they help to foster links and build trade that will hopefully encourage more farmers to grow coffee.

Just as we in the UK are starting to realise the value of genuine collaboration on a local level, so the coffee industry is developing ties and links with coffee roasters in the consuming countries all over the world. This breaks down barriers and keeps the issue of sustainability and provenance high on the agenda.

The Research Station is a working farm and we were given a tour of the coffee nursery. We were fascinated to see where the seedlings are grown and propagated. Moving on to the compost farm where specially imported Californian worms do their bit to break down the ‘cascara’ (the outer skin of the coffee cherry that is discarded in the process of obtaining the coffee beans). Finally, we were welcomed into living quarters for itinerant workers who visit at harvest time. By the way, Colombia is one of the few coffee-producing countries that has two annual harvests, rather than the more common single annual one.

That evening, we sat in the beautiful hotel garden sipping tea (yes, I do carry my own tea and teapot with me) and reflecting on what we had seen so far.

 Even after many years in the industry, we are still amazed at the investment of time and energy in coffee processing. We never tire of learning and the opportunity it gives us to share that knowledge back home. The next day was going to be particularly exciting as we were going to have a meeting with some very special people- the coffee growing Arhuaco Tribe. We felt like children on Christmas Eve! We couldn’t wait to visit Wilbur Mestre…”

Meet Wilbur Mestre in Part 2!

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The Brewhouse Project

The Brewhouse Project opens its doors on Friday 12th April 2019!

Caffeine addicts and craft beer lovers will shortly be able to enjoy their favourite brews at the same site.

The brainchild of two local businesses, Arundel Brewery & Edgcumbes Coffee Roasters, The Brewhouse, located near the picturesque town of Arundel in West Sussex, is set to become THE venue for lovers of handcrafted beer and freshly roasted coffee.

A former farm building has been lovingly restored and refurbished with plenty of areas inside and outside for everyone to enjoy. Edgcumbes Director Alice Rendle comments,  “Our focus is on creating a welcoming and innovatively designed space for everyone – families, walkers, locals, visitors to the area, commuters, cyclists, dog lovers… we have something for everyone!”

TAPROOM & COFFEEHOUSE 

Complementing the drinks menu will be a range of delicious local foods – including pastries, cakes, and moreish toasties – all prepared on site with locally sourced ingredients. Additionally, The Brewhouse will be featuring its own hand made pizzas on select evenings!

Open every day except Monday, serving a range of premium craft beers brewed a few miles down the road at the Arundel Brewery HQ, along with a range of speciality grade freshly roasted  coffees from Edgcumbes Coffee Roasters who are also based close by.

There will even be an opportunity to watch coffee being roasted on the little ‘Red Roaster’ machine which is sited in the main area for everyone to see!

As Stuart Walker, Director of Arundel Brewery explains: “The Brewhouse was born out of a desire to bring together two local, established family businesses, showcasing the best of beer and coffee. It is a continually evolving project and our intention is to bring beer brewing on to the site in due course, so both processes can be viewed while enjoying a beer or a cup of coffee. This is truly a place in which to learn, taste and relax!”

THE Brewhouse SHOP

Not only can customers enjoy a drink at the Brewhouse but all our products will be available in our Brewhouse Shop, which will be stocked with premium craft beers and freshly roasted coffee (freshly ground to customers’ preference for home use).

WE WILL BE OPEN: 

Tues-Thurs: 8am-6pm | Fri-Sat: 8am-9pm | Sun: 10am-4pm

 

We hope to see you there – but fear not, the EDGE Café is still very much alive and kicking! We’re not going anywhere so don’t forget to stop by for your regular caffeine fix in Ford Lane too!

Follow the Brewhouse on social media or head to the new website www.brewhouseproject.co.uk

Facebook: The Brewhouse Project Arundel

Twitter: @BrewhseProject

Instagram: @thebrewhouseprojectarundel

 

FIND THE BREWHOUSE AT THE OLD CROSSBUSH FARMSHOP ON THE LYMINSTER ROAD, BN17 7QN – JUST OUTSIDE OF ARUNDEL, OFF THE A27!

 

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Great Taste Award Winners 2017!

We are delighted to announce that for the third year running we have won a Great Taste Award for not one but TWO of our wonderful hand roasted speciality blend coffees. For the past three years we have won awards for our coffee and teas, and this year is no exception.

Great Taste Winners - Sussex Barn & Riverside

Our Edgcumbes signature blend Sussex Barn espresso beans have been awarded 2 STARS along with our Riverside blend winning a very respectable 1 STAR!

Riverside ()“Well-balanced, refined coffee. Pleasant nutmeg-spiced start and a real, creamy sweetness. Delivers on the caramel finish.  A strong chocolate flavour.”

Sussex Barn (★★)“The beans display a good even colour in roasting. There is a green shoot freshness on the nose. Then, as described, the taste develops through the berries and into a balanced finish of chocolate and slightly toasted nuts. The finish is fresh and lingers very pleasantly. An excellent, brilliantly made coffee!”

Well, we love the fruity language of the judges! Why don’t you judge for yourself? Regulars to the Edge Café at the Roastery near Arundel will already be familiar with the Sussex Barn, which is our signature house blend – a mix of Guatemalan, Ethiopian and Columbian beans.Caffeine Addicts

Our café is open 7 days a week from 7am-5pm weekdays and 9.30am-5pm at the weekends. Building works are currently in progress and in late November we hope to open our new Edge Café with plenty of indoor seating!

We will be serving a range of sandwiches along with our famous brownies, flapjacks and our knockout coffee stout cake. The conversion of this former stable will also include a specially designed space to share our enthusiasm for food and craft where you can enjoy courses on coffee, baking, chocolate-making and even creating greetings cards from coffee sacks!

What is the Great Taste? – The Great Taste, organised by the Guild of Fine Food, is the acknowledged benchmark for fine food and drink. It has been described as the ‘Oscars’ of the food world and the epicurean equivalent of the Man Booker prize. We are therefore quite simply over the moon to be awarded and recognised as a producer of quality fine coffee.

We believe that simply fresh is best and you can’t get fresher than straight from our own Roastery. Have you tried our award winning blends?

Not in Sussex or able to pass by the Edge Shop/Café? Then buy online!

Click HERE to buy our Sussex Barn blend or HERE for Riverside!

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It’s a YES! to the new Café/Bakery Venue at Edgcumbes’ Roastery

After a few nail-biting months Edgcumbes have been given the GREEN LIGHT to refurbish two stable blocks that are currently unused and unloved. Our plan is to build a beautiful ( naturally!) new space for a café where we can continue to offer our amazing freshly roasted coffee range  along with our loose leaf teas to take home or to enjoy in the café, outside in the enclosed courtyard and for our many takeaway customers.

There will be a range of hand-prepared sandwiches and paninis, made in collaboration with our friends at Coburn and Baker who will be instructing us on how to make that perfect sourdough starter, and pizza bases.

If you fancy learning how to taste ( cup) coffee, then why not join one of our popular Home Enthusiast classes?!

Alongside this , there will be a purpose built bakery/ foodie centre for classes and events, to add to our popular ‘Coffee Home Enthusiast’ classes.

SO? WHAT ARE WE PLANNING FOR YOU?

We have teamed up with an inspirational architect who has brought alive our vision and is working with us to develop a lovely, yet practical space for visiting, tasting, learning, experiencing and enjoying all things ‘food and drink’ related.

From chocolate classes to sourdough and pizza workshops, from learning how to blend and enjoy the finest teas to making that killer cappuccino .. Edgcumbes will be bringing these and more to this little part of Sussex.

The build is scheduled to start in the next month and we will be updating you all as time goes on. Edgcumbes are working with a great team of dedicated and highly experienced builders – all hail the fine chaps at Company B! They know us, having built our lovely small takeaway using all the recycled wood, aluminium, bricks they could lay their hands on- and our aim to do more of the same with this new project.

We will be posting pictures and have a FAQ page soon to answer any questions but please don’t hesitate to email us on hello@edgcumbes.co.uk if you have a specific query and we will do our best to answer you.

As with all projects, there will be the inevitable ‘ups and downs’ but we hope you will enjoy the ride as much are we intend to.

PLEASE do share this post with your friends and family so we can continue to stay true to our stated belief that everyone deserves to have  the FRESHEST and the best tasting coffee and tea. This way, we can continue to spread the word that ‘ fresh is always best’.

Our website shop ONLY stocks FRESHLY ROASTED coffee and the BEST loose leaf teas!

 

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Caffeine nuts’ news update!

Well there always seems to be plenty going on in the coffee world – Intrepid traveller Kit Rendle has been working on a lovely farm in Colombia, learning all about the coffee process, making some friends and coming away with a deep respect for the lives and work of the people he met. Colombia is a breathtakingly beautiful country with wonderful people who are proud of their heritage and yet deeply interested in visitors who come to share their lives.

Says Kit ‘ one of the farmer’s sons spoke some English and was keen to practice on me – likewise I made sure I replied in Spanish!  He took the time to show me around the farm – we picked coffee and after a full day’s work I came away with true admiration for the work that these people do. They care about their environment and are proud of what they are doing.

https://www.edgcumbes.co.uk/shop/hand-roasted-coffee-beans/colombia-sabanitas/
Lovely Fresh coffee to order online here !

‘When I showed them pictures of the Edgcumbe’s Roastery in sunny, sleepy Sussex they were amazed to hear about the range of speciality grade coffees we were buying. They were especially pleased to hear how popular the Colombian Sabanitas coffee is!’

The Roastery is filling up with sacks of our favourite green coffee beans – all waiting to be roasted to perfection by our talented team of roasters. As ever, we stay true to our mantra- that FRESH is BEST!

We hope you agree. Visit our website http://www.edgcumbes.co.ukor pop into the EDGE café when you are next in the area and grab yourself a bag of the best- at prices that won’t ever break the bank…

 

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Award Winning Blend No45 is a Tea Partner!

 

Grab yourself a bag of the best! Click on the image to link to the webshop

We were delighted to be approached by the friendly and enthusiastic team at Tea Tourist to feature in one of their Discovery Boxes.

We think their concept of sending out small taster samples of premium grade loose leaf teas to their subscribers is a great way of promoting the best that the industry has to offer to tea lovers everywhere.

Whilst we like to think that our tea range is pretty extensive, it would be nigh on impossible for us to offer all that there is to try in the wonderful world of tea – so for our teas to be championed by an eager team of digital whizzkids sounds like a marriage made in heaven!

Our first choice had to be our award winning Blend No 45 – that heavenly mix of black orthodox teas designed to add more than just a great taste to your brew.  Continue reading Award Winning Blend No45 is a Tea Partner!

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EDGE Coffee Shop & Roastery One Year Anniversary!

EDGE Coffee Shop

The EDGE Coffee Shop and Roastery has already been open for one year now! We cannot believe how much we have grown within this time, and it is thanks to all of you, our customers, who continue to support us!

To thank everyone for this we will be celebrating our one year anniversary on Monday 2nd May between 10am and 4pm. So come along to the EDGE Coffee Shop and enjoy our celebratory offers:

Continue reading EDGE Coffee Shop & Roastery One Year Anniversary!

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Coffee Enthusiast Courses at Edgcumbes

home-brewing coffee courses

This is a foundation course aimed at the home brewer or coffee enthusiast.

The coffee enthusiast course is a foundation course designed to help give you an insight into your favourite brew and how it got there.

We will talk about coffee origins, demonstrate the roasting process interspersed with a question and answer session during.

Continue reading Coffee Enthusiast Courses at Edgcumbes

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How to use an IngenuiTea teapot!

If you are stuck on what to buy any tea lover for Christmas then worry no more – the IngenuiTea teapot is the ideal present!

The teapot is available in 2 sizes – 470ml or 950ml – and the way that it works is once the tea leaves and hot water have steeped, you place it on top of your cup causing the underneath valve to release. Crystal-clear tea will then flow through, as the mesh filter retains all of the tea leaves! Not only this but as it is dishwasher safe it makes it extremely easy to clean! Continue reading How to use an IngenuiTea teapot!

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A hands on approach to Colombian coffee!

Colombian coffee bean sacks

I recently interviewed our director Alice about her recent trip to Colombia where she visited the farmers and producers of Colombian coffee to get an even better understanding of the coffee process. This blog post summarises our chat, so I hope you find it as interesting as I did! Continue reading A hands on approach to Colombian coffee!