Tuesday 26 September 2017

Coffee Stories - Matt Carroll and Helen Coburn of Fortitude Coffee

In the lead up to this year's Edinburgh Coffee Festival on 14 October, we're publishing regular stories about some of the people that are involved, and that make our speciality coffee scene great. They're a passionate and varied bunch!

Today's 'Coffee Story' features Matt Carroll and Helen Coburn of  Fortitude Coffee.

Helen Coburn &
Matt Carroll - Photo by
Jess Shurte as part of our
Coffee Hot Shots series
Intro: Fortitude Coffee is a speciality coffee bar and micro roastery based in Edinburgh. In our coffee shop we make espresso-based coffees on our la Marzocco Linea PB and offer filter coffees using Kalita Wave, batch brew and also offer cold brew - all using filtered water and single origin Fortitude Coffee Roasters beans. Our coffee is seasonal and we feature a different guest roaster each month.

What year did you switch on to speciality coffee and what attracted you to the speciality coffee business? We've been involved in speciality coffee since opening our coffee shop in 2014. We believe that good coffee is a simple pleasure to be enjoyed everyday and we wanted to provide this for our customers. More recently we started roasting as well.

What made you make the move from coffee shop to roasting as well? Roasting allows us to learn more about each coffee we serve and we enjoy passing this knowledge onto our customers. We were also excited that roasting provides us with the opportunity to tailor our coffee and serve more of the coffees we love. Through the experience of roasting our own coffee and then using it in our shop, we've been able to see how our coffee performs over time and how customers respond to it. We've tweaked and evolved our approach to roasting in a way we could never have done if we didn't use our coffee day in day out, always looking to make the best drink we can for our customers.

Photo: Fortitude Coffee
How would you describe Fortitude Coffee (your beans)? We always try to offer sweet, developed roasts and make our coffee approachable and ultimately enjoyable. The beans we use are lightly roasted to bring out the delicate and complex flavours of the coffee. We generally offer three different single origin roasts at any time and change them seasonally. Our coffees work well with all brew methods but we always have one that lends itself best to espresso and two to filter.

What do you love most about being in the speciality coffee business? Creativity, passion and attention to detail.

What tips would you give coffee lovers? Buy a set of coffee scales. Taking an extra few seconds to weigh out your coffee and water will make all the difference to your brews - both flavour and consistency.

What tips would you give people considering a career in coffee? Always be willing to learn and be open to new ideas. The speciality coffee industry is changing all the time and there's a real opportunity to increase your knowledge and skills, but also try new things that you can come up with yourself.

Any other pearls of wisdom? Your customers are the most important part of your day so don't forget them!

Fortitude Coffee will be taking a stand at the Edinburgh Coffee Festival on 14 October.

Matt at his coffee roaster - Fortitude Coffee

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