Wednesday, December 10

Union Hand Roasted, Cold Days Ahead, And The Wish List!

So, it's getting cold now, isn't it? For all you fe'kers down South who think a cold day is where you have to wear a light jacket and a scarf, let this be an education. I went out the house today wearing thermal long johns, a thermal t-shirt, and a Canterbury thermal base layer on top of that (with my usual work clothes of jeans and a polo shirt over the top). Good God, it was cold. Anyway, that's my rant about the weather over. The moral of the story, use more petrol, burn coal in your back garden, and buy a herd of cattle. Lets get that global warming thing sorted! visit to Union. Well, I got there eventually (after getting very lost). Was welcomed in, and we set off training. To start with we messed about with their new Winter Blend, tasting it an espresso, and deciding how it was best packed, and at what time it was best extracted. In the end we decided that over packing the basket, and tamping it lightly brought out the best flavours and the most balanced espresso. The blend itself is fantastic, with zesty citrus and chocolate leading to a spicy cinnamon finish. We then messed about with my signature drink (which I'll go into more depth in at a later date), the Chilli/Spiced mocha. The espresso worked perfectly with the spices and the chocolate, and tasted great, though I do now have to work out which ingredients fit, which ones I don't need, and the best balance of the flavours.

So far so good. We tried the blend as a cappuccino and, rather than being pleasantly surprised we were stunned into silence. Rather than the espresso punching through the milk it died on it's arse. The zesty lemon had disappeared, as had the cinnamon finish, leaving only a vague taste of chocolate and the creaminess of the milk. So, in the end, I decided that rather than mess about with two grinders I'll use the Revelation blend instead as I know it's robust and versatile enough to make excellent espresso and cappuccino, while still working with the sig drink. After that I ran through my presentation a couple of times, asked any lingering questions, then headed home.

All in all it was a really useful day, and coupled with the barista jam in Blaydon I now feel prepared to give the UKBC a good go. So, watch this space!

Now, the wish list item for today. This one's aimed squarely at espresso drinkers and is...the Union Winter Blend! This is the first winter blend I've tried this year, and it's fantastic. Really, if you love espresso and like zesty coffees you'll love this. It's got a fantastic mulled wine taste, with great mouthfeel and a really nice brightness to it. So, go out and get some!

So, until next time,


James Hoffmann said...

I had no idea Union had started naming blends after the seasons too.

I always thought they just did Revelation and the others.

Seamus McFlurry said...

Yeah. I dunno if it's going to be a regular thing or not, but like I said, the Winter blend is lovely. A real pity it doesn't work well with the milk. It does, however, work really well as a filter. Apparently won some Good Food award recently. Don't have any details, but I'll have a look and see if I can find something about it.

Oh, and when's the Square Mile winter blend coming out? I'm looking at getting some for a Christmas cheer thing my parents are having.


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