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How to choose the right coffee for you

We want you to have the best cup of coffee possible, and that can be subjective. Even within our small team of two we have completely different definitions of a good cup of coffee. Adam likes darker and smoother coffees like the Brazilian whereas I like the wild flavours of Ethiopian coffee. We both agree on Guatemalan coffee though which combines smoothness and fruitiness. Here’s our guide to helping you find the right coffee for your taste.


Supermarket coffee often has a strength guide, although this tends to refer to how ‘strong’ tasting the coffee is rather than strength of caffeine. A strong coffee will be a darker roast which gives more of those rich, toasty, smoky flavours whereas a light coffee will be a lighter roast with more of a milder biscuit or fruity taste. Medium will be smooth and fruity. 

If you like a strong coffee look for flavour notes described as rich, smokey, liquorice, tobacco, leather, spicy. 

For medium coffees, look for flavour notes described as smooth, chocolate, caramel, vanilla, plum, cherry

For lighter coffees look for flavour notes described as biscuit, apple, blueberry, citrus fruits, floral


Each of our coffee includes tasting notes. These aren’t literally what the flavour is, a coffee that is described as having notes of chocolate won’t literally taste like chocolate, but a way of describing the flavours that you can expect from the coffee. A coffee with notes of chocolate will be smooth and sweet whereas a coffee with notes of blueberry will be juicy and fruity while notes of apple will indicate a light, crisp and slightly sweet coffee, and tobacco indicates spiciness and smokiness. 

Think about what kind of flavours you enjoy and look out for tasting notes similar to that. 

Brewing style

Your brewing style massively affects the taste of the coffee, and some flavours do better with some brewing styles than others. 

Espresso and mokapot

Espresso emphasises richer, darker flavours and brings out the best in coffees with notes of chocolate, smokiness, spiciness, and stone fruits. These coffees also tend to do well in a stovetop mokapot brewer 


A cafetiere, aka French Press or plunger, is an immersion brewer and the long contact time between the water and the coffee grinds means it brings out the body in all coffees. It can be used with any coffee, although it does particularly well with full-bodied and fruity flavours. Coffees that taste good in a cafetiere also tend to work well in an Aeropress. 


Filter is really good at bringing out the nuanced fruity flavours of the coffee, so look out for tasting notes of soft and stone fruits, eg cherry, blueberry, strawberry, and also for coffees described as sweet. 

If you still can’t decide, we have a multi-pack which contains 4 x 250g of our current coffees or our Coffee Club allows you to try all of our coffees on a two or four weekly subscription.

If you have any questions or would some coffee advice, please contact us on or tweet us @roastinghouseUK


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The one piece of equipment no coffee lover should be without

Three coffee espresso portafilters, one with coffee featuring latte art, one with ground coffee, one with beans

I’m fairly agnostic when it comes to brewing styles. Whether you drink it in a cheap and cheerful cafetiere or a £5000 espresso machine, the most important thing is that you find what works for you from a budget, time, and taste perspective. However whatever your brewing style, there is one one piece of equipment that no coffee lover should be without and that is a grinder.

If you’re looking to up your coffee game, a coffee grinder will give you a much greater improvement on flavour and quality of brew than any other piece of equipment. And with the exception of the humble cafetiere or moka pot, it’s often a cheaper investment. You can get an electric burr grinder for around £50 (you can also spend way more if you really want to!). Grinding your coffee fresh from whole bean just before you brew will give you a gorgeous fresh coffee aroma hit, and as most of the oils and volatile flavour compounds are locked up inside the bean until you grind it, you’ll be getting much more flavour in your cup. When you buy pre-ground coffee, many of those volatile flavour compounds are already gone by the time you brew.

Which grinder should you buy?

Whatever your budget, be it small or large, a burr grinder is the best choice. These crush the beans, whereas a blade ‘grinder’ chops them. The crushing releases much more aroma and flavour, and gives a more consistent grind which is essential for brewing methods like filter, espresso, moka pot etc. They also tend to offer a wider range of grinds, so if you do have multiple methods of brewing that you like to switch between then you’ll be able to grind for whatever you’re using currently.

For an entry level grinder, we love the DeLonghi KG79. There’s also the newer KG80 but we haven’t had a chance to try it yet but the reviews online look good. The KG79 is available for around £50.

Hand grinders are cheaper and tend to offer much more fine tune control over the grind, but the downside is it can take a while to grind enough for a cup and you might wish you had an electric grinder when you’re making the first brew of the day or when you have guests over and you have to grind even more. If you do opt for manual, the Hario Coffee Mill is a great choice as it allows lots of control over the grind, is easy to use, and the grinding chamber comes with a lid so you can keep any remaining ground coffee sealed for next time (although we’d recommend weighing out the right amount of coffee and just grinding when you need over grinding in bulk).



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Saying goodbye to Facebook

Around two weeks ago we decided to stop using Facebook and its two other platforms, Instagram and WhatsApp. This is something we’d been considering for a while. While we didn’t have much of an audience on our Roasting House accounts, our other business Plastic Free Pantry has a combined audience of around 60,000 followers and we used this account to also promote our Roasting House coffee so it meant walking away from a significant marketing channel. A lot of our custom came from Instagram. 

This has been a decision long in the making. For years now Facebook has increasingly strangled the reach of small businesses, forcing them to pay for advertising to reach even those who have opted to follow their pages. We fundamentally disagree with the surveillance capitalism model of Facebook and therefore don’t want to endorse it by paying for ads. We also don’t use their tracking pixel on our websites. We’ve also become increasingly concerned by Facebook’s lack of action against hate speech. We can’t continue to endorse Facebook through continuing to use it. 

This does of course pose a challenge for an online business who reaches people through social media! So we’re calling on you to help us out. If you like what we do, please let people know. Sign up to our newsletter to stay in touch, recommend us to your coffee loving friends and family, share your favourite coffees. 

If you regularly buy coffee, why not sign for our coffee club? Regular subscriptions allow us to plan and operate more sustainably as we know how much coffee we need in advance.  

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Why we use compostable packaging

Packaging is such a challenging issue. We used to use the same valved bags that most other coffee sellers use, but after looking at a stack of coffee packed up and ready to go out to customers and realising that all of those bags would be in the bin soon as the multi-layered bags can’t be recycled, we started to search for more environmentally and socially responsible packaging. It’s become something of an obsession!

Initially we used paper. It was easily accessible and recyclable. We had some concerns about coffee freshness, but did an experiment and found that as long as the coffee was used quickly or transferred to alternative packaging then for whole bean paper worked fine to send coffee out in.

However a significant number of our customers buy ground coffee, and this doesn’t stay fresh for long at all. By the time coffee has arrived by post, in 1-2 days, most of the coffee oils seeps through the bag rendering the paper no longer recyclable (although it can be composted) and the coffee no longer fresh. Food waste is also a huge problem and we don’t want people throwing coffee away because it went stale in the post.

We’ve sampled pretty much every supposedly environmentally friendly coffee packaging on the market and found most of it unsuitable. A lot of compostable packaging is PLA (poly lactic acid) based, made from corn starch. This material requires industrial composting which most people don’t have access to so we rejected it. Then we found Natureflex, a compostable material which is certified as home compostable (and confirmed by us and others in home testing).

Natureflex is made form wood pulp, similar to paper, but it has a lower carbon footprint, and is much lighter weight (6g compared to 30g for a similar sized bag) which reduces the carbon impact of transporting it to us and the overall package weight of our coffee.

Crucially, unlike paper it provides a good air and moisture barrier which keeps our coffee fresher than paper.

Of course not everybody can compost at home. If you have a garden you can bury the compostable bag in soil and it will break down (please don’t do this in a public setting as that is littering), or you can return it to us and we’ll compost it for you.

If you wish, you can request paper bags via the order comments box at checkout. However we don’t recommend this for ground coffee and we don’t take any responsibility for coffee spoiling during transit. If you opt for this you’ll need to ensure you transfer the coffee to an airtight container immediately upon receipt.

We’re always looking in to new developments in the packaging world in search of the best option available. What we use now may not be what we use in a couple of years time as things change and more information is made available. The most sustainable packaging of all is some you already have and can re-use many times. If you have a coffee roaster locally to you we encourage you to contact them to ask if you can get your own packaging refilled by them.

If you’re local to us in Nottingham, you can refill  your own packaging directly with us via requesting this at the checkout stage. You can also refill with our coffee from Shop Zero in Nottingham City Centre (sent them in refillable pouches) or Re:Source in Norwich (sent to them in paper).


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We’ll be closed 3rd – 13th October 2019

We’ll be taking some time off in early October for a well earned break so we will be closed 3rd – 13th October. You can still place orders via our online shop but they won’t be processed until we return on Monday 14th October, and then it might take us a few days to catch up so please expect your order to be delayed. We will not be checking email or social media during this time as we need a real break so if your enquiry is urgent please send it after 14th October.

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Fazenda Santa Barbara, Brazil

From the biggest of the beans to the smallest, this week our coffee comes from Brazil, land of small, soft coffee beans. Although Brazil has high altitude growing regions, they’re not quite as high as other coffee producing countries and so coffee from Brazil grows faster, producing smaller beans which aren’t as dense. This means they need a longer, slower roast otherwise they can burn quickly. They also need a good rest after roasting as they have a tendency to hold on to a lot of smokiness and feel a bit fizzy from CO2 for a couple of days after roasting. You’ll find the taste significantly different the longer you leave it. 4 days after roasting gives a good sweet chocolate flavour, and after 10 days they’ve really settled down for a much smoother taste.

Much of the coffee in Brazil comes from mega farms and is grown for the commodity market, with very few reaching speciality grade, which is a SCA (Speciality Coffee Association) grade of 84 and above. But there are some small scale farmers who are ensuring Brazil gets some representation in the speciality coffee world, Olney Barreira Junior, the owner of Fazenda Santa Barbara being one of them. Olney Barreira Junior acquired the farm in 2012 and has since replanted the farm with new varietals such as the rare Acaia which is the type we have sent you. He has also upgraded the farm’s equipment and improved processing facilities to improve the quality of coffee that the farm is able to produce. His efforts have been rewarded with high grading coffees, this one being an 84, and we expect to see this rating go up as the farm continues to improve.

Fazenda Santa Barbara is located in the Campo de Vetentes region in the Mantiquira Fields mountainous region which provide the high altitude, cool temperatures, and rainfall which are essential to growing good coffee. The coffee is shade grown and, as is required by Brazilian law, 20% is dedicated as natural reserve where native plants are able to flourish and no coffee planting is allowed.

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Bigger bag sizes and increased postage costs

Up until now we’ve used 200g for the practical reason of it fitting Royal Mail large letter size. However we recently switched to using more rigid cardboard mailers instead of brown paper for posting our coffee. These mailers offer much better protection for the coffee but they pushed us in to the next postal bracket.

We held off passing on to this cost on to customers until we were sure we were going to stick with the mailers. They cost £1.71 to send but we were charging you £1.27. As we’re really small it is hard for us to absorb this cost. Eventually we have decided that we really like the added protection and so we will continue using the mailers but the time has come to charge the right cost for postage.

However this isn’t all bad news – the more rigid mailers mean that we can send a 250g bag for the same price as a 200g bag now. Previously the 250g pushed us in to the higher postage bracket so we stuck to 200g but now we’re in that bracket anyway, we thought we could at least make up for the increased cost of postage by giving you more coffee! So for 44p extra in postage you are getting 50g extra coffee.

Of course if you live in Nottingham the postage is exactly the same – completely free! And our free postage for orders over £15 remains.

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Winter deliveries

Brrr, it’s getting cold out! The Met Office is forecasting a particularly cold winter with plenty of snow. How will this affect your coffee deliveries?

We do deliver throughout winter, however if the weather is particularly bad we will most likely post coffee instead at no extra charge. If we have deliveries scheduled for a particular day but the weather makes it too dangerous to deliver we will contact you to let you know and re-arrange delivery.

Typically we’ll make a call on the day of delivery itself as, especially in the case of snow, weather can change quickly, or sometimes turn out not to be as bad as forecasted. In the case of Coffee Club we will make a call by the Thursday before the scheduled delivery day to give us time to get them in the post in time if we need to.

During winter we might sometimes use a vehicle for deliveries if we have a lot of them and it makes better financial sense than posting them. However we will keep this to a minimum.

However we’ll mostly be cycling as usual throughout winter enjoying the frost glazed scenery as long as the conditions aren’t dangerous and when we do need to make changes we’ll let you know as soon as possible if it affects your order.

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Why we use bikes in our business

Back in September we were invited to talk to Mark Dennison at BBC Radio Nottingham about why we use bikes in our business. The email inviting us to speak on the show included the line “businesses that still use bicycles” which made us laugh at the idea that using bikes as a delivery vehicle is a funny little quirk from the past. Although despite enjoying a giggle at that one line it was actually a really great chat about why we use bikes, what we like (freedom) and dislike (bad infrastructure), and whether we’ll continue to use bikes as we grow. I thought it was about time I got some of our thoughts on all of this down in writing on our website.

For us, using bicycles for deliveries is very much the future, and we’re not alone in thinking this. Even supermarket behemoth Sainsbury’s is trialing bicycle deliveries while Deliveroo are popping up in more and more cities following huge funding rounds to expand their restaurant bicycle delivery service.

In many European cities, cargo bikes do many of the inner city deliveries that we in the UK still use vans for. We believe it is the van model that is outdated as more and more people order goods online while space does not expand and city traffic is grinding to a halt. By using bicycles we rarely get stuck in traffic and can take many off-road scenic routes that those delivering in motor vehicles cannot.

We also have a commitment to keeping our environmental footprint to a minumum, something that delivering on bikes helps us to achieve. Last year we kept 1 tonne of CO2 out of the air by delivering by bike instead of in a small petrol vehicle. And of course using bikes is great for well-being. Before starting this business I was a desk-bound tech worker battling anxiety. Being out on the bike in the fresh air and getting regular exercise is the best medicine I could ever take.

We will continue to use bikes for deliveries. If we grow to the level where our own two sets of legs are no longer enough then our plan is to add more people on bikes to the team rather than a van. Of course on occasion we do use a vehicle, usually in bad weather or at times of illness. However we keep these to a minimum, and almost always end up staring out of the window watching a cyclist cruising by us as we sit in traffic regretting our choice.

For urban and suburban businesses with deliveries to make, we truly believe that bikes are the future. If you have a small business and would like to talk to us for advice or sharing resources, feel free to get in touch via


Thanks to Mark Dennison for having us on the show.

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We’re finalists in the Nottingham Post Environmental Business of the Year Awards

We’re delighted to announce that we are through to the final round of the Nottingham Post Environmental Business of the Year Awards. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Nottingham on Thursday 20th October.

Regardless of the outcome we’re really excited just to be through to the final round. We work incredibly hard to try to reduce our environmental impact as much as possible through making deliveries by bike, using paper packaging which can be recycled, sourcing our coffees carefully, and having a zero waste to landfill policy.

You can read an article about our entry to the awards on the Nottingham Post website.

Wish us luck!