An Appreciation for Collaboration - Roasting The Aeropress Championship Coffee 2019
I’ve been thinking a lot about collaboration recently. When I was younger the definition would often be in relation to Mark Ronson preceding feat. whoever was smashing the charts. These days it means much more to me.
I was kindly invited on Tuesday to take part in a conversation hosted by ‘Hidden Trax’. They spark really great informative discussions on a number of topics in my favourite format, the podcast. Driving up and down the A9 every week to roast coffee gives me a fair chunk of time and podcasts have been the much needed holiday away from my own thoughts.
It was after I left this recording that I realised how beneficial the experience had been. Having a moment to reflect on Cairngorm Coffee’s journey and to hear from the adventure that Matt Carroll has been on with the amazing Fortitude Coffee was fantastic. Sometimes a chat with someone in a similar industry can put some perspective on where you may be getting things wrong and offer means of improvement. Most importantly it gave me a renewed respect for collaboration and how powerful it can be.
Fortitude alongside Filament, the since departed home of podcast host Axel (now killing it with our great chums The Good Coffee Cartel), were a part of the Disloyal 7 which hopefully will make a much anticipated return when we all finally reach the surface for air and some constructive energy. This collaboration amongst four other shops helped to build a community that I feel so grateful to be a part of. Not only has it helped to raise the profile of all involved, it’s given us a space to lean on each other and aid improvement, whether it’s lending someone some decaf or asking for advice on milk.
The long and short of it is, collaboration has been a really good thing for us in a business sense, building support and community around our shop. We were able to extend this recently as collaboration became a means of pushing us out of our comfort zone and trying something new.
We are very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to roast for, and judge, the Scottish Aeropress Championship coffee again this year. In doing so we were encouraged to team up with our friends at Total Roaster who would supply the green beans to do so. This was a really beneficial experience as we were presented with an origin that we’ve never worked with, Malawi. We also didn’t have the benefit of roasting much of it, with only one test roast to build a profile before bagging for the competition.
Teaming up on a project like this has given me fresh insight and experience. I’ve never considered coffee from Malawi to this point due to some blinkered focus on the origins that I love. Gladly I’ve now discovered some nuance that I find highly desirable in a coffee I may have skipped past had it not been for (I will stop saying this word at some point) collaboration.
If you want to take it further, we sourced our bags from our friends at Dutch Coffee Pack, the sticker design from local legends MainlyPhotography which were printed by long time good guys Awesome Merchandise. I even sourced roasting advice from the hugely talented Zach Chipp from Total Roaster and Matt from Fortitude before getting feedback from the entire team at Cairngorm on the test roast.
So there you go, a gushing appreciation post, but credit where credits due. Never, ever expect to know everything and don’t be afraid to ask for help, because you know what is kind of a good thing? You guessed it…collaboration.
P.S: the first part of our ‘Dispell The Myth’ blog will be following shortly.