The Bean Green Coffee Company, best coffee in South Africa

Nate Maingard at The Bean Green

May 28, 2012

Last week, we were lucky enough to have a musician in residence at the Bean Green. He is a delightful, wandering pirate minstrel and a dear friend of mine. Having him here reminded me that this little Roastery of ours is a worthwhile space for beautiful, intimate, musical and cultural events and should be utilised more often. Thank you to Mr Nate for sharing his sublime talent with us. Check out his new album on natemaingard.com.  In fact go directly from here to make yourself a cup of delicious Bean Green coffee, put on some of Nate’s tunes and you’re sorted; instant happy.

 

I look forward to all the magical things that can happen here in our living room. The fumes of creativity (ie fresh roasted coffee) can only lead to good things I reckon. We’ve already got a little something in the pipeline. Watch this space.

 

Thanks to John McCarthy and Derryn Semple for the pics. I need to get me one of those fancy smart phones asap.

 

Yours in coffee and vinyl

Mel

Feed them coffee, they will grow.

January 11, 2012

Some people are born with green fingers. I am not one of those people. I appreciate people that are skilled with plants. I appreciate lying on lush grass looking up through a green leafy canvas. I appreciate the time and effort it takes to grow vegetables and delightful herbs and lovely smile-inducing, oxygen-producing flowers. I appreciate the skill of reaping the benefits of a coffee plant.

Despite all this appreciation, I myself, am hopeless at all things garden. This, I believe, stems back to my earliest memories of trying and failing to grow a shoot from a bean in cottonwool; a rite of passage for little scholars everywhere. Having been given two beautiful pot plants for my home, I have to date managed to keep zero of them alive. This is mildly worrying. Especially considering that theory (I think it’s connected to AA?!) that you first have to be able to look after a plant, then a pet and then you’re ready for a relationship. Doh! My only redeeming factor is that I’m not in AA, my addiction is coffee.

Recently we worked at COP17 at the Climate Change Response Expo and one of our neighbours was Wizzard Worms. Turns out, those little worms love coffee almost as much as us here at the Roastery. Coffee is excellent for your garden! The caffeine and the aroma makes it a natural insecticide and the used grounds are mineral rich (Coffee grounds are approximately 1.45% nitrogen. This is apparently a very good thing for gardens everywhere! They also contain magnesium, calcium, potassium, and other trace minerals) .

The COP17 Bean Green team!

So, feed your gardens and your worms coffee, they will grow and make compost with a vengeance! In the spirit of new beginnings and the need to make some effort at changing the way we live in this beautiful world, we want to help those green fingered among us to succeed by offering our coffee pucks to all those who ask. Bring your own container, or grab an ice-cream tub (re-use!) from us. Also you can use the coffee grinds left over after you’ve had a delicious french press or moka pot at home. Do it! Do it for the worms! Do it for the veggies and the flowers and the smiles! OK, the hippie in me has spoken.

I too, am going to try grow some things in the Roastery backyard with the help of our Bluff Bru! coffee. For the environment, not because I’m in the AA program.  Just so we’re clear.

LP of the moment: Hold Time – M.Ward. “When you’re absolute beginners, it’s a panoramic view”. Thank you to Matthew Knight for lending this magic to us.

 

Yours in coffee and vinyl

Mel

 

Battle of the Baristas

November 9, 2011

It seemed very relaxed as we walked in to the Factory. A meeting of friends, a couple of beers after work on an average Friday. If you looked closer though, there was tapping on the bottles, a little bit of nervous laughter and over-caffeinated chatter in expectation of the coming festivities.

The Glen(n)’s  from Blackwood Baristi Blog organised a Latte Art Barista Jam at Colombo Tea and Coffee Company’s Factory Cafe. The coffee culture in Durbs is growing all the time and events like this only fuel the growing interest in the chemistry and passion behind making the perfect cup. If we’re honest, latte art is the Barista’s way of showing off. And man,  do they know how to show off!

Although it may seem like a lot of hot milk, there really is a lot of skill involved in this process. The only way the barista can make something beautiful happen is complete composure under pressure, honing all their training and experience to produce at least one cup worthy of competition. Rich crema on your espresso is integral to ensure definition and contrast in your art. The milk has to be perfectly micro-textured so it can be manipulated by the wave of the wrist, creating a smooth, glossy canvas. Oh and did I mention a steady hand with 50 plus people watching?

The rules were simple. All the competitors used the same beans, provided by our hosts.  Everyone got 5 minutes to set their grind and mentally prepare themselves, then 5 minutes to produce art worthy of winning them the R500 pot and the respect of their peers.

The Bean Green was proud to have both Nkosi and Rory taking part. An overwhelming amount of support turned out for our boys. At one point Glen, MC for the night, announced something along the lines of, “Anyone who’s been shouted at by Peter Winter in the Bean Green, give us a cheer. “ It was the loudest cheer of the evening. That’s my dad, infamous J

It was a tight competition with all the coffee professionals showing us just how passion creates beauty. In the end, the best was saved for last, Sipho, entered as an independent barista pulled the rug out from under the rest with a beautiful three tiered Tulip. Who were his closest competition? Nkosi (a Rosetta and Tulip combo), Rory (boasting the only Swan design of the evening) and Travis(National Barista Champion 2011, no less). Bean Green domination :)

Yours in coffee and vinyl

The Way of the Future

November 9, 2011

Technology. It is the way of the future. Scratch that. It is the present. Except for inside The Bean Green bubble. Here vinyl is king and the roaster is a red tank engine. The most hi-tech piece of machinery is our La Marzocco espresso machine, and that’s the way we like it.

People read the newspaper here and do the crossword and drink coffee. We have to manually flip the record every 20 minutes and source stylus’ from the 1970’s that come in aged plastic casings, but it’s all worth it for the crackle before the music. My dad is still rocking a moustache. We have a cash register that opens and locks but doesn’t print receipts. Our couches have that worn in feeling that only years can affect. It’s a time warp.

Then something started happening.

“Do you have a plug point I can steal some electricity from?”

Technology slid sneakily in the door and it intrigued us. What could they be doing on this little box? They sit transported to another realm with their feet planted firmly in our beans, caffeine fuelling their online adventures. Curiosity got the better of me. Could the Bean Green be part of this world? Could we make the bold steps into new territory; the land of Google, where Twittering whistles through the pages of Facebook. It is scary. We started slow. A counter for people working.

“Do you guys have WiFi here?”

The question lingered. Then I made a decision. I got it into my head that I had to have a box of my very own. For the business, obviously. But what good is a laptop without the inter-web. So I started to suggest it to my father. It would bring in new business, all our regulars would be grateful. We could respond to emails more efficiently. My dad could check the latest updates on Man City. Everyone wins. It took longer than expected to convince him of all the positive effects. But I wore him down eventually. And the technology was all around us.

“What’s your website address?”

My shame at our lack of web presence grew each time the question fell from the lips of a smart phone-holding, Macbook-wielding cool kid, fingers ready to type us in to their Google machine. Oh the shame! Enough! I thought. This is an unnecessary burden to bear. So I got connected to the team at Hello Square and here we are, all technological and living in the present. It feels good.

Just don’t ask us to get a credit card machine. Some things here will always remain.

 

Welcome

November 8, 2011

This is a family business. We exist in a space of equal parts crazy and wonderful. It is not always an easy work environment. But it has some kind of magic.

My dad and I are similar in many ways. We both have self-proclaimed great taste in music, we both have a good sense of humour, but if you ask any of our customers, the most strikingly similar characteristic is our flammable temper. It gets heated and not always because our Has Garanti roaster is fired up, if you know what I mean. We don’t have that yin and yang sort of partnership going, rather its like fuel on the fire. By some remarkable stroke of inexplicable wonder in the universe, people seem to be attracted to this fire and the aromatic smoke of our coffee.

The Queen Bees and The Morning Mafia have found a place here. The Hippies and The Surfers. The Academics and The Students. The Architects and The Lawyers. The Doctors and The Teachers. Our community. Our friends. All drawn together by the thread of excellent coffee and good old-fashioned home.

We know when one climbs a mountain. Or when there’s a special new addition to the fold. Or when they reach milestones and achieve great things. We know when one has made their final visit. They know when I’m having a bad day (not difficult to miss) or when my dad is grumpy (rare, he’ll tell you) or when we are letting our tempers loose.

Most importantly, we know how they like their coffee. They keep coming back. This is our home. You are most welcome.

Caffeine awaits.