How Coffee Is Processed

We’ve looked at different ways that coffee is grown (shade vs sun) but the processing of coffee beans is just as important, especially when you talk about organic coffee. Each plantation chooses its own way to process the fruit of coffee plants called cherries. Some even develop their own ground-breaking processes to reduce the impact on the environment, speed up the procedures or maintain the natural flavour notes in the beans.

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Single Origin: Ethiopia

Ah we love our Single Origin coffee and this S.O is something a little bit special. It is said that coffee was born in Ethiopia and ever since, beans that come from this part of the world have been exceptional.

Ethiopian Coffee History

Picture this… it’s around 850AD, you’re a goat herder in Ethiopia tending to your bleating flock when suddenly you get this rad idea – cappuccino! latte! flat white! piccolo latte! Ah maybe it didn’t really happen like that but in 850AD it is said that a lonely goat herder, Kald saw his goats chowing down on wild grown coffee cherries and decided to try a couple himself. He felt on top of the world – yep that caffeine hit really gave him an ancient buzz! So he took the berries to a bunch of monks who thought they were evil so they chucked them in a nearby fire. Suddenly the aroma of freshly brewed coffee hit their nostrils and they scooped out the crusty beans, soaked them in hot water and drank to their heart’s content – not realising the incredible beverage they had helped create.

Slowly but surely drinkable coffee made its way through Africa and up into the Middle East where the first coffee houses were established in Mecca. From there coffee travelled to Sri Lanka, eventually landing in the hands of some savvy Venetian traders who took it to Europe. And the rest is history.

Sacred Grounds Ethiopian Producers

Today, Ethiopia is one of the best places on earth to source quality coffee beans. But it’s not just the amazing coffee that we’re interested in but the people behind it. Meet the farmers of the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (OCFCU). Formed in 1999 this co op has been Fairtrade Certified since 2002 – so you know that the coffee you’re drinking is having a positive impact on farmers and the community around them. The OCFCU has 240 member co ops with 208,728 workers, counting the incredible number (22,302) of female farmers.

This co op is the largest of its kind in Ethiopia, producing 65% of the nation’s coffee beans in the Oromia State of southern and southwest Ethiopia. This region has beautiful rainforests and impressive mountains which makes it the ideal place to grow such incredible coffee.

Most of the coffee farmed by OCFCU members is grown under stunning canopies of native Acacia and Oak trees – a haven for birds. This environment creates natural fertilising from decaying leaves and plants which means there’s no need for chemicals. Other plants such as ginger, papaya, cardamom and sweet potatoes are grown alongside the coffee plants creating a harmonious, aromatic, perfect environment for growing coffee.

Ethiopian Single Origin Coffee

Which brings us to our own Ethiopian Single Origin coffee. We love this coffee so much we actually have two S.Os from this part of the world, our Ethiopia Limu and Ethiopia Yirgaheffe.

Ethiopia Limu – This medium roast bean is a beauty brimming with flavours of lime, stone fruit and just a hint of spice. Ideal for plunger coffee or your favourite version of espresso, this zesty coffee is sure to hit the spot. Order your Ethiopia Limu here…

Ethiopia Yirgaheffe – A beautifully light roast bean, this Single Origin exhibits a clean, floral, lemony flavour combination, perfect for cold brew coffee. It’s an ideal coffee to use with your Aeropress, Plunger, Chemex or V60. Order your Ethiopia Yirgaheffee here…

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5 Common Coffee Mistakes

Making coffee is a process and each step of that process has to be just right in order to create the perfect coffee. One slip up and you’ll be left with a so-so kinda coffee which is better than none, right? But if you feel like you’re ticking all the boxes and your final product is still not up to scratch you may be making one of the following simple mistakes – easily rectified.

5 Common Coffee Mistakes

1. Inferior Beans

This first point is a passion for us because we’re all about quality, Fairtrade, organic coffee beans. It’s not just that they’re chemical-free – which is great for the environment and your own health – but they have to retain all their natural flavours. Inferior beans mean that you’re starting with a shaky foundation. If your foundation is dodgy, the final product will not be great. If you’re new to the coffee world, we recommend trying a blend – they’re generally smoother in taste – a bit of a crowd pleaser.

Shop for Sacred Grounds Blends here… 

2. Unclean Machines

This one is a no-brainer really. If your home coffee machine is dirty, then the flavours of your beautiful coffee will be tainted. Coffee beans are full of essential oils that will leave a stale taste if left floating around your water container or sticking to your Portafilter or basket. A clean machine is not only important for health reasons but will maintain the integrity of the coffee and give you a clean, crisp taste to your coffee time after time. Now, how to clean your coffee machine? We’ve written a post about it… how handy – here it is … How to Clean Your Coffee Machine.

3. Measuring Mishaps

This can be a bit confusing but in order to create the perfect coffee, your measurements should be fairly precise. This requires a set of scales! Measure out 20g or if you live scales-free then 2 heaped tablespoons of coffee beans then grind away. Using the right amount of coffee means that the extraction will not be too fast or too slow giving you that beautiful ‘mouse tail’-like appearance as it trickles from the basket into your warmed coffee cup = bliss!

4. Milky Mayhem

You may be one fantastic coffee grinder conoissieur or espresso extractor but if you get your milk texturing wrong, then the whole coffee may end up down the sink. Nooooo! This step can be tricky but we have some handy tips to help you get the perfect texture each time you steam.

  1. Purge -release steam
  2. Milk Jug – select the right jug for the job
  3. Quantity – fill 1/3 full
  4. Stretch!! – Click here for directions…
  5. Heating – Warm until hot to the touch
  6. Clean – Wipe and purge your steam wand
5. Frosty Beans

There is a strange common-held belief that storing coffee beans in the fridge, or dare I say, freezer will keep them fresh as a daisy! The truth is that these frosty places produce too much moisture which is a coffee killer. Yep, the absolute, hand-to-heart truth of the matter is that storing your beautiful Fairtrade organic Sacred Grounds beans in the fridge/freezer will destroy their flavours, freshness and fabulousness so please refrain. Instead, store beans in an air-tight container or our resealable foil-lined coffee bags and pop them in a dark, cool pantry. Too easy!

So there you have it! Now your coffee making skills can go from good to barista in no time. Now if you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, why not check out our delish range of Single Origin coffee then put your taste buds to the test to see what flavours you can identify. Shop here for Sacred Grounds Single Origins.

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Coffee: Healthy or Harmful?

As you know, we’re passionate advocates of all things coffee (as long as it’s Fairtrade Organic, right?) We love this beverage from cherry to bean and everything in between. But, really, honestly, is drinking coffee day after day doing our bodies a service or is it actually harmful?

Well we have great news for all you coffee buffs out there because drinking up to 4 cups of coffee a day can actually provide incredible health benefits for your body. A recent review by the BMJ looked at the results of over 200 studies on coffee consumption and found some surprising benefits for a range of health issues.

Heart

According to the study, participants who drank up to three cups a day had a reduced risk of death from heart disease by an impressive 19% and 30% less chance of dying from a stroke compared to the non-drinkers.  When it came to impacting blood pressure, the results were marginally better for the coffee consumers than their caffeine-free counterparts but nothing to write home about. All in all, the studies showed a positive impact on the heart by drinking a moderate amount of coffee each day.

Cancer

40 studies were reviewed looking at the relationship of coffee and cancer. We’re happy to report that coffee actually has a substantial impact in a reduction of a wide variety of cancer including prostate, endometrial, melanoma, leukaemia, liver cancer and more! Why does coffee have such a positive impact when it comes to cancer? Researchers aren’t 100% sure but some say it due to the level of antioxidants, an improvement in insulin sensitivity or coffee’s ability to stop long-term inflammation in the body. Others still claim that coffee slows tumours’ growth, protects our DNA or even makes bad cells die before they become cancerous. It’s all so fascinating but the facts are in and most of the new is positive – coffee lowers likelihood of a range of cancers in our body!

Liver

There was happy news for our livers as well with coffee drinkers 29% less likely to suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and 27% less likely to experience liver fibrosis. Ultimately if you drink up to 3 coffees a day, you’re 65% less likely to develop Liver Disease and 40% less likely to suffer from Liver Cancer which is pretty darn impressive. With Liver Cancer being a sneaky, silent kind of cancer, this is good news indeed.

Brain Matters

Coffee, or rather caffeine, has been found to prevent a range of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and depression. According to the Harvard School of Public Health research paper, people who drink 4-5 cups of coffee a day have 50% less chance of developing Parkinson’s that those who consumed no coffee at all.

Drinking coffee has also been shown to have a positive impact on those suffering from moderate depression. How? One theory is that depression could be caused by inflammation in the brain and coffee combats this with a fabulous mix of antioxidants full or amazing chemicals such as trigonelline, nicotinic acid and more hard to pronounce scientific terms. Another theory relates to caffeine’s ability to make us feel alert and energetic and increases dopamine levels so we feel more motivated. Whatever theory is true, many studies have agreed that coffee loves our brain and our brain simply adores coffee!

Limits

Of course with every good thing in life, there must be limits. So don’t go crazy and start drinking coffee every other hour. And if you are into drinking up to 5 cups of coffee a day, make some of them short blacks – that’s right, no milk, no choccy sprinkles. Keep it healthy. The paper also recommended that women who are prone to fractures and pregnant ladies should steer away from having too many coffees each day. Know your body, know your limits and enjoy a balanced life!

Keen to try something a bit different? Check out our Moonlight Blend. Party decaf, part caffeinated, this baby is great for morning, noon or night!

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Get Your Blend Bundle On!

All of our coffee blends have been beautifully and carefully curated by our Master Roaster, a former French chef, no less. This is why they’re so darn smooth, well balanced and simply delicious. Having four amazing blends to choose from, you’re really spoilt for choice – yep, you can enjoy the variety of flavour notes one after the other with our Blend Bundle. What’s it all about? Read on…

Sacred Grounds Coffee Blend Bundle

Sacred Blend

We searched the world east to west, north to south to find the most exotic, the best quality, the greatest tasting beans in the globe and we found them. Our Organic Fairtrade Sacred Blend is our signature blend sourcing beans from Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia, Peru and Nicaragua. It really is a crowd pleaser! Check out the specs below…

Tasting Notes: Sharp, clean acidity with a sweet and spicy aftertaste and a long dark chocolate finish
Variety:  Arabica
Roast:    Medium

Spirit Blend

Besides tasting the goods, our Spirit Blend is all about Sustainability. These particular beans have been sourced from farms focussing on eco-friendly growing and harvesting techniques as well as sustainable farming practices so you can enjoy a guilt-free cuppa. With delectable beans from Ethiopia and Sumatra, this blend is sure to lift your spirits!

Tasting Notes: Floral and fruity front notes, caramel middle and deep dark chocolate finish
Variety:  Arabica
Roast:    Medium

Neighbours Blend

Sourced from our closest coffee cohorts, our Neighbours Blend isn’t just a fab tasting coffee but it’s also the blend with the lowest carbon footprint. Compared to their more international coffee cousins, these beans haven’t had to travel so far to reach our fair shores which means less pollution, petrol and impact on the environment = win! Our Neighbours Blend proudly features beans from Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Sumatra delivering a smooth, nutty beverage time after time.

Tasting Notes: Subtle berry characteristics with a nutty aftertaste
Variety: Arabica
Roast: Moderately Dark

Moonlight Blend

Our last blend is a bit of a special character; not decaf and not fully caffeinated, our Moonlight Blend is the perfect compromise. This low caffeine coffee combines beans from Mexico (decaf), Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia, Peru and Nicaragua to create a sweet, smooth coffee you can enjoy day or night.

Tasting Notes: Hints of cocoa and spice with a pleasant caramel aftertaste
Variety: Arabica
Roast: Medium

Keen to try all four blends? Order your Sacred Grounds Organic Fairtrade Blend Bundle right here…

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Sacred Grounds Single Origin: Peru

There are so many things to love about Single Origin coffee, from the range of strong flavour notes to the quality and traceability of the beans themselves. But let’s not forget the stories behind the coffee, the people, the places that have created such a beautiful brew. This is just one of them, the birthplace of our delish Single Origin – Peru…

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How Fairtrade Impacts Communities

Fairtrade means what it literally says… a fair go for everyone. Fair price, fair treatment of workers, communities, the environment. We’re so passionate about this organisation that we’ve sourced all of our coffee from Fairtrade only farms and producers. We love the stories that are told from these places where people are reclaiming their lives and the future of their families by growing some really great coffee. Here are the stories of our producers across the globe; how the Fairtrade Premium has made an impact on the communities around them. Enjoy!

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5 Savoury Recipes Made with Coffee

sacred grounds-5 recipes-coffee

We all know how great coffee is – that’s why we’re here! And we’ve all probably got our favourite sweet coffee-flavoured recipe but have you ever thought of using coffee in a savoury dish? Coffee is being used more and more in gourmet dinner dishes and why not! It’s an earthy, delish ingredient that is pretty hard to beat. So, we’ve gathered five of the best savoury coffee recipes to start you on your way! Enjoy.

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Meet Our Sumatran Producers

Sumatra is a tropical island situated in Western Indonesia and right next door to Malaysia. This island is a whopper; in fact it’s actually the sixth largest island in the world. Thanks to its tropical climate, Sumatra has been a haven for coffee crops since the Dutch imported, planted and started production in the mid 1870s.

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