On a frosty Autumn morning we went in pursuit of some great coffee, and in our fair city, there are one coffee roasters pulling out all of the stops, Dear Green Coffee. Chief roaster and founder Lisa was on hand to give us the skinny on what Dean Green is all about.
Haha, I do travel a lot!
Generally my laptop, a notebook, a sharpie and my KeepCup (filled with a Dear Green coffee of course!) and my bag.
“Coffee above the clouds!”
I use the Bairn when I'm commuting by bike and it's been with me from the early days of Dear Green. It's been on a fair few international trips too! It's been known to carry my Aeropress, FeldGrind and Acaia scales as hand luggage on flights to brew my coffee above the clouds!
I generally only drink black coffee as I'm a purist, so for me a great coffee should be prepared with 'speciality' grade beans, roasted freshly and ground to order. A knowledgeable barista who cares can make all of the difference but it should be brewed to accurate coffee, water and time ratios and sipped in a great cafe. A great coffee used to be difficult to find, but there are a few places to choose from in Glasgow these days; Primal Roast, Meadow Road, All that Is Coffee and Riverhill.
Dear Green was an idea in my head since learning how to roast coffee when I was living in Australia. In 2011 the timing was right for me to start roasting and brewing my own coffee and the name comes from the translation in Gaelic of the name of the city I love, Glasgow: the Dear Green Place.
Yeah, I don't quite know where the time has gone! It's the longest I've held down a job anyway. The coffee industry has definitely evolved into something quite special and certainly more accepted, respected and in demand by consumers than when I opened Glasgow's first micro-roasters. I had to enforce espresso science and latte art training on my first customers and I definitely didn't have the community of coffee geeks around me locally that I craved back then. But it taught me to look internationally for inspiration and to continue to do so for updates in science, techniques, products and trends.
I'm proud that I've been able to bring some of this coffee culture to Scotland at events like the Scottish Aeropress Championships, the Glasgow Coffee Festival, the UK Coffee Roasting Championship and the Scottish Independent Coffee Guide. It's definitely an exciting time as the speciality coffee industry is getting stronger and will only continue to do so.
As a nation we're definitely seeking higher quality coffee. As well as drinking a lot more and there are similar trends in the world. But it's important we make sure to invest enough in coffee producing regions to ensure there is enough coffee for all generations to come if the trend is to continue.
Sourcing our product has evolved massively since we started, the market has developed and we now have so many more options and fewer communication barriers to direct trade. Each country and region can be very different but other factors such as altitude and cultivar can affect flavour similarity or different across the coffee producing regions. But generally I look for quality and seasonality of raw coffee first and foremost, then I check that the ethics are all in line with our policy.
All of our coffees are ethically traded and have direct links to the coffee producer and we have complete traceability to origin and transparency in our supply chain. Sourcing high quality helps us invest in the future of the coffee community and we're proud of what we have achieved and it can only get better!
This was the policy for Dear Green from Day One and based on a number of factors. One of those was my string of bad employment experiences, and the other was due to us sourcing coffee from developing countries. I could never justify paying staff less than the living wage yet preach about how we pay a fair price to coffee farmers. Dear Green staff earned more than I did in the early days and I wouldn't have it any other way.
One of the most recognisable prints in Scotland, Emily Mackenzie's "50 Shades of Scotland" print manages to pick 50 simple shades from this beautiful country, and transforms them into a journey through Scottish history, and Scottish culture.
We caught up with Emily and asked her about her hometown of Edinburgh, and for her advice on how to make the most of being an artist in the city.
The Edinburgh Royal Botanic Gardens is the green and growing heart of Edinburgh. Big enough to spend the day in, it's the perfect place to take a packed lunch and try to get lost among the trees.
If it's a little too far for you to visit, then here's a little tour from our most recent visit to the Gardens.