Sunday 14 August 2016

Matt from Wogan Coffee

Coffee is the topic of conversation for today. Matt from Wogan Coffee.
South West England’s largest independent coffee roaster.If you are a Bristolian, or have visited Bristol, it is likely that you have tasted the beans of Brian Wogan and perhaps caught the aroma of the beans being roasted as you drive into city centre between the end of the M32 and Cabot Circus shops.
Brian Wogan was the founder of the company in 1970. Adrian Wogan now runs the business, still sourcing the same Speciality premium-quality green coffee bean as Brian did 46 years ago. Today we are with Matt Beynon, the companies Barista Trainer and Coffee Consultant; a wonderful chap, I got my coffee training from him.

JP: Hi Matt. Congratulations on your work as a Barista and Trainer, I’ve seen you all over Bristol, Better Food, Café Kino and you also work with a few Michelin Star restaurants, such as Pony & Trap. What initially motivated you to become a Professional Barista? Was Brian Wogan your first job or did you have to work around?

MB: Thank you for your introduction, very kind. We are very proud of our relationship with this city and its food hero`s. I have worked in the service industry for 20 years and I have seen the industry change unrecognisably and I have enjoyed being part of that change. I first met Adrian over 10 years ago at a training session he hosted and he enthused me with so much passion, I new it was the industry for me. 

I was working for Fifteen in Old Street and had the opportunity to work for another roaster in London before I moved back to Bristol. Adrian and I had a chance meeting, and the rest as they say is history, that was 4 years ago now. That was the best decision I have ever made. It is not often in life you find someone with so much passion, drive and knowledge in what they do, everyday you learn something new!

GM: Could you briefly explain the full process that happens at Wogan Coffee, from receiving the fresh beans from an exotic country to having them ready to be delivered to coffee shops.

MB: After an exciting process of picking origins and varieties from samples, requests and visits we make, we plot our buying schedule and await the new arrivals. The coffee arrives once a week and is sorted between our holding warehouse and roastery, we then pick our origins for the days roasting based on what we need for that particular day. We do most of our roasting on a 1967 120kg Probat and this we find gives us more control and refinement over our profile. After we roast the coffee we let it rest for 3-5 days, this is an integral part of roasting as it lets all the flavours get to know each other and allows the coffee to degas. Then it`s off to the shops!

GM: As a customer in a coffee shop how we can recognise if our coffee was made by a professional, with all the due care and attention?

MB: For me the first thing that I look for is a clean steam arm, anything less is showing a lazy work practice and can have a detrimental affect on the taste of the finished drink. I then cast my eye to the grinder where I either want to see an on-demand grader or see that the Barista is taking care to ensure that not too much coffee is ground off in the chamber and that they are extracting my espresso in a nice slow time. Lastly, taste is the most important factor. If I have a beautifully creamy textured drink with a beautiful taste I`m happy! Very Nice indeed!

JP: The coffee machine market is vast and ever expanding. There are hundreds of options for those wishing to start making coffee at home. Do you have any recommendations or guidance?

MB: At home I am lucky enough to have a few brewing methods to choose from; these range from espresso machine right through to Aeropress. However my favourite method is still the cafetière. It is a method steeped in memories for most of us and reminds me of Sunday mornings. The secret to using a cafetière is keeping it really clean and ensuring that you give the coffee a chance to bloom; this involves adding a touch of hot water to the coffee first to allow it to expand. Once you have allowed this bloom time for around 30 secs complete the pour and allow to stand for 4 minutes, then enjoy!

JP: Milk. To milk or not to milk? Or what about non-dairy milk? Do you have any pearls of wisdom or suggestions for the baristas or home-baristas?

MB: Milk and non-dairy milk is a very exciting topic at the moment with more research and papers coming out on what seems a weekly basis!

In my opinion west country milk is the best in the world and as long as it`s unhomogonised and organic you can`t go wrong! 

Non-dairy alternatives are very exciting and I am currently in love with coconut milk, it`s everything I am looking for in a textured beverage, in fact I fact we have a new espresso machine coming in September that is made by Slayer that can profile different steam temperatures and pressures depending on milk types! Most importantly is to remember not to over heat the milk, anything over 65 degrees will cause the natural sweetness to disappear.

GM: How about cold-brew coffee, that is growing in popularity. What is it?

MB: Cold brew coffee is growing in popularity in the UK however it is nothing compared to the US market where of course they are blessed with slightly hotter days! essentially by brewing using no heat, you extract much less volatile compounds, low amounts of acidity and more natural sugars. Because you are using lower temperature it does take up to 12/16 hours and more careful to brew, so be careful. It might taste sweet and fruity but will pack a punch.

GM: From you experience of training and working with baristas, would you say there are any common mistakes that people make when it comes to making great coffee?

MB: We run a training course at our roastery up to 5 days a week and the most common mistakes come from misinformation; only in the last few years are we really getting to grasp with espresso technology and now is filtering down to the baristas in the field. Sizes of drinks and amount and temperature of textured foam is always a confusing point as people are always surprised it is a lot less than they thought. The same could be said for adjusting the grind on the grinder, this should be done at least 3 times day... At least! The thing that really grinds my gears is cleanliness or lack there of, dirty wands and no back flushing equals a revolting cup of coffee, it deserves better.

JP: Have you ever entered a Barista competition?
MB: I have thought about it, but you need to dedicate hours and hours a week to the task and I simply don`t have the time. There is another competition where you have They do a great job of raising the bar of the industry and long may they continue!

GM: Arabica and Robusta. Can you explain to our readers, who may be inexperienced with coffee, what these are? And the difference between them.

MB: A common misconception is that all Robusta are bad and all Arabica are good. They are two completely different genus`s, it`s a bit like say a carrot and parsnip are the same. They might look similar, but that`s where it ends.

Robusta is grown at lower altitudes and is naturally higher in caffeine acting as an insect repellent. It is predominantly grown in low lying emerging markets such as India and Vietnam and many crops are more commodity crop driven than speciality. Arabica is grown at much higher altitudes and is more susceptible to disease and insects and therefore is a harder crop to manage and grow, but it is full of complex characteristics and many different varieties lending itself to the speciality market and beyond.

JP: When is your favourite time to drink coffee? And what coffee would you choose?

MB: All day! My favourite? I always seem to return to is Kenya Peaberry:-complex, refined and perfect for Sunday mornings.

GM: We have spoken a lot about drinking, but what about food? Do you have a favourite cuisine? Or maybe an ‘unsung dish’ (Vegan or vegetarian as that is nature of our blog) that you believe more people should try?

MB: Food is a real passion of mine too and recently I tried your cottage cheese cake which I must say is my new favourite desert and my go to dish is Chickpea stew, which contains every single piece of veg I have in the cupboard along with paprika from Hungary which in my opinion is the best thing in the world and of course chickpeas, cook for hours with brown rice and spinach, simple yet always makes me smile.

JP: Thanks Matt again for your time.
Interviewed by Jan Philips and Greg Macalla

To follow Brian Wogan visit their website and FB page.
or contact: or 01179553564

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