Perfect coffee pairs with traditional Christmas treats

Ahead of the holidays, Steven who is responsible for coffee sourcing, proposes his coffee and food matches for the traditional festive favourites. Steven is a vegetarian with lots of interest in desserts, and no interest in roast turkey.


The Pudding

“The deep, rich, spicy notes of Christmas pudding are lightened with the sweet fruit elements and cleansed by the citrus notes in Los Lajones Geisha.

Cheese Board

“If you’re serving cheese, Colston Bassett Stilton’s buttery texture and mineral tang combines deliciously with Santuario, Colombia. The Santuario counters with sweet stone fruit acidity, yet offers a comforting fudge-like finish.”

Traditional Trifle

Guatemala Liberación pairs perfectly with the fruit in a classic English trifle. With a jammy sweetness and creamy finish, it’s the perfect complement to the layers of boozy sponge, jelly and custard.”

A pile of Mince Pies

“With mince pies, try a cafetiere brew of Sumatra Gajah Mountain or an espresso shot produced from Revelation to give depth of flavour and dark chocolate, treacly notes that meld sumptuously with those rich, sticky, sweet fruits wrapped in pastry.”

Sweet treats

“For something a little different, fresh white chocolate ganache truffles with Konga Yirgacheffe, washed, is a great way to round off a delicious festive dinner. Konga Yirgacheffe has delicate flavours of floral jasmine and bergamot that pairs with the creaminess of white chocolate to create a great eating experience.”

Thanks Steven! If you’re trying some different matches this year, we’d love to hear what you’ve found that works well. And once you’ve done with dinner and you’r ready to settle in for the afternoon, check out Dave, our coffee cocktail expert’s sumptuous Black Forest Gateau Recipe (apparently it makes 5 hour monopoly games infinitely more bearable).

The Union Barista Championships 2014

We welcomed a lovely crowd of talented baristas to the roastery in east London last week, for the 2014 Barista Championships. There’s a full round up here, but we wanted to say congratulations again to all our competitors and to our worthy winners!

Best Espresso went to Luke from Harris + Hoole in Cannon Street. He also scooped Best Signature drink, which incorporated tea from Ceylon One in Borough Market.














Best Cappuccinos was awarded to Annagh from Gather and Gather.

Jeremy Torz and Annagh Butler








And on to our overall winners…

In third place was Ellenor Auld from Espresso Bar Mozzino in Soho.

JT and Ellenor








Second place, in a very close contest, went to Eduardo Donegal Teixeira from Gail’s Bakery.

Jeremy Torz and Eduardo











And the overall winner, with a stunning presentation, was Annagh Butler from Gather and Gather.

Jeremy Torz and Annagh Butler













We had a brilliant day, thank you to every one for coming, and we look forward to welcoming another talented crop of baristas to the roastery again next year.

If you’re getting ready for UKBC and WBC competitions, come and talk to us. Our trainers and roastmasters can help you choose coffees and our experienced sensory and technical judges are always ready to give pointers too.


Coffee Cocktails: Black Forest Gateau

We asked Dave Jameson, the 2014 UK Coffee in Good Spirits Champion and our in-house drinks guru, to come up with something special for us. This wonderfully warming tipple is a great drink to make for friends over the holidays, as you perfect your cocktail layering skills.

Black Forest Gateau - Coffee Cocktail

Black Forest Gateau Coffee Cocktail


  • 8ml simple syrup
  • 10ml Chambord
  • 10ml Disaronno
  • 5ml Grand Marnier
  • 13g Equinox, freshly ground to a fine consistency

 For the cream:

  • 2ml sugar
  • 2ml Chambord
  • 2ml Disaronno
  • 100ml double cream


  • Fresh Cherry
  • Best quality dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids


  • Hario V60 and filter paper
  • Metal spoon
  • Kilner jar
  • Scales
  • Wide rimmed 240ml/8oz cocktail glass, suitable for hot liquids


  1. For the cream, add 2ml sugar, 2ml Chambord, 2ml Disaronno and 100ml double cream to a Kilner bottle. Seal, shake until thickened and set aside.
  2. Place a glass containing 8ml sugar solution, 10ml Chambord, 10ml Disaronno and 5ml Grand Marnier on your scales.
  3. Wet paper in the Hario V60, then place it on top of the glass.
  4. Add 13g ground coffee to the paper, followed by 30ml hot water and bloom for 30 seconds. Top up with short doses in concentric circles until you have 180ml, then remove the V60 and take the glass off the scales.
  5. Carefully pour the prepared cream into the glass, over the back of a spoon to create a cream layer on top.
  6. Garnish with a cherry and a shaving of dark chocolate.

The garnish gives you the only chocolate or cherry in the recipe but the balance of flavours would lead you to believe otherwise!


All about our Roastmaster Subscriptions


Roastmaster Q&A

Around this time of year, we seem to get many more questions about our six and twelve month Roastmaster subscriptions. Could it be because it’s a lovely gift for a coffee lover? Or that it’s a present that will see you, the generous giver, being loved and appreciated for months and months to come? Or maybe it’s because it’s a perfect solution for a has-everything foodie.

Q. So, how does it work?

A. You choose either a six or twelve month subscription and we do the rest of the work. We choose our favourite microlots each month – often limited edition or exclusive to us – and send them out once a month for the duration of the subscription.

Q: is it suitable for someone who’s just getting to know coffee?

A: Absolutely – your first delivery contains mugs, a binder and information on coffee roasting and origins, and a barista towel in case you get really mucky while experimenting with the grind and extraction – and we’ll tell you all about those too.  Every month we’ll include tasting notes and brewing guides too.

Q: My dad is a huge coffee fan but he’s fussy about the grind, will he like it?

A: We can grind the beans for you, depending on your brewing method, or provide whole beans. (Good on him, freshly ground beans make the best coffee).

Q: How soon will the coffee get here?

We roast Monday to Friday. Any orders placed before 4pm are roasted the next day for delivery the following day after that (day 3). So if you order Monday, your Roastmaster subscription is roasted on Tuesday and goes out for delivery on Wednesday. If you order on Friday, it’s roasted on Monday and goes out on Tuesday.

Q: What about Christmas orders?

We always do our best to fulfil orders as late as we can – only Santa delivers later – but we’ll display our last order dates prominently on the website and on social media.

Q: This sounds great but it’s a little out of my budget.

A: We have a ‘by the month’ option if that works best for you.


If you’re stuck for Christmas gift ideas this year it’s still not too late to buy someone special a Roastmaster subscription, the gift that keeps on giving, throughout the year.