Summer Coffee Drinks: Espresso Martini

The Classic Espresso Martini was created in 1983 by bartending legend Dick Bradsell in London following a request from a customer for a drink which would “wake her up and …’mess’ her up”. UK Coffee in Good Spirits Champion of 2014, David Jameson, tells us all about this quintessentially elegant cocktail!

Espresso Martini

espresso-martini-1-682x1024Adapted, experimented with and modified over the years, this classic cocktail is worthy of a revisit (or two, or three…)

I like to use Absolut Vodka for its single estate wheat which is used as a basis for distillation. I like the way this mirrors my preference for single estate coffee! It is neutral on the nose with just a touch of cereal aroma. It is a light dry vodka with very light hints of caramelization and a mellow, sweet but short finish.

I pair this with Kahlua for its 100% Shade-Grown Arabica from Veracruz, Mexico. It grows alongside the sugar cane from which the spirit is distilled. The coffee is combined with 7-year aged sugar cane spirit and bottled to create a liqueur with a sweet, fresh coffee flavour.

What coffee to use? The relative neutrality of the spirits gives my espresso room to shine. Los Lajones Natural Caturra Microlot (Panama) is a sweet, fruity coffee with flavours of strawberry, chocolate, cream and orange. In order to get a good crema on the finished cocktail you need to use coffee within 3 weeks of roasting.

Make a ristretto, using 23g of very finely ground coffee and pour the shot for 30 seconds to yield around 45ml, and approx 35g finished espresso. In a mixing glass, add

  • 50ml Absolut Vodka
  • 10ml simple syrup (50/50 sugar & water)
  • 15ml Kahlúa Liqueur
  • Los Lajones Ristretto (prepared as above)


  1. Top with ice
  2. Seal with shaking can and shake vigorously until the can is cold and showing condensation
  3. Split the shaker and double strain using a Hawthorne strainer and a sieve
  4. Garnish with 3 coffee beans, split side up
  5. Serve immediately

Thanks Dave! Check out his award-winning Orange Custard Martini recipe too

Summer Coffee Drinks: Cold Brew Coffee

Why Cold Brew?

Cold Brew Coffee


It’s something we’re rather excited about around here.

It’s got a lot to recommend it. Apart from the fact you just might not fancy hot coffee when the temperature outside is soaring, it’s a brilliantly refreshing way to enjoy a sweet, bright fruity coffee with a minimum of fuss.

Using this immersion method gives you a delicious tasting concentrate, which is revitalising to drink over ice and has sweet acidity. Essentially for high quality coffee, this brewing technique highlights some of the subtle floral and fruit notes that may be more muted with hot brew.

You don’t need special kit. If you’ve got a large cafetière or Chemex that’s ideal, but really it’s coffee, water, a big jar and something to strain it with – as simple as a kitchen sieve.

Cold brew lends itself beautifully to making large batches, and keeps for up two weeks in the fridge. That’s a workflow we like. By brewing your own coffee you know you’re getting the best out of your precious beans. It’s all win!

Try using Los Lajones Honey from Panama or our Bright Note Blend for an outstanding cup.

How to make it

  • coarsely grind 120g of coffee
  • pour 1L of cold filtered water into your jug
  • add the ground coffee and stir to make sure all the grounds are thoroughly wet
  • leave overnight in the fridge.
  • filter out the extraction; a coffee filter or muslin in a sieve works well for this
  • bottle and store in the fridge.

Play around and adjust ratios and the brew time until you get the balance you like. Tweet us your version of the recipe at @unionroasted!

Summer Coffee Drinks: Cascara

Cascara is an infusion prepared from the outer fruit of the coffee bean with extraordinarily high levels of antioxidants. Have you tried it yet?



Our Cascara was produced at Los Lajones Estate from natural dried coffee fruit skin. The flavours of the infusion are very different to roasted coffee; you’ll find the freshness of cherry and dried cranberry.  This extended brewing extracts the sweet syrupy flavour notes and yields a pale red brew.

Cascara is lower in caffeine compared to brewed roasted coffee, but has super-high levels of antioxidants (3-5 times greater than Acai and blueberries) which we hear are important to maintain good health. We’re mainly into the refreshing taste!

The coffee is grown under full shade trees of Inga, mandarin and lemon that provide a rich environment for wildlife. The cherries are dried naturally on raised beds before milling to produce the Cascara husk. These perfect ripe cherries produce the delicious syrupy sweetness in the infusion.

  • Use 30g of cascara per 500ml of water
  • Suggested brewing water temperature is 92C
  • Brew for 5-6 minutes, or extend to 10 minutes for a deeper toned, syrupy aftertaste.  Then filter to remove the Cascara.

Enjoy the warm infusion, or chill it in the fridge overnight and then reheat the next day.
Chemex brewing is a great method to get a good result.

The Cascara husks can be brewed twice, but infuse a little bit longer the second time to allow flavours to extract into the cup, and only do a second brew on the same day, then discard it.

Cascara is currently out of stock but we’ll let you know on  Twitter as soon as it’s back online!

Have you tried Cascara? We’d love to know what you think of it! Tweet us at @unionroasted

World Coffee in Good Spirits 2014: a post script

Dave Jameson, UK Coffee in Good Spirits Champion, represented valiantly at the WCIGS in Melbourne this year but it wasn’t meant to be. Watch Dave’s performance here. Here’s his parting shot. Or is it? Read on….
All fires start with a spark and burn themselves out eventually.
My competition journey is now over, and I’m sadly not going to be representing the UK in the final of the World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship.

It’s been an amazing experience. I have learnt so much, met so many outstanding people and felt the love and support of friends, family and colleagues.
On the day I wasn’t satisfied with the flavour of my drinks that I served. I got a couple of proportions mixed up, and I ran over time. All of this cost me marks. What I saw though, is what the world judges are looking for and I don’t think my stripped down, back to basics style was it.

I want to thank Nic, my wife, for her patience, love and support. Matt, and all the guys at Union for being so positive, so encouraging and so helpful. Artis glassware and Kokoa collection for their help with ingredients and glasses. The SCAE UK for supporting me and organising the competition, and Madeleine from Norway who helped me out with cream for the championship.


I haven’t decided if I will try again next year.
I feel like I have unfinished business here that I need to sort out.