Buying coffee seasonally is at the heart of what we do at Round Hill.
It is in essence about seeing coffee as a crop not a commodity, buying in harmony with the growing seasons to enjoy coffee at its best. This kind of buying has always been the backbone of our business and it’s something we’ve improved and refined every year.
In practical terms seasonal buying is thinking about what you will need as opposed to what’s there right now.
It’s about planning, organisation and timing. At the time of writing this in early November, the team has just finished cupping coffees that have just been picked and processed from Tarqui in Colombia that won’t appear on our list until early next year.
Thinking about seasonality is something that isn’t new in food.
In some ways our approach to coffee is similar to seasonal, ingredient forward cooking, we roast coffee to bring out what’s there, to highlight the flavours already present and the terroir. Working in food is also, unsurprisingly, what sparked Eddie’s passion for seasonality. He worked in a restaurant called Black Stones Kitchen in Bath back in 2006 where they always built their menu around what was in season, and at Round Hill we do the same.
While building a menu around the seasons provides certain guidelines in terms of when you will be cupping coffees and when you will be roasting them it can also lead to certain unique challenges.
You may for example find that at times you have an offering list with 3 coffees from 1 origin, or even multiple coffees from 1 producer, so you need to ensure the coffees are unique enough to be interesting to your customers.
Recently we have been lucky enough to have the same varietals from the same producer but both washed and natural process (most recently from Moises and Marysabel Cabellero). This kind offering is great because it allows people to taste exactly what effect processing has on the flavour profile of a coffee and in a way turns one of the slight negatives of seasonal buying into a positive.