Coffee in Paris

I started my Monday in Paris this week and of course I had a whole list of coffee shops that I wanted to hit up. Now as this was a birthday present for my wife and also my first time in Paris I wanted to do the typical tourist stuff and see the sights too. I was able to fit in four coffee shops in two days and it was just fantastic.


The first shop that we got to was Fragments. It was around 20 minutes from our Airbnb so it was a nice walk through the Parisian streets. When we got there it was steady enough and we were able to grab a seat just by the door. Fragments is a neat and cosy place, I was able to see my filter being made, the barista pour art on some drinks, I got the whole experience of how they operate. We ordered two filters which were so smooth, and a heated scone with jam and cream. It was a perfect combination. It was a cosy shop with speedy customer service and a chilled atmosphere.



Next we went to Cafe Loustic. Again another great small spot that served a killer filter coffee. We didn’t get any food at this place but they had a ton of treats and sandwiches in their pastry case that looked tasty. Something I really liked about this place was the set up of their tables, it was something I’d never seen before. They were so practical and yet so cosy at the same time. I probably should’ve took a photo of them now that I think of it … I think Cafe Loustic was one of the first coffee shops from Paris that I followed on Instagram so it was really good to finally visit a place i had seen from a far for so long.



The third coffee shop we hit up was Telescope. Julie had just dragged me around the Louvre Museum and it’s safe to say I was so ready for coffee. We walked for around 20 minutes, again, to get there. I could tell this place had staff that knew coffee. We ordered two aeropresses and were given two different single origins, I loved this! The barista took my order and made it into a mini coffee tasting which just made my experience of Telescope even better. Both filters were killer and so smooth to drink. I came across Telescope through a blog post that Coffee NI put up of when they were in Paris, great recommendation!



Last but not least and certainly the most recommended was Holybelly. We got there around 20 minutes before they closed. Again, we got filters, and again, they were incredible. Customer service was great, super friendly and helpful as well. This diner style coffee shop provided such a lovely atmosphere to sit and chat about our day. Great music played in the background and even though they were closing, we didn’t feel pressured to leave. (We did, don’t worry.)


I realise now looking back that we probably should’ve ordered something other than filter coffees but I’m a filter guy, I will pick that over espresso based everytime!

So that’s about it. If you are ever in Paris, check these places out! I would highly recommend every single one of them. And finally, Happy International Coffee Day!

Bailies Coffee is running a special promotion this weekend by giving all orders before Sunday 1st 23:59 BST a FREE Bailies tote bag. Place your order here!



Connections with Coffee


So you may or may not have seen that recently I took part in my first ever international coffee swap and it was an incredible experience.

A few weeks back I sent a DM to an Australian chap called Tim Messenger, or ‘Bike Hike Brew’ as you may know him- and I proposed the idea of a coffee swap to him. It was as simple as that. We both picked coffee from our local roasters and sent them to the other side of the world. What I didn’t expect from this was the relationship I would build with Tim whilst this exchange was taking place. Delivery checks turned into ‘what do you work as?’ and ‘how have you brewed your coffee today?’ etc etc. Through a simple coffee exchanged I made a social connection with a guy who lives in Australia, that I may never meet. That’s just incredible!

I DM’d one of the roasters at Bailies Coffee roasters to see what he would recommend me sending to Australia. After he gave me a few options I decided to buy a bag of ‘Honduras La Florencia‘.

To give Tim a better understanding of the coffee scene here in Northern Ireland I also sent him a Belfast Coffee Map and an Indy Coffee Guide that details the coffee shops across the province. I packaged it all up and sent it on its way.


After what felt like a few months (actually 11 days, but who was counting) I got text from my wife to say that the sacred package I had been going on about had finally arrived! The rest of my shift at work dragged in as you can imagine. As soon as I got home I opened the packaged to find out what Tim had sent.

Side note: Tim has documented his version of the coffee swap on his amazing blog which you can see by clicking right here! Back to the blog

I received a bag of 5 Senses Coffee, limited release, ‘Acacia Hills, Geisha’ (you can find a review of this coffee here!). I was pumped already, I also received a postcard, some Australian mints and a pin of the Australian flag! I immediately opened the coffee and brewed it through a v60. I have followed 5 Senses Coffee on Instagram for quite a while now with the hope of one day, getting to Australia and trying there coffee for myself. Never would I have imagined that I would be drinking it, in my kitchen, in Northern Ireland!


It’s no new revelation that social media has taken the world by storm. We 100% now live in a digital world, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Through social media platforms like Instagram I’ve been able to connect with Tim and make this coffee swap happen. As Tim put it on instagram ‘How small is the world thanks to social media’, this statement is something I highly agree with.

I would highly recommend to those coffee enthusiasts out there to try a coffee swap with someone on the other side of the world. Make those connections with people you may never meet but share an interest with, we now have the ability to do so! I hope to make a few more swaps with Tim in the future and I am loving continuing getting to know this great guy and following him on his journey. I just want to thank Tim for taking the jump and agreeing to the coffee swap and also making it an enjoyable experience for me.


Acacia Hills, Geisha – 5 Senses Coffee


This weeks coffee review is something special as I’m reviewing a coffee from Australia. I recently participated in a coffee swap with Tim Messenger (@bikehikebrew, find his blog here!) which I will go into in much more detail in an upcoming post that I’ll pop on here very soon! For now lets get back to the coffee.

This is my first ever coffee from Australia, have I said I’m excited about it? I have followed 5 Senses Coffee on Instagram for a few years now and it’s just incredible that here, in Northern Ireland, I’m reviewing their coffee. This is the first coffee that I’ve ever had that was grown and processed in Tanzania, and it hasn’t disappointed. The coffee profile for this beautiful geisha coffee is lemongrass & bergamot, light tea-like body & short aftertaste.

I brewed this coffee through my v60 to start and it was just a delightful, easy drinking coffee. There were small sweet tones with a light body. As soon as I had finished the cup I wanted to brew another! I definitely got that light, tea-like body that is mentioned in the coffee notes. I have since brewed it through my Aeropress and again, what a delight it was to drink!


The Facts:
Country: Tanzania
1900 masl
Leon & Aideen Christianakis


You can check out 5 Senses Coffee for yourself here.


Cupping. Whats that all about?


Before I put any coffee through a brewing method, I always cup it first. A few years back my wife bought Ben and myself some cupping bowls as a birthday present. I remember being so excited as it was a complete surprise, I only remembered maybe mentioning them to her once or twice when I first found out about this method of tasting coffee. So let’s get into it.

Coffee is such a complex drink, many factors determine the final product that ends up in your cup. Where a coffee came from, the type of bean that was used, how that been was processed and then roasted determine so many different aromas and flavours.

To cup coffee you’ll need some essential equipment to make it all work.

These are:

  • Cupping Bowls/Cups
  • Corse ground coffee
  • Scales
  • A Timer
  • A Kettle
  • Cupping spoons (or soup spoons, they’re very similar)

Generally I would aim to use 12g of coffee and then fill the bowl to the top with water at around 97 degrees celsius. Set your timer to 4 minutes and start it.


First off we begin the process of ‘breaking the crust’. Now after you’ve poured water onto the coffee, after a few minutes a crust will form on the top. This is the coffee grounds floating to the top of the bowl. During those four minutes, get down close to that bowl and get a good sniff. Evaluate what you can smell at this stage and take notes as it may change as we progress with the cupping. Once your four minutes is up, use the back of your spoon to break that crust, and give the coffee a good mix with the water.


Now whilst you’re breaking the crust you want to be as close to the cupping bowl as possible as theres going to be a whole lot of aromas coming off the coffee now. Some may be different from when that crust was forming. Jot down the differences so you can compare at a later date. Now after breaking the crust you want to wait another few minutes for the coffee to cool down to a drinkable temperature. Whilst you wait grab a pair of spoons and take off any grounds or creme that has formed around the top of the bowl.

So when the coffee has cooled, grab your spoon and get some of that sweet coffee on it. You’re now going to slurp it, but over exaggerate this slurp as you want to spread this coffee as far across your palette as you possibly can so that you’re hitting every point of those taste buds. Again, take note of the tastes you’re getting from the coffee and compare them with the other stages.


Now typically the pros would use cupping to taste various coffees at the one time. If you find yourself cupping more than one coffee remember to clean your spoon and palette with water between each coffee.

Coffee cupping is all about you, as a coffee lover, getting the best experience you can out of a coffee. When you sip from a cup of coffee you want all those flavour notes to just pop out at you. Coffee cupping is also a great way to help you find what you’re looking for when brewing the coffee through various methods. I use cupping as a starting point so when I take a certain roast of coffee and brew it through my v60, I know what flavours I should be getting and what flavours I shouldn’t be getting. This helps me to then decide how to adjust the grind, what type of brewer is best to use etc.

You can grab a few cupping bowls here.


Kenya Gichugu PB – Bailies Coffee

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Trying to hold onto those summer vibes so this is what is going into my cup at home most mornings. ‘PB’ stands for peaberry and that is what intrigued me about this coffee as I’ve never tried something of its kind before. I saw it advertised on Instagram a few weeks back and kept my eye out for its release. Peaberries are unique. They are round, pea-shaped beans that develop when only a single bean grows inside of a coffee cherry, instead of the normal two.

I’m a massive fan of African coffees as the flavour profiles that come with them are so full of flavour and this coffee isn’t an exception. The flavour profile for this beauty is Apricot, Pomegranate & Mandarin with Jaffa Cake aromatics. Come on, thats just incredible!

My main brewing method so far for this coffee has been my v60 and for me its worked well. I’ve gotten everything I’ve needed out of this coffee, the fruity tones are coming straight to the top. It has a medium body and quite a light texture which makes it such an easy drinking coffee.

Country: Kenya
SL28, SL34, Ruiru 11
Kamviu, Gichugu and Manyatta

You can grab yourself a bag of this coffee here. Enjoy!


Drip Filters: Which one is best for you?

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I was recently presented with this question from a friend I had over for coffee. I opened one of my cupboards and he saw the various drip filters that I have. When he first asked me if these really made a difference I said ‘Yes’… but when he then asked why, I could only muster up a brief explanation about oils and how it may effect the acidity… So this piece will hopefully be just as informative to me as it is to you! When it comes to drip brewing there are 3 main filters. These are: paper, cloth and metal.

Throughout this post I’ll be using terms like body and texture, so just so I don’t lose you here’s a quick run down of what they mean. When talking about the body and texture this is essentially all about how it feels in your mouth. Body can sometimes be described as being light or heavy whereas texture would be described as syrupy or thin.

Paper filters are what I would use the most. I was recently in Japan and bought myself a bit of a stock pile that I’ve been working my way through. Paper filters would be the most popular among pour overs, for example- the Hario v60. Paper filters are a one time use but super easy to clean up as most of these decompose with the coffee. Filter paper would be the more popular out of the three to prevent oils passing into your cup, which therefore helps produce the smoothest coffee texture.

A Cloth filter is something I only started using after I purchased a Hario Woodneck in Japan. You wouldn’t want to use this filter method if you’re brewing up an african coffee as they usually dull down the acidity. Cloth filters are reusable but are less likely to be used because of their clean up as this requires extra effort in comparison to cleaning a metal filter and disposing of a paper filter. In comparison to the paper filter, the cloth filter adds more body and texture along with oils from the coffee.

A metal filter is commonly used in a french press but has also been manufactured for various other drip coffee methods which are less commonly used. This type of filter out of the three let in the most grit and oil, which gives the coffee more body and texture. Some coffee lovers prefer this whilst it is also enough to put others off. An advantage is that they’re long lasting and can be re-used for years to come, there is an extra effort to clean them but not as much as you would use for cleaning a cloth filter.

To summarise, the drip filter you use depends on the coffee you enjoy drinking. Each one of these drip filters will bring out different notes from the same coffee, so what is it you’re looking for?


Guatemala Francisco Morales – Cat and Cloud Coffee

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Currently brewing in my kitchen is this delightful bag of coffee from California’s own, ‘Cat and Cloud’ coffee. I started listening to Cat and Cloud’s coffee podcast around 6 months ago (I would highly recommend, you can catch an episode here!) so as soon as I heard Established Coffee would be stocking them on their shelves I was very excited to get myself bag – well Ben got me a bag but thats beside the point.

This coffee has been a delight to drink so far. The coffee notes that come with it are maple syrup, tropical and lively. To get the most out of this coffee I’ve brewed it through 2 methods but 3 different pieces of equipment. I tried this out on two pour overs, my v60 and my Hario Woodneck which has a cloth filter. I then also brewed it through my Aeropress. I think my most preferred was the Woodneck as with this method I got everything that Cat and Cloud were talking about, it was so good to drink. When brewing with the Woodneck and Aeropress I was definitely getting those sweet notes through, but as an undertone.

Country: Guatemala
Bourbon, Caturra
Francisco Morales
La Esperanza

I had never tried Cat and Cloud before as they’re located in California, USA. This coffee hasn’t disappointed me at all and I’ve really enjoyed it so far. You can check out what Cat and Cloud is all about here.


French Press; The Forgotten Home Brewer

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The French Press, first invented in the 1850’s by frenchmen Mayer and Delforge, but later patent by Attilio Calimani, an Italian man in 1929 (brief history lesson) was once piped by Harvard Health Blog to be the next mainstream brewing method in 2016, but I haven’t seen it happen yet. In my experience people are more drawn to pour overs and the Aeropress than the French Press.

The first piece of coffee equipment that I ever bought was a Bodum 8 cup French Press. During my time working for Starbucks I got very familiar with the French Press. We would use it for store coffee tastings with customers and fellow partners. It was actually what I used some of my first pay packet on. I remember buying the French Press, using my partner discount to get some Verona coffee and then on the way home buying a bar of dairy milk chocolate to pair perfectly with the coffee. Fast forward a few years and many more coffee purchases later and my french press now resides in the back of a kitchen cupboard.

A few of my friends over the years have gotten into specialty coffee and for them, upgrading their French Press to a v60 hasn’t been a priority. They would rather start with learning how to brew coffee through a Pour Over than using a Press.

90% of homes now have a French Press. Most people will usually break it out when company come over. I know some people who, day to day will drink instant coffee by the cup load but when they’re having people over, they will break out the french press and the good biscuits – I think my granny might even be one of those people! If I had to choose between instant coffee or coffee from a French Press? Give me a French Press every day of the week. In 4 minutes (depending on your brewing recipe) you can get  some great tasting coffee.

When talking to a few people about this post I’ve had mixed opinions concerning the French Press, one that rings out is the ‘grittiness’ that you get after you’ve brewed the coffee. A little life hack that I heard about that could help with that is to pour the brewed coffee through a filter into your mug. The filter will then catch the grit and the finished product will be a much cleaner coffee.

If you’re looking to make better coffee but don’t want to put much time into learning then I would highly recommend the french press. When used right it will give you a nice, full bodied coffee every time, it’s dependable. A simple brew guide can be seen here demonstrated by the folks over at Bailies Coffee.


Rukira AB – Small Batch Coffee Roasters


We thought our first official post should be about the thing we're passionate about – Coffee. I'm currently brewing this coffee at home and I've tried it through both a v60 and a chemex so far. It has taken me longer than usual to dial this in on my grinder (bodum bistro) as it's nowhere near what I would usually use as a setting for pour over, its been fun though, I've liked the challenge.

The coffee notes that came on the bag are peach, mandarin and jasmine flavours with a black tea aftertaste. I think during the process of this bag I've got everything but the jasmine flavours, but over all its been a great coffee to start my day off with at breakfast.

Country: Kenya
Variety: SL28, SL34, Batian, Ruiru 11
Altitude: 1900m
Processing: Fully Washed
Producer: Smallholder Farmers
Harvest: October – December 2016

I had never tried Small Batch before as they're located in Brighton, England. I have really enjoyed this coffee so far. You can pick a bag up yourself from Small Batch here.


Getting to know ‘Brothers Brew’ – Ben

Name: Ben Proctor

Job: Barista

Instagram: ben_proctor17

Favourite Brewing Method: Aeropress

Why: It’s a quick clean cup of coffee

First Brewing Method: French press

First Coffee Shop: Ursa Minor in Ballycastle

Favourite Coffee Shop: Babushka in Portrush

Favourite Drink: Filter coffee

Favourite Coffee: 3fe

Single Origin or Blend: Single origin

Washed or Natural: Natural

Why ‘Brother Brew’: I was introduced to speciality coffee by Ryan, also brewed my first brew with him. So, why not!