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Learning about Coffee Brewing with Ground Espresso

Friday, March 2, 2018

The team at Ground Espresso in Lisburn invited me to join them for a one to one brewing session. I'm a self confessed Philistine when it comes to coffee so I didn't hesitate in saying yes!

I really don't have a clue when it comes to coffee.  I love the stuff but let's just say I'm no stranger to a cup of instant (please- don't judge me!) When the experts at Ground Espresso offered me a personal brewing session, I was delighted to accept.

On arrival I was met  by store manager, Kris who quickly put me at my ease.  Kris has worked for Ground Espresso for 5 years and I have to say, he really knows his stuff!  First up, he introduced me to three types of coffee beans from El Salvador, Rwanda and Columbia and explained that he would use a different brewing method for each.  While Kris went off to grind the beans, I had a wander around the store.  It's a lovely venue, bright, airy and vey welcoming.  A play area for kids will appeal to families with young kids and the tempting fayre at the counter will appeal to everyone!

When Kris came back with his coffee grinds, he introduced me to the first of his brewers, the Kalita and explained the Ground Espresso recipe- always 16g of coffee to 240g water (good to know).  This first brew featured the beans from El Salvador.  His top tip is to wet the filter with hot water first, both to improve the flavour and warm the pot. His second was to pour a little hot water over the ground beans and leave for 30 seconds to allow the coffee to "bloom", then add the water a bit at a time over a few minutes.

The second coffee we brewed was the Columbian, this time in the aeropress which is a quicker process.  When I make proper coffee at home, I use a cafetiere but what I liked about the aeropress was that the water trickles through the coffee unlike my cafetiere where the coffee lies in the bottom of the pot getting murkier and stronger!  The aeropress definitely gets a cleaner taste in my book.

The 3rd coffee that Kris introduced me to was the Rwandan Mahembe bean.  I have visited Rwanda for work but must admit, I didn't really notice the coffee but having visited the country, I had high hopes for this bean!  Kris used the Chemex pot for this, a coffee brewer invented in the 50's and enjoying a recent resurge in popularity!

Coffees now brewed, we got on to the fun part of tasting them.  Bear in mind, I really don't know the right terms to describe these so I will say it as I found it.  

  1. The Casa de zinc coffee from El Salvador reminded me of dark chocolate and fruit. I joked that this one was the Harry Potter of coffees as it actually tasted different with every single mouthful!
  2. The La Claudina coffee from Columbia was the most unusual.  Almost not like coffee at all.  It had a surprising earthy, fruity taste.  Most surprisingly, I actually liked it.
  3. The Rwanda Mahembe coffee was my favourite in the end.  The is probably the one that I would opt for everyday. It had a really clean taste and it certainly worked for me.

I was totally impressed by Kris's knowledge of both coffee and the Ground Espresso business.  Kris has worked in the coffee business all of his career, from being a barista during his university days  to his current role.  His passion for coffee really shines through and I have to say, he is an excellent ambassador for the business.

I leant a lot from Kris during my visit and he cemented his position as my new favourite subject matter expert when he presented me with some ground beans to try at home, along with a reusable cup and the most divine salted caramel brownie.

Pictures from the personal brewing session

At Ground Espresso at laganbank, lisburn

Ground Espresso was set up in 2001 as a family business in Coleraine.  The company has grown over the years and now has 21 outlets and an expansion plan for more.

They use products from all over the world and have a genuine commitment to sustainability.  I am particularly impressed by their Honduras project in conjunction with the University of Honduras where they provide an IT hub to give access to learning opportunities to coffee farmers and their families.  I love this project as I have been involved in other sustainability projects and I know for a fact that they work really well!

The outlet in Lisburn is conveniently located at Laganbank with plenty of car parking.  It's bright and airy and a pleasant space to spend time in.  Its also a community hub, providing space for local community groups to use, along with acoustic nights for locals to enjoy.  It may have been my first visit but it certainly won't be my last


My sincere thanks to Ground Coffee, Store Manager, Kris and the team at Massive Public Relations for arranging this experience for me.

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