An artisan roaster producing some of the finest coffee in Southeast England.
Tips: A coffee subscription, from £31.00 for 6 months, makes a fantastic gift. You can add coffee brewing equipment and more in the future.
Gary Best is part of an emerging clique of coffee hunter-gatherers who travel to exotic locations to search out the finest single-estate coffee beans. Generally the best beans are grown at high altitude, giving them a unique personality. Gary explained that high street coffee is dull because large companies roast all their coffee for the same time, without testing to see whether it will enhance or damage its potential. It’s only when you drink coffee that has been carefully roasted, brewed and served that you can appreciate the finer nuances of this multi-faceted drink.
Gary sources beans from the Americas, Africa and Asia. High altitude beans grow and mature at a slower rate than low altitude sun grown coffees (used for instant coffee), which don’t deliver on taste. Gary buys micro-plots on coffee plantations based on levels of sun and shade: complicated maybe, but worth the effort.
Once safely stashed at Coffee Real HQ in West Sussex, the team test-roast small batches of beans. Once the roast profile for a consignment is agreed, small batches are roasted to order and sent to customers within 24 hours of being prepared. They supply whole beans or five grinds to suit your brewing method.
Some coffees are so rare that Gary can only purchase one sack per harvest. Subscribers receive a monthly delivery of a new coffee to enjoy, with expert tasting notes and information on place of origin. You can rely on Coffee Real to provide an exciting range of coffees to take you out of your comfort zone.
However, once you have your coffee at home you need to treat it right. Gary’s new unit has a training room where he trains Baristas to use commercial machines and home coffee drinkers can learn about hand brewing.
With a constantly changing stock, Coffee Real’s website is invaluable: it offers in-depth information on each coffee they sell, including place of origin and a full description of its flavour (cup) to help you choose. Before sampling I checked out the tasting notes on the site and although I am no expert I could get a hint of hazelnut with a cream like chocolatey finish in the mouth and you could really tell it was a bright fresh roast. I have already bought another pack to try from Ethiopia and find the idea of coffee is more exciting since my visit. If like me you can’t do caffeine past midday then relax, a superb range of decaffeinated beans are also on offer.
Gary is off to India in December to meet the growers first hand and choose what to import next. I can’t wait to see what he brings back. Coffee Real prides itself on its ethical buying practice, supporting Real Trade that goes beyond fair trade and extends to sustainability too.
After sampling a pack of Brazil Pereira Estate at £4.80 for 250g I was surprised to see that similar high-grade coffees sold in supermarkets retail at the same or a higher price without the provenance. Savouring a cup of this delightful coffee has been elevated by the fact that the farmers that grew it have been suitably rewarded for their hard work.
From 4th December 2012 01403 263381