I came across Yallah Coffee the week before I was due to travel to Cornwall, where Yallah are based, and in a wonderful piece of synchronicity they are located just a few miles from where we were going to be staying. A couple of emails later and Rich had kindly agreed to meet me, and let me look around.
Yallah are a small speciality roaster that sell to the trade and via their website. My first question was to be “why Cornwall?” but when you see their location on a farm, in a lovely location, overlooking beautiful Cornish countryside why would you want to be anywhere else?
Yallah have direct trade agreements with farms in Rwanda and soon Latin America, which demonstrates a real commitment to high quality and ethically produced coffee.
I was fascinated to see green coffee beans or the first time – coffee beans are green before roasting. There were three varieties waiting to be roasted, I was surprised that even before roasting each type had its own unique smell.
Yallah roast in small batches on the premises, the smell was fabulous, and watching the transformation from washed green beans to dark roasted beans felt like watching magic.
Both are exceptional, but the Flor Del Norte from Peru has a wonderful balance and gorgeous depth of flavour.
Good people making great coffee – highly recommended.
Unless you are travelling to a cultured city or town, where finding great coffee shops is all part of the fun, ensuring good coffee whilst travelling can be a challenge.
Here’s my solution to the coffee travel challenge:
- Porlex Mini grinder – amazing little hand grinder, all stainless construction means it will withstand even the most aggressive baggage handler and grinds brilliantly.
- V60 01 – one cup version of the V60 in travel friendly plastic.
- V60 Filters – handily these fit in the ziplock nags I use for coffee.
- V60 Scoop – the coffee gods are on my side, as one scoop is the perfect amount for my travel mug.
- Yallah Coffee Mug – there are many like this, but this one is mine, and it makes me think of Cornwall, and that makes me happy.
- Coffee – sealed in a ziploc bags to keep it fresh.
The whole kit weighs very little and packs up into a small space – just add hot water.
The Philosophy of Coffee – it’s a intriguing title, but if truth be told this book covers the history more than the philosophy of coffee.
Having said that, it’s still a great little book that gives a fascinating insight into coffee’s journey from Ethiopia via Yemen, London, Italy and America to become the global phenomenon it is today.
I was surprised to learn, for example, that espresso machines were originally created simply to allow coffee shops to sell more coffee, more quickly; yet now the majority of coffees sold are espresso based.
On the subject of espresso, I think my one-line Twitter review sums the book up perfectly: “the book is like a good espresso – short, sharp and with great depth of flavour”
Brian also writes a great blog detailing coffee shops around the UK and beyond – a very handy resource.
Last month my son and I headed to Birmingham for The Seventh Wave Festival of Electronic Music.
Originally were going to attend An Afternoon With Wolfgang Flur, one of the original members of Kraftwerk, but it turned into a full day of Synth Geekery.
Midlands Modular Meet
This was a late addition to the programme, we were unsure what to expect, but thought we’d drop in on the way to see Wolfgang.
It was a wonderfully amateurish and low key meeting of modular synthesiser fans, one of which brought a complete early analogue Moog along to play, and a few local music stores with a great selection of devices to try out.
My son creates his own music with a combination of synths, keyboards and Garage Band, so this was his ultimate sweet shop.
It was a delight to see him in his element, to see a 12-year-old confidently chatting with grown men, and getting into the kit on display without batting an eyelid.
As a parent, it was an interesting experience to not be the ‘expert’ for the first time, but one I couldn’t have enjoyed more.
An Afternoon With Wolfgang Flur
The afternoon event took place at the Blue Orange Theatre, a cosy little space that held an audience of maybe a hundred, a small stage and a large screen behind.
Peter Duggal was support for Wolfgang. I’d not heard his music before, it was great to hear something completely new. Peter combined his music with visuals brilliantly and performed a great little set.
One track I really enjoyed was Birmingham, which feels like a natural extension of 80s era Human League and Gary Human with a hint of New Order. Transpires the hint of New Order is bass provided by the legend that is Peter Hook.
The final version with Hooky on bass is not yet available online, it will appear on Wolfgang’s new album, but here’s the demo.
Wolfgang Flur is a larger than life personality, his visuals bounced between old footage of Kraftwerk and him marching in front of landmarks wearing a Prussian helmet – a self-proclaimed Musik Soldat.
His set was entertaining, with some great remixes of classic Kraftwerk tracks, including a version of Neon Lights with a female vocalist which we both really liked.
Wolfgang was due to give a Q&A after his set, but it was obvious my Son wanted to catch the end of the Modular Meetup.
We headed back and managed to have a really good play with our favourite piece of kit: the Moog DFAM or Drummer From Another Mother. Which rivals TWAIN for best name in technology ever.
On the way home we priced up a DFAM, and at £1600 we’re both going to be saving up our pocket money.
Over the last few years there has been a resurgence in printed journals and magazines. Not mass market, mass media publications, but independent, high-quality curated works created by passionate people.
Another Escape is a wonderful example – well written, with fabulous photography and beautifully designed and typeset.
The latest issue is curated around the theme of wilderness, and delivers a fascinating escape from the day to day.