Redbank coffee – a familiar coffee roaster on our shelves. So good that we have restocked some more of their exciting coffees this spring. Based in the heart of Cumbria under the shadow of the old man Coniston – Tom Prestwich the founder is a million miles away from his old life. He gave up his old life as a city lawyer in London, packed his bags, set up roots up north and started the roastery and for that we are thankful.

Quality, traceability and sustainability are the values – working with farmers that love and respect the planet, shorter supply chains and sustainable packaging, reducing waste and energy consumption is the promise. Exceptional tasting quality coffee is the result. We have carefully chosen some of the great coffee that they offer – a couple of firm favourites with a sprinkle of new exciting lots.
Kicking off with Penny Rock – named after a beauty spot on the shores of Grasmere this Brazil showcases the best of the region, it does this so well that it has won a great taste award. This coffee is from a farm called Daterra. This wonderful farm has many accolades including Brazil's most sustainable farm in 2015 and becoming the first farm in the world to receive level A certification from the rainforest alliance. They continue to do amazing work to this day by pledging to plant 3 million trees by 2030 to militate climate change – a cause we can get behind! Back to the coffee itself – this natural Brazil carries the characteristics synonymous with Brazil, being clean and sweet boasting tasting notes such as dark chocolate, double cream and walnut.

Sticking with South America we head over to Colombia – Mountain Rescue. This coffee is selected from 350 small-hold farms from seasonal crop to deliver a classic clean and balanced coffee that works equally well on espresso and filter. Redbank works closely with their coffee importer to make sure the farmers get a stable and sustainable price for their coffee which has been a problem for the region in the past. They achieve this through improved quality control, knowledge sharing and connecting the cooperative of farmers to the speciality coffee roasters instead of the commodity coffee market. The new infrastructure that is in place makes sure the farmers get guaranteed payment on the day for their coffee, plus the possibility of a top-up payment on export meaning that the farmers have a sustainable income and can also invest in improving the quality of their coffee.

This coffee is a nod of support and more importantly a donation of £1/kilo to the lake district search and rescue association.

Next up is a staff favourite – Sweet Valley. We loved this the first time that we stocked it last year and this year promises to be even tastier. This coffee is from Colombia's Granja La Esperanza and is renowned worldwide for its experimental and competition coffees. They are known for experimenting by matching processes with varieties to produce unique flavour profiles as different varieties will respond at differing rates to processing methods. Sweet Valley is a micro-lot, as a natural Colombia landing at a time when fresh crop fruity coffees are harder to come by. The cherry is fermented for 15 hours at a controlled temperature before being moved to a dehumidifier for another 72 hours until fully dried. It is then dehulled and bagged for export. After all this, we get a clean, syrupy, and absolutely bursting with fruit flavour. In the cup, it reminds us of white grape, mango and retsina.

The next two are both from Rwanda, the first being Kilimbi a stunning natural bourbon. This is sourced from the Kilimbi Washing Station that is located spectacularly on the eastern shore of Lake Kivu in Rwanda’s Western Province. Being the first washing station in Rwanda to be granted approval to produce natural and honey processed coffee and they really have showcased this exceptionally well and this is evident in the cup. The coffee is incredibly clean and bursting with fruit flavour. We think it tastes like sour cherry, raspberry jam and nectarine - in short, lip-smackingly delicious.

The second Rwandan lot is a change of pace with a classic washed Rwandan coffee that is also from Kilimbi. This is a washed bourbon, that fermented in concrete tanks where it is agitated several times a day before being laid out to dry on traditional African raised beds. This lot of beans was identified as being part of a particularly high quality and was separated out of the best example of coffee that the farm can produce. In the cup, it is clean and balanced with notes of Darjeeling, chamomile and red apple. Crisp and fresh!
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