A day in the life of a York Coffee Emporium Intern

After graduating from the University of York this summer, like many, I was left facing the bleak world of graduate (un)employment. Current graduates face a viscous cycle, nobody wants to hire them without experience, but they can’t gain any experience because nobody wants to hire them. Laurence and Philippa at York Coffee Emporium have been extremely supportive and generous in allowing me the chance to come and work with them for a few days a week in order to gain a unique and invaluable insight into the coffee industry.

I have always had a passionate interest in coffee, stemming from my time spent studying abroad in the Netherlands. Alongside the infamous ‘coffee houses,’ the Dutch enjoy an established and vibrant coffee culture. Like the United Kingdom, this love affair began with the expansion of trade networks in the 16th and 17th centuries. During my time abroad I too fell in love with the rich mocha blends preferred by the Dutch, a legacy of their trade links with Java.

My time at York Coffee Emporium has allowed me to fully appreciate that good coffee is both an art and a science. Producing complex flavours and aromas takes a lot of skill and knowledge, of which Laurence and Philippa have both! I have had an introduction to the nuances and precision required to create the perfect roast profile, a process which requires an expert eye for timing and temperature control. Every different type of bean has a unique profile and must be roasted accordingly. It’s almost as if they have their own personalities! The aroma of the roasting beans is incredible; people often say that they can smell the roastery from the road nearby.

I have also been introduced to the process of coffee tasting and cupping, along with learning how to recognise different coffee types and their characteristics. For example, Javan beans are dark and give a wonderful mocha hit. Africans are much more lively and can display a number of fruity characteristics, some being citrusy and others having a berry like twang. South Americans on the other hand are smooth and rich. My personal favourite out of the many coffees I have sampled has to be the Ethiopian Kaffa Forest, to me it tastes like apricot and caramel.

Guest post written by Bethan.

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