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by Stephen Williams

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Groundhouse: How to homebrew our coffee

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Now that you can buy take home packs of our coffee, we thought it only right to give you some great tips on making a great cup in the comfort of your own slippers. Our light roasted coffee, a better fit than the ubiquitous dark roast, is ideally suited to vibrant home-brewing. So how do you do it? Read on!

1. Timing is everything

Our ground coffee and beans are best used within 3 months from the date of roasting, which is displayed on all our packaging. This will ensure that you enjoy it at its best.

Like any quality commodity, correct storage is essential. So once opened, keep air tight in a cool dark place.

My personal recommendation for ensuring you get the best taste experience is to drink plenty of it, as often as you can!

2. K.I.S.S

Coffee making is very much a ritual process, but it’s important not to over complicate things or allow home brewing to become a chore. After a little bit of experimenting with brew time and measurements you’re home and hosed.

Most home kitchens have digital scales, and timers are a mere ‘grab your mobile’ distance away.

There’s no need to spend more than around £15 for a decent cafetiere, and some really good home espresso makers are on the market from £45 upwards – see a certain online shopping website named after a South American river (orinoco.com?).

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3. Golden Ratio

Getting the coffee-to-water ratio is key – whatever your brewing method – and again, a bit of trial and error to get your personal preference is the best way forward (I find this approach also helps to develop your palette and your understanding of what good coffee looks, smells, and tastes like!)

A rough guide is 60g of ground coffee per litre of water – a typical cafetiere holds 500ml, so (hang on, where’s that calculator app on my phone?) it needs around 30g.

For the aficionados (or aspiring aficionados) a final suggestion is to not use unfiltered tap water – and to check that your kettle has been descaled. A traditional espresso machine in a café has a professional filtering system that cannot be replicated by the good old kitchen sink – so bottled or filtered tap water really does make a difference.

4. Timing is everything

You’re looking at around 5 to 10 minutes to get yourself a decent brew, so not a long wait to enjoy a great coffee on a weekend morning – of course if all that fails, just head to a speciality coffee shop (but do remember to get out of your pyjamas and slippers first!).

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Barista Academy: The Forage

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Our Groundhouse Academy baristas assembled on a cold winter’s morning – ahead of a day that would encapsulate, enhance, and reinforce the skills and understanding they had developed of delivering quality, hand-crafted coffee but also the essence of artisan coffee culture.

Graziano, our coffee mentor, headed the tour of some of London’s very best coffee houses, giving our Academy baristas the opportunity to experience first-hand the essence of the environment and coffee service culture that Groundhouse reflects within the business.

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From the hustle and bustle of Caravan in Kings Cross – where we witnessed a mind blowing range of coffee choices in a setting that reinforced that quality coffee is not exclusively for aficionados, to Kaffiene in Holborn where we indulged in the menu of complimentary artisan bakery products along with their multi-award winning coffees.

As we sauntered around these and many more coffee shops in  central and west London, the Academy baristas immersed themselves in the experience; tasting, recognising and defining a diverse selection of coffee blends and origins – and having the opportunity to experience and appreciate  a range of on-trend alternative brewing methods such as chemex, syphons, and pour over.

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Engaging with industry experts really highlighted how far our baristas had developed with their knowledge of great coffee. Delving into the London coffee scene and holding conversations about craft methods and practices with like-minded peers.

Throughout the day they showed the passion, hunger for and grasp of the cultural knowledge, that shows not only how far our baristas had come from their first training session (10 steps for the perfect espresso), but also emphasises how Groundhouse baristas are set out from the rest.

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We, as a business, can’t wait to see our baristas hone their skills and knowledge, sharing it with the rest of the team and keeping Groundhouse firmly at the forefront of artisan coffee experiences.

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Barista Academy: Milk Management & Latte Art

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Barista Academy – Milk Management & Latte Art

As our Groundhouse Academy journey continues, eight of Servest’s finest baristas met at the iconic coffee training venue in Vauxhall, London.

So far, this handpicked Ground Crew have had their coffee craft skills honed on the art of serving consistently great espressos and widening their knowledge of producing and managing beans. This day was focused upon the other critical ingredient in what makes a great cup of Groundhouse coffee – the milk.

Under the watchful eye and guidance of our international competition winning maestro trainers, the Ground Crew were taken on the journey of milk processing and management, learning the true science of how this impacts upon the make-up of serving cappuccinos and lattes.

The next step was focusing on steaming and pouring; two key steps in the recipe of what makes sure that the Groundhouse coffee portfolio stands out from the rest. In an instant, our crew were showing the passion and understanding we’ve come to expect with the production of silky, glossy foamed milk all round.

Finally the highlight of the day, and a real opportunity to see just why our baristas stand out from the rest; we embarked upon the creative and craft skills, and know-how of producing not just great tasting but also great looking coffee.

The balance of temperature, texturing, pouring speed and position led to the creation of some truly amazing looking latte art. It was so impressive to see yet again the craft skills of the Ground Crew move up yet another level. On to the next one!

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Barista Academy: First Session

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Barista Academy: First Session

Carefully hand-picked and selected for their quality, and to ensure our customers have a memorable coffee experience.

Well yes, that’s the Groundhouse coffee beans…but it equally applies to our exceptional Barista Academy Ground Crew.

We had an overwhelming response to applications to join our illustrious Ground Crew, with selection days and assessments held to pick the cream of the crop. And we wasn’t just looking for potential excellence in craft skills. This Crew needed to show a passion and engagement in delivering great service, an understanding of artisan coffee culture, and what makes Groundhouse different from other unmentionable coffee brands!

The chosen seven embarked on their Barista Academy journey with an initial day of intense and focused training on consistently delivering a quality espresso, using a quality bean. The fundamental cornerstone of what makes a Groundhouse coffee different to most existing coffee offers.

The first critical stage of this craft focused training being the 10 steps to a perfect espresso. Under the guidance and tuition of a maestro extraordinaire, the Crew learned and developed an understanding of ensuring grind, extraction, and tampering (to name but 3!), were delivered with a sense of craft and an uncompromising approach to consistent quality.

These skills in isolation would deliver a great coffee, but Groundhouse is more than just about coffee. It’s a wider customer experience. Our Ground Crew showed a passion to know much more, and a desire to be able to deliver a memorable experience to every customer.

So the day continued with tuition on a wide range of topics; the origin of our beans, the way they are picked, every single stage of the process from field to cup! The knowledge and engagement, learning and understanding from the Ground Crew was beyond expectations.

The Groundhouse Barista Academy. It’s great to know that it’s not just our coffee that’s going to deliver a unique and memorable customer experience.

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Groundhouse: An Introduction

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“Let’s meet for a coffee in London, we’ll go for a forage”. A phone call from Chris Thompson – a meeting in a Holborn coffee house, two flat whites later…..and I was introduced to Groundhouse and immersed into a new and exciting world of Artisan coffee culture.

So what makes it so different? Coffee is something you can get everywhere, right? Go into a service station – press a button on a machine, hey presto you have a cappuccino. Well after our forage, I soon realised that Artisan coffee isn’t about just getting a coffee – it’s not a functional thing, it’s a cultural experience delivered through craft, it’s accessible to all, it turns getting a coffee into an experience. The buzz, the engagement from the barista, the environment – look around the coffee house, they’re all their business people, couples, families, students across all demographics – all realising that coffee culture is not what we come to now expect from the big brands on the high street…..it can be, and is so much more.

And then I realised, it became apparent…..soon Chris explained to me that we can bring this Artisan coffee culture, this exciting new world – into the workplace and beyond – with Groundhouse.

Aside from what I have since learned about Groundhouse’s unique blend of handpicked beans, the small batch roast which gives it’s distinct taste profile….our brand values and proposition mean our customers will not be getting “just a cappuccino”…instead we deliver an entire experience – expertise, craft skill, the ability to get coffee and fabulous food under one roof. Bringing enjoyment alive with taste, in a relaxed and friendly yet confident environment. industry. Certainly not what you find in your typical coffee service experience in the workplace.

And so, to the next stage of our journey, the Groundhouse Barista Academy – ensuring our baristas have the best professional training in the business, engaging them into this exciting coffee culture of Artisan food and drinks, and developing their craft skills to deliver the perfect cup of coffee every time. Check back in soon to see how our baristas are progressing on the Academy, and much more about how Groundhouse is changing our coffee culture.