Tuesday, 9 September 2014

But First - Coffee

But First - Coffee

An insight into the Delicious Mountain thought process on the very important question of coffee.

There are so many details in our lovely catered Chalet La Chouette in Meribel that have required consideration, debate and finally decisions; from where we buy our towels, to which wine supplier(s) and then matching the vino to suit the menu, to where to buy the parts for the Land Rover - every little thing has been carefully thought of.  Coffee is no exception, it has prompted hours of research and chat and we're sure we've got it sussed now so that it is the best it can be for our guests enjoyment.

Coffee has come to play a big part in our lives, traditionally a nation of tea lovers, England is well and truly embracing coffee and the coffee shop culture.  In Britain each day around 70 million cups of coffee are consumed.  Coffee shops have provided a cool, inexpensive and informal place to hang out and we hope to recreate some of that atmosphere in our contemporary, luxury chalet.

Before last winter season, after much research and discussion, we decided to buy a bean to cup machine for our guests to serve themselves coffee.  So we pour the beans into a hopper at the top and, at the touch of a button, the machine does everything else.  We chose a Franke Saphira machine for its rave reviews and robustness  and we are pretty sure the guests last year were very pleased with the choice, it certainly was a talking point! 

During the inter-season and summer months this year, discussion has moved to improving the beans that we put into the machine, for an even better coffee experience.  Samples have been arriving, and much bean grinding, blending and tasting has been going on at Delicious Mountain HQ.  I have to admit, that it really is Stu who is the coffee fanatic (luckily for our guests) and whilst I love the smell, I am not a fan of the taste and certainly can't handle the effects.
Finally we have chosen to use a predominantly Sumatran blend of coffee. Sumatran coffee is harvested in a unique/low-fi way, the beans are handpicked, then semi-washed and semi sun dried.  Then, as they move from the mountains to the port (often a journey starting with horses at elevations of up to 5000ft) they continue the drying and maturing process, typically giving them a complex, chocolaty, spicy flavour.  This low-tech method of farming means that naturally the beans are a little more expensive than some but we think totally worth it. The small scale production has meant that the farmers have had to come together to earn a living and so their product is truly cooperatively farmed.

Our home blended espresso mix is roughly 75% Sumatran pure Arabica and 25% Indian Cherry pure Robusta. We will get our coffee freshly roasted  from a French supplier and delivered every other week in the winter season to ensure that its as good as it can be and all our effort is shown to it's best advantage. 

We are pretty confident that we have the best coffee of any catered chalet in Meribel, but that's what your expecting right?


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