Typical: you wait ages for a Meet the Roaster Saturday Supplement, then two come along in the same month! Hot on the heels of North Star Micro Roasters comes, from the other side of the Pennines, Manchester’s Ancoats Coffee Company.
Back in August, as part of my Manchester tour for Caffeine Magazine, I popped in to see Jamie, the man behind Ancoats. Appropriately enough, you can find Jamie in the birth-place of Manchester’s industrial revolution, the Ancoats district, after which the company takes its name. Just to the east of the city centre, it’s a remarkably accessible part of town, although it does look like it’s come straight out of the famous Life on Mars TV series, which was set in Manchester in the 1970s.
Jamie set up Ancoats in October 2013 and began trading in January 2014, so he’s about to celebrate Ancoats first birthday. Roasting on a 6 kg Giesen, Ancoats produces a seasonal espresso blend (appropriately enough, called Warehouse City), an excellent decaf and a number of single-origin beans. You can learn about Ancoats’ coffee on the website, where you can also buy the beans. Alternatively pop in and say hello: Jamie would love to see you.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
On my way to see Jamie, I got slightly lost as a wandered the semi-deserted streets of Ancoats so I fell back on my usual trick for finding roasters: I followed my nose. This led me to a small row of industrial units, where, at the far end, Jamie was firing up his roaster, built specifically for him in Giesen’s factory in the Netherlands.
A Manchester lad, Jamie, like many before him, caught the coffee bug in Melbourne, a city where he saw many similarities with Manchester, except, perhaps, for the coffee. Returning home in 2009, he wanted to open a roastery, but quite rightly judged that he was ahead of his time. Instead, he waited for the market to mature, watching the likes of North Tea Power and Caffeine & Co pioneer speciality coffee in Manchester.
Jamie took the plunge at the end of the 2013 and, by the time I visited during the summer, he was roasting three single-origins, his Warehouse City espresso blend and a Guatemalan decaf. The single-origins were a Kenyan Mutity, a Columbian Agustino Forest and a Fazenda Ouro Verde from Brazil. At the time of writing, Jamie’s still got some of the Agustino Forest, which has been joined by five more single-origins, including a world-exclusive Finca el Bosque from Nicaragua. Ancoats’ website, by the way, contains a wealth of information on the beans and is well worth a visit.
While I was there, Jamie sat me down and took me through almost all his range, starting with the Warehouse City. A mixture of Brazilian and Columbian beans, Jamie roasts it primarily to go with milk. On its own, I found it bright and sweet, perhaps a little too bright for my palate. However, in milk, it really came into its own, the sweetness blending well with the milk, producing a very drinkable, smooth coffee.
We then moved onto the single-origins, the Mutiti through the V60 and the Agustino Forest through the Aeropress. Both of these were quite complex coffees which matured as they cooled, but to be honest, by this time I was too busy talking to Jamie to make any proper notes! However, I was fortunate enough to take a bag of each home, plus the Fazenda Ouro Verde, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed.
However, for me the highlight was the El Triangulo decaf from Guatemala. I also got a bag of this and enjoyed it so much that I bagged another when I caught up with Jamie at Cup North. While it’s getting easier to find decent decaf, a good decaf is nevertheless to be treasured, especially when it’s a cracker like this one. Quite rich, with bold flavours, it stands up well to the decaffeinating process, retaining its flavour, producing a well-balanced coffee that I’ve been thoroughly enjoying through my Aeropress in the evenings.
If you’d like to try Ancoats coffee, I suggest you order some on-line since, unless you live in Manchester, it’s still rather hard to come by, with Jamie focusing on local markets, where he sells to high-end restaurants. There is huge potential for growth in this area since, far too often, restaurants serve up poor coffee which lets down a good meal. You can also find Jamie selling both beans and coffee at local pop-up events.
|UNIT 1 • CROWN IND EST • POLAND ST • ANCOATS • MANCHESTER • M4 6BN|
|www.ancoats-coffee.co.uk||+44 (0) 161 277 9509|
|Chain||No||Visits||11th August 2014|
If you enjoyed this Coffee Spot, check out the rest of Manchester’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Manchester.
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