The back of every Kiss the Hippo coffee bag provides you with information about its process, cultivar, and tasting notes. We believe that at the heart of your coffee blend, is the inspiring journey that it has taken to reach your cup. Inspiring an appreciation for the people who created it just for you.
Our coffee blends are based on seasonality, this means a specific coffee will not be available all year round. But this doesn’t mean that you will not get to enjoy the particular tastes and characteristics you have become accustomed to. When we discontinue a coffee, we strive to replace it with a similar one, in tune with the season.
Here are some tips on how to interpret the information on the coffee bag to find what you like.
Origin and Location
This shows simply where the coffee comes from. Coffee producing countries tend to have a distinct flavour profile. For example, Kenyan coffee is known to taste ‘winey’, Colombian coffee to contain green apple aromas, and Rwandan coffee, red apple. While there are many exceptions to this rule and vast differences between producers in one country, when it comes to working out your preferred coffee flavour, looking at the country of origin is a good place to start.
During coffee production, one of the biggest influences on flavour is how farmers and producers extract the coffee bean from the fruit. As a direct result of this, the same coffee bean becomes sweet and vibrant, or calm and round. The following are the three most popular extraction processes:
This is the oldest way of processing coffee. Rather than using the de-pulping method, the coffee cherry is carefully dried with the bean still inside. This method allows the seed more time to develop inside the fruit, which creates an intense, vibrant and fruity flavoured coffee at the end of the process.
Coffee fruit is extracted or ‘rubbed off’ from the bean using a de-pulper before being soaked in water and then dried. This process creates a nice round cup that is usually very balanced.
Semi-Washed / Pulp Natural / Honey
A process that goes by many different names, depending on where it takes place—think of it as a combination of ‘washed’ and ‘natural’. The coffee is lightly pulped, leaving fruit residue on the bean which is immediately dried. This process usually makes a cup more vibrant as opposed to the washed beans, but it is not as intense as a ‘natural’.
Cultivar / Variety
Coffee, like most fruit and vegetables, is not just one type. Just as apples can be Pink Ladies, Granny Smiths or a myriad of different kinds, coffee has a wide variety of species that are born through natural mutations (varieties), or selectively created by humans (cultivars).
Some cultivars like Bourbon and SL28 are very common in the coffee world and express their unique characteristics in a subtle way. Others, like Gesha and Pacamara, can show their identity with incredible vibrancy in the final cup. This means that learning about coffee also means learning about the thousands of different kinds of coffee that exist and how they shape the final cup we drink.
This is where we write down what we tasted in the coffee. The best specialty coffee has a higher level of flavour clarity, keeping the flavour identity that is created from the seed, soil, and people that created it.
Matching the notes that we have experienced involves using the ideal water, brewing equipment and barista skills to extract the perfect brew.