Cloud Picker Coffee Roasters

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We found some time last week to visit another inspiring food business here in Dublin and wanted to shine a spotlight on them. This time we stopped by our friends at Cloud Pickers Coffee Roasters. A micro craft coffee roastery based on Sherif Street in Dublin City Centre. They’ve been hand roasting  coffee beans since 2013 pouring all their passion and expertise into everything they do. They create a range of really interesting blends, alongside seasonal single origin coffees.

The minute we arrived, we were struck by the amazing scent of fresh roasted coffee. After a quick chat, we jumped at the chance to participate in one of their tastings. We tasted 4 completely different coffees, and went about it in a way we have never drunk coffee before. The guys have such an in-depth knowledge of their craft, and we were transfixed as they explained to us in detail the origins and taste profile of each bean. Such a great experience! We’re really excited about working with these guys more in 2015. Afterwards we spoke more with them and asked them to share their story with us.

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Tell us about your background, what were you doing before you began Cloud Picker coffee roasters?

Life before Cloud Picker was somewhat different. A monthly salary was guaranteed and weekends were our own and not spent catching up on the week just past. Peter worked in Corporate banking for Bank of Ireland here in Dublin and Frank worked as a Graphic Designer for a small but perfectly formed company called FUSE fuse.ie in Portobello, Dublin 8.

Where does your passion for coffee come from?

Peter has been operating his café in Science Gallery www.dublin.sciencegallery.com now for 5 years, it’s here that his passion for coffee ignited. Frank on the other hand was introduced to it when they visited a coffee plantation on the Thailand/Burma border. Here they met a very enthusiastic man who had been hired by the queen of Thailand back in the 70’s to introduce coffee to the country as an incentive for Opium farmers to grow coffee rather than Opium. It’s here the name Cloud Picker was born as we had to go up through the clouds to see the pickers picking coffee.

What are your biggest achievements to date?


We guess our biggest achievements to date are running two successful businesses, both the café and the roastery – but even saying that we cringe as one can close in a flash so we pinch ourselves all the time & don’t say it in a big headed but more of a humble way. Neither of us were born with sliver spoons in our mouths nor do we have rich daddies so we’re very proud of what we’ve achieved to date through hard work. It’s important to note we could not have achieved this without our amazing team both in the cafe and the roastery.

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What makes your brand different from the large specialty coffee brands such as illy?

This may sound cliched but – when we say ‘hand roasted’ on our bags but it’s true. Everything we do in the roastery goes through our own hands. From manually weighing and loading the green beans, date stamping our bags to sealing the bags. We roast weekly to order and unlike the big commercials you mention we put a roast date on our bags and advise it’s best consumed within 4-6 weeks whereas the big guns put no roast date but put a shelf life of up to a year.

What makes a coffee a ‘specialty coffee’?    

Coffees are graded by what we call in the trade, ‘Q Graders’ – the grader ‘cups’ the coffee and grades it accordingly. Anything from 85/100 is considered speciality.

What is your favourite way to make your coffee?

Frank – I just love my V60 – gives a very clean cup and unlike the Aeropress there is more than one cup! Perfect with some jam and whole meal brown bread! 
Peter – I have to say I’m a’flatty’ lover! Can’t beat a flat white to get the day started.

Where do you source your beans from?

We source our beans from all over the ‘coffee belt’. Last year we visited Brazil and have since imported those beans and we have just returned from a trip to Central America where we visited farms in El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. We feel this is very important in order to tell the full story and to see exactly where our beans come from along with seeing the hard work that’s put into farming them. As it was harvest time we were lucky to see the processing of the coffee. 
Among the farmers we met was Emilio Lopez Diaz of http://cuatromcafes.com/. Emilio is the farmer of the famous El Manzano which we are proud to be roasting here in Dublin.

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How do you compose your blends?

When composing our blends we first keep in mind our customer profile and what we feel the customer wants for their customer base. Different origins will have different characteristics. For example, African coffees can be very bright/acidic whereas coffees from Brazil or central America tend to be less acidic. So we first decide on the origins and then compose our blend looking for the perfect balance of acidity, sweetness and body. We roast on the light side of things – allowing the natural sugars to remain. As quoted in A Film About Coffee afilmaboutcoffee.com – “all the quality is already in the bean. From the picking and extracting process. We as roasters and baristas can’t add anything just try and take away as little as possible”.

What’s next for Cloud Picker – what plans have you got for 2015?  

Well without giving too much away – Nobo will be ‘working closely’ with Cloud Picker or as people like to say nowadays ‘collaborating with’ on a very special project… watch this space! The London Coffee festival londoncoffeefestival.comis coming up shortly so a trip to London may be in order and in September we will have the second Dublin Tea & Coffee Festival which was a great success last year. www.dublincoffeefestival.com

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New Arrivals and a Dutch Winter Salad

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We have been very fortunate to have a new member of staff join Nobó for a few months. Peter came to us from Holland in December, and is interning with us at a busy time in Nobó HQ. We are very lucky to have him, and he has been an amazing help, particularly as we awaited the arrival of our son, Sam who joined our family on January 14th, amidst ‘Storm Rachel’ – very fitting, as he was in a hurry to get here arriving just 35mins before his official due date. Little Sam has already stolen our hearts and while we take a little time to enjoy this special time, Peter has been kind enough to create a fantastic recipe for our blog. He has recreated a classic Dutch Winter dish and given it a modern, healthy spin – making it the ideal Winter salad. Perfect sustenance for these cold days when your body needs an extra nutritional boost.

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Now over to Peter to share his recipe……

In Holland, you really know it’s Winter when you visit your parents house for the weekend and your mother makes Boerenmoes (which literally translates as ‘farmers mousse’). A traditional dish made from mashed potatoes, kale and bacon served with smoked sausages, applesauce and gravy. A very heavy and rich Winter meal that has been cooked in Holland for centuries.

 Dutch cuisine is not overly exciting. Besides being known as ‘cheese-heads’ we are also known for using a lot of potatoes, and tuber vegetables for our stews. We have a few very popular sweet treats that our renowned in Holland. Things like Hagelslag (chocolate flakes) which go on top of bread, drop (liquorice) and poffertjes (sort of small pancakes with butter and powdered sugar) can be found everywhere.

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 Traditionally, Dutch cuisine is also not known for being very healthy. This can probably be attributed to our history, and our farming background. In years gone by, the focus was on including as much fat and carbohydrates in meals as possible to sustain the farmers for the long days. Nowadays most people don’t need this kind of diet, but things have been slow to move on and develop these traditional dishes into modern versions. So I’ve come up with a healthier version of Boerenmoes. It embodies the great taste and flavours of Dutch cuisine but with the bonus of featuring healthy ingredients with lots of health benefits of their own.

In my opinion, kale is the ultimate superfood. It is grown locally in Ireland, so it’s much more sustainable than most of the superfoods that come from other continents. Kale contains a lot of Iron making it a great substitute for red meat. It also contains a lot of Vitamin K, which is thought to reduce the risk of cancer and is also full of Antioxidants, Fibre and Vitamin A. So why not give it a try instead of having to use vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains from the other side of the world?!

Dutch kale salad                                                       4 persons | 30 min

Ingredients

Salad:

  • 1kg new small potatoes
  • 250g Kale
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers
  • 1 Piece pre-cooked Beetroot
  • 1 Cup hazelnuts
  • 1 Pommegranate

Avocado Vinaigrette:

  • 1 Ripe Avocado
  • 1 Lime
  • ¼ Cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Cup Olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 1/2 Cup water
  • ½ Red Pepper
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Directions

– Cut your potatoes into nice chunks. Bring some salted water to the boil and cook them until they have a nice bite. Then let steam dry until at room temperature.

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– Preheat the grill on the highest temperature. Put the red bell peppers under the grill with some olive oil, pepper, and sea salt. Turn them over when they are nice and brown.

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– Chop the Kale leaves and mix with the potatoes. Then cut the beetroot in brunoise (small cubes) and the grilled peppers in juliene.

– Peel the avocado and crush it with a fork. Then add the lime, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, pepper and salt and stir until smooth. Finally, add the crushed garlic clove and chopped red pepper.

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– Mix the avocado vinaigrette with the kale and potatoes and add the other cut vegetables.

– Put on a nice plate and finish with some roasted and crushed hazelnuts and pomegranate.

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The Pure Kitchen


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Hello and Happy New Year! 

We’re really looking forward to posting more on our blog in 2015 and have plans for lots of new types of content. If there is anything at all you’d like to see up here – we are all ears!

There are so many fantastic new Irish food businesses – we thought it might be nice to do a feature on some of our favourite ones over the coming months. We love hearing about other start ups and how they started out, it always inspires us, and it’s particularly exciting when they are in the food or health arena – we hope you agree.

The start of a New Year usually brings with it good intentions and renewed goals to make life improvements. Eating better and making healthier choices is usually high up on the list, and rightly so. Making improvements in our diet can have a positive affect in several areas of our lives and lead to more energy, improved self esteem and generally just feeling better and healthier. That’s why our first profile couldn’t be more fitting. The Pure Kitchen was started by John McGovern, an ex-Accountant turned Chef who specialises in making real whole foods taste insanely good and delivering restaurant quality meals to your home, minus the dairy, gluten and refined ingredients. Their tagline sums it up ‘Nothing Added, nothing processed…..just pure food’.

If clean eating sounds like it might be a punishment or penance to you, then you have to give The Pure Kitchen’s meals a try. Because John is a food lover, and has worked as a a Chef in renowned Dublin restaurant Pichet, the meals that he produces are like no other ready meals. They are full of really high quality, whole food ingredients and are delivered with so much flavour that you could never feel like you are missing out.

We took a visit to John’s kitchen to see him in action and had a chat about how The Pure Kitchen came to life.

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How would you describe what The Pure Kitchen is about?
The Pure Kitchen is about getting people back to eating real foods.
If people don’t have the time to cook for themselves yet want to eat healthy,unprocessed foods then come to us!

How did you come with the idea for The Pure Kitchen?
Back in 2010 I got much more into exercise and nutrition and realized the affects what we eat has, not just on how we look but on our whole body and mind. There were very few options for people who wanted to eat healthily but also wanted to eat tasty food. I was working as an accountant at the time but wasn’t happy so I quit my desk job and decided to follow my passion, food! I always had it in my mind that there was a gap in the market for healthy ready made meals but realized I needed to learn how to cook properly first so I did the 3 month cookery course in Ballymaloe and following this I worked in Pichet restaurant for 2 years. After about 18months I started The Pure Kitchen but then got too busy so I had to leave Pichet 6 months later and take the plunge!

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What types of meals do you prepare at the Pure Kitchen?
We offer a full range of breakfasts, lunches, soups, salads, dinners, snacks and smoothies using the finest, locally sourced meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts & oils. We focus on using seasonal & Irish produce as much as possible. I haven’t come across many avocado trees in Ireland though so some exceptions must be made! Shepherd’s Pie and Thai Green Chicken Curry are the biggest sellers!

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What has been the biggest challenge in setting up your food business?
It’s hard to say. It would probably be taking the risk in actually setting up your own business and saying goodbye to playing it safe.

What other Irish food business do you take inspiration from?
Cully & Sully is a great brand. I also love The Butler’s Pantry shops that are in Dublin ans Wicklow. And of course Nobó!

What plans have you got for 2015?
To take on 2 more staff and get another van on the road so that we can deliver further afield. We are so busy at the moment we just deliver to Dublin City Centre & South County but people can collect from our kitchen in Donnybrook also.

What advice would you have for someone considering a career change or wanting to start their own business?
Don’t be afraid of failure and be adaptable as things can change very quickly!

How can we order your meals?
Currently you go to www.thepurekitchen.ie and get on the mailing list. Then we send out menus twice a week for Monday and Thursday and you order by email or phone. We are currently testing our online shop which will be live very soon so you will be able to order directly through the website in January.

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Our Favourite Place

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Despite grey clouds, wind and rain that so often accompany a trip to the West of Ireland, there is something completly magical about its rough and unspoiled terrain. It was our first time spending Christmas there and we loved the experience. It is the perfect place to reflect on a busy year and look forward to the one ahead. There is something wonderfully restful about being away from the city with no TV, very little mobile signal or wifi – it forces you to take a breather and enjoy the surroundings. We finished a book each, walked everyday, had leisurely long lunches in the pub and ate warm apple crumble and these delicious clean mince pies with nobó by the fire in the evening. We also had a celebratory moment when we got to see tubs of our Frozen Goodness stocked in SuperValu Clifden and I let out an embarrassingly loud squeal when I witnessed a customer with a tub in their shopping basket. It’s always so exciting to see someone buying our ice cream unprompted, but felt extra special to see it while visiting our favourite place.

As always, I took far too many photos of the animals – I’m not sure how many cow photos are necessary to have – but given that we owe the name of our business to a brainstorming session in the West with these guys around – I feel I owe them.

Hope you had a wonderful and restful Christmas wherever you celebrated it, and wishing you all the best for the New Year!

Rachel & Brian

 

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Fruit & Nut Bar Snacks

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We have had a busy couple of weeks at Nobó with lots of meetings, driving and a general lack of time. I often find it hard to find a healthy snack in petrol stations or ‘on the go’. In an ideal world I would make a batch of these every week and have them tucked in my bag to keep me going, in reality, it doesn’t happen often enough and I’m left wishing I had prepared ahead. They make a nice little afternoon treat too with a cup of tea and I imagine would make a good addition to a lunch box now that its back to school time! My nephew sweetly renamed granola bars ‘bar snacks’ a couple of years ago and so it has stuck.

I’ve left the recipe as I made it but these turned out a little sweeter than I personally would have liked so I would suggest if you like things less sweet you could reduce either the maple syrup or the quantity of dates. If you prefer to have them as a sweet treat then they are delicious as is. The combination of maple and peanut butter works nicely and the crunchy almonds are a real treat.

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Recipe adapted from Select Stores ‘Homemade Healthy Granola Bars’

Fruit & Nut Bar Snacks (gluten free and dairy free) 
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups jumbo oats (gluten free oats if you have a sensitivity)
  • 1 cup crisp rice cereal/puffed rice
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup chia, sunflower, pumpkin, flax seeds or a mix of these (I used the Suma Omega Seed Mix)
  • 1 cup chopped pitted dates (about 14 large Medjool dates)
  • 1 cup dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, raisins etc. whichever you fancy, or a mix)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup**
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter (or nut or seed butter of choice)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 80-100g dark chocolate (melted)

**We’ve had a couple of people wondering what maple syrup we use. When it comes to maple syrup it can be really pricey and put a dent in the bank balance, so we tend to follow Susan Jane White’s lead, she recommends a very reasonable maple syrup from the local 4-letter german discounter that retails at 3.99. It has worked fine for us in baking and recipes but by all means if you can stretch to a Grade A, all the better!

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1. Preheat the oven to 200C/ 350F. Line a baking tray with parchment and spread the oats, almonds/nuts onto the sheet and bake for 10 minutes, shaking/stiring occasionally. Set aside to cool completely.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine the crisped rice, seeds, cooled oats and nuts.

3. Chop up the dates well to make a paste. You may need to add some hot water if they are a little dry so they start to become more sticky.

4. In a small pan over a low heat mix the maple syrup, peanut butter, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. When combined add in the date mix to form a lovely gooey peanut maple mix. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and combine. At this point you will probably need to use your hands to bring everything together. The dry ingredients should be well coated and sticky.

5. Line your baking dish with parchment paper and pour the mix in, pressing down firmly so that it is as tight as possible. Using the back of a spoon or measuring cup works well to press it down.

6. Set a glass or metal bowl over a pan of simmering water to melt your chocolate until smooth. Once melted, drizzed or spread on top of the bars.

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7. Refrigerate for at least an hour before cutting into pieces. Best kept in an airtight container in the fridge (they keep for about 5 days) or wrapped individually and kept in the freezer.

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