Is it wrong that I’m a teeny weeny bit addicted to coffee? Oh, you are too? That’s a relief.
I wonder if our generation will be known for it’s obsession with all things coffee.
There’s a coffee shop on every corner, in every garden centre, in every library, bookshop and car showroom. We can’t seem to get through the morning without falling into a coffee shop or tanking up on a Flat White between meetings.
So imagine our excitement when Malcolm and Tara Klose invited us to call by their North Wales based Heartland Roastery, try some beans and write about them.
If you’re a coffee snob like me, I have good news folks.
No longer do you need to travel to the coffee houses of Milan and Rome for your caffeine fix.
No longer do you need to scour the food halls of Selfridges or Fortnum & Mason for your perfect blend.
And that bag of pre-ground bland coffee that you throw in your trolley every week at the supermarket – you won’t be needing that either.
Here’s the thing….
Finding a coffee you love and a place you want to spend time is something special so when you find it – you should stick around, and tell everyone. These special flavours and places are usually independent and usually born out of a real passion for the craft and heart of the community.
Today we’re sharing 10 fabulous reasons why you should buy it, grind it, brew it and drink it immediately.
We’re all concerned about provenance these days. We like to know where our food comes from – which part of Wales, which village, which farm, even which field! And it’s the same with coffee. Once the Heartland beans arrive from their faraway ethical source, they are prepared roasted, and ground right in the middle of Llandudno so we get to call it our local coffee.
Heartland is owned and run by Malcolm and Tara Klose, and Jeff Klose, Malcolm’s Father. Originally from New Zealand the family made their home in the Big Smoke in 2005 with their small city based Roastery serving clients across the city and along the south coast. Malcolm won’t tell you this, but when he first established the London Coffee Roastery, there was only one other decent small scale roaster serving the city – just 12 years ago.
The sea air and Welsh lifestyle beckoned Malcolm and Tara to North Wales just 3 years ago and they soon opened their fabulous roastery in Builder Street, Llandudno. They settled quickly, established their unique brand of small batch coffee production and are now going from strength to strength as part of the vibrant North Wales community.
You have to know it’s there, but once you find it – there’s always a very warm welcome and a big smile from Malcolm and Jeff. They don’t notice the amazing smell emanating from the front door anymore, but believe me it’s worth a visit just to stand there and drink it in. When we first discovered them, we were completely mesmerised by the coffee beans whizzing round the Roaster. It’s fascinating and thoroughly worth a visit.
Malcolm is just about the friendliest bloke on the planet – he’s passionate about his craft, committed to his community and has a generous heart for bringing out the best in others. He’s there most days and loves to show folk around and explain the magic of what they do.
One of Heartland’s Llandudno based suppliers believes you can taste Malcolm’s roasting experience “in the cup”. It’s easy to set up a coffee roasting business, design some cool packaging and sell your beans at trendy food markets – and many young entrepreneurs are doing this very successfully.
North Wales is becoming known as a foodie destination with many small businesses springing up offering high quality, local food and drink products. There is a heartwarming sense of community and cross-provision across restaurants, coffee shops, farm shops and tourist destinations.
But there’s more to Heartland than meets the eye. Malcolm is of course a trained barista and I can testify to the high quality of his skills after he rustled up a magnificent latte for me while we chatted. Training is at the heart of the business, so if a new cafe is opening Heartland will advise and supply the coffee machine, demonstrate it’s functions and train new staff on how to use it. He trains individuals too – they come in the door as coffee lovers and leave as fully training baristas ready to take on the world.
San Remo is Malcolm’s choice of machine and he’s quite an expert. If you ask him about the top of the range Opera machine, arguably the most technically advanced coffee machine in the world, you’ll see his eyes light up. If you want to see the first San Remo Opera in Wales being used – head over to Providero: Fine Teas & Coffees where they’ll rustle you up a Heartland house blend or special single origin coffee. Malcolm tells us it’s all about temperature control and bar pressure and the Opera delivers a perfectly flavoured cup heated to 93 degrees every time.
We were fascinated to hear about the 121 Fairer Coffee Scheme which connects up Heartland Coffee directly with the growers, in Honduras and Peru. These are small batch farmers and Heartland commits to buy the majority of the crop that can’t be sold at local markets. This gives the farmers a guaranteed market for their beans and builds fruitful relationships based on a quality product matched to an ethical roaster and distributor.
Once such example is ‘Honduras Rio Hondo’. You’ll find the farm 1500m up in the San Marcos, Ocetepeque region of Honduran Central America. Aldemara Herrera runs the farm at Rio Hondo producing Pacas and Yellow Catuai beans. If you like your cup with a creamy body, light acidity, sweet honey aroma with notes of chocolate, plum and caramel – then this is the coffee you should try next.
If you study the packaging of most high street branded coffee you’ll find it was roasted many months ago. It might smell good when you open the bag, but once you’ve made your drink it will likely be seriously lacking in any real flavour. If you time it right you can pick up your bag of Heartland beans the same day it was roasted, or at least within only a few days. This freshness will elevate your latte to quite a special place.
Malcolm regularly delivers small batches to his suppliers so they are constantly serving freshly roasted beans to your cup.
Heartland produces around 30 different coffees including some blends and some single origins. They are flexible with their flavours and like to try different beans to offer to their customers.
Every 4-6 weeks Heartland features a Single Origin coffee which you can find in a number of local cafes, or you can buy yourself at the Workshop.
For the purposes of blog research, we of course had to try some new flavours. Malcolm and Tara chose 5 coffees for us including 2 blends – the Espresso and the Decaf
The Espresso Blend is the stalwart cafe blend;. It makes a charming cappuccino, a lively latte and a fantastic flat white.
The Single Origins we’ve tasted include 2 fabulous specials.
The Indian Monsoon Malabar, hailing from the Chikmagalur regions of South Asia offers a medium body intense spiced chocolate flavour and aroma.
The Guatemala is grown in the high reaches of Central America by the Fedecocagua Cooperative and boasts a sweet nutty body with milk chocolate finish.
The word has got around and Malcolm is rushed off his feet delivering bags of coffee along the North Wales coast and into Chester whilst couriers deliver across the UK.
If you’re in Rhos on Sea, you must try Cafe Rayner where Emma and her friendly team offer a warm welcome and serve a top notch Heartland cappuccino. It’s a charming coffee shop and bakery with an old school vintage feel. You can meet up with friends for a coffee and home baked cake, and pick up a fresh cottage loaf to take home.
If you’re Chester bound for work or shopping – you can find a star quality cup of Heartland at Festival Coffee on Queen Street. Hidden in the heart of the city, you’ll find Festival Coffee upstairs in the Gallery of Festival Church. You can enjoy great value coffee, free wifi and comfy seating to meet with colleagues or just sit in the corner and get some work done. It’s great to see the Festival folk flying the flag for great Welsh produce.
The Llandudno area is blessed with #BigProv and #LittleProv, which you may have heard me mention once or twice! Providero: Fine Teas and Coffees is the latest coffee house to arrive in Llandudno and has already had mention in the Telegraph and Cheshire Life – the word about Jon & Ellie’s coffee community has spread far and wide and you can read more about it here
The Decaf Blend is our everyday choice at home, and it does not disappoint. I have tasted so many decaf blends over the years that are stripped of flavour and are the coffee equivalent of the vegetarian ‘nut roast’ option about 10 years ago.
At Heartland if you suffer from migraines or digestive conditions you will never miss out on depth of flavour. You can have all the flavour of a rich roasted blend with none of the caffeine that messes with your head. The Decaf Blend certainly holds it’s own in the Heartland flavour club. It’s win win!
Whether you like to pour your coffee from a Cafetiere, grind it for your Espresso machine, or simply fill the trough for your Bean to Cup – the lovely people at Heartland will custom grind it for you. All you have to do is ask.
We usually buy beans for our Bean to Cup machine and enjoy the sounds and smells of the breakfast coffee grinding. We often buy coffee for family and friends – ground to suit their machine. And we always take ground coffee on our annual self catering doggie holiday to enjoy whilst relaxing in a snug country cottage.
Honestly it’s true – coffee lovers across the homeland are talking about Heartland, and we’d love you to join in the conversation. Please let us know if you’ve tried Heartland, or found a cafe that serves it. We’d love your thoughts in the comments, or on facebook and twitter.
Get yourself some beans and join the club.
I’m Judith – 50% Caker, 50% Blogger, and this is my Food & Lifestyle blog where I tell you my cake stories, review products I love and share my top baking tips. I love to write and take pretty photographs so have a read and see what you think.
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