Here are the audience write ups of the evenings, along with my photographs.
22nd January Mr Drew Barron
The Infusions Society welcomed Drew Barron of Drury Tea and Coffee Company Ltd. Mr Baron brought three different teas for the society to sample: a Dimbula and an Uva from Sri Lanka, and an Imenti from Central Kenya. The 12 boys who attended were able to try and describe these very different types of tea, as well as hearing about the different ways that tea is manufactured around the world. Finally, different ratios of tea were mixed in order to make an English breakfast tea blend. The evening was a huge success, with Mr Baron showing his understanding of tea through an incredibly interactive presentation.
12th March Mr Malcolm Ferris-Lay
The Infusions Society were introduced to Mr Malcolm Ferris-Lay, a charismatic tea consultant with a seemingly infinite wealth of knowledge from his career as a tea taster. Malcolm regaled his audience with fascinating anecdotes whilst introducing them to the art of tasting tea and the differing results obtained from different leaves. The evening ended with the unique opportunity to taste the last tea sold at the last tea auction in London. Thanks to Karen Phillips of Tastes Delicatessen and Karen Darville of Darvilles of Windsor for arranging the event.
30th April Mr Edward Grace
The Infusions Society heard from Mr Edward Grace of the Beanberry Coffee Company about his passion for coffee. The audience was enthralled by Mr Grace’s enthusiasm and very quickly understood the need for absolute attention to detail when brewing coffee. The need for coffee roasted to the right degree, freshly ground and added at the right concentration (1.3%) to water at the right temperature (93 degrees) was emphasised. He explained the meaning of strength (nothing to do with the five-point scale marked on the side of packs of coffee) and also body. He also detailed the complex changes which take place as beans aged after roasting and grinding which impact on flavour.
We were able to sample six coffees, one from Café Direct, one from Starbucks, and four which were sourced from Beanberry itself, coming from Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Sarawak. Starbucks fell well short of pleasing our now highly discerning audience, but their opinions were equally split between the latter three coffees, which all attracted keen allegiances from the tasters. This was a stimulating talk at many different levels, and many of those who attended will have spent a sleepless night considering their love of coffee.
We are grateful to Mr Grace for making the time to share his passion for great coffee, and Karen Phillips, of Taste’s Deli, who stock Beanberry Coffee, for arranging the talk.
(Note the cupping spoons in the waistcoat pockets!)
6th May Mr John McFarlane
The Infusions Society was privileged to have Mr John McFarlane of Norfolk Cordials talk to us about his wonderful fruit syrups, thanks to Karen Phillips from Tastes Delicatessen. Along with some delicious tastes, from the fantastically dry Blackberry cordial to the fascinating combination of Rhubarb, Orange and Ginger, he brought with him a real passion for his cordials that made all of us understand why he has spent six years working to create a product of such exceptional quality.