So what do you need to grow coffee? Could we grow coffee in Cockermouth? Well, before you start, you need three main things: height, sun and rainfall. Most coffee is grown at a height higher than Scafell Pike. You need sun, so we lose out on that as well. Rainfall, of course, is a given. We do rain in Cumbria, big style.
That’s why coffee comes from exotic places: Honduras, Columbia, Vietnam. It doesn’t come from Egremont, Barrow or Silloth. It can provide a little bit of sunshine on an otherwise dull and grey day. But that is what coffee does – it can remind you of that little place in Florence, that café in Lyon, that grand old coffee house in Vienna. Coffee can spark your imagination which can make your day a little brighter.
So we begin to think of summer and begin to dream of hot days. Iced coffee is a real delight when the temperature soars. We often cold brew our coffee for our iced coffees. This involves soaking the ground coffee in water overnight and passing it through a filter. It produces a remarkably smooth coffee with some of the rough edges taken off. The one coffee that is outstanding when brewed this way is the Konga Yirgacheffe coffee from Ethiopia. Full of fruit flavours, once cold brewed, it produces massive strawberry flavours that combine well with ice and milk to produce a thoroughly refreshing drink for the summer. It brings to mind Wimbledon or Lords on a bakingly hot day.
As we approach summer, it is definitely worth giving an iced coffee a try. It’s a different sort of drink but one that I think you will like. It’s always worth trying something new. However, when this article is published, chances are it will be snowing and blowing a gale. Ah, well…..