How many businesses can you name in your local village, town or city that are independently owned? Wherever you may be located, you can be sure that there is an independent business of some sort found in your area. One of GUSTATORY's core principles is supporting and giving power to our independent coffee roasters, tea makers and brands. Here's why.
Our emphasis on positive sustainability and ethics in coffee, tea (and other drinks) production equally affirms our support for independents. Enacting change in the coffee, tea (and other drinks) industries, GUSTATORY's independent partners play as much a part in any coffee, tea or other type of drink supply chain as any farmer does at an export's origin.
GUSTATORY prides its partnerships with independents for a number of reasons, whereby their existence boosts any economy (national and local) and creates ever-so important local jobs, in addition to inspiring entrepreneurship and creativity, and playing a vital role as a hub in any local community. When independents sadly disappear, the loss is always more than just that of an open door along a high street, it is a loss to a neighbourhood's fabric. Small and independent businesses are invaluable to our high street, and so GUSTATORY hopes that you may soon want to reconsider your coffee, tea (or other drink) purchase from any multinational coffee chain or supermarket - there are plenty we could name here, but we won't - and rather, consider purchasing your beverage of choice from our diverse and innovative range of reputable coffee roasters, tea makers and brands based around the UK and Ireland.
All The Reasons We Should Support Local Independents
Beginning with entrepreneurship and creativity, how amazing is it that one family's entire income (and any staff which they may hire) relies solely on your support as a paying customer? Quite literally a reflection of the people behind the independent, they are all full of authenticity and originality, and bear plenty of risk and challenges along the way. Independent coffee roasters, tea makers and brands ought to be respected, without doubt, as their achievements are no small undertakings. Fundamentally, GUSTATORY hopes to support the pursuit of their dreams, whatever they may be.
Almost always run by local people with no stockholders or boardrooms in sight, the attention to care and quality with which they strive to deliver to you ought to be admired. Local independents respect you as a paying customer and you should respect their diligence and unwavering commitment to innovation. Its a two-way relationship. Striving to do more and ensure every cup is as good as the last, the customer service experience is entirely unique with every independent and is a feature that we feel non-independent chain alternatives struggle to recreate.
And finally, an independent's effect on any neighbourhood; their existence is sure to add character, uniqueness and soul to any high street, adding to what is known as a place's fabric. Having real effect on communities and generations, an independent's presence is sure to be felt by many people beyond their own four walls. An independent business is almost like a home. With reference to the aforementioned creativity, on both a product and bricks and mortar level, how refreshing is it to see someone's pure creativity, depth and variety on display, rather than a standardised product in what is seemingly becoming an increasingly homogenised world? We think that is pretty damn refreshing.
Direct Deliveries From Our Independent Beverage Makers
Shopping on the GUSTATORY marketplace is really easy and all fulfilment and deliveries are done directly by each of our independent coffee roasters, tea makers or brands. We want the opening of your delivered package to be an experience, so what better way to start than to receive your item(s) accompanied with all the thoughtful branding which our partners supply; by shopping at GUSTATORY you are directly supporting our trusted independent coffee roasters, tea makers and brands, and for this we say thank you.
With only a single checkout (or guest) account required for all your coffee, tea or other drinks selection(s), as well as only needing to pay once for all associated delivery costs, regardless of how many unique partners you decide to shop from within your basket, shopping with GUSTATORY could not be easier. Our coffee roasters, tea makers and brands are spread out across the UK and Ireland, and beyond, and each has their own domestic and international shipping costs. As such, the cost of shipping from each partner is applied and highlighted for your product selection(s) in both your basket and at the point of checkout, at which point you are able to clearly see the itemised delivery costs associated with each partner you have chosen to purchase from. Offering the same free delivery thresholds as if you were shopping direct, and never including any misleading hidden shipping costs in any product's price, GUSTATORY is ethical, clear and easy.
Unique to coffee, each speciality coffee and independent coffee roaster generally roasts their produce on a specific set day(s) of the week to ensure that the coffee you receive is as fresh as possible. These days are highlighted on every product and respective roaster storefront for you to easily understand. Your purchase(s) will be shipped immediately after these given days of the week, and should your basket include coffee from two or more different independent coffee roasters, please expect that it is likely that your purchase(s) may arrive on different days; if you purchase from one roaster only, you should receive everything within a single delivery. Due to this, GUSTATORY cannot guarantee the immediate delivery of your coffee purchase(s), however, please be safe in the knowledge that shipping will be made direct from the independent coffee roaster(s) after their next earliest roasting date.
For all purchases, you will be notified via email at all stages of the checkout process when your order is confirmed as successful. If you choose to checkout via one of our alternative payment options of PayPal, Google Pay or Apple Pay, you may also receive a second confirmation email (please check your junk email folder). All taxes are included in the shipping costs of a domestic delivery address, however, international delivery addresses may also be subject to additional import taxes upon receipt.
Coffee Deliveries By Subscription
If you are a subscriber to GUSTATORY's speciality coffee and cold brew subscriptions, all deliveries are made direct from GUSTATORY, where we curate and manage all our subscriber's packages in-house to ensure package quality, variety and organisation. All coffee box subscriptions are dispatched every 1st or 3rd week of each month (whichever is closest to your start date) to ensure coffee freshness, arriving within secured 100% recycled wrapping and tape.
Did you know that typical subscription coffee boxes are oversized and (often) wasteful, inside and out? We don't like this fact and because the old ways are often the best ways, we've gone old-school. Reigniting the authenticity in carrying your grocery home in paper bags, each of GUSTATORY's coffee box subscriptions arrive 100% environmentally-safe, 100% cool. Besides, who ever said a 'coffee club' or 'coffee box' has to be an actual box anyway? Yes, 'box' is in the name, but let's not draw on the literal, let's focus on the beneficial. A range of informational leaflets/media are also included from ourselves and the roasters, if supplied, and we occasionally throw in freebies from related brands across the GUSTATORY marketplace, it's our treat! We’re different to other coffee box subscriptions, for the better.
For you to easily manage your subscription deliveries, upon creating a GUSTATORY subscription account you have access to your Subscription Portal. From within here, you have complete control over your subscriptions, and should you ever wish to amend, pause or cancel the package you are subscribed to, you may easily do so. With the ability to also see your payment schedule in a calendar format, as well as easily amend your payment method, we hope subscribing is as easy as receiving your next subscription package through your door.
One Standard Returns Policy
In addition to our easy delivery options, GUSTATORY also operates one standard returns policy that is represented by all our independent coffee roasters, tea makers and brands. Our absolute priority is for our customers to receive their quality coffee, tea or other type of drink, however, due to the nature of such beverages being a consumable good with a set shelf-life, GUSTATORY can only accept returns and process refunds on purchases which have been either damaged in some way, are faulty or not in accordance with our partner's product listing. You are entitled to a cooling-off period of 14 days after dispatch within which you are eligible to return your item(s) for a full refund should your purchase(s) fall into any one of these three categories. All consumable items need to be returned at your own cost and GUSTATORY cannot offer any return-postage contributions. To begin the process, please contact our customer service team, and we will make suitable arrangements.
For non-consumable goods such as drinkware and accessories, GUSTATORY can accept returns and offer a full refund on either unwanted or faulty products for a period of 28 days after dispatch. If you wish to return any purchased item(s), you have a duty to keep them in your possession and to take reasonable care until they are returned. All items must be returned in their original packaging, complete with any branding material or promotional products which may have been also supplied in order for the return to be successfully processed. To begin the process, please contact our customer service team, and hopefully, we can make the returns process as hassle-free as possible. Please note that all non-consumable items need to also be returned at your own cost and GUSTATORY cannot offer any return-postage contributions. If you are seeking replacement for faulty items, the replacement item(s) will be shipped at no additional cost.
For both consumable and non-consumable items, GUSTATORY recommends that you return them via Royal Mail and that you have sufficient insurance cover. Neither GUSTATORY or our independent coffee roasters, tea makers or brands can accept liability for items lost or damaged in return-post.
Just how all fulfilment and deliveries are done directly by each of our partners, for the successful return-processing of any item(s), each must be shipped directly to the address of the respective independent coffee roaster, tea maker or brand (which our customer service team can provide) and not to GUSTATORY ourselves. A returns assessment will then be undertaken by the respective independent coffee roaster, tea maker or brand. Whilst faulty or damaged consumable goods may be more obvious for an assessor to analyse, item(s) which you believe are not described as per the roaster's, tea maker's or brand's product listing will require the content's packaging to be completely unopened to be accepted for an assessment. Quality control matters.
If you change your mind after placing an order with GUSTATORY, you may cancel it at any time before the item(s) are dispatched by their respective independent coffee roaster, tea maker or brand. Please contact our customer service team immediately to help us make suitable arrangements, letting us know your name, address details and order number to cancel your order. Unfortunately, orders cannot be cancelled if dispatch has already occurred, and therefore, letting us know as soon as you can is in your best interest. For recurring subscriptions, these may be cancelled at any time via the same method of communication.
Should you be a subscriber to any of our subscription services and a recurring payment unfortunately fails, GUSTATORY will attempt to take re-payment from the nominated card after a few days grace, and should this fail again, our customer service team will be in touch with you to help resolve the issue. Please note that no service to which you are subscribed will be fulfilled on your behalf until payment is successful.
Understand Which Coffee Brewing Method Is Best For You
There are seven different types of coffee brewing methods available for making your own coffee drink at home or work, and as recommended, each will give better results by using coffee specifically roasted and ground to your preferred method. Such coffees can be purchased from all our speciality and independent coffee roasters on the GUSTATORY marketplace, or can be available by coffee subscription. The fundamentals of coffee brewing are coffee wholebeans, which, as the term suggests, is coffee beans supplied in their most whole form. Whether you like to grind your own coffee beans or prefer to purchase coffee that has been pre-ground, we want to make sure you are aware of the differences in brewing methods to help you ultimately become your own coffee connoisseur.
The resulting granule size after coffee grinding is the determining factor between grind types, and across the spectrum there are grind sizes better suited for each brewing method. The seven brewing methods are French Press (cafetière), filter (Pour Over and by machine), Aeropress, stovetop, espresso and capsule, and below you can find our useful guidance for each. Enjoy...
Wholebeans. Grinding Your Own Coffee
Purchasing wholebeans is perfect for those looking to keep their options open and do their own thing. As coffee beans react to air contact, buying wholebeans also gives you a longer period during which to use the coffee as it retains its freshness for a longer period.
For those looking to buy wholebeans, there are two types of grinder available: grinders with a blade or grinders with a burr. The former essentially cuts down every bean into smaller sizes, although this method will lead to inconsistencies in the size of the ground particles. The second method has two cutting discs (burrs) and can be set to ground the coffee beans to a specific or required size, resulting in a consistent particle size throughout. For espresso coffee, we recommend using a burr grinder. As there are a number of dual purpose grinders available, finding one that can do espresso and filter is recommended, just be sure to check with your grinders instructions before usage to ensure you get the required grind type.
Arguably the most common method of converting your ground coffee into a delicious coffee brew, the cafetiere - or French Press - is an inexpensive cylinder with a simple filtering plunger. More precisely known as an 'infusion brewer', the cafetière allows ground coffee particles to infuse with water and in doing so creates a consistent taste. Unbeknown to most, the plunger's metal mesh has holes tactically sized to allow some of the coffee grind to find passage into your cup to give a richer body taste. Its simple design, however, can lead a sludge residue developing at the bottom of the cafetiere and so it is worth bearing that in mind. Oh and hear it from us, it really isn’t worth tasting this, its rather unpleasant.
For this method, we recommend using very fine to medium coffee grinds. To produce your coffee via this method, simply use the ratio of 75g worth of coffee grind to 1 litre of water, adding both into the cafetière simultaneously. Let the coffee mix with the water for around five minutes to allow the particles to sink to the bottom and then add the mesh plunger onto the cafetière. Do not plunger the coffee at this stage, instead allow the coffee to pour through the mesh into your cup; the plunger is used to keep the sludge at the bottom after your first pour. And finally, enjoy.
As the name suggests, the Pour Over quite literally relates to the process of pouring water over coffee. Brewing by percolation, this method requires a filter to be positioned between the ground coffee and the water, often a detachable and reusable component to your coffee kettle. Popular Pour Over devices and their brands include the Hario V60, Kalita Wave 155 and Chemex (all products), amongst others.
Using this method of brewing, the coffee to water ratio is particularly important, as is the speed at which you introduce water to the coffee. Three variables affect the quality of your coffee: the fineness of the coffee grind, the contact time of water to coffee and the amount of coffee being used. The fineness of the coffee particles affects how the particles move through the water, as well as how slowly the water can percolate itself through the coffee mix. The contact time relates to how slowly you add the water; we advise pouring the water slowly in order to elongate this part of the process. Finally, the amount of coffee used will, of course, affect contact time as the more coffee there is, the longer it will take to mix with the water.
To produce your coffee via this method, simply use a ratio of 60g worth of coffee grind to 1 litre of water - we recommend using medium coffee grinds. First, lightly rinse your filter and position this within the brewer that you place on top of your cup. Next, add your coffee into the filter; it is common practice to add a little bit of temperate water to the coffee at this stage to get all the particles wet prior to introducing hot water, leaving this in the kettle until required. Such a practice is called 'bloom' and prevents the coffee from becoming sludgy with the hot water. Next, slowly pour the hot water directly over the coffee (not the sides of the filter). Add enough water until there is just 1 centimetre worth of space left unused around the rim of the filter, watch and let the water drip through into the cup. After all the water has been used up, remove the filter and enjoy.
A note on the different types of filter, these are available in either cloth, paper or metallic material, and each has a slightly different effect on the final brew. Paper is undoubtedly the most common material and provides the cleanest of brews possible as it is able to strain all the oils and coffee particles. Cloth is the oldest method, with the fabric's holes' sizes allowing oils to pass through to give a fuller-bodied tasting brew. The re-usage of cloth can sometimes be an issue as the entire process depends on how well you pre-cleaned the cloth during preparation time. Lastly, metal is probably the most reusable, although the least authentic.
In addition to the above filter method, filter coffee can also be made by electric machine. Whether you simply don't have the time to brew in the morning or if you're looking for a certain consistency with each and every cup, we won't judge you for going electric - all methods have their time and place. Without much complication or hassle, you can have your roasted coffee in no time. However, it is worth noting that for many, electric filter machines are considered inferior to the methods discussed above. This is simply down to the temperatures required to properly brew coffee and the fact that these electric filter machines are generally considered inadequate in terms of brewing functionality.
To produce your coffee via this method, follow the ratio of 60g worth of coffee grind to 1 litre of water, much like you would if you were manually filtering your coffee using a pour over; medium grinds are also preferable here. Brewing using this method is very simple and as easy as placing the filter paper inside the machine's holder, adding the recommended coffee amount into the filter and adding cold water to the machine's water tank, all before closing the machine's lids, switching the button on and watching as the water heats up and begins to filter through the coffee filter into the cup beneath. Afterwards, be sure to discard the filter as these are only one-time usage, before finally enjoying your coffee.
Perhaps one of the more unusual methods of coffee brewing, the Aeropress is widely held to be one of the cleanest brewing methods. Often easily transportable, this method is also for the keener coffee makers amongst us who wish to achieve quality coffee outside of the home, wherever they may be. The Aeropress can essentially be considered a combination of a cafetière and a filter brewer. The main advantage of an Aeropress is its ability to produce a vast variety of coffee types, though we’d recommend against trying to make an espresso coffee.
Depending on which coffee type you're intending to make, to produce a short and strong coffee via this method, simply use the ratio of 100g worth of coffee grind to 1 litre of water. Or, for a more regular cup of coffee, use 75g worth of coffee grind to 1 litre of water. In general terms, the coarser the coffee particles, the longer you should take in brewing your coffee. First, add your filter paper to the Aeropress filter holder and pass some hot water through, prior to adding any coffee, in order to prepare the brewer. Next add the coffee grind into the filter, followed by hot water straight after. Afterwards, stir the mixture together and begin introducing the pressure-piston into the top of the Aeropress' opening without applying any pressure; this will create a vacuum within the Aeropress to prevent any coffee drippage. Leave the coffee and water to mix for one minute before then placing pressure down on the pressure-piston to force the coffee to drip out of the filter chamber and into your coffee cup. Pushing harder will speed up the brew time as well as also extract more from your coffee due to the additional pressure being applied. Upon completion of one full plunge, we recommend releasing the pressure-piston slightly to recreate a vacuum within to prevent any further coffee drippage. Finally, remove the Aeropress, discard all coffee wastage and enjoy.
The stovetop is one of earliest methods of brewing coffee, which really adds an element of authenticity to the experience of home coffee brewing - Bialetti are perhaps the leading stovetop brand. That said, the stovetop isn't known for being the easiest of methods nor the one the provides the most consistency. Perfect for making espresso coffee, the coffee produced by a stovetop is almost always very strong and quite bitter; the latter characteristic is fundamentally due to the extreme heat which you apply to the coffee. One benefit, though, is that due to the coffee to water ratio required, brew time is quite fast.
The stovetop comes in three components: the pot's middle basket (and tube) is used to house the coffee grind, the bottom chamber the hot water, with the top chamber being reserved for your resulting mixture - your consumable coffee. To produce your coffee via this method, simply use the ratio of 200g worth of coffee grind to 1 litre of water. We recommend that you use either very fine or fine coffee grinds. Begin by adding the hot water to the bottom chamber up to the point of the safety valve. Next, add the coffee grind into the middle basket and then screw this component in place on top of the water chamber, ensuring that the gasket is carefully sealed in place. Next, place the stovetop onto your stove and heat on a medium-ish temperature. The hot water from the lower chamber will begin to rise up through the interconnecting tube as the steam begins create pressure; the hotter the temperature you set, the more pressure that is built up and so the quicker the brewing process. Watch as coffee liquid then begins to creep up through the tube and drip down into the previously-empty top chamber. Should you ever hear the stovetop making a struggling sound, this is the time in which you remove the stovetop from the heat; the water has likely all passed through and nothing remains in the bottom chamber. Finally, run the stovetop under a cold tap, ensuring that the cold water passes over the bottom chamber to re-condense the steam and reduce the built-up pressure within. Then simply enjoy.
The espresso machine is generally considered the best way to home brew your coffee, reflected by the fact that there is a typically a premium on espresso when compared with the price of other filter coffee types. Leading espresso machine brands include Sage and Gaggia, amongst others.
As previously mentioned, the fineness of a coffee grind affects the easibility of brewing, however, when you use very fine grinds, gravity alone can often not be enough to push the water through the coffee mix, which is why espresso was invented; the name 'espresso' derives from the improved speed which this method can provide. Espresso machines essentially create extreme pressures within their system to better force water through coffee.
Also associated with such a coffee-type is the term 'crema’. This is the additional layer of dense foam that is produced on the top of any espresso coffee. Such a layer exists due to the espresso's pressures forcing the water to dissolve more carbon dioxide. Upon coming out of the machine into room temperature, it becomes a bubbly foam layer. Beyond being aesthetically pleasing on any coffee cup, it actually signifies the freshness of a coffee grind; if the coffee grind wasn't so fresh, there would be less carbon dioxide and therefore this layer wouldn't exist so much. The darkness of the foam layer also reflects the strength of the coffee.
Whilst we can give you a basic understanding of the espresso process, it is a difficult technique to master so getting some first hand guidance from your local roaster is advised. In any case, lets talk through the process. Firstly, add ground coffee to a handled container that contains a super-fine filter on it's base. Next compress the coffee down - this is called 'tamping' - into the container. The combination is then affixed into place in the espresso machine through activation of the machine's pressure system. The machine will then begin to work as it pumps a specific amount of hot water through the coffee container, dripping out into a cup placed beneath. Based on your skill level, some machines will be easy to understand and use, whilst others will allow you to nicely tailor your coffee brew.
Given all the variables which can come into play with this method, as you will find out at any barista school, there can be many ratios of coffee to water to produce all the different types of coffee. In addition to the aforementioned basic technique, we can offer a few other insights into the espresso method. Firstly, proper tamping requires a completely clean container, free of any oils or grind residue. For precise coffee brewing, weighing your coffee is almost always an essential here. In addition, the way in which you see establishments flush steam through the espresso nozzle isn't just for show, it is to help clean this machine component, as well as to ensure that the machine-to-room temperature gradient can be realised for that all-important crema. The critical element to this method is understanding the ratio of water to coffee. Master this and you will be able to make some very delicious espresso coffees.
Due to the fact that espresso is quite different to any of the other methods previously described, it is essential that you purchase coffee beans suitable for espresso brewing; roasters almost always tailor their roasting procedure to create espresso-specific coffee grinds. Be sure to have fun experimenting and we hope it leads to some great results!
The capsule brewing method requires a capsule machine and instructions will vary depending on which machine you’re using. Therefore, we simply recommend that you refer to the machine-relevant instructions for brewing advice. Typically, to produce your coffee via this method, one capsule creates one coffee and the amount of water necessary will depend on the size of the chamber that your machine can hold. The coffee produced should be consistent each time due to the machine having minimal factors that can cause variance. The capsule method can be a good place to start for novice's just starting out their home coffee brewing experience due to the simplicity that the capsule and machine can provide. The main drawback to such a brewing method, however, is the lack of independent roasters that produce their coffee grinds in capsule format. That being said, we’re forever on the hunt and so can promise to keep you well topped up with our capsule subscription service.
Rather surprisingly, all teas - white, green, oolong, Pu'erh, herbal and black - are made using leaves of the same plant species. Whilst there are a number of varietals of the Camellia sinensis plant, as well as a range of climates, topographies and soils in which it is grown, the processing of leaves is what has led to the development of the diverse array of tea that we know and love.
Of all the teas, white teas are the least processed. As they are not crushed or rolled during processing, their flavours and aromas are particularly delicate and light on the palette, as well also, possessing the least amount of caffeine of all teas. White tea from the proper varietal and grown in the correct place is known as Silver Needle and is considered by many to be the gold standard. There are number of other types of white tea, such as White Peony, Tribute Eyebrow and Long Life Eyebrow, all of which hail from Fujian Province, China.
Discover GUSTATORY's curated collection of white teas.
Green tea, whilst presenting a more notable flavour to the palette than white tea, is more astringent and subtler than oolong or black tea. This is due to the the bypass of oxidation that allows green tea to retain most of its natural dark green color, tannins, vitamin C, chlorophyll and minerals, all of which contributes to its flavour profile. Whilst Sencha is most well-known and widely consumed, there are a number of different varieties of green tea so be sure to try them all!
Discover GUSTATORY's curated collection of green teas.
Oolong teas are halfway house between green and black tea as they undergo a process of semi–oxidation. This leads to the development of the body and complexity of a black tea, whilst retaining the brightness and freshness found in green teas - mmm, delectable. Da Hong Pao is considered to be the gold standard of oolong teas, although there are a number of other varieties along the spectrum that provide a host of interesting flavours.
Discover GUSTATORY's curated collection of oolong teas.
Black teas are considered to be the most popular teas in the Western world and, by definition, are those that have been fully oxidized. Although called black tea, the resultant cup is a more reddish brown to an intense dark brown – perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Brown tea doesn’t sound particularly appetising…
Black tea is grown and processed all over the world in varying geographies and climates, with some of the largest producers of black tea being India, Sri Lanka and Africa. In fact, half of the world’s tea production comes from India, the home of Assam and Darjeeling.
Discover GUSTATORY's curated collection of black teas.
Pu’erh teas are those that are aged and fermented, much like a fine wine. For it to be a true Pu’erh tea, it has to origin from the Yunnan province in China. To truly appreciate this tea, a degree of knowledge and connoisseurship is advised as this will further enhancing your experience. Although now more widely appreciated across the world, Pu’erh teas for many years were revered for the medicinal benefits in China, which range from curing hangovers to reducing cholesterol.
Discover GUSTATORY's curated collection of Pu'erh teas.
Herbal teas are not true teas (we aren’t being mean, they simply do not come from the Camellia sinensis plant). Instead, these teas are infusions and are a blend of various leaves, fruits, bark, roots, or flowers belonging to almost any edible, non-tea plant. As they can be created from almost any combination of natural ingredients, the variety of flavours and health benefits within herbal teas are almost endless.
Discover GUSTATORY's curated collection of herbal teas.
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