Imagine this: if you were going to go to a coffee festival 350 miles away as the only roaster representing your country, what would you do? I’d imagine you would show up repping the very best your hometown has to offer, and that’s exactly what Scotland’s own Dear Green Coffee Roasters did when they descended upon London for the 2015 London Coffee Festival.
Dear Green’s posse turned up and helped the crowd at the London Coffee Festival get turnt up on a uniquely Scottish—nay, uniquely Glaswegian—blend of ingredients. And what a harmonious blend it was: a collaborative espresso blend featuring coffee roasted by Dear Green, Origin, and Climpson & Sons; a dash of Scottish heather honey (more on that in a minute); and a tot of local Glaswegian whisky from Auchentoshan, a Lowlands distillery located just north of the city.
The espresso blend comprised 40% Rwanda Karengera roasted by Dear Green, 30% Tanzania Tweega roasted by Origin, and 30% Burundi Kayanza roasted by Climpson & Sons. To complement the African coffees, the Dear Green team chose Auchentoshan’s Three Wood single malt whisky for its rich, sweet notes of hazelnut, spice, and butterscotch. This is a single malt Scotch, but triple distilled in a style more commonly found in Ireland, then aged variously in American bourbon, Oloroso sherry, and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. To round it all off, a dab of thick, deep amber honey is swirled in to the hot espresso.
But this isn’t just any honey, honey—this is made by bees which are part of the Plan Bee program, which allows individuals and businesses to adopt or sponsor beehives. It’s the kind of thing that will give you that warm, feel-good, helping-the-environment glow, just like a shot of espresso, whisky, and honey.
This wee drink, a strong shot amongst the lineup of cool morning sippers and classic cocktail reboots, was Dear Green owner Lisa Lawson’s take on the caffé corretto, a “corrected” espresso shot. Corrected with what? Alcohol, of course. Traditionally, corretti are corrected with grappa, but Dear Green wanted to inject a lively bit of Scottish culture and taste into their drink. Mostly, Lawson said they didn’t want to do much to their signature drink that would prevent the character of the espresso from shining through. Three simple ingredients, one great drink, and a breath of fresh air at the jam-packed London Coffee Festival. We’ll vote “aye” for that.