All words in this article are from ‘Kiss The Hippo’
Kiss the Hippo, one of London’s most innovative and sustainable speciality coffee company. They roast organic, planet-friendly coffee at their state-of-the-art roastery in London, then send it out to discerning coffee drinkers across the UK and beyond.
They opened their roastery in 2018, and from day one it’s been a hub of sustainable innovation. They even won the UK barista championships that year!
Our sourcing ethos is defined by our holistic approach to sustainability. We believe the most important priority for any roaster is the preservation of the coffee chain that connects the producers to the person enjoying the final cup. If we wish to offer the best quality coffee in the world, it is crucial that we support positive outcomes for the people at every step of that chain – especially the communities that grow our coffee.
We are committed to building lasting relationships with producers, to being transparent at every step, and to supporting the ongoing research that will ensure the preservation of the industry. All of our coffee is sourced and roasted with these ideals in mind.
Coffee producers often shoulder the heaviest price pressure in the coffee industry. Each year, costs increase as climate change makes coffee production all the more challenging. Unfortunately, the global commodity price for coffee hasn’t grown to reflect this. We believe that price increases and stability are needed to maintain a healthy industry, which is why we are dedicated to paying double the Fairtrade price for all our coffees.
In a world that becomes more complex and globalized by the day, responsible consumption can be an overwhelming task. We strive to make it easier by being open and honest about where our coffee comes from, and how it gets to you. From farm to cup you can rely on us to share every step of the journey your coffee takes on its way to you.
At first I thought, what have I done! But as the negotiations for the lease were going on, I realised it wasn’t that bad of an idea.’
Coffee makes a long journey from a seed to our cup. At the beginning of this journey, the farmers or producers work incredibly hard tending to the trees and soil, harvesting when perfectly ripe and then making processing decisions which will affect the cup profile. When we source coffees we are looking to ensure that everyone before us in the supply chain has made the right decisions which result in a delicious coffee. It’s then our responsibility to do our very best with the roasting in order to honour the hard work of the producers.
Something which has a major impact on the flavour of the coffee is the design of the roaster. Most traditional drum roasters use a combination of a burner which heats the drum (conduction) and a fan which pulls air through it (convection). This is a system which offers a lot of control over how heat is applied to the coffee but is very susceptible to the environmental conditions in which the roaster is situated. If you have a particularly cold day for instance then the air which is being pulled through the drum will be at a different temperature to yesterday. Another issue is that the drum gets hotter and hotter throughout a day of roasting so the first and last few roasts will behave differently. Consistency is key with coffee roasting and as well as managing the balance of convective and conductive heat to apply to the coffee the roaster also has to consider the environmental conditions and adapt the roast to suit. This type of roasting machine also produces smoke, requiring treatment by an afterburner which uses a tremendous amount of fuel.
The Loring Smart Roast system is very different.
The stainless steel drum is not heated. Instead, the air traveling through it is precisely heated and using the patented single burner system, recycled through the drum, being cleaned along the way. This means extremely precise control over the environmental heat and temperature stability between roasts. This closed system design means that changes in the weather and humidity make no difference to what is happening in the roasting chamber, offering the skilled roaster the opportunity to really concentrate on the important thing; the roast profile. The Loring is also extremely efficient, using up to 80% less fuel than a traditional drum roaster, offering the very best performance in terms of environmental impact and controllability and we love it dearly!
Since day one, sustainability has been at the core of everything we do. We never wanted to make empty gestures — we wanted to be pioneers, a brand that leads by example, encouraging bigger organisations to make positive changes in its wake.
That’s why, this year, we’ve taken our sustainability a step further than ever before. We’re incredibly proud to announce that, in partnership with On A Mission, Kiss the Hippo has become a totally carbon negative coffee brand.
We’ve always wanted to be carbon negative. After all, the climate is in crisis, and we don’t want it to cause a similar shock to Covid when that crisis finally reaches its peak. For us, this decision was a no-brainer, a necessary step to create awareness — and one we hope others will soon follow.
Check out the full story here: https://kissthehippo.com/blogs/news/good-news-we-ve-gone-carbon-negative
Photography and writing by Kiss The Hippo