Today we ventured down the cobbled streets of Hove to meet with Carola, head roaster at Pharmacie Coffee Roasters in their amazing converted mechanics garage.

After Carola dialled in the equipment in the cafe, she chose two very different (but both excellent) espresso blends for me to try – a washed Ethiopian Gidey and a Costa Rican single origin. The Ethiopian was a fine example of a typically fruity coffee from the region, and the Costa Rican was definitely subtler with a longer finish.

This got us talking about the taste of customers and whether they want the more typical chocolatey style coffees or whether they are ready for the more exciting, fruity and acidic coffees that come from the more exotic regions like Ethiopia. At Dog and Hat we will take you on a journey including both the more traditional and the new exciting flavours that can be found in coffee – so hold on to your hats.

Having been suitably caffeinated, we got talking about coffee and Carola’s route to the roasting machine from starting in 5* hotel hospitality in Germany through to her transition into an expert head roaster here in the UK.

We discussed how Carola sources coffees from her selected, trusted suppliers that emphasise ethical trade (and how important the quality of the delivered samples is, especially if they have been pre-roasted for her) and then how she profiles the roasts on the Giesen.

Pharmacie also has a strong focus on environmental issues - their 250g bags are all CO2 neutral and they offer a discount on returned 1kg wholesales bags. They have also started experimenting with fully compostable bags.

We talked about where we’d had our best and worst coffees and it was interesting that Carola’s worst coffee was also actually from one of her favourite roasters – this just highlighted that coffee can be made or broken at any step along the chain from the harvest, processing, roasting, all the way to the brewing stage… the best speciality coffee in the world can be ruined if you don’t brew it properly – so take a look at our brew guides to see how to do the excellent coffee you’ll receive from Dog and Hat justice.

The subject of decaffeinated coffee then came up, and Carola explained that she is soon going to be profiling a new type of decaf rather than the standard swiss-water decaf that is commonly found at the moment… we are looking forward to seeing the results of that.

Finally, we also got a sneaky peak at the latest entry into the Pharmacie roasting line-up – the Costa Rica San Francisco micro-lot – boy did that smell good and I cannot wait to taste it at home.

Susanna Morgan