The Perfect Cup of Coffee for Lower Sixth
The LVI Economists and Business students visited coffee manufacturers Lincoln & York Ltd for the day. We were split into two groups and had two sessions, one about coffee itself and how to taste and grade it. The other involved a tour around the factory and a talk on how the beans are roasted and stored.
We had a presentation about the origin of coffee and where it grows in the world today, learning that coffee originates from a region of Ethiopia. The coffee plant grows today in countries between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. After the presentation we headed downstairs to learn about how to taste the qualities of the beans, smelling the different aromas and tones of the coffee. Finally we learnt how to prepare a latte, cappuccino and black coffee.
We were shown around the Lincoln & York factory and learnt about the production process from start to finish. Firstly, we went to the Green Bean room where all the different beans are sorted. The beans come in from various coffee traders, about 75% of these are Fairtrade. We then went through to the main roasting facility where we learnt about the different grades that the beans can be roasted to and how quickly they are cooled. The beans got ground and transferred to the packaging aisles for different uses, such as ground coffee bags, coffee ‘tea bags’ and sachets. Many of these were for large coffee chains. All of us helped package the coffee into the boxes throughout the process. Quality control and health and safety are key aspects throughout the factory, as we went through the factory the employees were very keen to make sure we were aware of this. CSR is also very important for the company, for example the hessian sacks that the coffee was transported in are sent to a carpet manufacturer to be recycled into the underlay fibres of a carpet.
Lincoln & York Ltd have many business customers, some are large brands but many are small coffee shops and delicatessens. They build up good relationships with their customers and get a lot of repeat custom.
Finally, after seeing all of the coffee being made and learning about the different beans, we made our own blend of coffee, picking the ratios of three different beans and roasting them to a medium level. They gave us QM labelled bags of coffee to take away. The trip was very beneficial and interesting for all of us and we learned a lot. A big thank you must go to all the team at Lincoln & York Ltd who gave up the time to show us around and explain the processes.
By Mimi Milligan-Manby, Sophie Wass and Flavia Riley-Smith, LVI