Peaberrys Coffee Roasters on Maitland Road, Islington, have taken a few gos at renovating and rebranding to find their true self – and the good news is they’ve found it. The Coffee Snobs were lucky enough to revisit their HQ years after our first foray into the world of ‘cupping’ here back in 2013.
Walking in the front door today, it has the same aesthetics as any other modern espresso bar in the area: polished timber, long tables, shelving with organic goodies and assorted coffee paraphernalia.
Beyond that, though, Peaberrys becomes the Willy Wonka of coffee, with all sorts of fantastical combobulations that lead you to believe the elixir of life is filtered, roasted, cupped and blessed here. Inside the factory, giant hessian piping bags of 85-and-above scored beans loom impressively from the ceiling, ushering us further into the cellar of wizardry. A coffee crematorium is overhead and some espresso relics are enjoying retirement shelved at the back, but the systematically organised goods on the shelves are the bread and butter, ready to be trucked out.
Our small group ‘ooh’ed and ‘ahh’ed at the magnificent science, then eagerly shuffled into our exclusive cupping domain. Rob and Cameron, buddies from way back with barista-grade beard certification, are super passionate about their bean, and it shows as they lead us through the art of cupping coffee.
In a nutshell, you smell it dry, you smell it wet, you clean off the superfluous gunk then you slurp it – all while rotating to experience the nuances of exotic origins like Costa Rica, Brazil, Sumatra and Colombia. It’s fascinating how the same roast can really morph into something entirely new with a good swig of boiled water, and confound the senses when the mellow taste becomes ashy and pungent.
At each stage the coffee is scored on a technical level, and at the final score, we realised we’re part of something worldwide using this same standard – a coffee enlightenment beyond ‘nice crema’ or scrutinising the temperature.
Tension rose as we found we all preferred a different roast, which only proved how essential this process is in providing not only the best, but a variety over the bar out the front and in your cafes across Newcastle.
Don’t fret; you can experience this pure joy every Friday at Peaberrys at their public sessions from 12–1pm, with their single origins rotating fortnightly.