Hermanos Colombian Coffee Roasters: Coffee Insurrection Hero Chapter #66

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Hermanos Colombian Coffee Roasters: Coffee Insurrection Hero Chapter #66

Coffee Insurrection
● Introduce yourself: who are you, where are you from, where do you work and what’s your job.

We are Santiago and Victor Gamboa, two out of three of the founders behind Hermanos Colombian Coffee Roasters, a specialty coffee roastery based in London. Through our shops, we sell single-origin Colombian coffee with a focus on showcasing the diversity and complexity that can be found in beans from our home country.

As we grow, we’re always looking for ways to contribute to healthy and sustainable relationships in the coffee sector that benefit not just the coffee drinker, but also the farmer, who we put at the centre of everything that we do.

We decided to open our first coffee shop alongside co-founder Adnan Millwala in Walthamstow in 2018. Fast-forward 4 years and we now run 9 shops across London and ship our beans across the United Kingdom. We’re incredibly proud of what we’ve done and love the reception we’ve had from both our customers but also our loyal online subscription base.

● When and why did coffee become important to you?

Coffee has always been important to us, but it wasn’t until we moved from Colombia to the UK that we began to see it as our future. We deeply missed Colombian culture (including the coffee!) after a few years of living in England, and knew that we had to bring some elements of our upbringing over into our new lives. Ourselves and Adnan taught ourselves the art of roasting and brewing, and eventually made the decision to put all our time and energy into something we both really love.

● What are your earliest memories of coffee?

One of the earliest and most lasting memories we have of coffee is simply waking up to the smell of it being brewed by our first thing in the morning. Countless times we’d wander into the kitchen to be welcomed by its rich distinct aroma. But this isn’t unusual in Colombia, everybody drinks coffee (including the children!), so from a young age we were very well acquainted with the delicious smell.

● What is your favourite thing about going to work in the morning?

No two days are the same at Hermanos, and that is what makes it such a fantastic job. We like to have a very hands-on approach to running the business, which means that our days consist of visiting the shops, tasting and deciding which new beans to stock, roasting and packaging up orders, and so on. However, if we had to whittle it down and choose one thing that we love the most about going to work in the morning, it would have to be the privilege of getting to see so many people each day discover a love for Colombian coffee.

When starting Hermanos, all we wanted to do was show the UK how wonderful coffee from our country is and how different it can be to what many people think of as classic Colombian profiles, so really every day is filled with proud moments, thanks to our customers.

Hermanos Colombian

● What is your favourite brewing method and why?

Santiago: My favourite way to brew coffee is with a V60, because it really draws out all of the amazing flavours from a coffee. It requires a little practice and time, but the quality of the coffee that you get from using a drip method is unrivalled. Victor: Similar to Santiago, my favourite way to brew coffee is using a V60 or Chemex. It just makes drinking a coffee feel like an occasion, and does justice to the beans.

● What is the best coffee that you have ever tasted?

Without a doubt, the best coffee we have ever sampled recently is our Queen Gesha bean. With notes of blueberry jam, white peach, rose, and dark chocolate, it tastes and smells exquisite. It is a really special coffee, and definitely one to bring out if you want to impress people. We know the farmers of this Gesha well, Elias and Shady Bayter, who run the El Vergel farm in Tolima, Colombia.

The brothers started experimenting with their coffee by creating and using new technologies that improve the quality of their farming processes, therefore also improving their income and the livelihood of their family and farm.

● In your opinion, what makes Colombian coffee so special?

It’s difficult to sum up what makes Colombian coffee so special to us and many others, but we’ll try! For one, the various microclimates and terrain of Colombia are perfect for producing coffee - with vast tropical rainforests, mountainous altitudes, good cloud coverage and rainfall, and high levels of humidity, it makes for some of the best specialty Arabica beans out there and the fact that beans can differ so much in profile and notes depending on the where farms are located and the methods they use is such an exciting thing for any coffee lover.

● What are the most important lessons that you’ve learnt whilst working in the specialty coffee industry?

There are always lessons to be learned and mistakes to be made when working in the specialty coffee industry, but one of the most important things we’ve been taught is to always pay respect and give credit to the farmers producing our beans. Their expertise and passion is second to none, and it is a privilege to learn from their intimate knowledge of their farms and beans

Hermanos Colombian

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