Review: Pure Beans Coffee, Hilton

Hilton-based Purebeans sells a range of speciality coffee beans, bespoke mixes and blends for individual customers, coffee machines and everything that goes alongside them.

Coffee evangelist Paul Walker has set himself a hard task - to improve the standard of coffee not just in the East Midlands but across the whole of the UK. Paul set up Purebeans, his coffee supply business, in August 2006 since when he has been on a crusade to raise the profile of coffee and take quality overall to the next level - great news for your daily cappuccino.Paul is Derbyshire born and bred and has lived in Mickleover for 24 years. He worked in sales and marketing before going to work for Mars, then Pfizer as an account manager. After drinking far too many cups of dreadful vending machine coffee, he decided to set up his own business and embarked on his mission for the perfectly blended beverage. Hilton-based Purebeans sells a range of speciality coffee beans, bespoke mixes and blends for individual customers, coffee machines and everything that goes alongside them, as well as syrups and sauces, branded cups, aprons and t-shirts, juicers, biscotti, teas and chocolates and so on. In fact you could say he's a one-stop coffee shop!Paul's passion is infectious and he talks excitedly about some of the 'blackcurranty, nutty, toffee and citrus zest' flavours that you can identify in his blends. He also stresses the importance of the message that can be conveyed by the quality of a cup of coffee: 'It's the first thing you give your customer in a caf� or in the office or the last thing you give them at the end of a great meal at your restaurant and it's vital to get it right, because this is the taste that is remembered but it's is so often the one that is overlooked.' This is something that I can really identify with - a bad cup of coffee can so easily spoil a good meal and a dreadful cup of instant coffee served in an otherwise plush environment can easily break the spell of a fabulous experience. This is something that the car manufacturer Alfa Romeo has taken very seriously. Last year they tested five different coffee machines for their British dealerships before they were happy that the espresso was up to standard and the coffee provided the right customer experience to tie in with their values and the brand identity of their vehicles, serious stuff indeed! Purebeans supply a vast range of coffees and take great care to use the very best, fair trade beans with full traceability, right down to the farm and the individual farmer. With names like 'Australian Skyberry', 'Peaberry Bold' and 'Monsoon Malabar' they sound more like exotic textiles than coffee beans, but Paul tells me that each has its own distinct taste and the way that beans are roasted and blended creates an infinite range and different flavours and aromas.Purebeans also use what is widely-acknowledged as the best coffee roaster in the UK, offering their customers a bespoke blending and roasting service so that they can perfect their very own unique, branded blend of coffee. The company also provides a full support package which includes training for a venue's baristi. Even with the very best tasting beans a lot can still go wrong during the process of brewing coffee, especially in the case of espresso, so the technique of the barista is immensely important. As such Paul offers all his customers a comprehensive training session to help ensure that every cup is perfectly made and poured.To illustrate and convey his passion even further, last year Paul hosted two prestigious coffee events: an open-house barista evening for coffee bar and restaurant owners in Derby at which James Hoffman, the 2007 World Champion Barista, talked about the finer points of making the perfect espresso and demonstrated the skill of 'latte art' (where leaves and hearts are drawn by pouring foamed milk into the coffee); and then in November last year Purebeans hosted the regional heats of the UK Barista Championships (UKBC) at the University of Derby, Buxton Campus. This event, organised by the UKBC and the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE), offered local baristi the opportunity to compete, meet James Hoffman, try the latest coffee machine equipment and share knowledge with each other. Paul believes that events like this really help to raise people's awareness of good coffee and, by assisting venues to improve the techniques of their baristi and the standard of their presentation, will in turn increase sales through customer satisfaction.Purebeans blends can be found at Tawney's or Peli Deli in Matlock, The Blenheim House Hotel at Etwall, Saracen's Head at Shirley or Anoki in Derby. At Peli Deli Paul and owners Mike and Jess Blair worked together to develop the 'Espresso del Pelicano' blend for the caf�, while at Anoki Paul developed a speciality coffee with owner Nav Khaliq which is the ideal blend to complement a spicy Indian meal. Paul has also been working with several local catering companies, including the McArtney Sisters Catering in Nottingham, on supplying speciality blends for weddings, private parties and corporate events. So, whether cappuccino, espresso, latte or mochaccino is your thing, watch out! If Paul Walker has anything to do with it an even better cup of coffee is coming to a venue near you soon!

Purebeans, 49 Kyle Road, Hilton, Derby DE65 5JYTel: 0800 075 4555

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