Wandering inside the outbuilding-dotted courtyard of Old Brewery Yard in Penryn, the last thing you expect to see when you walk into the white-walled converted brewery is a smart and welcoming micro-roastery.
Maria Popova, master roaster and partner founder of Olfactory Coffee Roasters, perches placidly on a wooden stool in her coffee shop-esque meeting space, laptop open and brow furrowed. Looking up as I enter, she immediately greets me with a smile and an invitation to sink into the chesterfield sofas with a cup of rich java.
As we make ourselves comfortable and become engrossed in caffeine and conversation, I ask her about the journey of Olfactory Roasters, the leading coffee brand in our exciting new Cornish hampers.
Set up by Angel Parushev in 2013, the transformation from old brewery to slick micro-roastery took a whole six months to perfect, Maria tells me. Both herself and Angel’s backgrounds sit surprisingly in law, having both studied the subject at Exeter University in Falmouth. But with Angel’s expertise in the specialist coffee industry and Maria’s sophisticated pallet, gained from her time working in creative kitchens, they chose to unite their strengths and expand their understanding of roasting to find the perfect recipe for good coffee.
As Maria bubbles fluently and fluidly about how even the smallest tweaks in the roasting process can dramatically influence the taste of each batch, it’s easy to recognise her adoration for both the science and the art of coffee making.
Something that makes her passion for developing the perfect cup of coffee even more apparent is her next holiday destination. Zooming off from Newquay only a few hours after I depart, she and Angel are on the hunt for partner coffee farms in Brazil – a trip sure to reignite inspiration and provide them with ample opportunity to immerse themselves ever more into the world of coffee.
For all those who haven’t sampled a sip of Olfactory’s liquid gold, Maria describes each cup as being a well-rounded balance between sweet and acidic, an easy-to-drink coffee that takes your pallet on a journey; a depiction I can most definitely vouch for as I guzzle greedily into a second cup.
If the wintry weather has got you on the hunt for something even more deliciously indulgent, Olfactory’s Smalt chocolate buttons (which include their vegan dark chocolate range) can be used to transfigure even the dullest hot chocolate recipe into something unforgettably luxurious. Maria mentions excitedly that her next challenge is to create a vegan white chocolate button with help from coconut-blossom sugar, that retains the sweetness and creaminess of its dairy counterpart.
Olfactory’s unique taste, their focus on forming sustainable relationships with farmers and green-bean brokers, and infectious passion to experiment and adapt to achieve perfection, has gotten us incredibly excited about including them in our new luxury Cornish hamper experience.