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SA + Bennachie Coffee

Bennachie Coffee boasts a passion for great tasting coffee, that they deliver the worlds best coffee directly to you and that they turn the daily grind into a coffee adventure!

We caught up with their Founder Ross Erskine to find out more about this artisan coffee provider based near Inverurie, Aberdeenshire.

Scottish Adventure (SA): Let’s start off by tell us a bit about yourself. What made you decide to begin providing top quality coffee Had this been a long-time dream of yours?

Ross Erskine, Bennachie Coffee (RE): My coffee adventure started as a pursuit of happiness, the pursuit of coffee happiness. Having been trained as a barista overseas many years ago, I knew how good coffee could taste. Unfortunately, when I returned to the UK the quality of the coffee was often lacking.

After years of frustration with the coffees I was served, and while considering a business to start, I followed some advice, work on something you are passionate about (coffee roasting) and help to fulfil a need (the need for a better-quality product).

To do this, I decided to correct the quality issues one step back in the supply chain at the selection of raw coffee seeds and the roasting of these seeds (coffee beans). That’s when I started selecting the green raw coffee seeds, choosing speciality grade, Arabica coffee, which is graded and scored with the best quality coffees at over 80 out of 100.

Scottish Adventure (SA): Scottish Adventure aims to team up adventurers with Scottish business. What’s been your biggest adventure to date?

Ross Erskine, Bennachie Coffee (RE): In the early 2000’s I set off trekking in the Himalayas with my brother. Hiking for 8 to 10 hours a day was hard going on the legs, especially when descending and my legs were wobbling. But the scenery was fantastic, and it was well worth it.

Scottish Adventure (SA): You are based in Banchory, But the business is “Bennachie Coffee” What’s the connection to Bennachie and was the silhouette of that hill always in your head as the company emblem / logo?

Ross Erskine, Bennachie Coffee (RE): When choosing the name for the company we chose Bennachie because all the best quality coffee is grown at altitude, on high ground, in the hills of the coffee growing regions. We wanted to connect back to the coffee origins and the farmers who were growing our coffees. Bennachie was an obvious choice, being a landmark from where I grew up, the Northeast of Scotland.

Scottish Adventure (SA): You’ve mentioned formal training in coffee procurement and analysis. Can you tell us a little bit about that and what part of the training did you enjoy the most?

Ross Erskine, Bennachie Coffee (RE): I spent a lot of time with other coffee roasters in the USA, Australia, and back in the UK, learning on the job. At the London School of Coffee, I studied sensory analysis, green (raw) coffee buying and grading, and coffee roasting. I also gained similar qualifications within a coffee training centre in Edinburgh called Coffee Nexus. To be honest, I enjoyed every bit of it. I find the whole process fascinating.

Scottish Adventure (SA): You’ve spent some time away from Scotland before returning to live in the Northeast. What’s your favourite part about living here and from your travels overseas what from Australia or the Australian way of life would you like to see over here in Scotland?

Ross Erskine, Bennachie Coffee (RE): When living away from home, apart from family and friends, what I missed the most about Scotland was the fresh air. During an Australian summer, when the wind was blowing and temperatures were high, it felt like a hair dryer was being blown in my face.

Over here in Scotland, it’s an obvious answer but I’d love to see more sun. One thing I was aware of in Oz was that they don’t get so much low-level cloud as we do here. Also, the cafe culture is slowly picking up here but the Aussies are ahead of us on that.

Scottish Adventure (SA): As we emerge out of lockdown, have any plans for the business that you could share with us?

Ross Erskine, Bennachie Coffee (RE): At the end of last year, we brought out a new blend, the Highland Blend. We also had a collaboration with a local brewery, Brew Toon who launched their very tasty Espresso Imperial Stout which uses the Bennachie Coffee Seasonal House Blend.

We do have another collaboration in the pipeline, a new Bennachie product, where although our coffee is an ingredient, it is not the main ingredient. We will be sharing more details about in the next few months, as the product goes through development.

Scottish Adventure (SA): What’s your favourite place in Scotland? Where do you take the V60 and house blend to and who with?

Ross Erskine, Bennachie Coffee (RE): That’s a hard question because we have so many great places in Scotland. A favourite place for my wife and I to go on holiday with our kids is Skye. The hills, the scenery, and for my son, the dinosaur footprints on the beach. The V60 is easy to travel with but if I am packing light, I’ll often take an AeroPress. It’s a lightweight little brewing method which produces a clean and crisp cup of coffee with minimal mess.

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