McCormick Place April 2024

After competing in the Toddy World Coldbrew Championship, Guatemala.

We were invited by the head judge and CEO of Toddy, Julia Leach to attend the Specialty Coffee Expo in Chicago.

The Expo is a B2B event and was designed to be the coffee professional’s one stop shop for everything they need to succeed in the coffee industry.

The invite was to “takeover” the Toddy cold brew stand and serve our signature drink from the cold brew championships.

You can read about my experience at the Cold Brew Championships here.

So we packed up our varsity jackets, coffee and cascara and set off to Chicago.

First up upon arrival was the “100 years Mahlkonig party” and we didn’t let the jet-lag stand a chance 😄.

Marco Beverage Systems were in attendance and we were invited to take over their cold brew academy. This was an amazing opportunity to serve up our cold brew tonic which we had designed out their cold brew concentrate system.

Using the same Hacienda Sonora coffee we made a concentrate which was finished using the Pour’d system with sparkling water. It was a major success and the Marco team could not have been nicer to us.

We got to take in the sites and sounds of McCormick place which was set against the most beautiful backdrop Lake Michigan.

All of our favourites were in attendance and we got the chance to see all the latest developments and taste some amazing coffees. Most notable was the CGLE Sidra. Which we bought upon arrival home.

Its available here

Day 2 was the official take over on the Toddy stand. I had met Matt Irish on the PRF trip and he is a trusted staff member and really cool guy.

Matt, Kyle and team made us feel very welcome and it was awesome serving up and talking all things cold brew to a US/worldwide audience.

We met some good friends and partners from the coffee world.

While in Chicago I had the opportunity to take part in the World of Coffee inaugural run.

We also took the opportunity to visit the local theatre for the “Jersey Boys” and had an amazing night out in downtown Chicago.

World of Coffee 24′


It’s exactly 16 years since I was in Copenhagen and stood in the very same spot saw Stephen Morrissey become World Barista Champion. I got a chance to meet Stephen at the show along with all of our other Irish colleagues.

The WOC show is an array of roasters, machine manufactures, cafes & competitions.

First up to meet was our partners in Guatemala. Unitrade and Finca Catalan de Las Mercedes Cristian and Nikko.

We have a container coming direct from the guys whom I had the pleasure of visiting in March.

The main purpose of the show was to meet the guys along with Valentin from Gasharu Coffee.

Both farms are family owned and producing top quality specialty coffee. Environmental practices and workers wellbeing are of course to the fore in both locations.

We are so excited to share their respective coffees and help communities in both regions.

We took time to taste the Maragogype which was on the Guatemalan Coffees stand and produced by Nikko (I loved this coffee when cupping on farm). It did not disappoint at the show.

I managed to catch up with Henry from Producers Roasters Forum who had organised the trip to origins and the show in Guatemala.

There was time to taste the wonderful coffee from SI Cafe which we sponsored to appear at the brewer * right next to the Roasting Championships.

Also to stop by and check out our submission to the packaging awards we weren’t quite on the podium this time but will return. Massive congratulations to Herz & Son who won in our category.

Day 1 finished off at the 100 years of Mahlkonig party and a great time was had by everyone, although it may not be ideal preparation for an early morning run.

I was lucky enough to be at EXPO in Chicago where the inaugural WOC runners took place.

This amazing initiative is a welcome break from the norm at coffee events whereby people from all over the world ran solitary if they wanted.

Andrew, Anna & Leanne have created a beautiful event aimed at raising awareness for a very notable and worthy charity Girlsgottarun.

Although this event in Copenhagen was a little more competitive than the Chicago run, with some people asking me if I had registered for the race 😁.

It was an absolute blast and something I’ll continue to do at all events. It’s a chance not only to be smug all day 😂 but to see different areas of each city.

After Day 2 of the WOC it was time to head to Out of The Box hosted by La Marzocco.

An immersive educational day that’s only rivalled by the absolute monstrous party afterwards.

Giveaways or I should say throwaways so LM staff hurling merch from the top windows while unsuspecting punters began rugby style tackles for t-shirts, tote bags and those really cool workwear jackets.

Time for bed after all of that jostling and dancing.

Looking forward to the next one!


Tuesday June 18th Dublin, Ireland

It’s not everyday you get to host the worldwide sales team of a company like Marco Beverage Systems but that is the exact situation we found ourselves in last Tuesday night.

Marco have released their new cold brew concentrate system and asked if we might host and talk a little around CB at this private event.

We have used the Marco system and created some amazing concentrate .

It’s main purpose is to replicate a concentrate here and across our brew tanks in the roastery.

We kicked off the evening with some pizza, beers and our very own Porterhouse collaboration.

This 24-hour boil stout was aged in a Dingle Whiskey cask, which was originally a Pedro Ximénez sherry butt.

We added cold brew in the initial brew to concentrate the malt flavours and develop other complex flavours. 
Resulting beer was matured for 9 months in Dingle Distillery Bourbon casks after which a second addition of coffee was made, this time as a cold brew into the conditioning tanks before canning.

Next was a guided tour and discussion of our recent cold brew installation. We had a small demo of how the plant works and moved onto out roastery machinery.

Next was a Q&A regarding cold brew landscape.

Finally we served up a concentrate using Hacienda Sonora Pyramide Fermentation.


I am delighted to announce our partnership with Valentin & Gasharu coffee.
A direct trade, multi container/coffee partnership which will see direct investment into the Gasharu Community Social Welfare Project and Rugori Women’s Crown Program.
Valentin and myself are delighted to work on a range of coffee varietals and post harvest processing techniques to give you the very best of Gasharu & Silverskin coffee. We originally met through an Ikawa/Algrano event during covid times. This was the first time I had cupped IREME an anaerobic experimental lot that blew me away.

The quality of coffee and the emphasis on community make Gasharu one of the best producers around and we are genuinely delighted to be working with them.


You can have a read below.

Toddy Coldbrew Championships

During my trip to Guatemala I had the pleasure of competing in the World Cold Brew Championships (hosted by Toddy).

The was an amazing competition and lots of fun to take part in. On day one we had ten minutes prep time. I used 100g of Hacienda Sonora to 1.7 litres water. Piramide Fermentation which is a Centroamericano varietal. Hacienda Sonora currently works with more than 20 varietals and several unique processing methods. The farm has been in the Guardia family for more than 100 years but has focused exclusively on specialty coffee since 1999. We have worked with these guys many times over the years and their coffee is synonymous with quality Costa Rican lots worldwide.

Using the Toddy essential brewer ( I enjoyed using it so much, they are now available on our website)

A medium/slightly coarse grind was selected and the coffee was then refrigerated for 24 hours. Competitiors had the option to leave it at room temp or to make a concentrate for the following day.

The rules are fairly relaxed compared with other competitions but you need to make a coldbrew and a specialty drink/cocktail.

I had one small issue, upon travelling I didn’t bring glassware or any tools for presenting. Up steps Christian from Unitrade who was our host for the trip. Himself and Nico were THE most amazing hosts and their generosity was unbelievable. So I had glasses a Antigua Cerveza bottle to serve (Cerveza is a native beer in Guate).

To prepare the coldbrew was easy enough as described above although this exact ratio I hadn’t tried previously. The specialty drink was a little different. I had bought and brought with me an ice cube mould in the shape of small coffee beans and 100g of Cascara again from the same tree and farm (Hacienda Sonora).

I made a syrup of 100g cascara to 100ml water this was steeped for 5 minutes to concentrate and then frozen in the mould overnight.

The first day of the PRF (producer roaster forum) I met Jorge Mendez a farmer form Finca La Apiario also known as the Honey Bee Farm. His honey is called coffee blossom honey and I was so inspired by him his story and his amazing product that I wanted to somehow include it in the drink.

So I erm *borrowed an ice bucket from my hotel and some spoons and set off on day 2 to compete.

The competition was well organised and lots of fun to take part in. I was really happy with how the drink turned out the coldbrew had notes of orange fruits, muted acidity due to its 24 hours brewing which was perfect. Stewed peach, apricot, candy cotton and a huge honey note 🙂

The presentation went really well and I had the guys from my sourcing trip pumping up the crowd 😂😂

So onto my specialty beverage * Honey Blossom Cascara. I used the same coldbrew but added 5g of frozen cascara syrup to each drink and asked the judges to add their own honey (in case they didn’t like it). I managed to place 4th overall which I was genuinely delighted with. This is something I would definitely do again.

Brew Recipe

100g Hacienda Sonora Centroamericano Piramide Fermentation

1.7 litres of water

Med/Coarse grind on Fellow

Brewtime 24 hours

Specialty * Coffee Blossom Cascara

Add 5g of frozen Cascara Syrup

Coffee Blossom Honey




What a launch!

True Coldbrew, Cold Brew Nitro & Oat Milk Flatwhite (Nitro) were launched and received with really positive and encouraging feedback.

This project has been underway behind the scenes now for over 18 months and its a pleasure to finally put it out into the world. We brought along a Tone Nitro for sampling and got to work for the 3 day festival. These festivals are always a lot of work but are equally rewarding as its a chance to test the product face to face with the cusomer.

Our coldbrew range will be available very soon with our wholesale partners and on our designated coldbrew website.

Here you can buy merchandise, glasses , stickers along with Toddy brewers and coffee concentrate for home/business use.

PRF Sourcing Trip Guatemala 2024

PRF Guatemala

PRF Guatemala. What an amazing trip. I arrived two days behind the rest of the group as we had our big launch at Dublin Coffee Festival. Our True Cold Brew range was unleashed onto the world, it was a resounding success thanks to the team here. Nothing like finishing one trade show and flying to another. But before that,I got the chance to visit Unitrade and meet the people who produce our coffee. This was a unique opportunity to see the impact and the people’s story behind its production.

Finca Catalán De Les Mercedes, Jilotepeque Chimaltenango

Day 1. I visited the Unitrade HQ and visited the farm.

Here Nico and team offer a broad variety of specialty coffee including Red Bourbon, Yellow Bourbon, Geisha, Pacamara, Marogogype and more from the highlands of Guatemala at an altitude of 6,000 – 6,800 ft.

They produce SHB Fancy (Strictly Hard Bean) and Micro lots. Our processes include: Washed, Honey and Natural. Coffee is patio and raised bed dried.

We travelled all the way to the top of the plantation with plenty of stops along the way to pick and taste different varietals. This place is so clean and the views are breathtaking. There is a nursery on site for worker’s families and the kids are cared for and educated on site.

Day 2. Beneficial el Boqueron Guatemala 🇬🇹 (Rainforest Alliance Certified)

Located in the southern mountainous region of Guatemala the Santa Rosa region is home to 250 smallholder farmers.
Probably the greatest day of learning on our whole trip.
2 wet mills, 22 dryers AND a maximum security prison next door (I am not joking) 🙃

The traditional wet mill still utilising lots of water (which is re-purposed over and over) and is very labour intensive work. This process involves washing several stages and using water to transport beans.

In contrast to this a huge investment into a new mill which expedites the process and negates fermentation, water usage and labour costs.
Neither one is superior to the other but shows how processing/farms need to adapt all the time.
We are very proud to buy from this particular mill and these awesome people.


Palmichal is back!!!!!

New SZN Finca Palmichal ✌🏻 A simply wonderful coffee from Colombia, which gives the zest and tropical acidity to our house espresso. Beautiful as a stand alone espresso or indeed on filter.

QUALITY SCORE: 87.75 Cup Notes Lemon Zest / Maple Syrup / Green Apple / Caramel / Tropical Fruits

Atilano Giraldo’s Finca Palmichal is settled within this district at an altitude of on average 1,560 meters. He calls a total of 53 ha of coffee trees his own.

The finca curls along lush hills next to yucca and green plantain trees.

Having worked alongside his father for years, Atilano is now the third generation to cultivate coffee in this area.

Over the years he has perfected the processes and his knowledge about coffee to create an Arabica full of abundant aromas and prosperous body.

Luckily, two rain seasons enable Atilano to harvest his coffee twice a year, which means a steady supply of this splendid yet rare coffee for you.

World Of Coffee Athens 2023

World of Coffee-2023 ATHENS

We had the pleasure of attending WOC 23′ in Athens this past weekend.

The event was jam packed with the following;


So, an action-packed few days with lots to see, do and taste.  There is also the chance to catch up with friends and suppliers from around the coffee world and check out the new innovative products on show.

One such product was the Squeaky Clean coffee grinder cleaner.

The guys were dressed in NASA suits on their stand and very friendly and informative on why they’ve designed and produced this product. It was interesting to see competitors on the world stage use it too.

Anyone who knows me, knows I am a sucker for a new coffee gadget 🙂 So naturally we had to pick a few up for testing. We also got to see and use the “King Eddy” a Weiss distribution tool that looks awesome.

Some other really impressive new products were on display and none other than the “Coffee Cosmetics” from Hardbeans in Poland.

Their array of coldbrew, cocktail and cosmetics was truly impressive!

We got a chance to see the new Tone brewer and catch up with the guys for a brew, also Coffee Tech to chat all things roasters. Interesting to see Ram who designs and builds the roasters his finally launched his stethoscope for first crack 💪🏻.

We dropped by the Roest stand for a brew with two coffee legends Tim Windelbow & Scott Rao. Their brews were dialled in nicely 😂😂.

We tasted so many different coffees but some that stood out were Guariroba Coffee, a  COE farm from Brazil

Our dear friends Cafe Granja La Esperanza (whose coffee won the World Brewer’s Cup) with Carlos Horacio Medina Isamit.

I also got to meet another coffee partner Nestor Lasso (whose coffee won the World Barista Championship)

No trip would be complete without seeing Valentin from Gasharu another long time partner and good friend.

Valentin presented a certificate of appreciation to us for our ongoing relationship which was a really nice touch.

He also gave us the upcoming seasons coffee samples.

Last but not least I got to see and chat to one of my favourite (and everyone else’s it seems) coffee people Martin Shabaya.

Myself and Martin have been close friends ever since our encounter at the World of Coffee Dublin and its always a pleasure to see him. ❤️❤️

Hard Tank Baby!

The hard tank baby has arrived!

Using patented technology you can now create beautiful coldbrew quickly and with ease.

I was delighted to get my hands on one of these units as coldbrew and nitro is something that interests me hugely.

The baby model is the smallest of the tanks available, the full range offers a nitro system and a larger tank for cold brew.

Coldbrew Consumption

Traditionally coldbrew drinks are time consuming to prepare, we normally offer the Toddy system to our customers

This methods and all traditional methods do require a lot of manual labour, while the coffee is at risk of oxidisation from being exposed during brewing and sitting in the Toddy unit before/while serving.

Coldbrew over the last couple of years however has become hugely popular along with iced beverages. The brewing process normally takes a long time with the result giving a less acidic and less bitter result.

More developed coffees suit traditional coldbrew methods for “coffee taste”, but in the ever changing world of coffee, coldbrew drinkers now would like to enjoy specialty coffee with different post harvesting processing methods. This is where the Hardtank excels.

The cold brew coffee market is poised to grow by $2176.05 mn from 2023-2027, accelerating at a CAGR of 26.44% during the forecast period.

A report on the cold brew coffee market provides a holistic analysis, market size and forecast, trends, growth drivers, and challenges, as well as vendor analysis—

But what is HardTank?

Hardtank is the brain child of Hard Beans coffee in Poland,

Baby HardTank it’s a fast cold brew and nitro cold brew maker. In less than 1 hour you can prepare up to 4,5 liters of cold brew coffee, tea or cascara. Innovative, stainless steel double- filtration system makes sure that there are no particles left in your cold brew causing increased bitterness and astringency. Touch screen lets you choose an optimal recipe for your beverage choosing the preferred amount of water and time of extraction. Built -In TDS reader controls your extraction levels throughout the whole production process. HardTank app for smartphones alarms you when the TDS reached your preferred level or production time is about to finish. Automated washing process makes sure that there is no risk of contamination in your beverages. Nitro tap lets you serve chilled and infused with nitrogen cold brew beverage giving it smooth, creamy and refreshing taste.

You can make coldbrew from coffee, cascara, tea and spirits from the Baby hardtank which was the 2021 SCA best new product winner.

The hardtank


  • Quicker
  • Cleaner
  • Ease of Use
  • Robust unit/system


  • The app needs work
  • The software is clunky
  • No Manual

Final Thoughts

The app and the program for the hardtank are a little clunky it has to be said. Scrolling the menu is not as easy as it should be and theres a confusing element of how much water the tank holds (when you add 4 litres it reads 3.5 etc)

The fact you can transfer the brew straight to a nitro system and keep the coffee enclosed and thus fresher is very smart and beneficial.

The coldbrew we have enjoyed from the HardTank is definitely a huge improvement on traditional methods, with cleaner less bitter results.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the Hardtank is being able to experiment with different roast styles and brew time in a controlled way but also in a quick and timely fashion. The cleaning/sanitation cycles can be initiated from the menu or you phone. In the video above you can see a quick cleaning method we use when the tank is not plumbed into a closed system. The cleaning is a doddle and ensures you can continue to brew all day.

We would definitely recommend buying one for your coffee shop/roastery and we look forward to many more brews from the HardTank.


Late last December we had the absolute pleasure of opening our doors and inviting coffee professionals and the general public along to the roastery.

This tasting event was held in conjunction with Porterhouse Brewery and Dingle Distillery


Dave Cummins (known throughout the beverage industry as Beardy Dave) was on hand to talk through the brewing process of our collaboration stout, ageing in Dingle casks and all alcohol/ brewing related queries.

While I had the job of talking about the coffee we used in the collaboration for the stout.


The event kicked off with a round of Espresso Martinis which myself & Dave prepared the preceding hour. Using Los Amapolas Guatemala as the espresso base we added Kahlua  Sugar Syrup and some Dingle Vodka.

This was then transferred to the Tone Nitro and created a stunning Martini.

While guests mingled and enjoyed some savoury pastries from the legends at Strudel I set about brewing coffee for the evening.


The running order was as follows.

Espresso Martini in our training centre

Factory tour and introduction to Silverskin Coffee

SLVRSKIN collaboration beer tasting & talk

Dingle Whiskey tasting & talk

Coffee to finish

There was also a very special talk with three legends of the coffee community Jackie Malone, Julie Murray & Vic-Fitz-Henry.

To see old friends from the coffee industry, along with new young voices and the general public with no background in coffee was an amazing experience.

This was our first such event but it won’t be our last. We have plans for a summer event this year and would love to hear your ideas/feedback on what you’re interested in hearing about or partaking in.

Finally I would like to thank everybody who came and donated to two worthy causes, Dave for his super laid back professional attitude, Jackie/Julie/Vick for their contribution.

Last but not least Stephen & Gearóid who gave up their evening and many hours before and after organising the event.


Optical Bean Sorter

Bean Sorting

You may have seen Optical Bean Sorters appear on roasters websites and instagrams over the past while.

Bean sorting is not new and has been prevalent at farms when processing for years.

Using these machines in roasting facilities however is a new phenomenon.

Our new model not only sorts quakers but insect damaged or misshaped beans.

Using AI TECHNOLOGY this sorter “learns” which beans are acceptable and which the user would like to reject.

Why are there quakers though if we only use Specialty coffee?

There is a very specific set of rules and parameters as to what specialty coffee is and how it is sorted and graded.

Anybody who has undertaken Q grading or Green Coffee Modules with the SCA knows this only too well.

Quakers, stones and defects are just part of the coffee cycle.

Denying they exist or not using the correct equipment is going to damage equipment in the long run.

New innovations in processing are seeing more natural coffees, more anaerobically produced coffees and generally more experimentation.

These experimental coffee lead to unknowns and further possibility of foreign objects due to the nature of their processing.

Here at Silverskin Coffee we are continually reinvesting in our roasting plant and technology!

We want to ensure you and your customer receive the very best cup of coffee.

Using experience built up over almost 30 years experience of roasting and coffee manufacturing.

We have continually reinvested in technologies such as, the Ikawa sample roaster for QC and cupping, the ROEST sample roaster for micro espresso batches (something we found hard to replicate with the IKAWA).

Our bespoke packaging machine and packaging with one way valve. Our Wally Milk assistant and Stay fresh cylinders with peel tech. Both production roasters are fit with state of the art destoners to ensure any debris is removed BEFORE we use the sorter.

How does the sorter work?

There are 68 channels which transfer the beans to a camera, this Nikon camera is assisted using a LED light source (German Osram’s lamp).

Toshiba CCD sensor, the pixel can reach 200 million pixels, which can accurately identify materials and reduce the machine identification error rate.

All easily handled and programmed through a remote control tablet, can be used as an interface with iPhone 😮‍💨😮‍💨

Enjoy your coffee