Should I Put Sugar in My Coffee?

One can be forgiven for wanting to drop a spoonful of sugar into a classic Italian coffee. The strength and bitterness of a dark espresso roast can be quite overwhelming, and adding some sweetness back in helps make the experience tolerable for many.


We don’t recommend adding sugar to our coffee - but don’t worry, we’re not here to give dietary advice! We think our coffees are perfect just as they are, and here’s why:

Roast Profiles

roast profile example chimney fire coffee

There’s a lot more to roasting coffee than just bunging it in the oven for 12 minutes. The speed with which the beans gain temperature is crucial in creating the character of the end product. Manipulating this rate of rise helps to emphasise certain components of the taste journey.

During the middle part of the roast, a complex series of Maillard reactions take place. These chemical reactions between amino acids and naturally occurring sugars create the colour, aroma, and flavour of the roasted coffee beans. It’s the same process that causes cookies to brown in the oven, or onions to caramelise in the frying pan.

Our Head Roaster Elizabeth is a master of creating roast profiles that strike a balance between body and acidity for each of our coffees - like a chef seasoning a dish before it leaves the kitchen!

Milk Matters

flat white being poured chimney fire coffee

We roast our two house espressos (Peru Classic and Brazil Signature) to complement steamed milk, as cafes in the UK tend to sell more white coffees than black.

When a skilled barista steams milk, long chain carbohydrates in the milk break down into simple sugars. This unlocks a natural sweetness from the lactose in the milk, counterbalancing the richness of the coffee.

Brew Methods

v60 being poured with discovery coffee in background chimney fire coffee

When we run our Saturday coffee experiences, visitors are often surprised by the difference in texture and flavour that different brew methods bring to the table.

Espresso drinks are short and punchy, whereas gravity drip systems such as the Hario V60 yield a subtle, almost tea-like taste which is quite unlike anything else. Our omni and filter roasts such as Colombia Finca las Cruces and Ethiopia Nano Challa extract perfectly in a V60, with the natural sugars in each coffee shining through.

Natural processed coffees such as our El Salvador Don Tomas Estate are left to dry without removing the flesh of the cherry beforehand. The sweet pulp ferments in the sun, imparting a distinct flavour to the beans which manifests itself after roasting as a range of tasting notes - think tropical fruits, strawberries and cream, or even brandy! While not everyone’s cup of tea (metaphorically speaking), high quality naturals provide fine examples of what coffee can be and should be appreciated in their own right.

Exploring Flavours in Coffee

discovery coffee bag chimney fire coffee

Our Discovery Coffee Subscription is a great way to help you widen your knowledge of coffees from around the world.

Each month we send you a new bag of coffee (whole bean, or ground to your preference) which is notable for its country of origin, processing method, or backstory. But here’s the kicker - we don’t tell you what it is until you’ve scanned the QR code on the card provided.

Many of our subscribers enjoy trying each new coffee without knowing the details, so they can form an opinion before finding out where it’s from and why it tastes the way it does. We love curating our Discovery range, as we get to sample exceptional coffees from right across the coffee belt - from Panama to Papua New Guinea.

Want to Know More?

chimney fire coffee cupping table

If you are interested in learning more about the range of wonderful flavours that coffee can provide, then why not book yourself onto one of our Bean to Cup Coffee Experiences.

These take place over two hours on Saturday mornings through the year, providing guests with insights into every aspect of sourcing, roasting, and of course tasting speciality coffees from across the flavour spectrum. Four of our ethically sourced single origin coffees are provided through the session (along with a caffeine-neutralising snack), culminating in a blind tasting session for you to put your newly acquired knowledge to the test.

Discovery Coffee
Receive a different coffee each month from £8 per month

Essential Coffee
Receive the same coffee each month from £6.80 per month

What are you waiting for? Let's get started!