(photo credit: A&E Coffee & Tea)

Very few beverages are more widely consumed and appreciated than coffee. The seemingly mystical properties of this popular beverage are what give many people the energy and motivation they need to embrace the day, yet few are aware of the intricacies or the origins of their favorite pick-me-up.

At A&E Coffee and Tea in downtown Manchester, NH, quality and sustainability are of the utmost importance in the production of responsibly sourced, high-quality coffee.

Prior to establishing A&E, owner Emeran Langmaid was part of the textile manufacturing industry. This career path involved several trips to South America and Africa. While there, she was made aware of the impact that coffee had on small communities in these areas. This realization inspired Langmaid to give back to these coffee-growing communities. After spending a couple years roasting beans in her basement with her husband, Adam (A&E stands for Adam and Emeran), she opened a café in New Boston before settling in Amherst.

The Amherst location is home to the company’s roastery, a packaging facility and a café. Here, samples of a variety of different coffees are “sample roasted” to identify flavor characteristics within each bean.

“We taste the coffees and decide which ones we want to buy. The coffee comes in, and then we will identify where we want the roast profile to be. After tasting it, we’ll be like, ‘this coffee has come fruitiness that we want to develop more’ or ‘it has a chocolaty tone, so maybe we’ll go darker,’ depending on what sort of flavors the bean contains,” said Madeline Jones, Café Manager of A&E Café. “There are a lot of different natural flavor compounds that are contained in the bean.”

Coffee beans are roasted to enhance their natural flavors. The three main roast levels offered at A&E are medium (the lightest), full-city and French (the darkest). French roast coffee is roasted for the longest amount of time, resulting in a product that is dark and boldly flavored, whereas a lighter roast has a fruiter flavor and lighter body.

The most popular beans include the “Brazil,” a French roast, and “Ethiopian,” a medium roast.

“Ethiopian Coffee is world-renowned for how fruity and delicious it is. Coffee has been grown on the Ethiopian peninsula for thousands of years, so I think they really have it down to a science, and it’s also a climate that the tree is pretty well suited to. It produces a lot of fruity flavors because it is grown at a high elevation,” said Jones.

The folks at A&E work closely with their producers, forming strong relationships on an international level. The coffee offered at A&E is certified organic, fair-trade certified and shade grown, which is a growing process that protects the crop and prevents erosion.

The second half of A&E is tea. The café offers numerous varieties of black, green, white and herbal teas. In the winter, the shop offers an herbal tea known as “Golden Milk,” a soothing combination of milk, turmeric and a variety of other spices.

“It’s based off a traditional Indian or Southeast Asian recipe which is usually served at breakfast or drank throughout the day…our staff loves it, our customers love it, we can hardly keep it in stock.”

There is also a focused selection of breakfast and lunch offering such as breakfast sandwiches made with free-range eggs, locally-made pastries and homemade granola. The cozy, creatively-decorated space emits a modern, eclectic vibe that makes dining in difficult to resist.

Coffee can be considered a universal language, as it is enjoyed on a global level. At A&E, coffee is a carefully curated art form. One trip is guaranteed to lead to a greater appreciation for this potent potable. To find out more, visit https://aeroastery.com/.

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