Where would you least expect expect to find quality coffee? On top of a mountain? At sea? How about in the shadow of the Cuillins, just beyond the dancing Fairy Pools?
The Cuillin Coffee Company aims to blend delicious coffee within Skye’s breathtaking scenery. Located at the Glenbrittle Campsite shop and cafe or in the Fairy Pools car park, their distinctive coffee is a welcome treat for walkers, explorers and coffee aficionados.
Barista, Keegan McLean, explains what makes the Cuillin Coffee Company unique, saying: “There’s a warm Highland welcome that comes with the coffee! At the Campsite, I can sit down with the customer and talk to them. I’m genuinely interested in how their day is going and I want to hear what’s happening as they explore one of the most beautiful places in the world.” As well as iconic coffee, Campsite visitors can collect a range of Cuillin Coffee merchandise, from reusable cups to fun T-shirts - a perfect holiday memento.
Coffee has long been an important part of Keegan’s life. “I’ve always had an obsession with coffee,” he laughs. “I slowly learned about where it comes from and the process from farm to cup. I’m from Australia and I worked in an Australian roastery. I was working in London when a friend mentioned she had seen a job posted on Twitter. The job was based on the Isle of Skye, and I thought it sounded great. I did an online interview and got the job! I packed my stuff, flew to Glasgow, bought a car and moved to Skye!”
The Cuillin Coffee beans come from Brazil, El Salvador and Ethiopia and pervade the coffee with a rich and creamy essence. Keegan says: “We have put a lot of thought into where our coffee comes from, how it’s roasted and how we make the coffee itself to produce a quality, consistent cup. We work closely with a roaster based in Perth, but we provide the roast profile, which means we tell them how we want the coffee to taste. We like our flavours to develop over time. I would describe our coffee as a bit like a Bakewell slice. It has a ripe, fruity taste, but then a nutty, chocolatey aftertaste! When the beans are roasted, they need at least five days to de-gas and around 7-14 days for the characteristics to fully develop. It’s almost like it’s a living thing - it needs the oxygen to pull the gases out and result in a delicious taste.”
The idea to combine an outdoor experience with quality coffee came from Iain Langlands, the Financial Director of the MacLeod Estate. “Iain was a roaster, so he knew how good coffee can be and he wanted to bring a quality-focused approach to Skye through the establishment of the Cuillin Coffee brand and ethos,” explains Keegan.
The distinctive, delicious coffee is set to be an attraction for locals and visitors alike. Whether you are staying on the Campsite or simply want to taste a lovingly-made cup of coffee, you will find a warm welcome at the Glenbrittle Campsite cafe and the Cuillin Coffee van at the Fairy Pools car park from 9am to 5pm.