March has been a hectic month. More specifically, the end of February leading up to the beginning of March has been a crescendo leading to an all-encompassing climax – bottling.
I must admit, I do love the pressure of a bottling run. The date you often have to book a month in advance and you had better make sure that everything is in place for that date. I can imagine for most companies, this would be a doddle. Or maybe at CEIBA we just like the complicated.
Our bottling runs are not a simple mixing of ingredients at the bottlers. Our cinnamon infusion is made beforehand by the lovely team at the Greyhound Brewery and we always need to coordinate our run with their capacity. This is perhaps the first challenge.
The second challenge comes from the natural nature of our product. When we were first consulted on scaling up our recipes, we were advised to use a lab who could turn our infusion base into a simple cinnamon extract that could be standardised and simply added to the drink. We weren’t keen on the idea and stuck to our guns with the original and authentic recipe of using a cinnamon infusion base. The second challenge is that we are dealing with a natural ingredient that varies in flavour depending on the crop and so we must keep a close eye on flavour.
The infusion is made one day and shipped to the bottler the next. There isn’t time for error which is why we’re grateful to have master brewers on board who know how to handle these sorts of ingredients and are clued in with the tips and techniques to insure consistency. But I’m sure we’ll always be on edge to see how this part of the process turns out. I guess we’ll relax with time.
A day at the bottlers is great fun. The aromas you get from your ingredients are incredible because they’re present in such bulk. Nonetheless be warned, the aromas can fool you! In an atmosphere where you’re constantly taking in flavours and scents, you soon become desensitised to it. Your palate is crucial for the testing so a good tip is to test your products outside, breathe in some clean air and clear your senses.
Once the tense period of blending the recipes is done (the main weight lifted from our shoulders!) it feels good to leave the drinks in the hands of expert bottlers and their slick machines. The rest pans out like clockwork to a rhythm of clinks, sloshes and conveyor belts.
Job done means we’re one step closer to getting the drinks in your hands!