Our philosophy is simple; we want to get more people drinking speciality coffee. Despite the recent spike in the popularity in speciality coffee there’s still a great deal of bad coffee being consumed, and we need to change that. The range of flavours in coffee can vary enormously depending on varietal, processing method and growing region (even more so than wine). We want to take consumers on a journey and demonstrate how these factors effect the taste of coffee.
Speciality coffee still only accounts for about 5% of all the coffee produced globally, and we believe increasing this would have a positive effect across the industry. Not only does well cultivated, well roasted coffee provide you with a better cup of coffee it also ensures a more sustainable business model for growers. Farmers and producers who grow speciality grade beans are able to command a premium for their crops and reinvest to improve their practices. Furthermore, farms that produce speciality coffee tend to adopt a more ecological approach to their farming practices.
When I was young I used to get so frustrated when I was carted around to my parents’ friends’ houses and all they’d talk about was coffee. I guess you could say my childhood was a tad unusual. As the child of two artisan roasters, I grew up surrounded by coffee sacks and beans. My parents were at the forefront of the Second Wave in artisan coffee, starting roasting in the late eighties. I was adamant “not to do the coffee thing” and instead became a graphic designer. But, while working in London, I became inspired by the work of roasters like Monmouth and Square Mile and the emerging Third Wave coffee scene. My parents sold their business and I was getting sick of London so I moved back to Devon with my wife Caroline, asked my parents if I could use their roasting machine and we set up an artisan roastery based on the Third Wave coffee revival. Roastworks Coffee Co was born. Since our conception in 2014 we’ve learnt a lot and achieved even more. We now proudly supply Marks & Spencer, Wholefoods, Harvey Nichols as well as numerous independent shops and cafes.
There’s nothing complicated about roasting. Essentially it’s all about taking a raw, inconsumable seed and adding heat over a period of between 11 and 15 minutes to reveal its intrinsic and (hopefully) delicious qualities. That’s where it becomes a little more complicated. The line we as artisan coffee roasters tread between maximising sweetness, balancing acidity and highlighting intrinsic flavours is quite tricky. Get it right and your coffee will shine, and its intrinsic qualities will be palpable. Get it wrong and your coffee will taste flat, bitter or even burnt. We’d like to think we get it right. This is partly because we use our intuition, knowledge and senses, and partly because of our awesome artisan coffee roasting machine – a 60kg GW Barth Menado cast iron drum roaster built in 1958. We have painstakingly refurbished this roaster and returned it to its former glory, and we believe it’s the best roasting machine ever built. We’ve fitted with precise temperature monitoring instruments so we accurately measure what’s going on during the roast, and by logging the data we can replicate the perfect roast.