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December 2017 Issue 7

BEYOND COFFEE Restaurants, bars and coffee shops combined




The coffee community in Edinburgh

Interview with the owner of London’s Bar Termini

Keep it cool with this hot trend

Cover December2017.indd 1

15/11/2017 15:25

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erry Christmas! What a wonderful time of year for the UK coffee shop industry. Festive sandwiches on the menu, the public looking for a warm cosy corner to snuggle up in with a quality coffee, what could be better? Well, you could be reading The Blend! And as you are reading, I would love to let you know about The Blend LIVE. We’ve mentioned it once or twice before, but we’ve taken significant steps forward in the past month. We’ve confirmed the venue as The Printworks in London, a five-minute walk from Canada Water tube station and about the same from Surrey Quays train station, too. It’s an amazing venue – a bright open space with an industrial feel – and it’s the perfect venue for us to bring the magazine to life. The website will be going live imminently – check out to keep up to date with the latest exhibitor announcements and for the seminar programme and events too. The idea behind the show is to make sure superior, quality coffee is at the heart of the industry. We’re in talks with some of the coffee-growing regions to get

Issue 7

their finest coffee from their finest farmers on the event’s cupping table. We’ve got an excellent selection of the UK’s best roasters exhibiting in our Roaster Village, and we will have some of the best espresso machines on display. Lots to look forward to, and if you’re anything like us, you will be getting excited. Onto this issue, we’ve spoken with Marco Arrigo about his take on the industry. I spent almost three hours with Marco at Bar Termini in Soho recently, and I had a whale of a time. Marco keeps his coffee simple but brilliantly vibrant, and I also got the chance to try all four of the home made Negronis that the place offers. It was a fantastic experience – not to mention the amount of information I learned from him. Read this on page 16. We’ve also visited Flock and Louie Louie in London to talk about their experiences and what makes them successful, and Tin Can in Bristol for a look at their coffee cart connection. You can read these from page 22. We’ve also been up to Edinburgh to discover more about the coffee community there and have a cold brew special from page 37. Our products pages cover water filters and chai. It’s a packed issue. We have one more to produce before the end of the year, which is our January issue, then we will reveal our plans for 2018. See you next month.

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Editorial Managing Editor – Joe Wilkinson Features Editor – Abbie Dawson Editorial Assistant – Max Dodd Production Production Editor – Charlie Cook Subeditor – Kate Bennett Design – Mandy Armstrong Sales Business Development Manager – Jamie Wilkinson Brand Manager – Michelle Molloy Sales Executive – Craig Savelle Management Managing Director – Jim Wilkinson Editorial Director – Lisa Wilkinson Circulation & Data – Emily Maltby @theblendmaguk Published by ©Eljays44 Ltd Printed by Pensord Press Ltd, Gwent, UK

Joe Wilkinson Managing Editor

The Blend is published 10 times per year by Eljays44 Ltd. The 2017 subscription price is £95.00. Subscription records are maintained at Eljays44 Ltd, 3 Churchill Court, 112 The Street, Rustington, West Sussex BN16 3DA, UK. Articles and information contained in this publication are the copyright of Eljays44 Ltd and may not be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publishers. The publishers cannot accept responsibility for loss of, or damage to, uncommissioned photographs or manuscripts. Whilst every effort has been made to maintain the integrity of our advertisers, we accept no responsibility for any problem, complaints, or subsequent litigation arising from readers’ responses to advertisements in the magazine. We also wish to emphasise that views expressed by editorial contributors are not necessarily those of the publishers. Reproduction of any part of this magazine is strictly forbidden.

LeaderDec.indd 3

The Blend December 2017 3

15/11/2017 15:43

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NEWS Our roundup of all the latest industry news


COFFEE & BEYOND Flock aims to cater for all with a blending of restaurant, bar and coffee shop


#INSTAGRAMWORTHY The co-founder of Louie Louie gives her advice for succeeding in social media



OPENINGS We profile seven exciting new coffee shops opening around the UK

KEEP ON TRUCKIN’ The combination of coffee shop with mobile coffee vans works wonders for Tincan Coffee

SPECIAL: COLD BREW Find out more about the cold stuff and why you should consider investing



LATEST PRODUCTS Water filters & chai

OUT & ABOUT Keep up with what The Blend team has been up to this month



MARKETING: THE BUDGET Mark McCulloch’s top tips on why it’s important to allocate a marketing budget

UNIQUE INSPIRATION Four coffee shops from across the country with unique and unusual concepts

MARCO ARRIGO Marco discusses coffee trends and professionalism in the industry



IMPROVE YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE Motivate your staff to get the best out of them


47 48


ContentsDec.indd 5




LITTLE INTERVIEW Quick-fire questions to the people who make up our industry

REGIONAL FOCUS: EDINBURGH The coffee community in Edinburgh

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osta has reported a fall in profits and a slowdown in sales at its existing

coffee shops in the last six months. Pre-tax profits at Costa slid 10% to £59m, with the UK’s biggest coffee chain saying it was partly due to more expensive coffee imports. The fall in sterling means the coffee that Costa imports – which is priced in dollars – has become more expensive, a spokesman said. The company also pointed to



ear Coffee Company has confirmed that it will be opening its latest outlet in Iron Gate

on Friday, December 1. Since receiving permission from Derby City

investment in stores and the closure of

Council earlier this year, the business has been

its French business for the decline in

busy revamping the former Lloyds TSB bank

statutory profit.

building, which has been empty since 2009.

Costa’s revenues in the UK increased

It is now in the process of putting the finishing

by 8% in the six months to 31 August, but

touches to the premises, which are being created

that was largely driven by the addition of

in the Grade II-listed property next to Bennett’s

108 new stores.

department store.

The company’s shares fell nearly 5%

Once open it will employ 15 people, including

in early trading to 3,759p, and are flat for

five full-time positions. In August, the firm started

the year.

recruiting for a general manager, assistant

manager, baristas, chefs and a bar manager. During the day, the Iron Gate premises will sell speciality coffee and fresh food. It will also sell


cocktails, wines and beers in the evenings.


life into Iron Gate and “quite possibly change the

ocial Bite is an ethical business which donates all of its profits to charity. It also gives homeless people a hand to get off the streets with jobs and training, in addition to providing hot meals and drinks. Now David Dorward, the independent chairman of a new umbrella group encompassing three voluntary organisations in Dundee, said it was possibly an option worth considering for the City of Discovery. Mr Dorward said: “Social Bite would be a welcome addition to the voluntary sector in Dundee. They are very successful in other cities in Scotland.”

6 The Blend December 2017

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Co-founders Craig Bunting and Michael Thorley have said its latest coffee house will breathe new way we think about how we socialise”. Co-founder Craig said: “We are delighted to be expanding to Derby, the city where Michael and I shopped and skateboarded as kids. Our vision is to combine better coffee during the day with an alternative bar experience in the evenings – served by skilled, passionate staff.”

15/11/2017 16:13




ret A Manger is planning to get rid of its plastic bottles in a bid to be more environmentally friendly. From 9 October, the

company started trialling reusable bottles and filtered water stations in a handful of shops. In a post on Pret’s official website, CEO Clive Schlee said: “Plastic bottles are a problem. We all feel

Has Britain reached its peak for coffee shops? In many towns and cities across the UK it seems like there are new coffee shops appearing

it even before we hear the shocking statistics about millions of tonnes ending up in our oceans each

all the time, even in streets where there are

year and imagine the devastating impact this has on marine wildlife.

a good handful already. This raises a series

“Pret has always tried to lead on food waste – we’ve been donating our unsold food to the homeless every night since our first shop opened more than 30 years ago. “We are making inroads on the problem of packaging waste by reducing where we can and making

of questions – at what point will there be too many? And is there any way to support continued growth?

more of it recyclable. “This includes working to find a solution to the fiendish coffee cup problem. We recognise we have lots to do.”

Bringing speciality coffee to a non-speciality area

The trial of reusable bottles and taps in the Veggie Pret and Manchester shops is said to be

Wind the clock back to

“just the start” for Pret in its bid to try and do more when it comes to packaging and the impact on

2011 – memories of the

the environment.

royal wedding between

Kate and William, the creation of the world’s





tax on disposable coffee cups could soon be introduced by government in a bid to

the start of independent coffee house Urban Ground. Set up by directors Andy and Michelle Spirou, after taking inspiration from leading London coffee shops such as Kaffeine, the

s part of its continued commitment to

couple set out to bring speciality coffee to their

sustainability and business growth, UCC

hometown of Eastbourne.

stop us throwing so many away. Thérèse Coffey,

Coffee UK & Ireland has brought Liz Higgins

the environment minister, said that she would

into its senior team as head of supply chain

ask a government and industry working group

and sustainability.

to examine it in a bid to tackle the 2.5bn coffee

first commercial space port and more locally,

A marriage of coffee and cognac As the café-bar scene

In the newly created role Liz will lead the

begins its ascent in the

strategic sourcing and supply chain activities

UK, coffee shops across

for the coffee business, with the goal to improve

the country are hard

on coffee cups after it emerged last year that

the focus, processes and performance of

pressed to set themselves

only one in 400 was being recycled. Most

this integral element of UCC Coffee’s Total

apart from the crowd

paper recycling facilities reject cups because

Coffee Solution.

cups that are being thrown away each year. The Liberal Democrats proposed a 5p charge

it’s hard to separate the plastic inner lining

Her remit includes raising sustainability

with their coffee-infused alcohol offering. The popularity surge of the

from the paper. Dr Coffey told the Commons

higher up the business agenda to create a

espresso martini has epitomised the industry’s

environmental audit committee that a group

positive impact on the business, the supply

new direction, and with alcohol presenting a far

of experts from waste companies, retailers and

chain and customers.

greater mark-up than coffee, owners must take

government would consider a charge. A trial carried out in Starbucks showed that

Elaine Higginson, managing director at UCC

advantage to keep up with increasing costs.

Coffee UK & Ireland, said: “Liz brings experience,

even though they doubled their discount to

great leadership skills and a proven track record

Seven unusual things that enhance coffee

50p in a temporary offer, the proportion of

of delivering results. Her collaborative approach

Coffee is incredible just as it is – we’d never

customers bringing reusable cups rose by just

to working makes her a perfect fit to the culture

argue anything different. However, there are a

0.2 to 1.2%. Wouter Poortinga, author of the

we have at UCC Coffee.

selection of things society claims that greatly

report in which the trial featured, said: “People

“It’s an exciting time for UCC Coffee and this

enhance our daily caffeine fix, whether it be for

are more sensitive to losses than to gains when

appointment demonstrates our commitment to

improved flavour or increased health benefits.

making decisions — so if we want to change

continue to invest in great people with expertise

The Blend rounds up the top seven to find out

a customer’s behaviour then a charge on a

to set us apart from the competition and add

what all the fuss is about.

disposable cup is more likely to be effective.”

value to our proposition.”

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15/11/2017 16:13



INGS URBAN GROUND South Street, Eastbourne Urban Ground is the latest addition to Eastbourne’s coffee scene, bringing speciality coffee to a place otherwise lacking in it. Owners Andy & Michelle Spirou Covers 30 Design inspiration Fluid lines of movement with a pale grey colour scheme Roaster Square Mile Espresso machine La Marzocco

HARD LINES Cardiff Market, Cardiff Previously Outpost Coffee, Hard Lines has opened a second shop, this time not including the vinyl offering that is popular at the first site. Manager Matt Jones & Sophie Smith Covers 22 Design inspiration Simple and typical of the brand Roaster Various Machine La Marzocco Grinder Victoria Arduino

8 The Blend December 2017

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Scale Lane, Hull

Soho, London

Brewery-owned Coffee #1 has opened its 82nd shop in Plymouth, the furthest west

Riverhouse Coffee Co has been opened in Hull’s Old Town by Shoot The Bull, which runs

the company has ventured so far. Manager Kayleigh Saunders Covers 125 Design inspiration Designed to make the customer feel at home Roaster Clifton Coffee Roasters Machine La Marzocco Grinder Mazzer Super Jolly

the Old House pub that sits adjacent. Manager Chris Harrison Covers 24 Design inspiration Natural feel Roaster Blending Rooms Machine San Remo Verona Grinder Nuova Simonelli

Founder Ed opened Over Under Coffee to channel his inspiration from coffee hubs around the world. Drawing on his experience of café culture in New Zealand, Dublin and New York, Ed has created a space that reflects its diversity. Manager Ed Barry Covers 23 Design inspiration Clean and sleek with hanging plants and lots of light Roaster Assembly Machine Slayer Grinder Mythos 1, EK43


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Gorse Stacks, Chester

Petts Wood, Kent

The Barista’s Coffee Co has opened its second branch in Chester at the city’s new bus interchange, eight and a half years after opening their original shop. Manager Andy & Jaci Delooze Covers 40 inside, extra outside Design inspiration Urban style to match surrounding interchange Roaster Own-blend Machine La Spaziale Grinder Mahlkonig

School friends Ricky and George have launched a new coffee shop concept which they hope to roll out across Kent and surrounding areas. Manager Ricky Barbara & George Selms Covers 32 Design inspiration White and clean Roaster UCC Machine Nuova Simonelli Aurelia 2 Grinder Nuova Simonelli

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O ut & about

HERE, THERE & EVERYWHERE This month, The Blend team was invited to the opening of Fracino's new showroom, attended the Alpro barista championship in Brighton, tasted rare coffees at Caravan City and got to meet even more inspiring coffee shop owners across the country

Rare coffee ta

Alpro barista competition at Silo, Brighton

A fast-paced fl

Kenyan V60 at Common Ground

Mat North judging latte art for Alpro

10 The Blend December 2017

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We interviewed Ed Barry at Over Under

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Rare coffee tasting at Caravan City

A fast-paced flat white at KOA

Quarter Horse in Birmingham

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The opening of Fracino's new showroom

Meeting the Gentlemen Baristas for an upcoming issue

The new Caravan City restaurant

Tasting Special Bru at Caravan

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Cherry Nog Smorelicious INGREDIENTS

9oz Glass 5.5oz Milk 1 shot Espresso 1 pump/8ml 1883 Eggnog syrup 1 pump/8ml 1883 Cherry syrup Garnish – Kool Kup Topping White Chocolate Blossoms and Sugared Cherries and powdered cherry

METHOD Add the Cherry syrup to the glass. Foam the milk and eggnog syrup, Pour mix gently onto the Cherry syrup using a spoon. Pour the espresso down to create a cloudy layered effect and Garnish.

Popcorn Latte INGREDIENTS 9oz Glass 1 shot Espresso 1 pump/8ml 1883 Popcorn syrup 1 pump/8ml 1883 Salted Caramel syrup 6oz hot Milk Garnish - Popcorn and 1883 Caramel Sauce


INGREDIENTS 9oz Glass 7oz Milk 2 pumps/16ml 1883 Toasted Marshmallow syrup 1883 Chocolate Sauce Garnish – Kool Kup Topping Minimallows

METHOD Add the Sauce to the glass. Steam the milk and Syrup and pour over the sauce. Heap on the minimallows and pour sauce over.

Nutty Snickers INGREDIENTS 9oz Glass 7oz Milk 1 pump/8ml 1883 Caremelized Peanut syrup 1883 Chocolate Hazelnut sauce Garnish – 1883 Caramel sauce and chopped toasted nuts with Kool Kup Topping Chocolate blossom curls

METHOD Add the Chocolate Hazelnut sauce to the glass. Steam the milk and syrup and pour over the sauce. Garnish

Steam the milk and syrup and add to the glass. Pour the espresso in and garnish. 1883 MAISON ROUTIN UK DISTRIBUTOR : United Coffee Distributors Ltd ta UCD Email:

Tel: 01233 840 296

Web :

Join CLU83 at

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15/11/2017 16:40


MARKETING: THE BUDGET Mark McCulloch, founder and CEO of WE ARE Spectacular, breaks down the importance of assigning a budget for your marketing endeavours


arketing is often seen as a cost rather than a revenue stream by those that prefer crayons and fluff to Mont Blanc pens and hard ROI. If you believe that, I have no sympathy for the outcome of your efforts; if you treat something with disrespect, you won’t get the best out of it. So, how can you change your mindset to ensure that marketing is a key part of your business, helping it to grow? Here are three ways that I would say shows that it pays to have a marketing budget.


Start off with a goal – for example, making £100k more per year in gross sales. Having a goal instantly helps you to plan tasks and spend in the correct areas, putting you on the front foot and pushing you to think about a planning session. An effective way to find your marketing budget is to make it 1-5% of your forecasted gross sales. Usually, the smaller your business is, the higher a percentage you need to give you a boost.

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Having a marketing budget helps you learn to say ‘no’ to 95% of things and ‘yes’ to 5%. However, you need to determine what the things are that will make a difference to your business, and what is thus worth investing in. For example, if you have a marketing budget of £50k, then take off BAU (square it with yourself whether BAU is necessary, too). Then budget for a new website, a product launch, four seasonal campaigns and some social media advertising. Stay focused and only fuel the things that will make a real difference to your business.

All businesses need to motivate their teams to really make things happen, as this will ensure you meet and exceed your targets. As a marketing manager, there is nothing more demotivating that hearing “we have no budget (but we still want to do this)”, or “can you come up with a low cost or no cost solution?”. What kind of business person or leader are you if this is what you want from your teams? It is unprofessional and bordering on disrespect. Having a marketing budget helps you to avoid this, and it means that you can engage with the right people upfront.

Mark McCulloch, founder & group CEO of WE ARE Spectactular Mark has 15 years’ experience in brand, marketing, digital, social and PR. He worked in agencies before working client-side at, then moved to senior positions at Barclaycard, YO! Sushi, Blinkbox Music & Pret A Manger. WE ARE Spectacular has worked with leading pub, food, beer and wine clients including Fuller’s Inns & Hotels, Small Batch Coffee, Gail’s Bakery & Costa Coffee. Twitter/Instagram: @spectacularmark

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IMPROVE YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE In the last of our series on customer service, we look at how motivating and rewarding staff will in turn encourage them to do right by your customers


e now know the importance of understanding your current customer service standards, and the importance of getting your staff involved so that they feel like valued team members. The final article in this series will talk about why it is important to set targets, and then to celebrate when those targets have been reached – it’s all part of keeping staff motivated. Measure the outcome of the training programme Make sure you return to your initial results from surveys, mystery shoppers and complaint records after a set period of time – say, on a quarterly basis. You will be able to measure and communicate the improvements, as well as decide on a focus for the next quarter.

Celebrate the success of the training Once the aspects of your training have been successfully incorporated into the day to day running of the shop, involve all the staff and thank them for their contributions and support. You can do this in numerous ways, but it’s crucial that it comes from the top of the organisation. You could even treat the team to an activity, or a bonus in their pay packet. This is probably the easiest way to motivate and inspire staff; if they know they will be rewarded for hitting the standards that have been set for them, they will continue to strive for that target. You may even see this improve your team’s togetherness. Build learning into future training Now you’ve set targets and celebrated hitting targets, it’s worth planning for the next improvement. Capture the key successes and lessons learned through the customer service training programme, and ensure that other people in your company can easily access and utilise this valuable information. It’s something that may seem simple, but if you introduce the nine steps that we’ve shared with you over the past few issues, you will definitely start to notice more smiling customers in your shop. The people that pop in occasionally may even start visiting a little more regularly – and you needn’t do a lot for this to happen. Remember, people buy from people, so give your staff everything they need to become your biggest asset.


14 The Blend December 2017

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Marco Arrigo has a long history in the coffee industry, starting out more than 20 years ago when he imported Italian coffee into the UK for Michelin-starred chefs. Fortunately for The Blend, Marco isn’t afraid to say what he really thinks about the coffee industry – he speaks to us about amateurs, barmen and consistency

I “

was working for Alitalia, and I was going backwards and forwards to Italy buying ingredients,” Marco explains. “I was an errand boy for Marco Pierre White, Alastair Little and Raymond Blanc, finding amazing ingredients for them.” This was in 1991, when coffee in the UK was a long way from the point we find it at today. While working for Alitalia, Marco set up his own business, importing the best olive oil, truffles and ingredients that Italy had to offer. “It was Raymond Blanc and Alastair Little who started asking me what the best coffee in Italy was. I told them it was Illy, but you couldn’t get it in this country. Raymond gave me £1,000 and bankrolled the first shipment of Illy into

16 The Blend December 2017

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the country, and I sold it to him for cost. Alistair then bankrolled me with a further £1,000 and I did the same for him. “Over time, coffee became more and more important to the business. I did have problems getting hold of the best quality olive oil – I was selling the best quality almond blossom honey into Selfridges and that elevated my status a bit, but the one thing that was a constant for me was Illy coffee. “For the first five years of my business, I was just driving around Soho in a Fiat Panda, flogging Illy out of it,” Marco recounts. “You know my biggest problem? The name! Illy coffee? It didn’t sound very Italian. I was ‘Silly’ coffee for a while.”

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At this time Drury was the standard coffee in the UK, controlling 80% of the market and priced at around £3 a kilo. Illy, on the other hand, cost £13 per kilo, and Marco found it tough to get started, selling to only five customers in his first year. The upside of this was that his five customers were well-respected, and the restaurants he supplied garnered a lot of attention. Amateur trends Marco believes that he and Illy helped to change the British coffee industry in the early Nineties, when it wasn’t very common even to change the blades of a coffee grinder. He introduced weighing dry coffee for

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consistency, although he does think this has been taken too far in the modern era. “I can be a bit bitter when I see someone putting a scale on a drip tray,” he says. “I know they’re just mucking about, because I remember buying a set of scales in 1994 and being told, this is a precise measuring tool, it must sit on a hard, flat surface or it doesn’t work. Don’t put it on a drip tray. Why do people do it? Once you’ve done it one time, can you not just do it again and again by memory and sight? It’s an amateurish extra step. “The whole stopwatch thing is ridiculous,” he continues. “I haven’t looked at a clock in 10 years. I don’t time my ➝ espressos – I look at them. The first bit is thick and

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18 The Blend December 2017

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completely silent. As it starts to run it starts to fatten, then it starts to thin, and it sounds like someone peeing. For me, there’s too much water coming through at this point, so I always stop when I start to hear the ‘pee’. I’m not timing it – I’m taking notice of what’s happening.” In the same vein, Marco believes the speciality coffee industry’s sometimes over-the-top attention to detail makes it look unprofessional. “I’m not a chef, but I can cook a steak. I don’t need to take the temperature of the frying pan; I don’t need to time it when I put it in the pan, turn it over and time it again. If a chef watched you cook like that, they would think you were an amateur. “When people say they are wetting the Chemex paper to get rid of the papery taste, it’s bullshit. What we found is that if you look at it under an electron microscope, wetting the filter makes it expand and become a better filter – it makes the paper easier to handle. It’s got nothing to do with the paper taste, but somebody’s said something and it’s been picked up, and that annoys me.” “I want to do a ‘university of coffee’ where the customer comes in and we tell them they can have whatever they want,” he says. “Rather than fighting the large coffee chains and the ‘we will do anything you want’ line, we’re saying, look, if you want a skinny, dry whatever, then I’ll show

you how it’s made – because when you show someone, they realise it’s rubbish. If you want to make dry foam, alright, let’s throw some milk together and leave it on the side for 20 minutes. Do you want to drink that? Dry foam is just old foam. I think the best way to kill this trend is to take the public through it.” Bar Termini Marco’s Bar Termini shops in London – one in Soho, the other just off Oxford Street – are a world away from the large coffee chains. An exaggerated version of a Fifties Italian bar and coffee shop, they open early in the morning for the coffee rush, and continue late into the night. The tables are block-booked in slots – people are keen to come in and sample the home-made alcohol, enjoy the expertly concocted cocktails and experience the feel of a proper Italian coffee shop. “Tony Conigliaro is from Sicily, I’m from Turin, this is just everything we agreed on,” says Marco. “There was a lot that we didn’t agree on. In Italy, we were as far away from each other as possible – London is nearer to Turin than Sicily is. Coffee shops have got the wrong attitude, and – don’t take this negatively, I hope you understand where I’m coming from – people just open coffee shops thinking they are good business, without doing much research. They go to a show, they buy the coffee machine, the fridge, the sandwiches, everything, then they open. And then they don’t understand when it fails. “People in the bar industry, on the other hand, tend to look at what’s missing in an area, work out what sort of place they would want to go to, and open that up. There seems to be a bit more thought and professionalism there. “I would like to see more creativity in the industry,” he goes on. “Bar Termini is a late-night bar in Soho. We’d been talking about a bar/coffee concept where each offering was as strong as the other – not a place where barmen are trying to do coffee or baristas are trying to make cocktails. That would be like letting waitresses cook, it wouldn’t work. What we’re trying to do here is a concept that pays the bills. I’ve got £100,000 rent and only 25 chairs – I needed to do something spectacular.”

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In keeping with Marco’s ‘less is more’ philosophy, the coffee menu at Bar Termini contains few options. “Our menu is simple. We have two different espresso options, both made with the same coffee – a frothy coffee, which is our take on the cappuccino, and a flat coffee and that’s it. We also serve bicerin, which is a mix of coffee and high quality chocolate. “I’m not into latte art,” he says. “We wanted a very continental flavour. It’s all about how you pour it, you need to leave the crema behind. We serve the steamed milk separately here – the customer does the latte art. We get Martin Hudnik from The Savoy in here every day and he’s there doing the art and if he fucks it up he buys another one! All the barmen bring their girlfriends here on the first date. Even some of the normal customers that come in every day start to nail it after a year or so, then they’re Instagramming it – and I think that’s how it should be.” Speciality coffee Marco recognises that there is a difference between what he offers and what speciality coffee is. “We’re in a funny place really – we don’t compete with anybody because we don’t really fit into any mould. We’re not like large coffee chains, and we’re not really speciality coffee. I watch speciality coffee and I steal ideas. I get annoyed when speciality and Italian coffee businesses slag each other off because I see things from both sides – the Italians will say the speciality side is too acidic, and the speciality guys will say the Italian coffee is too bitter, but each side is doing a different thing. “I’m one of the only baristas in the world who has worked with a single blend of coffee for 20 years, mostly on the Faema Legend and mostly with the same grinder. At Bar Termini, we use it to make the blend taste the same in January, October and December. It’s like how a bottle of Campari is always red – you can’t have a blue bottle of Campari. It’s all about consistency. My coffee is a balanced coffee. It’s a balance of acids, sweet and bitter. An espresso machine is an amplifier – Italians put in quite a boring, balanced blend that explodes out the other side. Speciality coffee is more exploratory. They will get the same Kenyan coffee, but they only want to taste it today. Once it’s gone, it’s gone, let’s move on. ➝

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“IT’S ALL ABOUT CONSISTENCY. MY COFFEE IS A BALANCED COFFEE – IT’S A BALANCE OF ACIDS, SWEET AND BITTER” “There is one golden rule of coffee: the darker the roast, the smaller the drink and the smaller the grind. The lighter the roast, the longer the drink and the larger the grind. It’s as simple as that. We all know this – it’s page one, paragraph one, line one of the coffee book. If you break that rule, you look stupid.” Machines Marco places a lot of emphasis on the espresso machines that he uses. “Each espresso machine is capable of different things. We’re not selling toast, where you put your bread in a Dualit or a Morphy Richards and it comes out tasting the same. It’s different with coffee. We love the Faema – they are among the best coffee machines in the world. “Some machines are getting silly money. When I first started making coffee, espresso machines were a grand a group, and that’s how it should be. They should last forever, as well, but now people throw them away every five years! We’ve now got machines like the Slayer, and I find them overcomplicated because you will find variables on everything, which is unnecessary. Making coffee is a very precise chemical reaction that needs a very precise pressure. “I understand the enjoyment people get with playing around, but they’re just enjoying themselves. You can put variables on everything, but you’re trying to recreate a chemical reaction repeatedly and you’re trying to get to a consistent level. Even with the pour – if you pour like a robot and pour in the middle, they will look the same, and if they look the same, they taste the same.” The future Marco believes that, with rates and rents rapidly increasing, we will start to see more mergers between businesses and coffee shops. “I hope we see what happened in America happen over here,” he tells us. “In the States they have café laundrettes and cafés merged with other businesses. I would like to see not just bar, bar, bar all the time, because it’s the obvious choice to just stay with the liquids – I want to see more unusual businesses mixed with coffee shops. Maybe you can go

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to the bank and have a coffee. That’s what might work better for everybody in the future, because you need to share the rent.” In line with this, he believes that baristas will no longer just make and sell coffees – they will also become cocktail mixologists, meaning that coffee shops will be able to create an all-day offering without having to hire staff in two different disciplines, and also allowing business owners to come together to help each other pay higher rents. “In 20 years’ time, baristas and mixologists will become barmen,” he says. “Barista means ‘barman’ in Italian. If you’re a barista in Italy, you make cocktails and coffee. I was the first person that was anti ‘barista’ in its current use – I wrote columns about how much I hated it. In a way, we need to steal back the word.”

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COFFEE Flock is more than just a coffee shop – with all-day menus and alcohol on tap, it also acts as a restaurant and bar, and aims to be the perfect spot for socialising whether customers want coffee, alcohol or a burger




ounded by husband and wife team Lincoln and Kenny Ogunde, Flock is a social hub that looks beyond coffee. “The idea with Flock was to create a business which looks forward, as opposed to recreating a model which was established years ago,” Lincoln tells us. A social affair While coffee is at the forefront of the business, Lincoln explains that it’s the social aspect of coffee and the way it brings people together that spiked interest and led him to open Flock. The café offers an all-day food menu and a plethora of alcohol. “Coffee is social,” Lincoln says. “Flock essentially means a place where people gather, where people meet. I grew up around various plantations of coffee and cocoa in Africa and I know that around these plantations there are a lot of birds. When their habitat is disturbed they flock to coffee plantations to seek shelter, they eat coffee seeds, and they stay for around six months before they fly back.” That flocking is where the café’s name comes from – people see coffee shops as places to gather and socialise. Lincoln believes that the modern day coffee shop should be a place where people can spend a long time winding down and relaxing; to make sure it provides an all-day offering, Flock also acts as restaurant and bar. “There are people who don’t want to go to a restaurant or a pub but still want that social environment where they can meet,” Lincoln says. “We’ve created a space where people can come in and one might have a coffee, another a glass of wine, another a burger or a dessert and another an espresso martini.”

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Functional design To create the concept store at Tower Hill, Lincoln worked with interior designers I-AM Design to create a space that is “chic, but not pretentious”. The process took more than six months, but for Lincoln it was important that it was perfect and that customers would be comfortable in their surroundings. The space was created with events in mind, so it is basic in terms of its layout and has plenty of room for people. “We really want to push the events side of the business – we have all of the drinks you’ll ever need, and invested in a high end, good quality sound system.” Food and drink Flock offers a varied food menu and an extensive range of alcoholic beverages, including craft beers and wine, and prosecco on tap. Lincoln prides himself on Flock’s espresso martini, which combines premium speciality coffee with premium vodka to create a beverage that he describes as “a cut above the rest”. The tagline for Flock is ‘Coffee & Beyond’ – Lincoln sees Flock as a coffee shop that goes above and beyond the usual offering of similar establishments. He says: “When you come to a place to socialise you want excellent coffee and amazing food. Our menu was put together by Des McDonald, former head chef at The Ivy. We’ve gone beyond expectations – through a process of talking, researching and creating, we put together a menu that isn’t typical of a coffee shop.” Food is central to the business at Flock, and while Lincoln would never argue that coffee goes well with burgers, if someone comes in for lunch and a soft drink, they will often finish with a hot beverage. “The individual aspects all work together – we have something for everyone.”

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#INSTAGRAMWORTHY In an age of social media-savvy millennials, it’s important to use your tools correctly to entice new customers and grow your profit – as well as your follower count. The Blend speaks to Lena Greenwood, marketing manager of Louie Louie, to discover how the business uses social media to its advantage


ituated on Walworth Road, between Elephant and Castle and Camberwell in South London, Louie Louie is an all-day eating and drinking establishment with a dining environment and cocktail bar with vinyl spinning DJs. Lena Greenwood is responsible for the social media at Louie Louie; she works hard to ensure that the brand is well represented and engages with customers.

Social media is the primary method Lena uses to communicate with the business’s audience. When setting up, the Louie Louie team started a campaign on Kickstarter to involve local people in the business, building a sense of community. They also set up social media accounts, sharing news and updates on the progress of the building works and renovation to make followers feel they were part of what was going on behind the scenes.

Engaging the audience “Social media, for our business, is everything,” Lena explains. “Everyone is on social media these days, so when we were thinking about what marketing tools we wanted to use, we decided to keep the website as simple as possible and do everything else through social media.”

Mixing up content Each of the social media platforms is equally as important as the others, because they serve different purposes. Lena shares events, music and local news on the Facebook page, uses Twitter to create and engage in conversation, focuses on visuals with Instagram, and shares recordings of the

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DJs who play there on Mixcloud, showing customers the experience they can expect. Having a strategy “It was important for us to have a social media strategy in place,” Lena tells us. “There are a few partners in the company, so it means that we’re all on the same page.” She also explains that it’s important for all social media posts to be made by one person, to maintain a consistent brand and voice. “We all have an opinion, but you have to know what you post, when you post and why you post it. We have lots going on and we want to reflect all of it across our platforms. If someone has an idea or something to share, they can send it to me and I can post it.” Another important part of the social media strategy is setting goals, but Lena ensures that

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the goals are focused on engagement and communication as opposed to gaining large numbers of followers in a short space of time. “We would never buy followers – they’re not your followers, and they’re not your people,” says Lena. “They don’t care and the engagement is very bad. It’s all about organic growth. I try to engage with local people who might be interested in us – I like and comment on their posts and it gets them to notice us, but I do make sure that it’s only people who might be interested. It lets them know we’re here.” Forward planning Lena usually plans content for the week on a Monday to ensure that posts are consistent and nothing is missed, as well as leaving time to put in relevant links and copy.

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Lena tells us that there are certain times in the day when people engage more, but they only use it as a guideline and post things that are relevant to the time of day. “In the mornings we’ll post a breakfast or something inspirational, and on Thursdays and Fridays we post about brunch, DJs and cocktails, as people start making plans for the weekend.” Picture perfect Lena takes pride in the pictures she posts, and what’s important to her is that the images are a true reflection of Louie Louie. “The white tables, the sun reflecting through the glass and the wonderful mirrors – that’s exactly how people see the place when they come in. Customers who have been in understand the images and can relate to them. They engage with things that they recognise.”


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KEEP ON TRUCKIN’ Tincan Coffee is a business combining two vintage coffee trucks with a coffee shop in Bristol. The Blend talks to founder Adam White and his business partner Jessie Nicolson to discover how they balance both aspects of the business


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incan Coffee started in 2011 when Adam restored a Citroën H van into a coffee truck. “I started doing a few festivals and smaller events and soon I was turning down work. Within two years I had four vans – it became a bit of an obsession,” Adam tells us. Adam’s business partner Jessie came on board in 2014, and in 2016 they opened the first Tincan Coffee shop on North Street in Bristol. “It had always been the plan to do coffee shops, but at first I couldn’t really afford to,” Adam says. “The vans were a good way in, and in the beginning, no one else was really serving speciality coffee from vintage trucks – we were ahead of the curve.” Eight months after opening the first shop, Adam and Jessie opened another coffee shop in Bristol city centre, which they later had to close because of sky-high rates. “When we moved into the property in the city centre, it was a shell and the tenants before hadn’t paid rates, so we thought we could estimate based on North Street – but it was much higher,” Jessie explains.


Paying homage The décor at the coffee shop takes inspiration from some of the original features of the vintage coffee trucks. “The walls are covered in chevrons as a nod to the Citroën logo, the seats have been made to replicate the Citroën H van seating, and there are headlamp pendants on the ceiling. The bar front has corrugated panelling, and in the toilets we have bespoke wallpaper with illustrations of the vans,” Adam says. The shop acts as a year-round financial trickle for the business, giving it a level of stability. “The events business is a really good business, but it’s definitely seasonal. If you wanted to live the lifestyle of only working half the year and then going to live abroad it would be appealing, but the shops are more stable. “It’s great that we’ve got a USP with the vintage trucks, so we think we’ve got quite

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strong ground, and the idea is to have a few more shops in the future.” Trucks on tour Adam and Jessie tour the country in the trucks, attending high end sporting events and music festivals. When they’re not at events, the trucks are stored away from the elements to preserve them. The events season generally runs from May to September, but Tincan has now secured a contract with Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, which provides a revenue during the winter months. “When I started I did 53 van bookings over three and a half months, which is crazy,” says Adam. “Now we focus on the ones that work well for us – we understand that there’s a certain demographic that buys into what we do.” Ethics Tincan places emphasis on sourcing products ethically and locally, using 100% compostable packaging for its takeaway cups and encouraging customers to bring their own reusable cups by offering them a discount. “We’ve used eco packaging from the start – we don’t give straws out unless they’re asked for, and then we give paper ones,” Adam explains. “We also don’t offer single serve sugar sachets anymore. We try to limit landfill waste as much as we possibly can.” Profit “Both parts of the business are as profitable as each other,” says Jessie. “There’s more investment in the shop because it’s the newer part of the business, but they both stand on their own feet, which is great.” “The shop is steadier, while the events are more of a high intensity, ‘get your cash and run’ thing,” says Adam. “They’re almost two separate businesses, but they are one – and they work together brilliantly.”

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Speciality coffee remains a daunting prospect for a great many people wanting to avoid looking like a snob or a novice compared to regular ‘coffeegeeks’. Unique and unusual concepts, designs and locations are proving to be a highly effective way to draw in customers and introduce people to speciality coffee while soaking up an intriguing environment. The Blend speaks with four of the UK’s most unique coffee shops to talk about the inspiration behind their businesses, the advantages of their style and the keys to their success.

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Where did the design inspiration come from? The neon, which is a key element of the business, was made by Chris Bracey who was a navy electrician and came back to make neon signs for amusement arcades and strip clubs in Soho in the Seventies. His two sons, Marcus and Matthew, who are also in the neon design business, then advised him to start making art work and over the years they developed a diverse collection, which has since been incorporated into their God’s Own Junkyard, set up in the early 2000s. What sort of neon is featured in God’s Own Junkyard? The collection is made up of original signs used for the Blade Runner movie, Stanley Kubrick and Tim Burton films and some major music and fashion labels. The space makes an incredible venue and attracts all manner of people with its unique style and bespoke neon design. What do you serve in the coffee shop? The food offering is very strong, featuring vibrant American dishes which reflect the style of God’s Own Junkyard, as the American style greatly inspired Chris. The hero dishes include pulled pork, burgers and hot dogs, all made with meat from a local butcher. Homemade pastries and cakes also provide a great complement to the coffee served. What sort of clientele does God’s Own Junkyard attract? People from all walks of life come to us as it’s such an intriguing establishment. Usually people without overly sensitive eyesight.

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How is sci-fi incorporated into Dark Matter? The name Dark Matter derives itself from sci-fi and our menu items reflect this theme as well, with items such as intergalactic cocktails and The Incredible Bulk burger. Most of the styling around the café is based upon astronomy signs which is linked with our customers’ passions for science fiction. Our toilet is also a Tardis – enough said. Why was sci-fi chosen as an inspiration? This inspiration was chosen as it reflects our passions. My partner Lindsay and I both love astronomy and sci-fi seem to be strongly linked with this, leading to us setting up Dark Matter. Dr Who and Star Wars were both significant influences in our lives growing up, so we felt the need to pay homage to both in the coffee shop. Do the themed events you run improve the business’ profitability? We run a selection of events, usually trading card based, but some are specifically sci-fi based, and this certainly adds to the business’ profitability. It gives people who don’t usually have this sort of social space an opportunity to come together and enjoy each other’s company while sharing their passions. This in turn leads them to purchase items from the menu, helping the business’ presence in the local community as well as improving our financial position. What is the key to drawing in Dark Matter’s customers? The atmosphere is what really gets customers through the door. Being a space for people to play games and socialise with others who have the same hobbies and interests is what makes Dark Matter special, with the food and drink being a great complementary element to the business.

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Why was the station chosen as the location for the café? The building was derelict before The Station was set up by a local charity trust, run by two businessmen who liked the look of the building and decided to renovate the Victorian station, putting it to effective use. These investors co-owned a hospitality business and felt that the building would be well suited to start a café as they had experience in this field.

Where did the inspiration come from for 65mm Coffee? I had been working in coffee for quite some time, starting at FCB artisan espresso bars and working my way up to become head of coffee. I wanted the freedom to set up something of my own and focus purely on the quality of my own space. I took inspiration from market leaders who are relentless with quality such as Colonna & Smalls in Bath and Full Court Press in Bristol.

Does the location of the business improve trade? We market ourselves as a coffee shop, event venue and a heritage hub. Our location attracts clientele that ranges from regular commuters to people traveling from further afield who want to enjoy our high quality coffee and homemade food offering, alongside the quirky setting of the coffee shop.

Why was The Old Fire Station chosen as the location? We got involved with The Old Fire Station as we planned on setting up a three-month pop-up store, which evolved into a rolling threemonth deal, and we’ve now been here for over a year as we proved to be an enormous success with the local community. The location is fantastic, with an open plan design that makes the coffee shop feel spacious and provides the practical advantage of being easily accessible for parents with pushchairs.

How does the museum complement the business? There is a lot of local history within the building, including artefacts and photographs associated with both the railway and other local businesses. The attraction of genuine artefacts from vintage railways acts as a great draw for locals and train enthusiasts. What sort of clientele does The Station attract? Railway enthusiasts travel from far and wide, although we attract people of all ages due to our wide offering. Our afternoon tea attracts the older generation, our alcohol licence helps with young adults and the child food selection brings in parents.

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What do you serve that maintains the company’s speciality image? In terms of coffee, we have two espressos available. One is a Columbian Granja La Esperanza from Cast Iron coffee roasters – we believe this is the best roast to introduce customers to specialty coffee. We have a spot for a guest coffee as well, working with roasters such as Assembly, Copy and Lot 61 to give some variety and show the versatility of coffee. How do you plan on further developing 65mm Coffee? We are considering running events to further educate the community, after having passed my professional barista skill course from the SCA. We would like to expand in the near future, moving into new quirky locations to suit the image that 65mm has created.

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he coffee scene in Edinburgh is thriving, with customer appreciation for third wave coffee growing and shop numbers multiplying steadily. The Blend speaks to a few of the shop owners at the top of the game to discover more about the past, present and future of the city.

Past Mark Donald set up The Milkman on Cockburn Street in 2015, Robi Lambie opened the first Cairngorm Coffee shop on Frederick Street in 2014 followed by Melville Place in 2016. Matt Carroll and his wife Helen Coburn opened Fortitude on York Place in 2014. Robi told us that when he set up the first shop, there were already a few key players putting the city on the map for coffee. He said: “We came just as the curve started going pretty high for coffee in Edinburgh, so we’re really lucky to have been able to ride that. Our goals were to offer speciality coffee and to learn as much about that as we can while maintaining a high level of hospitality and service.” Reflecting on when he opened The Milkman, Mark said: “The scene was definitely up and coming, but there were only five or six independent speciality coffee shops.” Matt from Fortitude said: “The coffee scene was burgeoning when we opened – there were a handful of nice places concentrating on doing really good coffee and we started just as that was starting to explode. It was a good time to get involved with it, interest has only gone up since we started, and our business has grown along with it.”

Cairngorm Coffee


Present “Now, the scene is thriving,” Mark said. “Over the last two years there’s definitely been a period of massive development in the speciality coffee scene in Edinburgh.” Robi explained: “We talk a lot about how fortunate we are, we’re spoilt for choice. We run the disloyal seven, which is seven shops in Edinburgh who are on a loyalty card and it encourages everyone to go and check out all the shops as opposed to just one. We’re all supportive of each other; helping one another, meeting up a lot, talking about coffee and having cuppings. If there was one word to describe the scene it would definitely be community.” ➝

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Matt at Fortitude agrees that the coffee scene has a community feel: “The quality is very high, everyone holds each other to quite high standards which breeds good consistency around the shops. We share knowledge and information, it feels like you’re a part of something. There’s a real appetite for speciality coffee now and that’s happened because everybody who’s started a coffee business puts a lot of effort into it.” Clientele Close to Waverly train station, The Milkman gets a mixed clientele of tourists and regulars in the form of commuters. Mark said: “We get a lot of people coming in who come in to the city for work – for many we're the first point of call.” At Cairngorm, Robi welcomes a variety of people, something which he puts down to his consistently high level of service. “When your key motivation is service, anyone who wants a good experience is welcomed in. In the morning we get a rush of office workers, and the afternoon clientele is made up of people who work from home or students who are coming to work. We welcome that. When we opened the new shop we purposely got something bigger to accommodate for people staying. It ties into the service aspect, if people want to spend time in your shop on a laptop then you want to accommodate them.” Close to the station and on the main tram line, Fortitude gets a lot of commuters, regulars who work nearby, and office workers. “They’re our main trade for weekday mornings. In the afternoon and at the weekend we get lots of tourists, students and lots of familiar faces too. We also get a lot of other coffee shop owners and baristas, we all pop in to each other’s shops.”


Design “Style and décor is a passion of mine,” said Mark. “I take a lot of pride in the shop's appearance and the process of designing it. The building we’re in has a lot of history, and we wanted to maintain that so we’ve got exposed brickwork and industrial features, but it’s still cosy and welcoming. We have a ghost sign which we restored on the front of the building, and working with aspects like that we’ve created quite a unique space.” Robi opted to differ the interiors of his two shops. He said: “The first one is in a basement, so it’s already got a darker vibe. We tied in inspiration from the country, the Cairngorms, so it’s a bit more rustic, while the new shop reflects its building and has lots of light so it’s more stripped back, simple and minimal.” When Matt opened Fortitude the design trend was industrial and exposed, but he and his wife Helen wanted to opt for something a little cleaner. “The inspiration is Scandinavian, it’s got clean lines, lots of nice warm wood and a minimal, uncluttered approach.” ➝

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Trends A notable trend in the Edinburgh coffee scene is batch brew, something which both Cairngorm Coffee and Fortitude have taken a step towards. Before the summer, Robi decided to move away from pour overs and offer all his filter coffees in the form of batch brew. “Batch brew is something that will become increasingly popular. For those who are looking to build volume it’s a much more consistent and customer-friendly way of serving coffee, and we’re enjoying learning more about batch brew and ensuring it tastes as good as pour over while being the cheaper, more accessible option.” Matt agreed: “Batch brews are becoming very popular. We don’t offer one as standard, but we did during the fringe festival because it’s an easy drink to serve and if it’s done well it can be very tasty.” The future There’s a positive feeling among shops in Edinburgh, and the future looks bright. Mark said: “I think the coffee scene will continue to thrive, and with Edinburgh airport increasing in size we're getting a lot more tourists. Being in this business for a few years now I’ve noticed Edinburgh becoming more of a tourist destination. We're getting more people coming in who are getting more into coffee, and that's quite rewarding for us.” Robi said: “I hope that more people will start discovering specialty coffee and that it will become more accessible. More people understand that just making good coffee isn’t enough, you’ve got to have great service too and that’s helping to convert more people into choosing independent shops, which will encourage the great ones to thrive. “Once you reach a saturation point it’s about how we increase the traffic to our shops, and we must think about making changes to cater for more people while maintaining the level of service, which is where things like batch brew come in.” Matt concluded: “Hopefully the speciality coffee scene here in Edinburgh will keep growing. It’ll be interesting to see how the industry does – we only got to where we are by people innovating and trying new things, so I think in the next couple of years we’ll see a change, perhaps a break away from the traditional espresso and filter menus.”


Cairngorm Coffee



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COLD BREW COCKTAIL Founded in November 2016 by friends John Bowden, George Spooner and Nick Beer, Kuka is a cold brew coffee ideal for mixing into cocktails as well as drinking as a replacement for espresso. The Blend speaks to John to discover more


he idea for Kuka came about after trips to South America, where we got involved with the coffee culture and brought our interest back to the UK,” John explained. “I worked for a gin company and Nick was working for a roaster. Nick began making cold brew on a small scale in his kitchen – at the time myself and George were at university together, which is where we grew the concept and the brand.” John explained that the trio saw a gap in the market, and developed their USP: being involved at every step. “We source the coffee green and roast everything in house, so that we can create roast profiling which suits cold brew. In doing that we can make what we think is the best cold brew on the market.” The coffee in Kuka cold brew changes monthly, and they source the beans through

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Falcon and Nordic Approach. John said that the best results are coming from South American coffees, and previously they’ve used Brazilian, Columbian and Honduran. They cup different coffees monthly when stocks get low, and opt for notes of fruit and chocolate. Versatility “The way the market is going, more and more people are getting on board with speciality coffee and the more you can play on that and create something different, the more it will work in your favour,” John said. Kuka is a concentrated cold brew and can be used as a mixer as well as a standard drink. John explained that they have targeted the cocktail market to encourage the use of cold brew as a year-round offering, but the quality of the product as a standalone coffee

beverage remains at the forefront of the business. John told us: “As a standalone cold brew we’ve created a lovely product, and being concentrated it’s versatile – you can drop 50ml over ice and have a strong cold brew, dilute it and make a long black, or you can create milkbased beverages, smoothies and milkshakes.” Partnerships Working with cafés and bars, the team behind Kuka offers serving suggestions and advice on making the most out of their product. John said: “For us, service is key. Cold brew is a relatively new concept to the UK market – many people are still getting used to the idea of cold coffee, so it helps to offer suggestions to point people in the right direction. That way they know they’re not limited to just serving cold brew coffee.”

The Blend December 2017 39

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BREW YOUR OWN Thinking of making your own cold brew? During the peak summer months, Trevor Hyam, manager of The Plan in Cardiff does just that. The Blend finds out how…


or us, it feels right to design and brew our own cold brew, in house and homemade, rather than have something pre-manufactured. Although it's more labour intensive, it gives us something that's fresh, handcrafted, and completely unique,” Trevor explains. Trevor uses a steeped, full immersion cold brew, which is then double filtered for clarity, brewing in small batches which last for only a few days. He sets the brew up as he closes the café each evening, it brews overnight, and he stops the brewing and filters it first thing in the morning. He tells us: “I use light roast single origins and have designed the recipe so that the cold brew is nice on its own, over ice, without needing to add milk or anything else. “I aim to retain the natural juicy fruitiness of the coffees, which makes it a really refreshing drink on a hot summer's day. Many say cold brew is flat, with no acidity. Traditionally it is, but it doesn't have to be.” Trevor favours Kenyan, and sometimes Colombian, coffees for cold brew, although he suggests that anything which is nice and juicy or has a ripe fruity acidity works well. A traditional dark roast, low acidity cold brew should be served with milk or cream.

40 The Blend December 2017

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A popular option Trevor explained that cold brew is very on trend, and has been growing in popularity over the last three to four years, although it's still not as prevalent as in hotter countries because the climate here in the UK doesn't lend itself to it year-round. For this reason, Trevor only brews and offers cold brew during the hottest summer months. “I see the demand naturally dropping off completely as we get into autumn,” he says. Overall, the feedback from customers at The Plan who opt for cold brew has been positive, although Trevor does admit that it’s not the drink for everyone: “Sometimes it's just not what people expect coffee to be like,” he says, “but generally, people love it. We've had lots of wonderful feedback, with people who haven't tried cold brew before being pleasantly surprised, and some folks who already love it saying that ours is their favourite.”


15/11/2017 16:25

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Founded in 1941, Curtis has led, tracked and influenced the way coffee is brewed and enjoyed across the US. The inspirational Californian brand is now ready to change the face of speciality coffee across the UK and Ireland. The new generation of Curtis brewing equipment is now here and an exciting opportunity is being created for this national role, ideally based around Central or Northern England, reporting to the Managing Director in the Devon headquarters of the appointed distributors for Curtis Brewers. With all eyes on the evolution of the speciality coffee industry, we are looking for a highly motivated and driven individual with an evangelical approach to build on an inherited client base and develop new business opportunities. In this position you will deliver profitable sales growth within the UK from existing customers as well as new business. Selling to the end user (conference centres, hotels, coffee shops etc) as well as to coffee roasters and machine distributors, you will represent Curtis coffee equipment solutions at the highest standards possible and be an excellent ambassador and sales person. For further information please contact

16/11/2017 15:34



The Blend sits down with Urban Roast owner Lee Thomas to talk about their small batch coffees, bespoke blends and the rise of smaller roasteries



rban Roast began 10 years ago when Lee used a 1kg roaster in a small Victorian outhouse, running the business through online sales. “We saw there was a rise in demand for smaller, artisan coffee roasters, which incentivised us to start,” Lee explains. “We set out providing coffee to local Birmingham-based businesses, before branching out and increasing production.”

The Birmingham roastery prides itself on offering a bespoke roasting service which many coffee shops are after. “Our wide selection of green coffee allows us to create blends tailored to the owner’s exact specification,” Lee says. “We run tasting sessions with our customers and offer these bespoke blends as white label, allowing them to use their own branding. We also provide training for all our new clients and ensure Crafting speciality their equipment is dialled in to give them the Using unorthodox North American roasters best results for our coffee.” from Mill City, Urban Roast trial roasts it coffees Outside of its bespoke coffees, Lee goes on a 1kg machine to experiment and craft the into detail about Urban Roast’s beloved house best roasts possible, before transferring them blends. “The most popular and versatile over to their 12kg roaster. “We use Artisan roast coffee we offer is our Sumatran, Rwandan software which helps us profile our coffee and Colombian blend, Urban Social,” he tells while keeping manual control over the roasting us. “Our Urban We-3 is a light roasted, fruity process, allowing us to adjust roasts and keep Colombian and Ethiopian, suited well for the hand roasted element,” Lee tells us. pour overs and the Urban Espresso is our Keeping operations simple allows Urban traditional blend of Tanzanian and Brazilian Roast to focus on perfecting each of their which is roasted a little darker to bring out its roast profiles. “A great many of our customers chocolate notes. Most of our coffees we also switched to us from Union Hand Roasted as run as single origins as well.” they were looking for a more personal service and want to support local businesses,” Lee The future for roasters explains. “All of our coffee comes through “I notice that a lot of coffee shops are seeking Falcon, which provides the level of quality out smaller roasters,” Lee says. “They’re we’re after, frequently having a Q grade score usually after a direct relationship with their of 85 and above.” roaster, which is really benefiting smaller

Meet the Roaster Dec.indd 47

roasters such as ours. The bigger roasters have their place to deal with larger clients, but smaller coffee houses make up a huge portion of the market that we can provide for.” When asked where he sees the future of smaller roasters and artisan coffee shops moving, Lee explains: “I see the industry continuing to swing towards using smaller roasters and ever increasing the quality of the coffee they serve.” In terms of Urban Roast’s future, Lee continues: “We have space to grow into and increase our output as we take on new clients. However, we aren’t looking to grow to the point where we can’t maintain our personal level of service. Each of our clients have our mobile numbers so they can get in touch with us at any point, which is the way we like it.”

CONTACT Lee Thomas 07792 121 364

The Blend December 2017 47

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trading with


Richard Turner, managing director, Ombar

The Blend speaks with Richard Turner, managing director of Ombar to talk business, health benefits and why their products are suited to the coffee shop market When was the company founded and how has it developed over time? The company began in 2007 on the back of a personal interest in health. I was experimenting with raw diets and after trying some raw cacao nibs, I found the energetic effects intriguing and decided to try my hand at making chocolate a super-food. Over time the market has become more receptive to the health benefits of raw foods, which has really helped our growth. We moved to a new factory five months ago which has allowed us to move from 500kg to 1.2t of chocolate per day, with room to grow further.

What are the main products Ombar supplies? Our signature chocolate is Coco Mylk, our take on milk chocolate, with its creamy sweet flavour and texture. This bar contains two innovations, the first being our pioneering of coconut sugar which had never been done with chocolate in the European market. The second is our use of creamed coconut at the refining stage, which creates a creamy texture that is reminiscent of milk chocolate.

48 The Blend December 2017

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Where do you see Ombar moving in the coffee shop market? Our 35g bars are the perfect impulse purchase, and we see this sitting well in coffee shops near the counter. We are working to expand in this market currently, and with the number of health and vegan focused coffee shops cropping up, we are looking to help support these establishments with our product. A great many coffee shops want innovative products that reflect their brands and we see ourselves working very well in this respect. What is the company ethos? We believe in the power of raw cacao, and in a healthier, more nourishing chocolate, without compromising on taste. And we believe a vegan lifestyle is better for our bodies and for the planet. Health and empowerment is at the heart of everything we do. Have you anything new in the coming months? We recently launched our larger 70g bars in the 72% Dark, Coco Almond and Coco Mylk varieties. We’re currently experimenting a great deal with looking at more flavours, and potentially expanding our Ombar CENTRES range.

What are the key selling points of Ombar products? We don’t roast the cacao we use, keeping it raw. What this means is that customers can appreciate the natural flavour of cacao and enjoy the numerous health benefits cacao has to offer. We implement rigorous safety measures at the source in Ecuador, continuously microbiologically testing to make sure the cacao is safe,

Trading WithDEC.indd 49

right up to the finished chocolate bar. Health is what really sets us apart – using real ingredients and added probiotics is what helps us create optimal health products, packing as much goodness as possible into every calorie. For instance, in our Strawberry Mylk variety, we use real freeze-dried strawberries, so people can get the health benefits of the fruit as opposed to just flavourings.

What is the next step for the brand? Diving in further when it comes to optimising health benefits is something we are looking to really pioneer.

CONTACT Instagram @ombarchocolate Twitter @OmbarChocolate Website

The Blend December 2017 49

15/11/2017 16:29



” INTERVIEW PAN Photo Agency /

We gain a small insight into the people who make up our industry. To take part email

NINO DI RIENZO Director Casa Espresso Ltd

Favourite coffee region? Ethiopia – I just love the naturals.

Favourite coffee-based beverage? Espresso – but at home I will enjoy a V60 pour over.

Best moment in your career so far? Becoming Bradford’s first coffee roasters, and winning the T&A Bradford Means Business Award for Retail.

Most inspirational coffee shop? Allpress in Shoreditch, where I fell in love with the coffee roaster and café concept.

SARAH SERAPHIN Owner Seraphin’s of Abbeydale

Trends in the industry over the next five years? More and more people are going to be drinking Casa Espresso coffee. Favourite sandwich filling? I’m half Italian, so of course salami. Karaoke song of choice? You definitely don’t want to hear me singing!

Trends in the industry over the next five years? Who knows... if they’re serving lattes in avocado cups, anything can happen!

Favourite coffee region? Ethiopia.

Favourite sandwich filling? Love a Reuben or just good old bacon and brown sauce.

Best moment in your career so far? Starting a coffee shop.

Karaoke song of choice? Tribute by Tenacious D.

Who would play you in a film of your life? Bruce Willis, we’re both bald! Favourite sporting memory? Italy winning the World Cup in 2006, when my wife was pregnant with my first child. What’s top of your bucket list? To see Juventus live winning the Champions League.

Who would play you in a film of your life? Emma Stone. Favourite sporting memory? Jess Ennis-Hill at London 2012 – amazing. What’s top of your bucket list? To visit Peyto Lake in Canada... stunning!

Favourite coffee-based beverage? Double espresso. Most inspirational coffee shop? Most of New Zealand’s coffee shops!

50 The Blend December 2017

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PAUL EAGLES Founder Kokoa Collection Hot Chocolate Best moment in your career so far? Collecting a Gold Award at Academy of Chocolate.

Trends in the industry over the next five years? Further advances in machinery and equipment.

Who would play you in a film of your life? Johnny Depp.

Favourite sandwich filling? Falafel.

Favourite sporting memory? Winning my tennis club tournament.

Karaoke song of choice? You don’t want to hear me sing.

What’s top of your bucket list? To witness the northern lights.

Favourite coffee-based beverage? Cortado. Favourite coffee region? I visited Haiti for cocoa, which was a renowned coffee region.

Most inspirational coffee shop? Vagabond, Holloway Road.



Owner and head chef



Tina, We Salute You

Favourite coffee region? Columbia.

Favourite coffee region? Ethiopia.

Best moment in your career so far? Winning New Chef of The Year.

Best moment in your career so far? Opening a café and people actually coming to it!

Favourite coffee-based beverage? Latte.

Karaoke song of choice? Journey.

Most inspirational coffee shop? Cool Beans Bistro!

Who would play you in a film of your life? Johnny Depp.

Trends in the industry over the next five years? Designer drinks.

Favourite sporting memory? Sailing winning gold for GB.

Favourite sandwich filling? Peppered chicken.

Little InterviewDEC.indd 51

What’s top of your bucket list? To own a small restaurant pub in the country.

Favourite coffee-based beverage? Latte. Most inspirational coffee shop? Tina, We Salute You.

Trends in the industry over the next five years? Hopefully less fuss and more focus on service and quality/ individual spaces. Favourite sandwich filling? Cheddar and marmite. Karaoke song of choice? New York, New York. Who would play you in a film of your life? Ryan Gosling (duh). Favourite sporting memory? Skipping rugby for an entire school term. What’s top of your bucket list? Buying a house in Spain.

The Blend December 2017 51

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