Surrey coffee roasteries on a mission to provide shops and homes with the freshest blends
- Credit: Archant
With something of a coffee revolution going on in Surrey, Matthew Williams steps away from the shops and talks to a few of the new independent roasteries that have sprung up over the last few years
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine April 2016
The owners of Surrey’s ‘new kid on the block’, Farnham’s Cupsmith took matters into their own hands when their move into the countryside found them disappointed by the coffee on offer. Determined to get that perfect cup, Emma and George Crawford enrolled on an intensive coffee-roasting course.
What made you decide to set up a coffee business in Surrey? We moved out of London three years ago, seeking a countryside upbringing for our children. We got plenty of lovely countryside, a pretty cottage to call home and even four chickens, but what we couldn’t find was a decent cup of coffee. As family life took over with three children, gone were the days of whiling away a Saturday morning in a lovely, independent coffee shop (we’re thrilled there are several of these now in Farnham, though we rarely have time to sit in them!), and we wanted to be able to make a really brilliant cup of coffee at home, yet the supermarket offering was so poor. Determined to get that perfect cup of coffee at home, we took matters into our own hands and enrolled on an intensive coffee roasting course in London. Two years later – after our hand-built, half-tonne roasting machine arrived from the US - Cupsmith was launched in November 2015.
How much has changed since you first launched? We never expected to be so busy so quickly and it’s clear there are a lot of very keen coffee drinkers in Surrey! So this has meant a big change, and my husband has left his London job to join me full time in the business.
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Where do you get your beans from? We source our speciality Arabica beans from Brazil, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia and Sumatra
What’s your flagship blend? Our flagship blend is our Breakfast Coffee. We wanted to create a coffee that would give you the perfect start to the day, so our Breakfast Coffee is packed with deep chocolatey smoothness, red fruits and a hint of spice. And what this all means is that you can enjoy a rounded, strong cup of coffee but without all the bitterness of commercial coffee. We want people to look forward to their cup of coffee every morning, whether it’s sitting at their desk, after the school run, when back from a dog walk… these are all the moments that need the very best cup of coffee each day!
Where can people buy your products? Lots of shops are starting to stock our coffee in Surrey, from Travelling Bazaar in Farnham to the farm shop at Redfields in Church Crookham. Further afield, we’ve been called up by some exciting London stores. We also hold regular open mornings in our roastery, where people can come along and see the roasting in action and enjoy a cup of coffee with us in our pop-up café area. Please check our website for dates and times: www.cupsmith.com.
Any tips for making the perfect cup? You don’t need to spend lots of money on equipment to make a really good cup of coffee at home. A cafetiere does the job brilliantly; just remember to allow it to brew for at least four minutes (stirring half way through) before plunging. Or there’s a brilliant and inexpensive device called an aeropress – around £25. We’re always happy to talk to people about how to get the perfect cup and we encourage people to call us – it’s our mission to make sure everyone is enjoying the best cup of coffee possible at home.
What are your plans for the future? We’re planning to bring out a range of tea and hot chocolate in the next 12 months, but right now we’re so busy with the coffee that we’re totally focused on that.
More at cupsmith.com
The story of Surrey Hills Coffee starts in, er, Sweden. Having run a coffee business there for almost 12 years, Chris and Monika made their first tentative footsteps into the British market with a venture in London’s King’s Road before heading for our hills.
What made you decide to set up a coffee business in Surrey? We have a business in Sweden that we started almost 12 years ago, dealing with coffee, coffee machines and all things around it, and we wanted to expand to London. So we set up a retail shop in King’s Road, which we closed after almost three years. It was not a great success! But we still wanted to stay in the UK, and we managed our Swedish company from London. We had been buying branded coffee from other roasteries for a long time; coffee that we sold in our shops and to B2B customers. The quality was varying, and we wanted to get better control of our own branded coffee. Ever since we moved to England we used to go out to Surrey as often as we could. We spent almost all our spare time in Surrey. So, a beautiful day at the end of 2014 we found this perfect location in Forest Green, next to a gastro pub, a farm shop and a pet shop. And now we live in Abinger Hammer and don’t have to leave Surrey more than necessary.
Has much changed since you first launched? Well we launched the roastery to the public in May last year, so not much has changed yet.
Where do you get your beans from? The beans come from all over the world. We buy most of the beans from a coffee trader in London. They have a huge warehouse in Tilbury Docks.
What’s your flagship blend? I would not say that we have just one flagship blend. We have some espresso blends, some filter blends and some single estate coffees. As for the blends, we try to create a type of blend suited for different customers with different tastebuds. The same goes for the single estate coffees, really.
Where can people buy your products? Since we are quite newly opened we don’t have many retailers yet, but we are working on it. We have decided not to sell our coffee online ourselves because we want to focus on other retailers instead. For the time being, you can buy our coffee at Ruby & Kind in Cranleigh, FuelFit in Guildford, sometimes at Dorking Deli in Dorking, at Four Gables in Ashtead, and soon at Abinger Cookery School in Abinger Hammer. Our roastery shop is open weekends, between 12noon and 4pm (that’s our only fixed opening hours but we keep it open when we are at the roastery, which is most days of the week!).
Any tips for making the perfect cup? You can spend hours and hours, Googling how to make the perfect cup. Here are my three top tips: use good quality, freshly roasted coffee; you get so much more out of the flavour of the coffee if you use your own grinder; and, if you use an espresso machine, keep it clean!
What are your plans for the near future? Expanding in Surrey and continuing to create extraordinarily good coffee!
More at surreyhillscoffee.co.uk
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Just outside Guildford, Redber Coffee’s owners Graham and Petra say they like to think of themselves as a ‘sweet shop of coffees’ – Willy Wonka, watch out!
What made you decide to set up a coffee business in Surrey? London is crowded with coffee roasters and coffee shops. We live in Surrey, it is a beautiful county and a great place to set up a business. Although, we sell primarily online, many customers travel to see us, as the M25 is not too far. In terms of coffee itself, we loved the relaxation of drinking coffee in cafes. A two-day roasting course in Inverness during a camping holiday convinced us to take the plunge.
Has much changed since you first launched? We set up the roastery in December 2012. The core principle of the business hasn’t changed – offering a variety of single origin coffees, roasted to order, for a reasonable price. We like to think of ourselves as a sweet shop of coffees, with something for everything. What has changed is the scale - then we started with one roaster, now we are looking to buy our fourth.
Where do you get your beans from? We use a variety of UK importers and traders. Coffee can be hard to ship by yourself in anything less than a 21 ton shipping container! We also have a few direct relationships with farmers, and their representatives in the UK. We source beans from over 30 different countries, with coffees from Africa, Asia and the Americas.
What’s your flagship blend? Our primary focus is actually single origin coffee – from a single region, or even a single farm - due the amazing different flavours they each offer. We have a few blends, however, mostly for espresso, and our Caffe Italiano is our most popular.
Where can people buy your products? On our website, www.redber.co.uk, or Amazon.
Any tips for making the perfect cup? The perfect cup is whatever the one drinking it likes the most! Saying that, using fresh coffee will always make a cup better.
What are your plans for the near future? We want to keep improving our choice - we are always on the hunt for great new coffees, and get even more people enjoying fresh roasted coffee at home and at work.
More at redber.co.uk
What made you decide to set up a coffee business in Surrey? Surrey needs great locally roasted coffee and that is what we do.
Has much changed since you first launched? We launched in early 2012. I cannot recall a single place back then where I could get a cup of coffee that I would love. This is what we set out to change from day one - as a result, you can now enjoy some of the best of coffee in places like Pinnock’s Coffee House in Ripley, G!RO Cycles in Esher and Taylor’s Coffee House in Woking and West Byfleet - they are all our customers.
Where do you get your beans from? Our beans come from the highest quality organic estates and cooperatives in Central and South America (Guatemala, Peru, Colombia, Brazil), East and Central Africa (mostly Ethiopia, but also Congo and Rwanda) and South East Asia (mostly Indonesia).
Where can people buy your products? People can enjoy a drink or buy our coffee beans at most of our customers. We also sell our coffee online.
Any tips for making the perfect cup? Use great organic coffee, good clean water, grind coffee right before use, follow coffee brewing instructions on our website.
What are your plans for the near future? As always, we are working hard on our current and new coffee offerings. We are also in the planning to open our first High Street retail location.
More at beanberrycoffee.com
Vote for your local foodie faves in the Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards 2016