Ask the Roaster - Dave from Danelaw
How was the Roastery founded, what was the inspiration?
I launched the roastery in February 2022 after having thought about it long and hard over many years. What I want to do is to make speciality coffee a bit more approachable. Throughout my career I have wanted to help people enjoy great coffee but have often been frustrated by the barriers that we manage to put up that can scare people off. I have a promise printed on my packaging that I will never tut or roll my eyes at you. I want people to be able to ask me questions and feel comfortable doing so. I remember being really intimidated by my first experiences in speciality coffee and I want to try to help other people get through that.
I called it Danelaw because it reflects where I consider home. I was born in Yorkshire and grew up in Lincolnshire, and that area was occupied by the Vikings in the 9th century, when it was called the Danelaw.
What's your favourite part about working at the Roastery?
I love the smell! I walk in to the roastery in the morning and I can smell freshly roasted coffee every day.
What's your proudest accomplishment?
It’s really cheesy – but this! Opening the roastery. I’ve won competitions, coached World Champions, become a Q grader but this tops it all. Starting from scratch, building it up, developing everything from branding to website – it’s been a hell of a journey and it’s really exciting. I’m really proud of myself for getting this far.
What's your favourite place to enjoy a coffee, and what coffee would that be?
I’ve answered this question before, in a previous job, but I can’t think of a better answer! I once sat at the lake house of my friend Fernando Aguilar in El Salvador, drinking his coffee, roasted by me, looking out over the crater lake of a volcano as the sun set, with a bunch of coffee farmers. The coffee was extraordinary, the company was magnificent and I remember feeling very happy and content with the way things were. That might have been something to do with the rum though. I wish I could go back and do that again. I’m going to have one of his coffees later in the year, and I hope I can go visit next year.
What three words best describe your Roastery?
Approachable - Beautiful - Ambitious.
What is your favourite snack or treat to have to accompany your coffee?
In the morning I drink coffee on its own – just straight black. By afternoon I might sneak a few chocolate fingers along with it. I love a stroopwaffel when I have them. Weirdly, coffee with cheese is amazing. Try it if you haven’t done.
What would you drink if there was no coffee?
I’d be chucking any old seeds in the fire to see if I could find something that made my goats dance. I drink a decent amount of Polite Society Tea, so probably their Earl Grey or something I guess.
What is your favourite tasting notes to find in coffee?
I’m a fruit fan – I love a bright, citrussy coffee. Blackberry is always nice. Recently I’ve developed a real taste for those tobacco leaf, cedar and leathery flavours that you get from REALLY good Sumatran coffees. Very hard to find though.
Where would you recommend for food and drink in your local area?
Living in Holmfirth I’m truly blessed – Wired Coffee and Cake in Honley or Holme Coffee House are my go-to spots. For a posh meal you can’t beat the Whippet & Pickle. O’Briens craft beer café is my top drinking spot at the moment, but we also have a Magic Rock brewery tap in town too. It isn’t local, but whenever I drive up the country, I stop in at the Brinscall Baker near Chorley for their insanely good brownies.
Finally, what Dog & Hat combination would you choose?
I have an 8 month old Beagle Puppy called Cinnamon – she’s the great-granddaughter of my last dog, the much loved and missed Trudy, so without question it has to be a Beagle in a Baseball cap.