Ask the Roaster - Ben from Echelon
How was the Roastery founded, what was the inspiration?
I met my partner at the café she was managing in 2012, and she got me interested in speciality coffee. Later, while living in Gent, Belgium, I was lucky enough to have a former Belgian aeropress champion and all-round coffee sage Charlene De Buysere as a neighbour, and also got to know and learn from some local roasters (Koffie Mortier, OR Coffee). Moving back to the UK, I knew I didn’t want another office job, and was attracted to the idea of developing a real craft. I was inspired to start Echelon after seeing many of my Leeds-based friends start successful independent businesses, and I wanted to be part of that community.
What's your favourite part about working at the Roastery?
I really enjoy welcoming customers into the roastery (which is open on Wednesdays) and having a chat over an espresso. It’s great to see many of the same faces returning since we opened in January 2019.
What's your proudest accomplishment?
I was very happy to collaborate with one of our favourite coffee shops - Laynes Espresso - to develop a Christmas coffee for them this year. It’s great to be able to work with such a well-established and respected name in the independent coffee scene in the North.
What three words best describe your Roastery?Needs - Better Insulation.
What’s your favourite place to enjoy a coffee, and what coffee would that be?
Last summer we stayed for a week in a tiny hamlet in the Haute Savoie department of the French Alps. Our little apartment had a balcony with an incredible view of the mountains behind Lake Annecy. Every morning coffee on that balcony felt special - the sun would start hitting the peaks across the valley at about 7am, and the only sounds were the cow bells slowly clanking and the neighbour’s cat rustling in the leaves in the garden. We had our Kenyan single origin from Karimikui with us too, which is definitely one of the best coffees we’ve roasted so far.
Finally, what Dog & Hat combination would you choose?
Our roastery mascot, Fred, is a whippet, so I’m contractually obliged to go with his breed. The headwear would be a cycling casquette.