Ask the Roaster - Alex from Hackney Rascal
How was the Roastery founded, what was the inspiration?
Coffee is in my blood. It has always been a part of me. Both of my parents grew up on neighbouring coffee farms in El Salvador, and that’s how they met.
Rascal was founded during the pandemic. I had recently left my mother and sister’s business to start my own legacy and was applying to jobs in different industries, but then the pandemic hit and finding a job got difficult. My boyfriend was like “you have access to great coffee, you should start roasting it!” and so, I did! I love that I get to share a piece of my home with everybody. I select some of Guatemala’s finest beans that are sourced by my mom and sister.
In Guatemala, my family’s coffee farm in Antigua was founded in 1870. My great-great-great grandfather, Manuel Matheu Ariza, started growing coffee and came to London to sell his first harvest and the rest is history. He was then considered the ‘grandfather of coffee’ in Guatemala. We are now the sixth generation managing the farm.
What's your favourite part about working at the Roastery?
My favourite part about roasting is to share a piece of Guatemala with everyone in the UK. Sharing my experiences of meeting farmers and showcasing their hard work and dedication.
What three words best describe your Roastery?
Weird - Small - Fun.
What’s your favourite place to enjoy a coffee, and what coffee would that be?
Favourite place to enjoy a coffee is on my coffee farm in Antigua, overlooking the Agua Volcano and drinking coffee from my farm.
What’s is your favourite snack or treat to have to accompany your coffee?
Champurradas (Guatemalan biscuit).
What would you drink if there was no coffee?
What is your favourite tasting notes to find in coffee?
I love blueberry tasting coffees, I also love winey, pineapple and fig tasting coffees.
Where would you recommend for food and drink in your local area?
My local café across my flat in Hackney Central – Sadie’s is awesome, they source female-focused brands and have great coffee, food and cocktails
P. Franco for some lovely natty vino and snacks
Jim’s in Clapton for awesome American diner style food and great cocktails – love their tequila!
Elliot’s – just delicioso all around!
Finally, what Dog & Hat combination would you choose?
Pug in a sombrero.