Ask the Roaster - Hols from North Star
How was the Roastery founded, what was the inspiration?
North Star Coffee Roasters was established in 2013 as the first wholesale specialty coffee roastery in Leeds with a focus on roasting the best coffee we can get our hands on, sourcing in a manner that puts the producer at the very heart of our efforts ensuring their quality driven approach is recognised and they remain profitable in their coffee farming.
Our own journey into the wonderful world of coffee began in 2011 in the coffee farming region of Nyeri in Kenya – we spent three months amongst smallholder farming families to learn more about Fairtrade and its impact on their social and economic development. We didn’t know it at the time but the producers we were working amongst happened to be harvesting some of the best coffee in the world being part of coops that are very much globally respected. The information we collected formed the basis of our final year research at uni which very much looked at coffee as an option to bring about national development for many countries across the coffeelands between the Tropics. We therefore came into coffee from a development perspective and it is this principle that really drives our business. We are motivated by the possibility of being able to buy more coffee from producers in a manner that is responsible, sustainable and forward thinking to bring about positive change for communities across the world for the long term.
What's your favourite part about working at the Roastery?
Being surrounded by some of the world’s best coffee! We are also lucky enough to have a retail unit right next door so we also get to witness people’s interaction with the beans we roast, that is always a really special moment. The best part has to be the travel though, that is really what got us hooked onto coffee. If done well, coffee has the power to connect – bringing people together over a mutual respect for quality and flavour. Yes it is addictive by nature, but we think it is the romance and drama of its journey to our cup that truly makes it something we can’t live without.
What's your proudest accomplishment?
We won the Young British Food Award in 2015 for Coffee which was quite a special achievement but the thing that brings us the most satisfaction is the number of well respected establishments our coffee is served in and the close relationship we have with our customers. As we continue to grow, we are fortunate to be sending our beans further and further afield to the Czech Republic, Hungary and even Dubai!.
What three words best describe your Roastery?
Fun - Professional - Connected.
What’s your favourite place to enjoy a coffee, and what coffee would that be?
The best place has got to be on a coffee farm! It is the best part of any sourcing trip is to stand amongst the coffee trees or drying patios and enjoy a brew of whatever has just been harvested.
Finally, what Dog & Hat combination would you choose?
Spaniel in a Flat Cap