Ask the Roaster - Tom from Red Bank
How was the Roastery founded, what was the inspiration?
Before opening the roastery in 2015, I was working as a lawyer in London. Like most people in the office I would stop at Starbucks on the way into work. One day a colleague of mine took me to Monmouth in Covent Garden, and I had a V60 of a Kenyan peaberry that blew my mind. It was naturally sweet and bursting with juicy fruit flavours. It totally blew my mind, revolutionised my perception of coffee, and planted a seed that would eventually lead to me quitting law and starting a roastery with no prior experience as a coffee professional. I needed to share this experience, and it made sense at the time to do this closer to home, in a part of the world that I love, and at the time was relatively underexposed to speciality coffee.
What's your favourite part about working at the Roastery?
My role these days is primarily focussed on sourcing green coffee and telling the stories of the producers. Great coffee is no accident, and is the result of long chain of custodians (grower, miller, exporter, carrier, importer, roaster, barista) being experts at what they do. I like to tell these stories, and to try and help people appreciate what a privilege it is to enjoy an exceptional cup of coffee. In the same way that they are celebrated in the wine world, I like to help raise the profile of producers, and to help them get the recognition, and hopefully rewards, that they deserve for their incredible work.
What's your proudest accomplishment?
We have won a number of awards over the years, but I think my proudest achievement has be gaining my Q-Grader qualification last. When I started working in coffee I revered Q-Graders and felt I was so far away from ever being able to achieve this. It was one of the most educational, testing and exhausting experiences I have been through, and I still have to pinch myself occasionally when I remember that I am now one myself.
What three words best describe your Roastery?Quality - Traceability - Sustainability. This has become our mantra and underpins everything that we do and every decision that we make.
What’s your favourite place to enjoy a coffee, and what coffee would that be?
At home every morning. My morning brew is an essential part of my daily ritual. It is never rushed, and is always savoured. It provides a moment of calm before the busy day ahead, and is the space where I get to know our coffees best. I enjoy a V60 without milk in my favourite NotNeutral mug. I tend to have a different coffee every day, but if I had to choose one to drink forever, it would probably be a clean, syrupy and super juicy washed Kenyan. It’s been way too long since I had one of those. Must do something about that.
Finally, what Dog & Hat combination would you choose?
Whippet Lurcher in a Dad Cap… Jessie would be devastated if I chose anything else.