Ask the Roaster - Nicola from Taylors Discovery
How was the Roastery founded, what was the inspiration?
You might know Taylors of Harrogate for sourcing and roasting some of the best specialty grade coffee you’ll find on Supermarket shelves. We’ve spent the last century doing this - travelling to the world’s best coffee growing regions, building face to face relationships, reinvesting in our producers and the industry at large (we’re the UK’s biggest roaster contributor to World Coffee Research).
But we set up Taylors Discovery to act differently and without constraints. To take risks with coffee, to have more fun with coffee, and to build a vision for the future of coffee. Through our producer relationships, we’d always had access to mind-blowing beans. And through our friends, we’d always had interesting collaborations in the pipeline. We just needed a place, a team and a shop to start making these things happen.
For now, we’re concentrating on using our producer relationships to source and roast the most incredible coffee we can find – all SCA85+ and with an interesting story to tell - and bringing coffee drinkers closer to those producers. But we have plans to develop a physical space to meet our customers, to develop an accessible online learning community, and to look at coffee innovation beyond roasted beans. It’s early days for us but we’re really excited about the future.
What's your favourite part about working at the Roastery?
We’re only a little team, and that’s the best thing about our roastery. We all work together, and everyone is super talented. Sara and Pav roast the coffee, but Sara is also an amazing photographer, and takes all the photos for the website. Pav can pretty much fix anything, and in lockdown built the most amazing brew stand from concrete, a bit of old drainpipe and a car spring! Tom does all the website stuff and can literally make anything happen online. Tom knows lots about lots too - from movies to meditation. If you want an insightful chat, he’s your man. Finally, Nicola - she knows a thing or two about brewing and being a barista. If you ever find yourself in a new city and don’t know where to get a good coffee, Nicola has an encyclopaedic knowledge of coffee shops, and is the woman to ask.
What's your proudest accomplishment?
We’re proud of just how far we’ve come in three years. We don’t shy away from the fact that Taylors is well known for being a supermarket coffee brand because it’s the relationships built through that work that has allowed us to find the truly amazing coffees that we roast for Taylors Discovery. By sourcing good quality coffee at scale, and buying incredible quality coffee in smaller quantities, we know we can have a real impact at origin and that’s one of the things that gets us up in the morning.
Awards aren’t a massive focus for us at the moment but it’s always nice to be recognised. Last year, our Colombia Red Gesha won Caffeine Magazine’s seasonal coffee, and it was great be recognised for that. Tom visited La Negrita, where that coffee was produced, last December, and the stuff Mauricio Shattah is doing with anaerobic processing really is mind blowing. We have another coffee he produced on the shop at the moment, actually – Triple Staggered Gesha – so check that out if you haven’t already
What three words best describe your Roastery?Uncompromising - Approachable - Wide-eyed.
What’s your favourite place to enjoy a coffee, and what coffee would that be?
It’s not where you drink coffee, but who you drink it with. Our whole team have only been together drinking coffee once since March, so although we’d all have a different coffee choice, just to have a coffee together would be the best!
Finally, what Dog & Hat combination would you choose?
Golden Retriever in a summer bonnet