Give a brief Introduction to you and what it is you do. Who is involved in the business?
We are a husband and wife team (Sarah & Wayne) running a small batch speciality coffee roastery in Farnham Common, Buckinghamshire. Speciality coffee has to be graded 80+ points and above on the Speciality Coffee Association’s grading protocol. The flavours are more subtle and balanced compared to the average supermarket brand. At Roast Lab Coffee Roasters, we only source coffees above 83+ points (think of a 90+ as a rare fine wine).
What made you decide to set up Roast Lab?
Our passion for coffee stems from the long exposure to speciality coffee shops while working in London. Driven to know why ‘speciality’ is so ‘special’ sent us down a path of technical discovery which led to the idea of starting the business and to leave a legacy for our young son.
When you see the ‘Novoroaster’ German-engineered fluid-bed roaster we have, you will realise why we chose to be ‘Roast Lab’. We are able to apply a scientific approach to coffee roasting with repeatable results. We roast on-demand in small batches to ensure our customers experience freshly roasted coffee.
We have a strong appreciation for the speciality coffee value chain, believing that as roasters and consumers, we all contribute to the wellbeing and lives of the people producing the high quality coffee we all love so much.
Your business is coffee, but is it also a pleasure for you?
Definitely! There are so many different ways of roasting coffee, it’s incredibly scientific and complicated to master. But once we’ve got it right, the results can be incredible and extremely satisfying. Not many people get to work in an environment that smells so wonderful!
I love that you know so much about the origins of the coffee beans and how ethically sourced it is. Can you tell us a bit about how you source your bean suppliers?
All of our coffees are Single-origin which means the beans are grown within a single known geographic origin, meaning a single farm or region. As we are a micro roastery, we are only able to buy smaller quantities which we have to source from direct trading partners who have relationships with speciality farmers and co-operatives. They provide us with the traceability and transparency.
Premiums above ‘Fair Trade’ are paid to help speciality farmers and co-operatives sustain and improve crop quality, processing methods and the wellbeing of their farm workers and communities.
If people haven’t tried your coffee before, which bean do you recommend they buy first?
We usually recommend our Colombian, Brazilian or Peruvian coffees if you’re new to Speciality coffee as these have chocolatey and nutty tasting notes which the majority of people enjoy.
Where is your dream coffee spot?
Wayne is originally from Cape Town, South Africa and when we’re there, we love to visit Truth Coffee shop (https://truth.capetown/index.php/the-cafe/) which is one of the most amazing coffee shops in the world. It has steam punk décor and a really great vibe with fabulous coffee!
Check out Roast Lab Coffee Roasters here: https://roastlab.coffee/