Coffee Central are coffee roasters and equipment suppliers, sourcing quality coffees and teas from all around the world and supplying to coffee businesses all over the UK.
They work with a diverse range of customers across a wide range of business environments.
Those from independent coffee shops and restaurants through pubs, hotels, gift shops, artisan chocolatiers, to trampoline parks, garden centres, bespoke mobile catering companies and much more besides.
How it All Started
Set up in 2003 by their MD Gavin Dow the company was initially a San Remo Equipment distributor and coffee wholesaler buying and selling contract roasted coffee to the East Midlands area.
The company has grown and changed a lot since then and in 2011 the company took its first steps into roasting– investing in a 15kg drum roaster.
The Ethics Behind Coffee Central
Coffee Central aims to bring genuine speciality coffee to a wider scope of new wholesale customers.
They also want to sell more speciality coffee to the at-home market. Their coffee ethos has developed hugely over the last 5 years and centres on making speciality coffee more accessible to a wider audience.
Coffee Central roasts all of their coffees in small batches ensuring maximum freshness and quality for their customers. They regularly receive shipments of green beans from around the world.
Their coffees are supplied by D R Wakefield, Interamerican Coffees and Falcon Specialty, all direct trade specialist green coffee importers.
What You Will Find Inside at Coffee Central
At Coffee Central, they pride themselves in providing customers with quality coffee to suit their needs, at a price that works for them.
The customers that visit Coffee Central are as unique and diverse as the coffees that they sell, so they offer a great range, from speciality arabicas – single estate varietals and micro-lots for the perfect pour-over – to great value, commodity coffees for a house blend.
Coffee Central prefers to roast their coffees lighter. The espresso profiles are a developed medium and a drip brew/filter profile with a slightly lighter medium.
They bought a second 15 kg drum roaster about 2 years later and moved to new commercial premises, where they are now. They supply a wide variety of wholesale accounts across the mainland UK with small-batch roasted speciality coffee.
Their current head roaster Dean came on board in 2013 after a career as a chef in high-end restaurant kitchens. He is passionate about quality and provenance.
Interview with Coffee Central
We recently had the chance to interview Coffee Central. These are fun questions to help you to get to know the company behind the fantastic coffee they serve.
How did you get started in the coffee business?
For our managing director Gav, it was a trip to Australia in 2001 and then a job selling commercial coffee machines straight after university. For our sales and development manager Adam, it was working as a Barista in speciality coffee shops whilst studying as an undergrad and postgraduate student.
What sparked your interest in coffee roasting?
The realisation that the same coffee can taste like strawberries, chocolate or charcoal depending on how it’s treated!
What is the very first cup of coffee you ever remember drinking?
Gav – The first cup ever was good ol’ Nescafe Gold Blend – but the first properly speciality cup was a Costa Rican Tarrazu circa 2003
Adam – The first memorable cup was a Kenyan Peaberry around 2008 – I can’t remember the name of the washing station or farm but I remember thinking “what? – it tastes like Blackcurrants!” Anything before then I think of as toasted sugar puffs and milk in a mug now.
What does your roasting set up look like and how has it changed over the years?
Twin 15kg drum roasters – started with 1 now there are 2 and a sample roaster – soon there may well be another.
What is your favourite brewing method and do you drink a lot of coffee at home?
Any drip brew method really – and yes plenty – but probably not as much as you’d think.
Which coffee origin is your favourite and why?
Gav – Ethiopia – The OG
Adam – at the moment it’s Rwanda – Juicy Jaaskelainen
What roaster do you use, where do you roast, how often?
Toper – Nottingham – every day of the week.
Does your roaster have a name? If so, is there a story?
No. Maybe the next one we buy will!
What is your favourite aspect of roasting coffee?
Actually, it’s the way the coffee develops in the first 10-15 days after roasting and being acutely aware of that change and development to the point where a coffee cups better on one particular day than any other and then that coffee sticks in your head because of that.
What distinguishes your approach to sourcing and roasting coffee from other roasters?
I think there are so many coffee roasters now that naming something to distinguish yourself in terms of sourcing and roasting is probably a touch disingenuous.
That said I definitely would say that we like to buy the same coffees from the same farms consistently year on year, to build relationships and refine our understanding of those coffees nuances.
I’d also say we have an appreciation of quality from more classic origins and flavour profiles. I think we’re more satisfied getting the very best out of a really excellent single estate washed Colombian or Yirgacheffe than we are from coaxing something weird and wonderful from an extended fermentation micro-lot or macerated natural.
Those coffees can taste amazing and are powerful and exalting for sure but there’s something to be said for recognisably understated quality.
What gear or gadget is at the top of your coffee wish list?
Distributors. They really make a difference to your espresso extraction.
Do you have a favourite coffee mug? If so, tell us about it.
No. If the coffee is good enough a paper cup will do.
Have you read any great books about coffee roasting?
No. We have a couple of graduates of literature in the company who I think would be firm of the view that if you are calling it a great book; it won’t be about coffee roasting 😉
Do you have a cafe?
No. We stick to what we’re good at; Roasting!
What does the future look like for you? Where do you see your company in the future?
We’re always looking at growth and development in every area of the company – be it our newly established equipment partnership with Elektra or new and improved packaging solutions but I suppose, simply selling more, better coffee.
What advice would you give new roasters who are just starting out their careers in coffee?
Put the graft in and don’t cut corners.
What is your favourite thing to do when you are not roasting coffee?
When travelling, do you visit other coffee shops and hassle them about their methods or do you relax and take it all in?
Both – we’re always curious and there are so many coffee shops doing really great things, we think they appreciate being appreciated so we’re happy and relaxed asking questions on my travels.
To learn more about Coffee Central, be sure and visit their website. You can also follow along with them on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with all the new blends they will be creating over the year.