Maude Coffee is a specialty micro-roaster focused on high-quality and single-origin coffees, all whilst ensuring a sustainable livelihood for the coffee producers at origin.
How it started
Matthew Van Elkan is the mastermind behind Maude Coffee, having started the business in 2014. He had worked as a barista for several years, studying the complexity of the coffee bean and learning from as many industry professionals as possible. Through this, he realised that there was a quality of coffee that simply wasn’t being achieved – or at the very least, it wasn’t being shared with consumers. His dream was to roast and showcase the very best coffees and make them available to every audience across the world.
Now, the team is slightly larger, made up of several people from various backgrounds who have either worked in specialty coffee shops or have simply spent too much time in them, drinking great coffees and eating too many slices of cake.
They are all extremely passionate about specialty coffee and doing the right thing for the industry throughout the supply chain.
Ever since Maude Coffee began, the team has been roasting on a Probat Probatone 12. Matthew is a qualified engineer and his expertise has seen the roaster modified over the years, so that they now have more control over the roasting process. Saying that, at the top of their coffee wishlist is Probat’s auto-roasting system, or even a Bentwood Vertical 63 grinder.
Found in Leeds City Centre
Maude Coffee is located in a railway arch just five minutes away from Leeds city centre, and this is where they roast to order at the start of each week. They omni-roast, which means that they don’t roast specifically for filter or espresso, instead deciding to focus on maximising the inherent flavours and sweetness in all of the coffees that they select.
One of their favourite things to do when not roasting is seeking out and enjoying great food and drink places to socialise.
When travelling, they’re always on the lookout for great cafes, and love being able to kick back, relax, and smell the coffee.
What do they drink?
Like many baristas, they often find themselves turning to a batch brewer, drinking more filter coffee throughout the day than espressos. They drink these in their little Studio Arhoj tumblers, each bursting with its own unique character.
Highlights of the Year
The Maude Coffee team loves to explore their way through the coffee season timeline, with Kenya and Ethiopia frequently being amongst their top highlights of the year. They love their boozy, funky flavours, and yet, ‘there are so many great producers spread throughout the coffee-growing world right now’ that it is hard for them to choose a favourite. They believe that by only roasting freshly harvested and in-season green beans, they produce the most flavoursome coffee possible, truly harnessing the potential of each bean.
Thriving not Just Surviving
Maude Coffee is a truly unique and yet down-to-earth business, focusing on maintaining great ethics, transparency, and proper payment for their producers at origin. They make sure that they only offer coffee that is traceable back to the grower, ensuring that every point of the supply chain is ethical and that their farmers are rewarded with recognition for their efforts. ‘We want the farmers we showcase to not just be surviving but thriving.’
They don’t shout about what they do – instead, they simply buy in coffees that they love, hoping that other passionate coffee-drinkers find and enjoy them as much as they do.
Prior to COVID, they set up an incredible space with their dream coffee shop spec, where they welcomed fellow coffee lovers to join them for drinks and a chat. Unfortunately, this unique space is currently closed to the public – but they look forward to re-opening again soon.
To learn more about coffee, they recommend the book ‘Espresso Coffee – The Science of Quality’ by Illy and Viani, along with ‘The World Atlas of Coffee’ by James Hoffman. They both provide great overviews of many topics of interest to both newcomers and coffee professionals alike. For new roasters starting out their careers in coffee, the team recommends that they simply engulf themselves in the world of coffee, doing as much research as possible to truly understand the market and how they can find a place within it.
‘It’s become an increasingly saturated market but there’s always going to be a place for great products and good people.’
To learn more about Maude Coffee, be sure and visit their website Maude Coffee You can also follow along with them on Facebook or Instagram to keep up with all the new blends they will be creating over the year.