In 2014, two guys set out to answer a call of their city — a cry for great coffee. Chris Holloway and Ed Peck started and founded Neighbourhood Coffee Roasters, Liverpool’s first speciality roastery where they serve top-notch speciality coffee every single day.
They have a passion and love for coffee and it shows through the way they source, the way they cup and roast, and for the way that they continue to bring us amazing blends every single month.
How it All Began
In 2014 Chris and Ed answered a call that Liverpool’s town had and that was for excellent coffee. They put away all the other professions that they both had once held and invested themselves in building Neighbourhood Coffee.
They took their first trip to Brazil in 2014 and have never looked back. They came home fueled with the desire to serve quality coffee. They are a tad fanatical about what they do, and they are proud to be known as Liverpool’s first speciality coffee roaster.
The Ethics Behind Neighbourhood Coffee
Their team has flown over 25,00 miles to source the best coffee! They know the farmers by name and only work with those who are as committed as they are to producing delicious coffee.
They value the talented coffee farmers that they work with and they pay them well above the current fair trade price. And investment pays off because they only purchase the highest quality, sustainably-produced coffee beans.
What You Will Find Inside at Neighbourhood Coffee
Neighbourhood Coffee is run by a team of five dedicated coffee lovers —
- Chris Holloway — Co-Founder — He heads up all our sourcing, projects, wholesale, and anything else that no-one else has time to do.
- Ed Peck — Co-Founder — He focuses on leading the day-to-day operations, strategy, and finances.
- Ben Webster — Production — He’s been sponging up knowledge ever since, and now runs the production side of things, including most importantly, ensuring your coffee gets to you (although he does other things as well).
- Katy McGrath — training and wholesale — She heads up our training programmes, as well as looking after wholesale clients.
- Luke Hall — roaster and photographer — He makes sure that customers are getting their coffee, so he’s pretty key to the whole operation.
Neighbourhood Coffee has trained over 1,500 baristas since 2014 and they continue to teach people every day about coffee — the origins, how to brew the perfect cup, and how to source the best coffee out there.
We recently got the chance to interview Neighbourhood Coffee and here is what they shared with us. It’s always fun to know a little more personality about your favourite coffee roasters.
How did you get started in the coffee business?
We (Ed & Chris) were both green coffee traders, based in Liverpool, but selling coffee all over the globe. We lamented that Liverpool, a city with such a coffee history of importing, and coffee shipments arriving at the docks, didn’t have its own speciality roaster. So we started it.
What sparked your interest in coffee roasting?
We’d travelled to various producing countries in the coffee world, and wanted to bring the stories and the smiles of the people who grew processed and exported these great coffees to the final consumer. Plus, there’s something amazing, and tangible, about taking a great raw product and transforming it into something that will make the drinker’s day just a little bit better.
What is the very first cup of coffee you ever remember drinking?
Like most British people, it was probably a cup of some fairly poor quality instant coffee!
What does your roasting set up look like and how has it changed over the years?
We roast on a Giesen 15kg roaster, (a small digital roaster called an Ikawa for sample roasting). We’ve added a few modifications to the Giesen, but it’s logged several thousand hours and still works like a dream!
What is your favourite brewing method and do you drink a lot of coffee at home?
Hario V60 – it’s simple, easy to brew, and makes delicious coffee. I (Chris) don’t drink too much coffee at home – mainly at weekends to be honest, and not more than 3 or 4 cups per day.
Which coffee origin is your favourite and why?
Ethiopia – we always say that if we had to choose only one country to drink coffee from for the rest of our lives, then Ethiopia would always win. So much variety, so much processing expertise, so many different flavours. Plus, Ed lived there for a while so he’s biased!
What roaster do you use, where do you roast, how often?
We use a Giesen 15kg, we roast about 10 mins north of the city centre in Liverpool, and we roast 5 days per week at the moment to keep up with demand, which is a nice problem to have.
What is your favourite aspect of roasting coffee?
Introducing people to really great coffee, for the first time – you see them start to get hooked, and you know that their journey is just getting started. We hear a lot of phrases like “I never knew coffee could taste like this” which is pretty awesome.
What distinguishes your approach to sourcing and roasting coffee from other roasters?
We try to be really honest – some roasters present themselves as saving the planet, though they can’t possibly have that big an impact, some present themselves as coffee sourcing or farming experts, even though they’ve never set foot on a coffee farm.
Some even make claims about how coffee can change your life – we’re not sure that it can, but it certainly brings a smile to your face every day.
We like to think that we’re straight-talking – we want to roast awesome & delicious coffee, to cut through the jargon, to do some good where we can at origin through direct relationships (acknowledging that it’s a tiny drop, but that it’s better than nothing), and we want to have loads of fun whilst doing it, and most of all, to make people smile.
What gear or gadget is at the top of your coffee wish list?
We could all find room for a 1-group La Marzocco in our kitchens, but that’s to work on in the future.
Have you read any great books about coffee roasting?
The World Atlas of Coffee by James Hoffman is great for any coffee fan, Scott Rao’s books, particularly the Coffee Roaster’s companion are worth reading and then re-reading, and basically anything you can get your hands on – coffee roasting is an underrepresented segment of the coffee world in terms of good literature!
However – we want to read stuff on the whole industry – there’s a danger that roasters see themselves as the most important step in the chain, whereas no chain = no coffee. We need more books on good sourcing, simple development and good trade practices, good roasting, barista skills, hospitality business skills, and everything else involved in the chain of people getting coffee from plant to cup.
Do you have a cafe?
We do! It’s called Framework Coffee, it’s at Mann Island in Central Liverpool, on the river (between the Pier Head & the Albert Dock) and it’s awesome! If you’re ever in Liverpool then you should definitely come to say hey, and get looked after. The team are amazing, the food is delicious, and the coffee is pretty decent 🙂
What does the future look like for you? Where do you see your company in the future?
Making more people smile – at the origin, in the cafes, we partner with, and most importantly on the faces of those people who drink our coffee.
What advice would you give new roasters who are just starting out their careers in coffee?
Taste everything you can. Think really carefully about where your market will come from, and how you can stand out…there’s plenty of roasters now, so you’d better be good!
Test ideas thoroughly, but don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd. Don’t take yourself too seriously, but learn from every situation you can. Refuse to take shortcuts. Laugh often. Hire people who are not like you. Trust them, invest in them, give them the tools to excel, and they will.
What is your favourite thing to do when you are not roasting coffee?
I have 2 young kids so they tend to dominate the time, and they remind me that there is far more to life than coffee roasting. Which is a good thing.
When travelling, do you visit other coffee shops and hassle them about their methods or do you relax and take it all in?
Relax – cafes are great social spaces, and are designed for people to interact, catch up, make time, share news, laugh, cry, eat, drink, make new friends, read, hang out, or just grab 5 minutes for themselves. Plus, baristas are busy people!
To learn more about Neighbourhood Coffee Roasters, be sure and visit their website. You can also follow along with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up with all the new blends they will be creating over the year.