New Ground creates delicious, expertly ground coffee which has been carefully selected from small-scale farms around the world. Their mission is to become a leading player in European coffee, along with creating hundreds of opportunities for ex-offenders and helping to change policies in the criminal justice system. They believe that coffee can go far beyond the cup – and this is why they give some of the most overlooked people in society a new beginning.
Revolutionary Coffee Business
When New Ground realised that prisoners are much more likely to re-offend after release if they are without training and jobs, they decided to create a revolutionary coffee business that positively affected everyone in the supply chain. For them, ‘It is about thinking differently towards what has come before and never settling for the ordinary.’Of course, with great social awareness comes great coffee.
The whole idea began after co-founder Joel Grates took a trip to Australia and New Zealand and experienced just how great coffee can be. This was followed by the almost immediate purchase of a brand-spanking-new aeropress.
First Coffee Love
Joel remembers the first cup of good coffee he ever drank being when a family member brewed a cup of natural Ethiopian coffee at a wedding in 2008. This was the first time Joel had experienced something beyond Kenco, and it blew his mind.
Ever since that first Ethiopian coffee, he has completely fallen in love with the origin, and ‘can drink a natural Ethiopian all day long.’ He loves the fruity and floral notes you get from the region, and how versatile it is: it works well as a filter, espresso, and cold brew, and each brewing method brings out a new aspect of the flavour profile. Whilst Joel loves an Ethiopian origin, New Ground’s coffees change throughout the year, with new and exciting blends arriving at the roaster month on month.
Over the years, New Ground’s roasting set-up has changed a fair bit. They started by contract roasting, which helped to get them off the ground but wasn’t something they wanted to do long-term. Then, two years later, they moved into their current roastery and bought a nifty Loring S15. Using their new state-of-the-art facilities, they now expertly roast each batch to reveal new and exciting flavours every time.
The Loring gives them the control they need to be able to bring out unique flavours, which they are constantly getting from both origins new and old. And what is the Loring’s name, I hear you ask? Simple: Lauren.
The team at New Ground wanted to create a fully immersive coffee experience at the roastery, putting a lot of thought into creating an easy-going and welcoming environment.
Now, their space in Oxford has a brew bar open to the public and training space, where customers can go to learn more about their coffee. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 they currently do not have specific roast days, but they hope to land back into a routine soon.
Due to the fact that Joel has two small kids, when he brews coffee at home he typically uses a Moccamaster jug (or two). He also loves the clarity he gets from a Kalita. When drinking said roast, he likes to use one of their New Ground cups, created by an incredible local ceramicist called Joanna Oliver. They’re 6oz and ‘just feel so good in your hand’.
Kids Grow So Quickly
When not roasting, Joel tries to spend as much time with family as possible. ‘Kids grow up so quickly and I don’t want to miss a thing.’
For new coffee roasters just starting out their careers, Joel recommends that they connect with as many people as possible, as a network of people will push them to where they need to be. Along with that, reading the work of Scott Rao always helps.
New Ground only packs their coffee in recycled packaging, and use renewable energy whenever possible. Along with that, they pay the living wage and they’re a certified social enterprise. What more could you want?