Quarter Horse was first founded in 2012 by Nathan and Ameeta in Oxford, where their coffee shop quickly gained a reputation for being one of the best in the country. Following the dream to roast their own coffee, they then opened a new cafe in 2015 in Ameeta’s hometown of Birmingham.
Nathan started working in coffee shops whilst studying at uni, and after graduating, he decided to keep working in the coffee industry, gradually working his way up to management positions. He is now a certified Q-Grader.
The first independent café & roastery in Birmingham.
After opening up their Birmingham cafe in 2015, it made sense for the next step to be roasting – and now, one of their greatest passions is sourcing coffees from all over the world to uncover the perfect roast. They source a wide variety of coffee beans for the many different types of customers they have, and they then roast light/medium to bring out the best flavour possible. One of their favourite coffee origins is Mexico, as they like the body and balance that Mexican coffee can offer. Brazil and Ethiopia are a close second.
They select beans by quality and seasonality, and then test-roast them in small batches. They then evaluate each blend on flavour, and then roast the favourites for use in their shops and for wholesale. They offer a large range of ethically sourced, high-quality coffees, prioritising long-lasting relationships with their farmers.
Paying three times that of Fairtrade
Quarter Horse tries to source the majority of their coffees via direct trade. This ensures a higher wage for farmers, offering them opportunities that they otherwise would not have. Not only does Quarter House pay them three times that of Fairtrade, but they also promote sustainable growth at all stages of the supply chain. Whenever possible, they buy from the Women Coffee Producers program, an organisation which seeks to address the inequality in coffee-growing regions by creating visibility and access to a wider market for women.
In the future, they hope to purchase more coffee by direct trade, growing with new wholesale partners and sourcing some of the best coffee that the world has ever seen.
Watch the magic
Quarter Horse is still a small operation and as such, they roast 2-3 days a week on a W15A Giesen. Due to the fact that they are one of the only coffee roasters in the country to roast in-house and in full view of their cafe, visiting customers get to watch the whole magic unravel!
Surprisingly, Nathan tells us, he doesn’t drink a lot of coffee at home: only one or two cups a day. Saying that, he has a Ratio Six brewer, and filter coffee is his favourite (although if he were brewing manually ‘it would be a Katlita Wave brewer). When drinking coffee at home or at work, both Nathan and Ameeta love drinking from their Pavlov Ceramic mugs as they’re a great size and also happen to have the Quarter Horse logo imprinted on them.
Nathan remembers the first coffee he ever drank being a sugary, milky brew at the age of eight. The first specialty coffee he remembers was a natural processed Ethiopian which was sweet and tasted like blueberries – and it seems that from there, this passion grew.
For new roasters just starting out their careers in coffee, Nathan says that it’s all just trial and error, so the best thing they can do is to cup their coffee a lot. ‘Always do QC to make sure you are happy with your results, and read up on your Scott Roa!’