Just Brew It

Coffee can only grow in certain places along the equator, and while we can’t grow it here, it can be roasted locally! Freshly roasted coffee tastes a lot better than umpteen-months old roasted coffee. The fresher the coffee, the better your coffee will taste, so why not make fresh, locally roasted coffee a priority.

Coffee is a fruit! The coffee trees, coffea, produce reddish fruits know as coffee cherries[1]. The seeds inside these cherries are what we know as coffee beans. The fruit, the outer shell, is discarded usually to become a fertiliser or to make coffee cherry tea. They are picked, harvested and processed ready for distribution.

Stay Grounded

Coffee shops have settled into the high streets around the UK, with mainly commercial brands stealing the show. They have become third space living extensions; personal, social or as a workspace. However, what no-one realises is the love and time that goes into processing these beans. It is a long, laborious process to perfect coffee roasting. Roasting times can differ which affects the taste and aroma of the beans[2].

As well as supporting local artisans, you can learn the process your coffee goes through from bean to cup. With this in mind, you can find a local brand with similar values to yourself be it FairTrade, ecologically sustainable or organic. The majority of micro-roasters offer subscription services and can personalise to how you want beans, ground, or not, the grind setting depending on what coffee maker you are using, and how often you want your coffee.

Around Northumberland in 5 Beans

Mocha Mondo

Mocha Mondo Coffee Beans
Mocha Mondo Coffee Beans

A coffee roastery and retail ‘pod’ in Amble. Priding themselves with getting the freshest roasted beans into the cups of Northumberland, Mocha Mondo always roast to order.

With a wide range of single origin beans, carefully researched and sourced, and coming in packs of 228g, 454g & 1Kg, there is a great choice for all coffee lovers.

They offer 3 options for ground coffee – coarse, medium or fine, depending on your coffee making preferences. They recommend once beans are ground it is best to use them within 4 weeks. Therefore, the ground bag sizes are only available in 70g (coarse ground taster packs), and 228g (coarse, medium or fine ground), packs.

From small beginnings serving coffee from a van at Alnmouth station, the owner, Martin Homer, has developed and grown the business which now employs 5 people who serve from the retail pod at Amble Harbour Village, fulfil on-line orders, supply local businesses such as offices, cafes and restaurants, make and retail bean to bar handmade chocolate, and also provide coffee roasting workshops and barista training.

Northern Edge

North Edge Coffee stall near Edinburgh Castle
North Edge Coffee stall near Edinburgh Castle

Starting in 2015, Northern Edge roastery is located in Spittal, near Berwick upon Tweed. Inspired by the beautiful bean possibilities, as well as the colourful history of this border town, Northern Edge has produced a selection of coffees that represent local history.

Northern Edge pride themselves on their artisanal routes. Dan is a self-taught roaster fuelled by passion and curiosity to create high-quality roasts which are ethically sourced from field to cup. Only Dan oversees the roasting process to ensure consistency with their products. The waste products left after roasting; the coffee skins and grounds, are used for composting as it is rich in nitrogen – a well-known soil enricher.

Sustainability in an economic and environmental stance is integral to this brand. Their green bean supplier, Falcon Coffees, are coffee origin specialists with a vision to create supply chains for mutual gains between supplier and buyer – monetary and socially.

Northern Edge runs monthly open coffee days and is also a regular at food festivals and farmers markets.

Pilgrims Coffee

Since 2006, the Pilgrims coffee shop, which began in 2003, has attached a funky yurt roastery as part of the Pilgrims complex on Holy Island. Their experience in the coffee business has produced skills in finding optimum roasts for each bean to bring out its tasting notes. They see coffee like sommeliers see wine. Every bean is different and in certain environments, their flavours change.

Their beans are roasted in small batches to ensure flavour and freshness. A green-minded company, Pilgrims use only compostable plates and cups in their cafe, their coffee bags are also recyclable. Their beans are also organic, Fair Trade and rainforest alliance certified.

Luckie Beans

Luckie Beans - Love Lane House Blend
Luckie Beans – Love Lane House Blend

Located in Berwick upon Tweed, alongside the banks of the River Tweed. Although based on this side of the border, Luckie Beans supply around the Scottish Borders, are regulars at Kelso Farmers Market and Leith Markets. They also have a coffee kiosk at Glasgow Queen Street station.

Run by a husband and wife team, Luckie Beans pride themselves on their great tasting, ethically sourced coffee.

The roastery, situated on Love Lane, subsequently the name of their house coffee blend, is an 18th-century warehouse, where they use their Diedrich roaster, a piece of beautiful engineering built to create a loving respectful relationship between bean and brewer. The Diedrich is also an environmentally friendly machine compared to other coffee roasters.

Luckie Beans offer coffee subscriptions, as well as the option to hire their coffee cart for occasions!

Coffee & Kin

The Coffee & Kin Team
The Coffee & Kin Team

The Coffee & Kin Bean Emporium is based in Alnwick. The team is a family affair, run by Northumberland native sisters Ruth and Kathryn, and their Australian husbands, Mark and Chris. With a goal of producing fine coffee that can be enjoyed at home, on par with foreign coffee culture, namely Italy and Australia where there is a lack of ‘chain’ coffee shops, Coffee and Kin have produced a selection of coffee beans, coffee pods, which are compatible with Nespresso machines, and coffee accessories.

Coffee and Kin have set up a foundation to support communities where coffee is grown so when you buy their products you are supporting coffee farm communities. It is a key to their mission to create products that are socially and environmentally sustainable. Their coffee pods are compostable, as a response to the plastic packaging crisis. Coffee & Kin‘s mantra is Brew Good. Do Good. Feel Good. It is important that their customers feel this way about their products as much as the Coffee & Kin team do. Their beans are roasted nearby on Holy Island, by the Pilgrims’ boys. As well as having a monthly subscription service, they run a business to business (B2B) service to supply local outlets such as farm shops, hotels and holiday lets.

Coffee Culture – A Part of the Daily Grind

Coffee shops have popped up all around towns in the UK. It is estimated that were 24,061 coffeehouses in the UK in 2017[3]. Cafes and other variants have been around for centuries and have been an integral social lubricant across all cultures from the Ottoman coffeehouses in Turkey to Starbucks in Seattle and Fika breaks in Sweden – a coffee usually served with a pastry or cake[4].

Coffee lovers rejoice in the new movement of coffee. Tastes have changed and these new artisan coffee roasters are at the forefront of this movement where sophisticated blending and high quality in terms of beans and coffee-making is king. Coffee is turning into an art form rather than your average cup of Joe. Share with us your favourite, local third space!

How do you like your coffee?

Which blend is your favourite from the Northumbrian roasters? Join in the discussion on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.