6 of the best coffee suppliers in Bath and Bristol
by Jess Carter
06 March 2018
This month we're all about the bean; we've been talking to six of the best local coffee suppliers to find out who's got the roast with the most.
6. Girls Who Grind Coffee
In a workshop on a farm in Upton Scudamore in Wiltshire lives Aunt Edie. She’s a bright yellow Giesen W6 roaster, and is the third member of the newest roasting team out of this six. This all female biz – which also includes humans Casey Lalonde and Fi O’Brien – hunts down coffees that champion women and their economic empowerment. This might mean the beans have come from a female cooperative, been through washing stations managed by women, or grown on a farm owned by a woman. They seek out these coffees and bring them – and their stories – to South West England. They’re especially stoked about a current Congolese coffee they have. Why? Well, it makes a great-tasting, smooth and silky espresso, for starters, but there’s more to it than that. It’s produced by Rebuild Women’s Hope, a not-for-profit initiative established in 2013 by 29-year-old Marceline Budza, to help change the lives of Congolese women. Find these ace coffees at Palmer Street Bottle in Frome, Wolf Wine in Bath, and Milk Teeth in Bristol.
5. Roasted Rituals
Established in 2012 by Patrick and Tahimoana Grant-Sturgis, this micro-roastery is based in Hengrove, Bristol. Constantly rotating its offering in sync with the seasons, it has around 10 different varieties on the go at any one time (that’s plus its seasonal house blend espresso, Highground). Right now the team have a pretty special new Nicaraguan coffee in the roaster that they’re rather excited about; Maracaturra is the result of cross-breeding Maragogype and Caturra varieties, and is a very big, dense coffee bean. Try a cup and see if you can taste notes of orange, red apple, and jasmine. Roasting around 200kg of coffee a week, this is a small but mighty outfit; it focuses on modest amounts of coffee, but goes big on quality. Working in batches of 12kg, they use a state of the art drum roaster along with specially designed software to get the ideal roast for each variety.
4. Easy José
Not only is José Melim a former South West and Wales UK Barista Championship winner, but he’s also a Speciality Coffee Association-authorised trainer. And, as you may have guessed, he’s founder of Easy José – a Wiltshire-based coffee roaster. These guys are pretty green; they use a Loring Smart Roast, which is the most eco-friendly gear on the market, with reduced energy consumption rates and less smoke emission than your average machine. Among the team are fluent Spanish and Portuguese speakers, which comes in handy as they spend as much time as they can with growers, and like to deal direct with the farmers and communities that their beans come from. Lots of their coffees are organic and exclusive – their work with indigenous communities helps with that, allowing them to have a real involvement throughout the whole growing process. You can find said coffees in retail outlets all over Bath and the surrounding area, or buy direct from the team.
3. Wogan Coffee
And here’s the longest-established biz on this list, having been founded by Brian Wogan way back in 1970. Still located in Bristol, the team also still uses the original roaster that Brian bought that very same year – a 1968 90KG Probat – alongside a couple of newer, smaller roasters for speciality coffees and roast testing. Speaking of which, these guys are always playing with and sampling new coffees: right now, they’re especially into a variety that comes from a small co-operative, CENCOIC, in the Cauca Department of Colombia. La Laguna Reserva is a farm of 12 families within CENCOIC which produces a smooth, citric coffee. This number is a friend to all brewing methods, and has super-high ethical standards, too. As well as this there are a host of other bespoke blends that Wogan creates, using 30 (give or take) origins and farms. Most of those are staples, but some rotate regularly, reflecting what flavour profiles the team and their customers are loving at the time. Find Wogan’s entire range at the roastery and shop, just next to Cabot Circus.
2. Triple Co Roast
The name of this small indie company comes from founder Jo Thompson’s three missions: to roast high-quality coffee beans in small batches; to buy green coffee via direct trade with bean farmers; and to have great roaster-to-customer relations (they even have an open-access roastery to that end). Part of the Elemental Collective on Stokes Croft, this microroastery has just turned three years old, having been conceived by Bristolian Jo when he was out living and studying in California. Triple Co roasts all of its beans relatively lightly, to retain each variety’s characteristics and individuality, and they don’t roast differently for filter and espresso here, either: “I believe if a coffee has acidity, or a certain taste, then it is better to exhibit that well, rather than roast it out or manipulate the bean,” Jo tells us. Find Triple Co’s beans in Elemental or online – and you can drink their coffee in cafés across the area.
1.Round Hill Roastery
It’s an exciting time for the team at this Midsomer Norton roastery; they’re having a brand new roaster built for them in Germany. Bigger, more modern and more powerful, it’s going to let these guys up their production and get more great coffee out to their stockists and customers. Round Hill has between five and seven different coffees on the go at any one time, with a new release every 10 days or so. Head roaster Tim Gane is currently in Colombia sourcing 2018’s coffees, while founder Eddie Twitchett has been in El Salvador and Guatemala, and hopes to visit some more producing countries throughout the year. He really is all about the farm: “Variety is not super-important to me; some of my all-time favourite coffees I couldn’t name the variety – just the farm!” You might have noticed Round Hill’s coffee before – it comes in brightly coloured bags, pink for espresso and blue for filter. Find them at Green Park Station’s market every Saturday, as well as in cafés and outlets across the local area.