For those of you who have been following The Garden Roastery for a while, you may remember that this time last year I was feeling pretty deflated. My beautiful old roast machine (Daisy) had been struggling with breakdowns and was needing significant maintenance. I felt like I had lost my coffee mojo with repair times and costs affecting my small business.
So, after some soul searching, I decided that rather than dwell on the negatives I needed to take control. After spending some time thinking of all the things that I love about what I do, and remembering to consider the skills I have (and those that I don’t) I started planning. Shortly after which I was delighted to be asked if I would be interested in supplying my first catering contract and The Garden Roastery coffee became available at the lovely Chataways Tea Room and Shop. From then my energy grew.
In March I spent time at the CoffeeMind Academy in Copenhagen (pictured with the wonderful Morten Munchow below) to refresh my roasting skills and excitement. Following my trip, I made a big purchasing decision to buy a new roast machine, to enable increased production and reduce risks in the business, and soon took delivery of an Aillio Bullet (Mindy) pictured below.
It’s not all been plain sailing, I have continued to balance the demands of a small business with a busy corporate career, which I love and at times I have certainly overstretched myself. Additionally, the doubling in price of green (unroasted) coffee beans around the world has stretched every roaster to the limit. Trying to manage costs, in order to keep prices affordable for customers, is an ongoing challenge.
So, what’s next? You may ask. Here I am again at year end - trying to step back, take a look at the bigger picture and focus on my priorities. For 2024, I would like to commence a series of coffee events, spend time at a fully operational coffee plantation and continue to refine my skills, whilst maintaining the heart of the business - to provide high quality fresh roast speciality coffee to my wonderful customers.
So, thanks for coming along for the ride and here’s to the next 12 months.
Getting a decent cup of coffee when you are travelling can be a challenge. Even the most hardy of speciality coffee lovers have been known to slum it on the go and reach for the instant, or even the dreaded conference coffee flask - and there is no shame in that. However, there are just a few simple considerations for you if you would prefer to drink a better quality cuppa when on the go.
These photos of beautiful roasteries are from my recent visit to The Dordogne in France. Above left is the Brulerie Sarladaise and above right (plus coffee pic) is Cafe Layac.
I set the intention to refresh my coffee skills, immerse myself in the coffee world and reignite my passion. Even though I had some nerves, I booked a trip to Copenhagen to spend a week in the Coffee-Mind Academy. I studied for a higher level of roasting qualification, undertook practical and written exams and passed!! For which I was certified by the Speciality Coffee Association as a Roasting Professional. The learning from the course has given me new skills, loads more knowledge and major new energy for my business.
Time to buy a new roaster...
The other key objective for the trip was to decide on which new roaster to buy. As my business has grown, I need extra capacity to roast more coffee, and I was seeking to upgrade my technology to achieve even better results with my roasts. My original roast machine, Daisy, is getting older. At Coffee-Mind in Copenhagen there are many roast machines to try and I was able to understand the pros and cons of each, relative to my business. By the end of the week I knew which machine was going to be right for the next stage of my coffee journey. When I got home, I placed an order and she arrives tomorrow. I am beyond excited and I can’t wait to show you.
What about Copenhagen as a city?
With so much stuff in my head before the trip about coffee training, I hadn’t had much time to think about where I was going, but, Copenhagen I love you! A beautiful city, super easy to get around, with people who are so genuinely friendly and helpful wherever I went. Fresh, delicious and innovative food and amazing coffee. The city has beautiful sites, with such a calm and peaceful atmosphere. I will definitely be going back!
So 'What’s Next? I hear you cry....
I had set the intention to develop my products and services and I would love to share more about coffee with my customers, face to face. One really important part of which is the sensory aspects, how to really understand, detect and describe tastes and smells in coffee. So, this month I will be undertaking a sensory training programme. So watch this space, as I start to plan products and activities using my new skills...
In the meantime, please keep following my journey. You can do this via Facebook and Instagram - @thegardenroastery. If you enjoy catching up on life at The Garden Roastery, why not tell your friends too..
For now, as always, thank you so much. Lisa x
It’s almost time to go…
On Sunday I fly to Copenhagen to spend a week at the Coffee Mind academy. I’ve always been a person who performs better if I am motivated. Five and a half years ago I trained at London school of Coffee where I passed my course and exams to become a Speciality Coffee Association certified roaster. I’ve just celebrated a big birthday and I’ve been running my small business, The Garden Roastery, for 5 years, so now feels a great time to press the injection pump.
So what’s in it for me? I am going to refresh and learn new skills, review new roasting equipment, network with fellow roasters, fill my brain with coffee geek facts and start the next chapter of my coffee story….. and I can’t wait!
What’s in it for you? Loads of great stuff! If you’re a customer, you will have a roaster who’s at the top of her game, seeking out new and exciting coffees and roasts for you to sample. If you like to keep up to date with life at The Garden Roastery, I’ll have loads more content and interesting stuff for you to access through my social channels and you can take a look at beautiful Copenhagen as I experience it for the first time.
Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark with fabulous Scandi style. As well as great coffee, there is beautiful architecture, canals, gardens and fabulous food! I will have some time to explore whilst I am in Denmark, as well as attending my training course and exams, so I’ll keep you posted along the way.
So what happens when I’m back? Well, watch this space. After returning from my course I’ll be planning updates to the Roastery offerings and then we are into festival season with London Coffee Festival kicking off at the end of April.
I can’t wait to take you on my journey.
So here is the year-end report that I wasn’t planning to write for 2022. For me the year has really been a game of two halves. Following my delight at the end of 2021, when I had doubled the sales figures for The Garden Roastery, I felt that I was already delivering a high quality and consistent service. The first half of 2022 started well, building on that joy and really feeling like I was getting somewhere with a significant increase in regular customers and wonderful feedback from customers who have been shopping with me for many years.
“But what about the highs for 2022?” I hear you cry!
Well great news, The Garden Roastery customer base has grown, with orders being dispatched across the UK. Local customer awareness has spread, and I regularly find myself being greeted with ‘oh you’re the coffee lady’ – that always makes me smile. There have been new product launches – the latest being the sell-out Coffee Travel Can and for the first time ever The Garden Roastery coffee and gifts are available for purchase at another local business.
So, what’s next?
Those of you who are fans of The West Wing will recognise the phrase… 'What's next?'
What does 2023 hold for me and The Garden Roastery? Well, it’s onwards and upwards. I have been qualified as a Coffee Roaster since 2017, through the Speciality Coffee Association. But it’s time to refresh and top up. So, this year I am planning to travel to Copenhagen for the next stage of professional roaster training, exams and qualifications. I can’t wait!
I will also need to start looking at new equipment, and I will be using my training trip to scout out the best roasting machines before considering an upgrade to help increase capacity and let Daisy start her well-deserved retirement.
Product development will definitely be on the cards with consideration of a range of subscription packages.
Support and networking – I really want to spend more time networking with and supporting other local businesses. It provides such a boost to meet others in a similar situation and share great ideas. I have a business degree and 30 years experience which I hope can help others.
Last but not least, I want to give more back and support worthy causes where I can. Whilst The Garden Roastery does not have the funds do make large corporate donations, I will absolutely be looking for opportunities to support worthy causes and reduce environmental impact whilst providing the best service possible to my customers.
Keep the faith...
I’m really looking forward to this year. I’ve got a big birthday coming up and that is a big reason to focus on my passion. For all small business owners out there I do believe there is such a thing as a Small Business Imposter Syndrome. I think all small business owners at some point wonder whether they’re actually doing it right and forget how much they have achieved and how far they have come. There have been so many small businesses close with the recent economic challenges. But keep the faith! You do know more than you think, all the effort is worth it. Yes, it’s very very hard but don’t give up. Keep your passion, keep celebrating the journey, support each other along the way and together we will all keep small-business alive.
Thanks so much for all my customers and all those people who have supported the Roastery through 2022. Let’s look forward and have a wonderful 2023. Happy New Year!
Recently, I’ve been musing on the many changes in life and pace over the last 2 to 3 years. Whilst the pandemic has indeed been horrific for many people, I still can’t believe how much it has fundamentally changed many of our lives. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones and those still suffering. In other ways the pandemic appears to have made many people look at their lives in a very different way. Either forced by change in employment, and personal circumstances or by a personal choice. Life now is simply not the same as it was before.
For me - there has been a mix. Those of you who have been with me on this journey since the beginning of the Roastery will have long known me as a career girl (perhaps I’m stretching the latter term a little there..). For much of the last three decades I worked up to 60 hours a week with a long commute. I’ve always been incredibly lucky to have a role that I have loved and receive great support from frankly amazing people along the way. Yes - it’s been very hard work and many times I wondered about a change. I have been incredibly proud to receive some awards – I have been named in the British Car Industry top 100 females twice in recent years, received a Special Recognition 'Award for Innovation' and took up the opportunity to Chair the Board of a trade organisation. I’ve worked in the private, public and not for profit sectors. So, you may be wondering why am I telling you all this?? So, here’s the crux, I feel hugely proud and privileged to have has many amazing opportunities in my corporate life, but in addition, I have to tell you that none of them has produced quite the same feelings as running a small business. This part of my life has given me a whole different set of emotions, and I feel incredibly lucky to do both!
Training at The London School of Coffee
Over the last few weeks, I have been extremely busy and since the pandemic my weekly schedule has changed significantly. I now operate a hybrid work pattern, with a varying number of days in the office and other days based at home. I try to protect my roastery working time with a passion, because, simply it is a passion. Autumn commuting has become pretty unpredictable, with most days when I am in the office having a three-hour round-trip commute. So I am back on the road, coffee flask to go.
,So, what am I getting to here? - well this has all been leading to the inspiration for my new product (yes, the one that led to cheering and clapping this morning). We all have busy lives, and they all take different shapes, they can be unpredictable and, if you’re anything like me, you try to fit too much in. And so, the ‘Coffee to Go - Travel Can’ was born. The simplest yet most effective way I could design a product to enable us all (and yes, I will use one) to have a good cup of roast coffee, wherever we are. After finding many times at the start of hybrid working that I was not able to access a decent drink and with my travel increasing by the week, I wanted something that I could grab and go. A kit that was easy and well-made that I could top up whenever I needed. So, take a look….
The simplest most effective way I could design to enable us all to have a good cup of roast coffee wherever we are
People sometimes ask me - why and how I do what I do? I’m sure we could all ask ourselves that question……I’m still not sure of the answer to be honest. I see myself as someone who has never planned anything in her life. I work as hard as I can (generally too hard), I am sensitive soul and I never regret anything that made me smile. So, I plough on and try to put my energy into what feels right – trust your gut!
So, for now, this roaster is signing off ……
The Garden Roastery…. Coffee for people who want the flavour without the hype
It’s that time of year for something comforting to warm the cockles, and for coffee lovers why not something to build on our favourite beverage? Introducing Christmas Spiked Spiced Coffee. Whilst this warm cocktail can be made with standard roast coffee or even De-Caf, why not push the boat out? ........ well as my favourite childhood advert always said ..the ‘holidays are coming’.
If you’d like to make your own, head on over to The Garden Roastery shop, where you can buy your Christmas Whole Spice Coffee & Crystallised Sugar stirrers... then all you need to decide is what to add....
So this morning I woke up and checked my social feeds, to see that today is International Women’s Day. My first reaction was ‘well I wonder what that means?’ After a little research it’s clear that the focus of this day is raising awareness against bias, celebrating women’s achievement and taking action for equality. So I sat with my first cup of Sunday coffee and I started to think...
Positivity creates change...
I am a firm believer that positivity creates change, and I believe in supporting change that creates equality, by being respectful, appropriate and proportional, not ‘in your face’ and antagonistic.
So for me International Women’s Day is about positively supportive each other, celebrating success, recognising where change is needed and working hard together to achieve that.
I have been blessed with some wonderful male role models who have supported and encouraged me, sometimes providing a strong foundation of listening and advice, but also importantly shown me, sometimes with tough messages, that in life you have to crack on. As my wonderful dad would tell me ‘life isn’t fair’ and that’s true, so I worked hard, tried my best to support others and never wanted anything that I didn’t deserve.
So I’m sending a huge well done to all of those women forging ahead in their chosen path, a hand of support to anyone struggling in a difficult circumstances who may need to reach out for help, and true recognition to those men who support the incredibly important role of women in their lives.
Lisa - Roaster by Passion