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.
Espresso & cinnamon pancakes
So pancake day is almost upon us, and this year it also happens to fall on my birthday!! So, a double reason to have something delicious. I thought I’d get a little ahead of the game this year and post this recipe ahead of Shrove Tuesday. This is mainly because my diary on Tuesday is looking rather like a car crash, and it wouldn’t be right to miss out on pancakes.
From a food perspective, I think in the UK we have a mixed approach for pancake day. Some of my family have already got US style pancakes down pat (celebrating the influence of our amazing American cousins!). My mum makes fabulous traditional home made pancakes, which are large and thin, more similar to a French crepe. My memories of pancakes when I was a kid was having them served with lemon juice, sugar and sultanas. Sometimes the sultanas were cooked with the batter, and the first pancake was typically the runt of the litter - thick and gloopy - I personally loved that one!
So in true tradition of The Garden Roastery, I have looked for a coffee theme - who doesn’t like a cuppa Joe with their pancake? But this year, I have gone one step further. Espresso and Cinnamon pancakes!!. Yes, I’ll admit it, the recipe was created on the hoof, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the result.
I am the kind of person who cooks by the grace of luck, hope and innovation, so I apologise in advance that I cannot give you exact quantities here. (I can hear kitchen perfectionists groaning at me at this point).
I beat the pancake ingredients until I got to pourable yoghurt consistency. As the flour and egg interact you can keep adding flour/milk to get the perfect consistency. I like to leave my batter after beating for 10 mins, you will see bubbles form. You may need to add a little more milk for the last few pancakes as the mixture will have naturally thickened.
Heat a little butter in a frying pan, don’t let it burn, wipe it around the pan with a little kitchen paper. Test the pan with a drop of the pancake batter. When is starts to slowly thicken the pan is ready. Slowly pour half a ladle of mixture into a circular shape in the pan, wait for it to start to cook before adding more pancakes. Cook slowly on medium heat, on both sides. Wait until small browned areas appear and the pancake starts to rise. You will see the colour lighten as the inside of the pancake starts to cook. At this point small bubbles will raise inside the batter. When you find that a little pressure on the pancake bounces back, remove them from the pan.
Serve on a plate and drizzle/sprinkle toppings to your heart’s delight!
Hi Coffee Lovers
Whenever I get to this time of year between Christmas and New Year, I always find myself in a reflective mindset. For me it’s a time to think back on the year past, before launching myself into the New Year with as much gusto as I can muster.
So what of 2019? The headline for me and The Garden Roastery is Wow! This was my first full year since the Roastery was established and I can’t tell you how pleased and happy I am about how things have gone. As many of you will know, I started roasting as a hobby, after training as a specialist coffee roaster a few years ago. Within a few months, the friends, to whom I was giving my surplus roasts, insisted on paying for them and so that was it, The Garden Roastery business was formed.
As I look back on 2019, I have to say that by far my top reflection is all the wonderful people who have supported my business. Along with those closest to me, my family and my wonderful friends, the customers of The Garden Roastery have made my year! I can’t tell you how blown away I have been with the amount of support that both I personally, and the Roastery, have received. From customers who I have met in person, to those who I have met online, I have been blessed with many pieces of positive feedback, support, referrals and recommendations. When you run a small business, with sales on-line, it’s so powerful and empowering to receive that support. So I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to all of you who have supported me. From those who choose the Roastery as their coffee supplier, to those who are supporting a local business, to all the social media likes and shares from further afield, as well as the biggest form of feedback by personal recommendations. I couldn’t do it without you.
As I trawled the internet, looking at the various beauty products available, something started to jump out at me....Coffee!? ....Coffee face mask....coffee body scrub.....The more I looked, the more I saw. Coffee coffee coffee. Wow, I thought, who knew?
Coffee, coffee, coffee!
I am that type of person that, once I have an interest, likes to really get into the detail of the topic..(I can feel my friends and team frantically nodding at this point :) ). So there I was, page after page of internet info about coffee in beauty products: the benefits; natural skincare ingredients that work well with coffee; how I could prepare ingredients for my own personal skincare....and then it happened ....light dawned! If I would like to be able to prepare my own personal skincare products, using natural ingredients and get them just right for me, other people would probably like to do the same. In that way, the product can be perfect for the individual’s need.
Those of you who know me will be aware that it’s not as though I have plenty of time on my hands. With a busy business career, that has periods of international travel, a long commute and running The Garden Roastery, there is plenty to do. In amongst all of that I also try to fit in family time and exercise.
However, as always this autumn, I’m in planning mode. So what’s next? Where will my passion take me? One of the things I love about having my own business is the ability to be agile and try new things. When you own the risk, the possibilities are endless! So my latest musings are on new coffees and new products but as always, without the hype.
What many of my customers don’t realise is that I have a day job. I have a busy role in a engineering company, with a fabulous team and daily positive challenges which I love, but roasting and my coffee business are truly my passion. I found a hobby later in life and now it’s taken on a life of its own. From day 1, with a £5 note in an envelope, to a growing client base, both local and further a field. I am truly humbled to have my speciality roast coffee recommended by my customers to their friends, and I regularly receive new enquiries and orders. From one off gift purchases, to over one third of my business from repeat customers, I love what I do. I get so much pleasure from chatting to customers and understanding what type of coffee they like to drink. Importantly I also get to support local people and charities which is close to my heart.
Lisa - Roaster by Passion