How did you first get involved in the coffee world?
While working in coffee and cocoa traceability, I was fortunate enough to see how much work goes into producing a high quality cup of coffee at the farm and wanted this to be the main focus of Chimney Fire Coffee when it was setup in 2016. We’re passionate about transparent sourcing, working directly with farmers and sharing their stories, as well as delivering consistent, high-quality speciality coffee.
Why Chimney Fire Coffee?
I started roasting many years ago on a wood burner. Snap, crackle and pop… and the rest is history.
What’s your proudest moment to date?
I was really proud to receive the Time and Leisure ‘taste’ award a couple of months ago and so surprised to win, as I was probably the scruffiest person on stage! There were 22 other finalists and so it was a fantastic achievement for everyone involved, especially our head roaster Elizabeth whose passion for quality is second to none.
How do you go about sourcing new coffees?
Sourcing new coffees can be fun and often involves a lot of tasting. Before tasting, we’ll work with the grower to find out everything about the coffee and then we’ll sample roast it in different ways to make sure we are getting the best out of the bean.
If pressed, do you have a particularly favourite Chimney Fire Coffee?
This is a difficult one and changes all the time! At the moment, I’m really enjoying our El Cipres from El Salvador, which has a real mix of flavours.
What is your ethos when it comes to taking on new suppliers?
We look to form long-term relationships with farmers that share our ethos on quality and transparency. For example, I went out to visit Tomas and his farm in El Salvador earlier this year and we were sold on the coffee as soon as we tasted it.
What do you think are the biggest misconceptions Brits have about coffee?
Speciality coffee is still often seen as being fussy and niche. We’re trying to change that perception by making it more accessible through offering a range of coffees to suit different tastes and with our light-hearted ‘bean to cup’ coffee experiences.
Have you noticed British tastes changing in recent years?
Although people do tend to have a favourite, we also see people wanting to explore and try different coffees side-by-side. There are so many variables that affect taste – from the varietals and processing methods in origin, to the different roast profiles and, finally, the different brew methods. I’d encourage anyone looking to get into coffee to taste as much as possible to get the full experience.
Are people ever surprised by the spectrum of flavours on offer when tasting at your roastery?
One of the most rewarding parts of working in coffee is seeing people’s reaction to different coffees. Every coffee has a different flavour profile and we work hard to make sure we offer a range of coffees to suit different tastes. During our coffee experiences, we quite frequently see each guest having a different favourite.
You’ve launched the Office Coffee Club now as well – tell us a little about that and how people can get involved...
The Office Coffee Club encourages anyone with an appreciation for coffee to team up with their colleagues and enjoy better coffee throughout the working day.
We want individuals to enjoy the group experience of deciding what coffee they’d like, the social aspect of making it and the joy of a great coffee fix. Alongside enjoying great ethically-sourced coffee, the club features elements such as such as group voting on coffees and access to experiences where we can come to the office or members can try the coffees at our roastery in Surrey.
If anyone would like more information about this new initiative, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org / 07921 805596 or head to our website at officecoffeeclub.com.
What’s next for Chimney Fire Coffee?
We’re looking at increasing our range of coffees with at least one origin visit next year, most likely to the Santa Cruz cooperative in Peru who we have been working with for some time now.