I love coffee. I love the smell, the taste, the way it makes me feel. I love trying different origins, roast profiles and travelling the world meeting the farmers. I pinch myself when I think this is my job, my career, the income that puts a roof over my children's heads.
I get a sense of pride when I look at our client list or walk into one of my coffee shops, I genuinely want to shout out "Hey that's my name over the door, the coffee's on me everyone!" Owning a brand that produces and distributes the black stuff allows me to meet people for a coffee and say I'm working. It's where our bean team hatch new ideas, talk about problem customers (and how to win them over), it's how I meet budding entrepreneurs whose new ideas will revolutionise the industry. Cold Brew, Nitro Brew, Infusion Brewing, Clever Dripper, V60 "Hey dude, can I get that coffee to go steamed...." So where are these ramblings taking me?
Recently I attended the London Coffee Festival, in Shoreditch (of course) and was blown away by the innovation that's fuelling the hype in our industry. 30 different milk types, leather clad espresso machines, brew bars that bear more of a resemblance to a pharmacist’s lab than a coffee shop and more beards than a barbers’ convention in Baghdad. I was in my element - a real grown up kid in a sweet shop. But what I really wanted to discuss was supply chain logistics, taste profile continuity, truly recyclable disposable cups, SLAs (and SLGs come to mention it) Not cool stuff but the backbone of what we do. The types of questions my food service customers ask me on a daily basis; and could I get a straight answer? No.
I feel our industry is going through the "Nouveau Cuisine" stage; tiny little portions served on large plates with lots of frothed jus, served luke-warm and over-priced..."You have to try this single origin, honey processed El Salvadoran peaberry; so lightly roasted the parchment’s hardly removed, so bright it's like drinking lemon juice infused with quinine. There's a 4 week lead time but, hey dude, it's worth the wait." I kid you not, I started to develop an unhealthy craving for a quarter pounder with cheese....served quickly.
I did however, taste some amazing coffees made by really passionate Baristas and met some brilliant stalwarts of our industry: Jeremy from Union, Chris from Conti and the guys from Frank & Ernest (the kings of cold brew) but I couldn't help thinking our industry is starting to forget what the main drivers are for commercial success. Real provenance, cool branding, sustainability, taste profile consistency, next day delivery, brilliant training; real, passionate people to answer the phone when you want to order coffee and let's not forget cost. Yes, I said it. My business focuses on delivering a service that ticks these boxes, not just churning out the latest dish. You can't afford to slip up when you produce over 90,000 cups of coffee per day for some of Britain’s largest companies but that's not to say we don't innovate.
On the 5th June this year Paddy & Scott's is 10 years old, we're going through a really exciting rebrand that will see the launch of some seriously sexy products, our own farm project and a new coffee range that will genuinely blow your socks off, all available on a next day delivery...
It's about fuelling ambition.
It won't be about fake chains, tattooed hipsters, or it being "all about the bean" it will focus on how coffee makes you feel, how we can better serve our customers not just in London but all over the UK and the rest of the world. It's about doing great things and fuelling ambition. Our coffee roasted your way...and I can promise you this Emperor will be wearing jeans and a t-shirt - you really wouldn't want to see me naked.
Scott Russell is Founder & CEO of Paddy & Scott's Coffee, not a bad lad and likes to waffle over a coffee.