12 Independent Coffee Roasters You Need To Know
“Even bad coffee is better than no coffee at all.” So said filmmaker, visual artist, and all-around weird guy David Lynch. Well, at least that’s what he said according to a quick Google search I did for ‘good coffee quotes’. While Lynch might have been onto something, and I’ll be the first to admit that I can’t function at 100% without a bit of caffeine in my system, we’re also firm believers here at MOB Kitchen that life is too short for bad coffee.
More specifically than that, we believe that life is too precious for bad coffee. The coffee industry has long been tied to a history of colonialism and slavery and there are still many companies (far too many for comfort, to be honest) that are happy exploiting workers to make a profit. That is bad coffee. You should not be drinking that coffee. You should be drinking coffee that’s been ethically sourced and roasted by people dedicated to supporting and championing the growers and communities who have worked so hard to get that java into your morning mug.
If you’re looking to support independent businesses who actually give a shit – which we sincerely hope you are – then you’ve come to the right place. From Calendar Coffee to Perky Blenders and Girls Who Grind Coffee, these are 12 independent coffee roasters (based in the UK and Ireland) that should be on your radar.
Girls Who Grind Coffee
Girls Who Grind Coffee are an all-female small-batch coffee roastery based out in the wild, wild west of south-west England. Somewhere around Wiltshire, to be exact. GWGC source specialty coffees exclusively from female producers and work at a tireless pace to help empower women in the coffee industry. How badass is that?!
Hard Lines Coffee
Hard Lines is a coffee shop and roastery based in Cardiff that has got some of the best branding in the coffee scene. Not only do Hard Lines’ lovely bags of caffeine look great but – with a whole-bean and ground coffee offering that spans from tropical-scented Peruvian beans to a Brazillian house roast that boasts a Black Forest Gateau flavour profile of chocolate and cherries – they taste pretty grand, too. You can also rest easy knowing that all of the coffee at Hardlines has been sourced sustainably; their aim is to build long-lasting relationships with their points of origin and an equally long-lasting with consumers like you, too. Slide into their DMs today, MOB – it might just be the start of something beautiful.
Use the code ‘MOBCOFFEE’ at checkout to nab yourself 10% off.
Founded by Zarah Lawless and Dan Boobier in 2017, this Galway roastery has set out to make a difference in the coffee industry by employing a seasonal-only policy and stringently following the harvest calendar. The coffees and origins that Calendar Coffee work with are constantly changing, depending on which countries are harvesting at the time, and the result for you, the caffeine-craving coffee drinker, is a diverse range that’s bursting with flavour all year round. Zarah and Dan are also committed to helping the planet out, too, and are constantly on the lookout for ways to reduce the company’s carbon footprint. They even offset the shipping emissions of every bag, box and bucket of coffee that leaves the roastery through a reforestation project in County Clare. This is excellent coffee from excellent people.
Founded in 2004 by Tom Sobey (whose father also worked in the coffee business), Origin Coffee is an independently owned speciality coffee roaster that’s committed to sourcing top quality coffee with a sustainable approach. Origin takes inspiration from Australian coffee culture but it's their strict sourcing, as well as their immaculate roasts, which helps them stand out in the UK as a B Corp certified business. Through their admirable and stringent direct trade practice, Origin is able to support all of their farm and mill partners directly while also giving you peace of mind through a transparent traceability of the coffee that’s gone into your cup. Beans range from grassy and floral to deep and earthy. Give them a whirl, MOB.
Bailies Coffee Roasters
Bailies Coffee Roasters are an absolutely world-class coffee roaster. The Belfast-based company specialise in coffees sourced from quality-focussed farms and co-ops and pride themselves on forming ethical, sustainable, and long-term relationships with their coffee farmers and communities. When it boils down to the coffee itself, Bailies use the latest roasting technology to create some stunningly individual roast profiles. Every coffee remains true to each specific farming partner's wishes while also bringing out the best aspects of that energy-packed green bean. You can get a real sense of terroir with the perfectly balanced blends that Bailies puts out into the world; coffee that shines best on its lonesome but still make its presence known when combined with milk or milk alternatives.
Common is a coffee roaster based out in Fife, Scotland that was started by Jason Harvey and Ash Blythen: two entrepreneurial kiwis with a shared passion for quality coffee. Common employ an ethical and inclusive approach to all of their sourcing and there’s a real no-nonsense Antipodean spirit to the way that they present their product to the masses. By only having four roasts (‘Strong’, ‘Sweet’, ‘Bright’, and ‘Complex’) available and, in limiting that selection to only the best of the best, Common do away with any highfalutin coffee jargon to focus on delivering you the goods in the simplest terms possible. Each of Common’s coffees has a high level of traceability, so whether you’re drinking a brew that tastes like a ménage à trois of orange, peach iced tea, and honeycomb or slamming a cortado with a toasted almond tang, you can always find out more info about where those beans came from. We’d recommend getting all four in a set to see what Common Coffee is all about.
Easy José Coffee Roasters
How does getting your hands on some sustainable specialty coffee that’s been grown by the indigenous people of Peru's eastern Amazon Rainforest sound? Pretty sick, right? Easy José Coffee Roasters might hold their roots in Shepton Mallet, but they’ve got a direct partnership with the indigenous Mayni Community in Peru that allows them to help those people grow incredible specialty coffee while also protecting Rainforest biodiversity. It’s an ethical and sustainable sourcing model that you should really get behind, MOB. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that all of Easy José’s coffees are bright, flavourful, and roasted to absolute perfection.
What started off as a little coffee cart outside St James’ Street station has rapidly become one of London’s most tried and trusted coffee roasters. Perky Blenders’ signature blends of expertly sourced, blended, and roasted coffee can be found stocked at over 50 stores across the UK. There are myriad reasons why they’re a trusted roastery (reasons like “their coffee is sourced sustainably, from trusted suppliers” and “their blends taste absolutely banging”) but you should really see what all the fuss is about for yourself. PB’s various coffee subscriptions mean you’ll never be without a quick and quality caffeine fix.
As Scottish roasters and wholesalers of coffee, Unorthodox Roasters has a fairly, well, unorthodox origin story. The company was created after founders Chris Bode and Neil Buchan quit their jobs and spent over 10 months travelling across all the major coffee-producing countries in South and Central America. The result of that java jolly is a roastery that prides itself on single-origin coffees where you can really taste the effort of the farmers and coffee plantations involved. Unorthodox’s CO2 neutral bags come in sizes of 250g, 500g, 1kg, and 2.5kg with beans from South America, Africa and Oceania all featured prominently. The ‘Yellowcake’ from Kenya and ‘Circus Breaker IPA’ from Ethiopia are just as exciting and intriguing as their names suggest.
Foundation Coffee Roasters
Foundation Coffee Roasters describe themselves an “an independent coffee roaster, good vibes provider and equipment supplier”, and if that hang-loose approach to coffee hasn’t already endeared you to founder Jack Farmer’s cause, then I don’t know what will. Based in St Ives, Cornwall, Foundation are out to ply you with high-grade speciality coffee made using the best possible ethical practices with minimal environmental impact. Foundation deals with coffee farms and mills directly whenever possible and underline the importance of transparency within their supply chains. All of Foundation’s beans are roasted using a burly Giesen W15A to create a haul of blends and single-origin brews that zing with depth and flavour.
Outpost Coffee Roasters
Outpost carefully selects greats lots and roast in-house in Nottingham to ensure that all of their coffees reach an impeccably high standard. When it comes to the ethical side of things, Outpost have made it one of their goals to provide better pay and support for the growers, who are themselves committed to growing stand-out coffees, through good farming and processing practices. They’re basically going about everything in the exact way that you’d hope a good coffee roastery would be. With a wide variety of coffees available, Outpost are guaranteed to have at least one bag that’ll blow your caffeine-deprived mind. These are beans and blends worth losing sleep over, MOB.
Climpson & Sons
Climpson & Sons have been sourcing and roasting some of the UK's finest coffees from the bloody, beating heart of east London since 2005. In fact, they're one of the big reasons why finding good coffee in Hackney has become so laughably easy today. With an ethos that places a focus on sustainability and ethical sourcing protocols, Climpson & Sons ensures that all the coffees they roast and sell have come from a good home. They believe in rewarding quality by paying a higher price to their producers (as they should) and it's that positive karmic attitude that we're huge fans of here at MOB Kitchen. Check them out.