Coffee Roasters In the UK
Roasting coffee to extract the flavours is both a science and an art form. The speciality coffee phase pioneered by the antipodes, swept into the UK mid-2000s. This introduced a wide variety of high quality coffee which started to get roasted in the UK. Today, there are hundreds of coffee roasters in the UK. These vary from the well-known and established brands to the niche artisan British roasters that are dotted all over the country.
This is our list of some of the coffee roasters in the UK that we like. The greatest concentration of roasters is around the South East of the UK. Many of these roasters are in and around London, and specifically in and around Shoreditch.
Some of the roasters in this list are large successful international companies, others are small specialists who see themselves as artisans hand roasting coffee. What all these coffee roasters in the UK have in common is their passion and dedication to celebrating coffee and providing the perfect set of beans or grind for your type of brew.
1. Monmouth Coffee Company
Monmouth coffee company is the oldest of the coffee roasters in the UK on our list. Anita Le Roy who founded Monmouth Coffee is a pioneer of the British speciality coffee industry and takes an extraordinary place in the history of this industry. Monmouth started roasting coffee in the basement of their coffee shop in Covent Garden in 1978. This means they were on the coffee scene for nearly 25 years before the next set of specialist coffee roasters began in the UK. It also meant that this was at a time when the coffee supply chain was obscure and traceability of beans to farms was impossible. Even getting small batches to roast rather than industrial roasting of coffee was difficult. Anita had an impossible time getting what today is taking for granted. She has seen the British speciality coffee evolve to what it is today.
After working with a traditional roaster for some years, they now use a Petroncini roaster which is perfect for hand crafted coffee. Monmouth Coffee Company today directly source interesting coffees from the Americas, Africa and Asia by forming relationships single farms, estates and cooperatives. The roasting of the coffee is carried out in their Maltby Street premises in Bermondsey.
Ozone started coffee roasting by hand back in 1998 in New Zealand by Jamie and Karen Hodson. They sold the brand onto Craig Macfarlane a few years later. With the number of Aussie and Kiwi baristas in the UK over the next few years, Craig saw the opportunity to open up a branch in London. Ozone opened UK operations in 2012 and their café is one of the landmarks (especially for the coffee enthusiast) in Shoreditch, London. Ozone UK was co-founded by James and Lizzie Gurr.
Ozone in London today is a very popular specialist coffee roaster with a hip split level café with the iconic vintage Probat roaster occupies pride of place in the basement. Their tasting experience introduces you to coffee beans and roasting and something to try if you love coffee.
3. Square Mile
Square Mile is an award-winning coffee roaster based in East London. Square Mile was set up in 2007 by James Hoffman & Annette Moldvaer. James was World Barista champion in 2007 and is the author of the renowned book on coffee, the World Atlas of Coffee which we think is one of the great gift ideas for coffee lovers. The other co-founder is Annette Moldvaer. Annette started as a Barista and is a world cupping champion and the green coffee buyer at Square Mile.The combination of these two world class coffee professionals is that Square Mile is renowned for the consistency of their coffee that they supply to many cafes. Square Mile uses the Probat 15 and 35kg roasters that date back to the 1950s and these roasters are manually controlled.
4. Nude Coffee Roasters
Nude Coffee Roasters is a British roaster based in Shoreditch. Nude Coffee Roasters was set up by childhood friends Richard Reed and Gerard Fisher. Richard got into coffee from his student days and worked in the Canadian coffee industry before returning to the UK. Gerard moved out of his technology career and the two opened Nude Espresso in 2008. The two founders have ensured they have both learnt all aspects of the business.
In 2014 they moved their roasting to the state of the art roasting machine called the Loring Smart Roaster. This roaster provides an 80% reduction of gas use over traditional roasters. This sustainable eco-friendly roaster is favoured by some specialist coffee companies like Nude. Nude sources its coffee beans from farmers as well as experienced green bean buyers and like to rotate their selection.
5. Allpress Espresso
Unlike many speciality roasters who are small and niche, Allpress Espresso is an international company with operations in several countries. Allpress Espresso was started by Michael Allpress first as a coffee cart in Auckland, New Zealand in 1986. It has large international operations, roasting coffee in New Zealand, Australia, Japan and UK. The Allpress Espresso UK operations began in 2010. Despite being such an international company, Allpress is still very passionate about flavours of coffee. They have therefore created their own roasters, which use the Hot Air Roasting method they are proud to have pioneered.
Alchemy Coffee began roasting coffee in 2008. Joe O’Hara had established a coffee event specialist company first. To control the quality of the coffee, he then established Alchemy Coffee. Alchemy use an 85-year-old traditional roaster to extract flavours out of their coffee. Alchemy Coffee have a subscription service if you would like to try their wide variety of coffees.
7. Dear Green
Dear Green is a speciality coffee roaster based in Glasgow where they are held in high repute by coffee lovers and retailers. It takes its name from Glasgow, which is also known as the Dear Green place. The founder Lisa Lawson is also the head roaster. She has had experience working in the Australian coffee industry.
Dear Green has established direct relationships with coffee producers. Dear Green uses a 12Kg Probat machine for roasting. Today they provide advice, sell equipment and beans to retailers and consumers, provide SCAE training other than roasting coffee. They also have a subscription service to try their coffee.
8. Origin Coffee
Origin coffee roasters was founded in 2005 and based in Cornwall. Tom Sobey the owner of Origin coffee has kind of inherited his passion for coffee since his parents ran a coffee franchise in Cornwall. He set up his own company Origin Coffee working with a local roaster initially.
Starting with a Diedrick roaster in 2008, Origin quickly upgraded to the eco-friendly Loring smart roaster. Origin coffee roaster supply some of the finest restaurants and hotels in the Uk. Origin has 70% of its relationships directly with coffee producers and aspire to get to 100% of direct trade.
9. Coffee By Tate
One of the other surprising well reputed roasters on our list is Tate Roasters. Tate Roastery is on the premises of the Tate Britain in London in the 2nd World War Nissen Hut. For most museums, the catering division is a profitable business unit. Tate decided they wanted to source coffee and roast it onsite to create their own speciality coffee to serve in their cafes. This idea became a reality in 2011.
Today they roast coffee on the Probatone 25kg. They are especially proud of paying more than the required fair trade price. In their words, “a skilled roast is about fully developing the potential of a coffee”. Tate offers a subscription service if you would like to try a variety of their coffees.
10. Union Hand Roasted Coffee
Union is proudly able to say that their coffee is amongst the top 2% in the world. Union was set up by Jeremy Torz and Steven Macatonia back in 2001. But the two co-founders have a history of coffee roasting that trace them back to The Seattle Coffee Company. They are also the brains behind the CoffeeClub subscription service. Union directly buys and works with farmers around the world and have multiple single origin coffees. They roast in small batches but still sell through supermarkets like Waitrose. Union consider themselves as artisans and believe in hand roasting small batches of coffee. They have a subscription service for those of you who would like to try their coffees.
11. The Roasting Party
The Roasting Party was founded in 2013 by Aussies, Kirby Sinclair and Westley Cusick. The Roasting Party is based in Winchester. The founders of The Roasting Party started their coffee careers in the Australian speciality coffee market with Kirby working as a barista and Westley doing the roasting. They supply the Beany Green in Paddington as well as the Coffee Lab in Winchester and several others. They use the Probat 12Kg roaster to create their speciality coffees. The Roasting party much prefer the approach of creating espresso blends rather than single origin coffees.
12. Rave Coffee
Rave Coffee is a small coffee roaster based in Cirencester in the scenic Cotswolds. Rave coffee is owned by Rob Hodge and his wife Vicky. Rob worked in Australia as a barista and also worked through the chain including the coffee roasting. Today, Rave have about half a dozen staff and sell both wholesale and retail, blends and single origin coffee. Rave Coffee source their coffee through brokers who have direct relationships with the producers. They use a 15Kg Toper to roast their coffee.
We’d encourage you to try out different roasters to taste a variety of coffees. As you develop your palate, you’ll find your favourite coffee roasters in the UK. Good luck!