the best uk specialty coffee roasters
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The Best UK Specialty Coffee Roasters in 2023

Every coffee roaster has their own vision of what they want a cup of coffee to be. All of the coffee on offer here is a reflection of the roaster, and what he or she thought best to highlight from the green beans.

In no particular order, we provide you with each roaster’s background, ethics and vision; but we want their coffee to speak for itself. We all have our own palate with likes and dislikes, so we suggest that you pick the roaster you most respect and let their coffee beans do the talking.

Make sure to also check out The Best Coffee on Amazon UK for even more options.

Colonna

Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood, the owner of Colonna, needs little introduction.

His journey into coffee began some 10 years ago in Australia. Since then, his passion for coffee has led him to become the UK Barista Champion no less than three times.

The coffee roasting business was started just a few years ago alongside the existing coffee shop Colonna & Smalls located in Bath.

Colonna offers a changing menu of specialty coffee beans divided into four exciting categories: Foundation, Discovery, Rare and Decaf.

Foundation provides good, clean, aromatic specialty coffee that’s sure to please everyone.

Discovery pushes the boundaries of what coffee can be, exploring processing methods and showcasing different coffee varieties that are designed to challenge our perception of coffee.

Rare showcases exclusive lots and rare varieties such as geisha from award-winning farms that have been meticulously processed to ensure a complex and delightful cup of coffee.

Colonna has also developed Nespresso-compatible capsules that have been painstakingly tested to produce as good a cup as can be from pod coffee.

Websitecolonnacoffee.com
Roast daysMonday & Thursday
Bag sizes250g / 150g
Bag price£12+
P&PFree (Royal Mail 48)
International shipping?Yes
Decaf?Yes

Has Bean

Has Bean is a firm favourite of mine and for many a cafe up and down the country. What I really like about the man in charge, Steve Leighton, is how he’s just a normal bloke that’s into coffee. There’s no pretentiousness.

Steve has always had a curious love affair with coffee ever since childhood, asking his parents for a filter coffee machine at the tender age of seven.

As Steve got older, his love for coffee only grew and grew. So much so that he would buy green coffee beans from America as the supermarket offerings just weren’t cutting it.

Dissatisfied with his work life and having to work several jobs, Steve had the epiphany of turning his passion into a job.

From humble beginnings selling coffee three times a week on a market stall in Stafford, Steve has become one of the most recognised coffee roasters in the country.

The customer service at Has Bean is what really sets them apart (apart from their coffee, of course). It’s absolutely outstanding. Has Bean is a big roasting company, but the business is run like a family.

Has Bean offers a huge selection of specialty coffee to suit all tastes, which is also what keeps me coming back month after month.

Part of the team at Has Bean is none other than the 2017 World Barista Champion, Dale Harris. Dale won the competition competing, of course, with a coffee expertly roasted by Has Bean.

Not only is Dale a World Barista Champion, but he’s also a smashing bloke, something I can confirm from visiting their brilliant roastery in Stafford several years ago.

Websitehasbean.co.uk
Roast daysMonday to Friday
Bag sizes250g
Bag price£6.50+
P&P£1 (Royal Mail 2nd Class)
International shipping?Yes
Decaf?Yes

Square Mile

One of the biggest hitters in specialty coffee roasting is London-based Square Mile run by James Hoffmann and Anette Moldvaer.

Square Mile isn’t just big in the UK but throughout the whole world. James rose to fame after winning the World Barista Championship in 2007 and set up the roastery with Anette a year later in 2008.

Receiving a pack of their specialty coffee is always something special with their impeccable attention to detail in everything they do.

The coffees are outstanding and never fail to please. The bags also come in larger-than-usual 350g packs, which really allows you to sink your teeth in once you’ve thrown a few cups getting it dialed in.

James Hoffmann is extremely influential in the specialty coffee scene and even has a YouTube channel with at least one new video to watch each week. If you’re at all curious about anything to do with the world of coffee, then you should check it out.

Websiteshop.squaremilecoffee.com
Roast daysMonday & Thursday
Bag sizes350g
Bag price£10.50+
P&PFree (Royal Mail 24)
International shipping?Yes
Decaf?Yes

Workshop

Workshop coffee roasters was founded in 2011, two years after first conceiving the idea when its founder, James Dickson, was made redundant by the estate agency he was working for.

James’s vision was one of ‘opening a destination venue dedicated to an integrated approach of truly excellent coffee.’ James wanted input into the entire coffee chain: from sourcing to roasting to brewing.

Their first cafe opened in 2011 and was soon followed by another just a few months later. The company soon also began supplying other independent cafes with whole bean coffee, such was the quality on offer.

In 2013, Workshop began selling its specialty coffee online. This meant that the home enthusiast could receive a pack of delicious coffee straight to their door.

The business now operates five cafes in London as well as their new roastery, a 325 square metre (3,500 sq ft) dedicated production space.

Their coffees are none other than spectacular. They’re intensely sweet and fragrant, opening your eyes to what coffee can really be when it’s made with love and attention.

The coffees on offer do come at a premium, however. They’re one of the most expensive to make our list. Saying that, even if you can’t afford to buy from Workshop on a regular basis, give it a go just the once as a treat. You will not be disappointed.

Websiteworkshopcoffee.com
Roast daysMonday to Thursday
Bag sizes250g
Bag price£11+
P&PFree (Royal Mail 48)
International shipping?Yes
Decaf?Yes

James Gourmet

James Gourmet coffee roasters, founded in 1999, is a family-run business located in the market town of Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire.

On appearances, James Gourmet may not seem as slick in their presentation as some of the others on offer here, but don’t let that fool you.

James Gourmet is a very well-respected coffee roaster that you can find in some of the UK’s best cafes, including the iconic Prufrock in London.

The prices are extremely approachable, and they only offer specialty coffee as standard. Add to this that the company is investing in recyclable packaging and also using Europe’s first eco roaster, and you can’t go wrong.

James Gourmet offers a very wide selection of coffees, from single-origins to blends to organic.

Websitejamesgourmetcoffee.com
Roast daysTuesday & Thursday (organic coffee on Wednesday)
Bag sizes250g
Bag price£5+
P&P£1.72 (Royal Mail 1st Class)
International shipping?Yes
Decaf?Yes

Origin

Origin coffee roasters are one of the oldest and most favourite on our list. Founded by Tom Sobey, Origin have been sourcing and roasting coffees now for the last 15 years.

Freda Yuan joined the team last year from Caravan coffee roasters where she worked as their green coffee buyer. Freda’s new role at Origin is as Head of Coffee.

Freda has impressive credentials. She won the SCA UK Cup Tasters in 2017, 2018 & 2020 and gained 3rd place in the World Cup Tasters 2017. She is also a licensed Q-grader and a SCA UK Sensory Judge.

Through their 15 years in the business, the company has established sustainable relationships with the producers and pays at least 50 percent over Fairtrade prices, without exception.

This is impressive, especially given Origin’s extremely approachable prices. No doubt the company absorbs a lot of the money paid to the producers so that we, the customer, can enjoy lower prices.

Origin’s coffees are another of my personal favourites. They’re clean, juicy, aromatic, with crisp acidity. Their attention to detail is seen not just in their coffees but in their packaging too.

Websiteorigincoffee.co.uk
Roast daysTuesday & Friday
Bag sizes250g
Bag price£7+
P&PFree (Royal Mail Standard Delivery)
International shipping?Yes
Decaf?Yes

Assembly

Assembly coffee roasters is an award-winning coffee roastery founded in 2015 that is now based on Ferndale Road in Brixton.

Assembly’s co-founder is Nick Mabey, the 2018 winner of the UK Roasters Championship. Nick was formerly the account manager and barista trainer at Assembly’s sister brand, Volcano Coffee Works, which is also based in London.

The company is instantly identifiable for the beautiful artwork found on their packets of coffee that was designed in-house by the team.

The coffee can be purchased either online from their website or by visiting their various wholesale partners across the city.

Assembly offers an impressive selection of single origin filter coffees from Latin America, Africa and Asia, as well as single origin espresso and a house espresso blend.

Prices start from £10 for a 200g bag, which makes Assembly the priciest option on our list. They also offer 1kg coffee bags, too.

Amongst the offerings are limited-edition coffees such as their Colombian geisha and a collaborative effort between Assembly and Omotesando Koffee, which is a blend from multiple origins.

Websiteassemblycoffee.co.uk
Roast daysMonday to Friday
Bag sizes200g / 1kg
Bag price£10+
P&P£1.99 (Royal Mail Tracked 48hr)
International shipping?Yes
Decaf?Yes

Caravan

Caravan coffee roasters operates out of a huge, 790 square metre (8,500 sq ft) redeveloped Victorian warehouse on North Road in Islington.

The facility houses offices, labs, its roastery, a space to hold training and events, and a climate-controlled green storage to ensure that the coffee is kept in optimum conditions.

Caravan has a decent line up of espresso and filter coffees to choose from. Choose between a traditional espresso blend or a single origin. Amongst the filters are the usual single origin offerings, but Caravan also has their famous Special BRÜ filter blend, which is now celebrating its tenth anniversary.

The coffees come in bags of 250g or 1kg, with prices starting from £9.50. They’re all offered as either whole bean or ground for filter.

Caravan offers a subscription service that can be delivered weekly, fortnightly or monthly. However, unlike the other roasters on the list, the company insists on you committing to a minimum of three months when you purchase on of their subscription services.

Websitecaravancoffeeroasters.co.uk
Roast days
Bag sizes250g / 1kg
Bag price£9.50+
P&P£2.05 (Royal Mail 2nd Class)
International shipping?Yes
Decaf?Yes

Kiss the Hippo

Kiss the Hippo is a relative newcomer to the specialty coffee roasting scene. Founded by Can Eren, the company boasts an enviable management team.

Wholesale manager, Paul Ross, is the current 2020 UK Barista Champion, and the Head of Coffee, Joshua Tarlo, is the 2018 UK Barista Champion (and runner up this year to Paul).

The company’s logo, a red hippo on a white background, is everywhere to be found on the company’s merchandise.

As well as serving exceptional coffees, at the company’s core is being as environmentally friendly as possible. Their website states that the roastery ‘is powered using 100% renewable energy, which means all of our coffees are roasted carbon-neutral.’

The coffee is roasted using the Loring Smart Roaster, providing 80 percent fuel savings and reduction of greenhouse gases compared to conventional roasters.

The roastery is also certified as organic by the Soil Association. Kiss the Hippo sources at least 80 percent of their green coffee from certified organic producers.

The coffees on offer are, of course, of the highest quality. Many have been processed using alternative methods, yieldly pleasantly interesting coffees.

Kiss the Hippo also regularly features rare varietals. Last year, they had perhaps the most famous of them all, Panama’s Hacienda La Esmeralda geisha on offer. It’s one we hope returns this year.

Websitekissthehippo.com
Roast daysMonday & Tuesday with dispatch on Wednesday
Bag sizes250g / 150g
Bag price£10+
P&PFree (Royal Mail 24)
International shipping?Yes
Decaf?Yes

Calendar

Calendar is a coffee shop and roastery based in Galway in the Republic of Ireland. Yes, the ROI is not part of the UK, but Calendar is just too good to leave off the list.

Founded in 2017 by Daniel Boobier and Zarah Lawless, their focus is to challenge people’s perception of coffee being a commodity product that we use just to fuel us through our busy day.

They settled in Zarah’s hometown of Galway with the intention to educate and enlighten the public to what coffee is when it’s made with care and attention.

The pair learned their craft working side jobs for Workshop coffee roasters in London, which leaves you in no doubt that the pair gained invaluable inexperience and really know what they’re doing.

The coffees are juicy, clean and sweet. Some of the offerings are sourced from Nordic Approach, a specialty green bean supplier whose offerings are some of the best in the business.

The funky illustrations on their packaging is the work of Cadi Lane. The pair were inspired by the whimsical illustrations of Danish beer brewer Mikkeller and wanted the same fun approach for their coffee branding.

Calendar is also focused on the sustainability of coffee as global warming takes its toll on our planet. As a member of ‘1% For The Planet’, Calendar gives one percent of its sales to support the work of environmental non-profits.

They also donate €0.50c from every kilogram that they sell of their TEAMWORK Seasonal Espresso to support the work of non-profit organisation World Coffee Research, which provides farmers with what they need to adapt in our rapidly changing climate.

Websitecalendarcoffee.ie
Roast daysTuesday with dispatch on Wednesday
Bag sizes250g
Bag price€12.50+
P&P€5 to ROI and UK. Free for 2+ bags in ROI.
International shipping?Yes
Decaf?Yes

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