2019 Reflections

Thank you to all of our suppliers, customers and partners for working with and supporting us throughout 2019. We’ve had a great year at Chimney Fire Coffee with lots of highlights and plenty of learnings; a few of which are documented below.

 

Forming the right relationships

Sourcing coffee the right way is as the heart of what we do and thanks to our customers we’ve been able to invest a lot more in this area over the past year. In February we visited El Salvador, met Tomas and purchased 690kg of his delicious coffee. Tomas is extremely passionate about his farm, adopts good farming practices and his coffee has added a lot to our range – open a bag and get that strawberry hit to see what we are talking about!

We also roasted coffee from Jose & Luz, Jorge and Miller as part of the ShareTrade initiative and with the support from our customers and partners, over $2000 has been invested into sustainable farm transformation, including additional land for farming and farm improvements, such as new drying facilities at Jorge’s farm.

In many cases we have sourced from the same grower or group of growers for the second consecutive year, such as our Ethiopia from the Biftu Gudina cooperative for example. Long-term relationships are really important for us, as we want to treat coffee producers the same way a café treats a coffee roaster and work together for the long-term.

 

A year full of surprises

We had a couple of big surprises this year, the biggest of which was when we picked up the first ever Time & Leisure Taste Award at the Hurlingham Club in South West London. We were also part of an impromptu Royal Visit HRH the Earl of Wessex, exhibited for the first time at the London Coffee Festival, and welcomed the Taiwanese Forestry Bureau for a roastery tour and discussed a variety of topics ranging from brewing to Brexit!

Three’s the magic number

Elizabeth has been an absolute trooper this year, roasting over 9 tonnes of coffee and training many of our wholesale partners how to get the perfect extraction, whilst Nikki has been busy supporting the digital side of the business and our new Office Coffee Club initiative. Aside from that Phil, Jeremy, Mike and Alex have all helped enormously. If you’re interested in getting into coffee, keep an eye out for a new production role at our roastery early next year.

Coffee is at the heart of what we do

Earlier this year we launched the Office Coffee Club, to enable employees to club together for better quality coffee in the workplace. We created a separate brand from this part of the business as it had a very specific function however, we made a mistake in not showcasing what we do best – to responsibly source and roast speciality coffee. Chimney Fire Coffee is at the heart of everything we do and will be more prominent in the Office Coffee Club offering next year.

Realise what you do well…and repeat

Aside from the sourcing and roasting, our experiences have formed a core part of what we do at Chimney Fire Coffee. Providing information about the whole process, from bean to cup, creates a better experience and if you think of coffee being similar to wine then you’ll be off to a good start. We’ll be running coffee experiences at our roastery every weekend in 2020.

All good things must come to an end

Ripley Farmers Market has been a staple throughout the past two years but at the end of this year it felt like the right time to wind it down and focus on other areas of the business. Although it was great meeting customers, it was difficult to avoid a lot of wastage with speciality coffee having a short shelf-life and spoilt easily. Thanks to everyone who has supported us at the market – if you’d like to keep stocking up on our coffee, please call in and see us at Ranmore Common or take a look at our coffee subscriptions to get freshly roasted coffee delivered direct to your door.

 

If you have any questions about what we do or would like to find out more about coffee in general, please get in touch. Wishing you all the best for 2020 – Dan

DAN WEBBER

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