Sunday, 27 September 2015

5 Questions - Avenue Coffee Roasting Co.

A few weeks ago, myself and Nicola paid a visit to Let's Eat Glasow, a fantastic food and drink event that showcased some of the best restaurants in Glasgow, as well as playing host to a pop-up market where independent producers from across the central belt turned up to promote their brand and sell their wares. 
The pop-up market was well attended with producers that we had met previously as well as a few that were new to ourselves. One business that caught our eye was Avenue Coffee Roasting Co who were turning a roaring trade by serving up freshly ground coffee from their own local roastery. 
We decided to grab a cup of coffee and whilst Nicola waited on her coffee brewing, I had a brief chat with Todd Whitemore, the general managed of Avenue Coffee Roasting Co, who spoke so passionately about the work that the team at Avenue do at their West End roastery and two coffee shops, that it was only natural that I had to put my 5 Questions to Todd.

Here's Todd's story;

How did you get started?

It's not uncommon to hear of people in the coffee industry who just kind of 'fell into it' - which is what I did: I started as a barista while I was studying almost ten years ago, and found it quite a nice transferable skill - I went travelling round the world with my girlfriend (now my wife) and was able to pick up work quickly using that skill. I worked in coffee in New Zealand and learned more in three months there than I had in eighteen months in Scotland, and it really made me want to develop and grow and learn more in the industry when I returned.

What’s the best piece of business advice you could give?

Keep it simple. That's more from looking back on the last 5 years and realising that we've probably made things a bit more difficult for ourselves than they needed to be - but hindsight is a wonderful thing isn't it? My mate's mum said to me once 'If you're not making mistakes, you're not making anything' which makes me feel ever-so-slightly better about it - we've definitely learned a lot in the last five years, but if we were to start from scratch again I think we'd make things a lot simpler. So yeah - keep it simple. Decide what you want to do, and focus on doing it really well.  

Where would you like to see your business in 5 years time?

I'd love us to be mentioned in the same breath as some of our more well known contemporaries in the UK and beyond - we have a fantastic product, so the work now is in getting some awareness and a bit of an audience. We're really proud of what we do, and we want to bring that to people. A couple more coffee shops wouldn't hurt either - it'd be nice to have a wee presence in some other coffee communities: Glasgow has a ton of momentum behind it coffee-wise, and it'd be nice to have that same feeling in a different city or two.

If you could only have one of your own coffees, what would it be & why?

Rocko Mountain Reserve from Ethiopia. Nailed on - I don't even have to think about it. When people first get into speciality coffee, it's often from tasting a delicately roasted Ethiopian coffee - one like this - it can be a mind blowing sensory experience. When you open the bag it smells like a bag of sweets, so fruity and complex and just the best thing ever. So I'd happily drink that every day and nothing else. 

You can invite one person (living or dead) to your last meal – Who would it be and why? …and what’s on the menu?

If it's my last meal EVER then I wouldn't want any serious chats (or, honestly, to learn anything - because I wouldn't be able to do anything with that knowledge) - just laughs and mischief and the wife ticks that box pretty well so I'd sit with her and have some macaroni cheese to start with, then a big ol' steak with sweet potato mash, broccoli and a nice peppercorn sauce, then some ridiculous dessert with peanut butter and salted caramel. Probably have two of those because why not? And then a nice Rocko to finish with. Then a couple of single malt whiskies and a cheeseboard. Done.

It's no surprise that the crowds were queueing around the Avenue Coffee stall because the coffee was deliciously rich and full of flavour. In fact, I need to pencil in a date to get across to the West End and pop in for lunch and maybe even get to see the roastery in action.

If you're a huge fan of the coffee bean and you're always trying to recreate your favourite coffee at home, the team at Avenue Coffee run Home Brewing Classes where you can learn to brew like a professional barista, making sure that you can always impress your guests with your newly found skills.
I would like to thank Todd for taking the time to answer 5 Questions and wish him and the team every success in the future. You can keep up to date with Avenue Coffee Roasting Co on Facebook and Twitter.

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