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Coffee Club

From the Archives
July 2021

Each month we pick a fine coffee from an independent UK roaster, to kickstart your day, and support fellow small businesses.

Blossom's Las Peñas

This month's coffee is from Blossom, an independent roaster based in Manchester, which started as a business right in the middle of the pandemic, and has a heavy emphasis on sustainability.

About Blossom

We spoke to Andy Farrington, co-founder and head of sustainablity about Blossom's mission, starting-up during a pandemic, and their own support network as a small business.

Leapers: How long has Blossom coffee been running, and what prompted you to start this business?

Andy: Blossom has only been operational for just coming up to year (yep, we did launch during a global pandemic) but the team here have been involved in speciality coffee for many, many years and we’ve all had the privilege of honing our craft at some of the industry’s best establishments. And whilst we are lucky here in the UK to have some incredible roasteries, we started Blossom as a way to bring our own focus to how we can help protect speciality coffee for future generations in the face of new and ever-changing challenges caused by climate change.

Starting a business during the pandemic must have been an interesting challenge - how did you find that?

We would be lying if we said it hasn’t been a bit of a rollercoaster year to have launched a business, but we’ve had an extraordinarily talented bunch help us along the way and we’ve been totally blown away by the support of all our customers so far. It’s always a little scary stepping out into the unknown and wondering if people will actually like the thing you spent so long creating, but the feeling when they do is incredibly rewarding.

Is this your first business? What has the most surprising aspect of setting up your own business been? Is there something you wish you'd known before starting?

This is our first venture out into being business owners and it’s very much been a case of learning on the job and making a handful of mistakes along the way. But in a lot of ways, launching during the initial lockdown back in March 2020 helped us to concentrate energy into fine tuning the logistics of the business without the pressure of being as busy as we might have expected to have been in normal circumstances. That said, if we could have been told one piece of advice back then it would be that those emails can wait until the morning.

Is there a story from starting your business which you're especially proud of?

Becoming one of the first roasteries in the UK to be officially certified carbon neutral was an incredibly proud moment for us and took a lot of hard work behind the scenes. And by sharing our calculations and annual emissions directly on our website, many other companies have been in touch to say how helpful they have found our materials for helping to make structural changes within their own businesses.

Leapers mission is to support small business owners and their mental health - how have you found running your own business has affected your mental health?

The first couple of months were a challenge and we heaped a lot of pressure on ourselves to always be working to get the business of the ground. There was a strange feeling of guilt associated with taking time off away from the computer in those early days. But you quickly burnout and over time we have realised that we are much more efficient and better at our jobs when we have a better work life balance.

What does your own support network look like? Who do you turn to when you need advice and support, or just someone to make you a cup of coffee?

We’ve been very lucky in a business sense to have support from our local business growth hub who have always been on hand to answer questions and point us in the direction of free resources and mentors. But we have also benefited massively from how open and supportive the wider coffee community is, if we ever get stuck on something there is almost always somebody in the industry who has come up against the same issues and is more than happy to help you out.

The independent coffee scene has exploded in recent years - do you think coffee and entrepreneurial spirit go hand in hand?

It’s so exciting to see more and more people start to seek out higher quality coffee and support their local independents and it seems as though this movement is only growing post pandemic. Being openminded and willing to get stuck in will take you a long way in the coffee industry.

You've put sustainability at the heart of Blossom - why is this important to you?

As with many of life’s luxuries we currently take for granted, coffee is facing a challenging and uncertain future. As temperatures rise and extreme weather grows more frequent, coffee becomes increasingly susceptible to diseases, pests, and drought, while productivity and quality both fall. World Coffee Research have predicted that without immediate intervention, 46-49% of land currently used for coffee production will become unsuitable by 2050. We need an urgent but thoughtful shift in the way we buy and consume our morning pick-me-up, and we all have an essential role to play in igniting conversations around the role our buying habits play in protecting our natural environment. For us, this means inspiring more people to fall in love with speciality coffee and encouraging them to be part of a movement that helps to protect it for future generations.

If you were to give some advice to someone considering starting their own business - what would you say to them?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, nobody ever has all the answers themselves.

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Blossom's Las Peñas

Taste: Peach, vanilla and red apple
Municipality: Huehuetenango, Guatemala.
Producer/Farm: Pedro Aguilar Mendez
Variety: Caturra, Catuai and Bourbon
Process: Washed
Roasted for: Filter

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