WE ASKED THE GUYS BEHIND ROOT & BRANCH COFFEE IN BELFAST, BEN CRAIG AND SIMON JOHNSON TO ANSWER A FEW QUESTIONS FOR US!
This month I’m super excited to bring you two fantastic coffees from Root & Branch, whilst also getting an exclusive release at their new packaging before it even gets launched!
Tell us about Root & Branch Coffee and why did you guys start roasting coffee?
We started roasting because we had been using a white label roaster in London whilst we did pop-ups. Simon’s background is biochemistry, and he was interesting in the use of new technology to play with the coffee chemistry and manipulate flavour profiles.
Also, given both Simon & Ben had backgrounds in the charity sector, we ultimately wanted to be involved at a deeper level in the coffee pipeline, enabling us, for example, to have some impact at origin either through the prices we pay or other social engagement.
What is the best coffee experience you’ve had ever?
For Ben, it was whilst he working in the outdoors in Queenstown, New Zealand. A macchiato in Joe’s was the tipping point into the world of coffee. Simon's, perhaps heretically, was over instant coffee. Whilst on a solo motorbike trip to the far end of Siberia, he ended up coming off his bike in Mongolia and stayed with a nomadic Mongolian family in their yurt until his wrists mended up enough to carry on. Each morning he’d get up and share some instant coffee with them. He claims that even instant coffee has a place sometimes, but only under very extenuating circumstances!
Tell us about the coffees featuring in this months box?
We’re actually featuring coffees from two origins we’ve never featured before. We were able to samples some macerated natural coffees, all with varying degrees of maceration and for us, the 24 hour window offered the best balance between complexity, funk, and sweetness. Pegasing is from a young farmer called Hendra on Sumatra in Indonesia. Hendra began to work with his dad in 2010 and began to experiment with coffee. He metaphorically disappeared down the rabbit hole and is now one of the foremost specialty coffee producers in Indonesia, having left wet hulled processing behind, he’s still experimenting and producing unique coffee that is scoring extremely high and is testament to the work and investment he’s putting in.
Tell us something uncoffee related about yourselves?
Ben, when he was younger than he is today, once came third in the world wave kayak championships in Huntington Beach California. Simon has had more lives than a cat…fact!
What is the plan for the future? World domination?
Our plan for the future is to continue to refine what we do. Coffee doesn’t stand still, and with speciality being relatively new, there are all kinds of exciting developments yet to happen, so we’re excited to play our small part in pushing things along.