It all started with one significant purchase. Lisa Lawson had been in Australia, backpacking around. She found a job and learned how to roast coffee. When she came back to Glasgow, she sold wine and then ran a cafe. She still had a keen interest in the coffee world and often thought about everything she’d learned, where and how the beans are grown, their different flavours and preparations.
Then came the moment of truth. Lisa bought a second-hand coffee roaster machine. It’s here, now, seven years later, in a bright, open room at the back of the Glasgow Collective building on East Campbell Street, off The Gallowgate. The first premises for Dear Green coffee was at The Briggait. They grew from there and expanded to their current showroom.
That original coffee roaster is still here, a handsome contraption with brass plating and a distinctive funnel. It faces neat piles of coffee bean sacks, arranged by country of origin. There’s a second, slightly larger, more modern looking roaster beside it, where Lisa is currently consulting a laptop and preparing for the next batch of coffee. There will soon be a third machine, as production increases.
The process remains led by the small team of experts who prepare speciality grade coffee beans.
They sort, roast, grind and brew coffee every day here. Part of the work revolves around preparing the little pouches that are sold direct to customers or shipped out to cafes and bars. They parcel up and dispatch coffee blends worldwide from the East End of Glasgow.
Locally, you’ll spot Dear Green at places like Riverhill, Spitfire cafe and other independents. Glasgow’s probably underpopulated by coffee shops, but the scene is growing. Brewdog is a major client, putting their signature blend of Dear Green Coffee in all their bars.
Another key part of the business is training new baristas and developing relationships with the staff from cafes they work with. There’s a very smart coffee machine and the Dear Green gang make an excellent cappuccino.
Sitting here, looking at the roastery, it’s possible to join up all the dots and have a greater appreciation of the effort that goes into a cup of coffee. I’m told about the direct sourcing of coffee beans, the exacting standards that separate speciality beans from what you would expect from a mass produced industrial scale coffee. There’s ethical sourcing policies to comply with and visits to the farmers themselves. Every bean is inspected and processed.
If you want to find out more, Dear Green are bringing back the Glasgow Coffee Festival to showcase Scotland’s speciality coffee culture in a two day event. Everything coffee related will be found at The Briggait on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th May.
Part of the activities will include the official UK Brewers Cup, sanctioned by the Speciality Coffee Association. Expect to see some interesting coffees, cafes and roasteries represented.
The fun will continue with masterclasses, flavours, presentations, film art and other coffee contests. All profits will go to nominated local and international charities.
Find out more here.