Celebrating 10 years of specialty coffee

Celebrating 10 years of specialty coffee

This year, we’re celebrating our 10th year in specialty coffee! We are buzzing to have made it this far and can’t wait to see where the next 10 years take us.

From humble beginnings roasting small amounts of coffee and selling it at farmers’ markets to now operating our roastery in East Rounton, we’re so grateful to everyone who has supported us over the last decade.

In this blog, we thought we would share the story of Rounton Coffee. We’ve been letting our followers on social media behind the scenes. Don’t worry if you missed this as you can catch up on Instagram by checking out the ‘Our story so far’ highlight.

Year 0

Just over 10 years ago, our founder David was working in engineering but decided to quit his job and go travelling. For over 12 months he toured across Europe, Russia, Asia Pacific, and then through South and North America. But it was when he visited Sumatra that things changed for him. Sumatra is where things changed for David, and where specialty coffee became the purpose of the travel.

Founder of Rounton Coffee David Beattie in Sumatra

From here on, the idea to roast coffee had begun.

Year 1

Back on home soil, he and Tracy started roasting small amounts of coffee on a small sample roaster, and selling at farmers' markets across the region. No matter the weather, rain or shine, they were out every weekend selling coffee.

Year 2

This was a particularly difficult time for the business, especially as the following year, David’s employment ended abruptly. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom as he had just go the keys to The Granary in East Rounton, which we still call home today.

The Granary in East Rounton

It took a lot of hard graft to get the space up and running but it was worth it! Once up and running, a new 10-kilo roaster arrived as well as the first pallet of coffee.

Year 3

The following year, the company received its first-ever (but certainly not the last) award.

Gaining recognition from Yorkshire’s Finest Taste Awards for the effort being put into the business was such a milestone for the team.

David and Tracy at Yorkshire’s Finest Taste Awards

As well as a trip to Tanzania to see the team at Tembo Coffee, David got the keys to our first coffee house in Middlesbrough. This meant more hard graft to get up and running.

Year 4

What a year! The Rounton Coffee heirs, Oliver and Jude arrived. It was a very busy time for David and Burts who squeezed in power naps at the roastery.

The founders and heirs of Rounton Coffee

Year 5

Traceability and sustainability have always been at the core of what we do, and this still stands today. Our purchasing decisions can positively impact those that we buy from and this has always motivated us to understand our supply chain more.

Burts visited El Salvador to meet with Joe Melina at his farm Bosque Lya in year 5. We have been sourcing our specialty coffee from Joe from day one and it still tastes as good as it did than today, if not better!

He was a very busy guy that year as Burts also became a Q Grader. And it was fantastic news for the business as we bagged another award!

Burts became a Q Grader

Year 6

The following year, the business was going very well, so we invested in a 30-kilo roaster, which we were very excited about. However, the excitement soon wore off. A massive power surge frazzled the control panels, which meant our new roaster was now broken.

But if we thought this was bad, little did we know a pandemic was coming our way the following year.

Year 7

When COVID hit, we were determined to keep positive. If the business was going down, it was going down with a fight. Like many others, we had to quickly adapt our business overnight. Only one member of staff was allowed in the roastery at one time, which made it difficult to roast coffee and pack orders. Luckily we pulled through!

We created a specialty coffee NHS blend for support workers working on the frontline called Nightingale Coffee. We delivered this to hospitals, hospices and other care settings. Also, we donated coffee-making equipment to James Cook Hospital so staff could have a caffeine boost.

It wasn’t all bad, like we said, we were determined to make it positive. We bagged another award and developed relationships with farmers and organisations, including Agri Evolve, that are still going strong today.

We launched our most direct coffee yet, Rwamantamu. Our relationship with Bernice and her husband Luke from Rwamatamu Coffee started when Bernice was working in our coffee shop! At the time, she was studying at Teesside University with the plan to take over the family farm once her parents retired. We've been lucky enough to follow her and her husband Luke's journey as they make their dream a reality.

Luke and Bernice from Rwamatamu Coffee

Year 8

In year 8, we got back into the swing of business and hired our new Head of Coffee, Jamiel, and Account Manager, Sam.

We hit a long-term goal of ours and joined the global movement 1% for the Planet. To learn more about our pledge, click here.

Year 9

Most recently, David took a trip to South America. During the visit, he caught up with our Peruvian coffee farmer Roger Chilcon and Brazilian coffee farm Pedro Gabarra. One of the hallmarks of Rounton Coffee's journey has been its lasting relationships with coffee farmers around the world. It was during his trip to Brazil that the idea for the latest coffee drop, Pinhal, came about. He sampled the new beans and saw the impact Pedro’s and his family’s conservation efforts were having in the local area. To read more about the Wings Project in Brazil and our donation to Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, click here.

David Beattie and Pedro Gabarra

The relationships we have formed with organisations and farmers over the years are the foundation of our commitment to sustainability and supporting the livelihoods of coffee-growing communities.

Year 10...

As we embark on our next chapter, we can’t thank everyone who has supported us over the year enough. If it wasn’t for you, we would not be here.

THANK YOU and here’s to the next 10 years!