Thanks very much for your time, can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi, I’m Lisa, I’m the founder of Dear Green Coffee Roasters, a company I set up ten years ago as I couldn’t find a good coffee anywhere! 🙂
What was your introduction to specialty coffee and how did this inspire the beginning of Dear Green?
I first worked in coffee in Australia in the year 2000, I worked in a start up roastery and learned everything from roasting to being a barista and a had a bit of a crash course in running a start up business too!
What’s something everyone should know about Dear Green?
That our prime focus is to make coffee better! We have learned so much about sourcing, roasting, brewing and how ethics can underpin every decision we make. We want to share our knowledge, our product and our passion far and wide! We’re so proud to have visited coffee farmers all over the world and also to have achieved B Corp certification recently which audits our commitment to people and planet over profit!
Can you give an insight into your role at Dear Green and what a day in the life involves for you?
Every day is so different for me, I don’t do any one role. Today I’ve done some roasting, some cupping, some deliveries, digital marketing and general admin as well as catching up with customers, suppliers and some other contacts about some exciting new opportunities for us!
Dear Green will celebrate their 10 birthday this year, what have your highlights been so far?
Every trip to origin has been an absolute highlight and an extremely humbling experience. So many more to mention though… Where to begin! The early years were fun as there wasn’t a well established local coffee network but there was an excitement around the beginings of it, we have enjoyed being part of that local story through kick starting the Scottish Aeropress Championship, establishing the Glasgow Coffee Festival as well as starting the UK Roasters Championship
Earlier this year you became one of the first Scottish companies to became B Corp certified, massive congratulations! For anyone that may not be aware can you explain what B corp is and what this means for Dear Green?
Thanks Mandy! We’re so proud of being able to achieve this certification! In short, the B Corp are a community of like minded businesses who prioritise people and planet over profit and are audited by B lab, a third party organisation. The audit focusses on five pillars of business activity, policies and impact, these are environment, community, customers, workers and governance. We decided to go through the impact assessment process as we’re dismayed by the bold statements in our industry and we wanted to ensure that our own were audited and transparent and that we have a framework to follow to ensure that we can be even better in business to the benefit of what’s so important to us, our people, our supply chain, our customers and our planet! We’re excited to be supported on this journey in coffee by B Corp!
Dear Green are the founders and organisers of Glasgow Coffee Festival, can you give us a bit of insight into how this started and what hosting this event involves each year?
The Glasgow Coffee Festival was an idea I had after attending many inspiring coffee events and festivals and wishing there was one in Scotland! The event would never have happened if it wasn’t for the amazing team at Dear Green and the wouldn’t have continued and grown year on year if it wasn’t for the support of the coffee community and everyone who attended the event! We’re looking forward to hiring a venue and hanging out with all of our coffee industry friends again as soon as it’s safe to do so! Until then we created a COVID friendly coffee event and are hoping we can run that again in the mean time!
Is there anyone in the coffee industry that inspires you or that has influenced you?
Too many! If it wasn’t for my experience with Toby and Jo in the early days of Tobys Estate Coffee in Australia over 20 years ago Dear Green wouldn’t exist now! Since then I’ve always been supported by, trained by and championed by so many industry professionals including John Thomson of Coffee Nexus who is an absolute legend and we’re so lucky to have him based in Scotland. I’ve been inspired by so many women led coffee cooperatives and by other coffee roasters who have formed they’re own path, supported others and led the way like Square Mile, North Star, Mother Tongue, Sonja Grant. Just far too many to mention!
What are your thoughts on the current coffee scene and the coffee culture within the UK?
It’s been fast ride over the past 10 years and this last one was a tough year for everyone but with a great learning curve and great business successes and new openings too! The coffee industry is full of many independent businesses and entrepreneurial businesses who are resilient, creative and inspirational. I’ve always found the coffee culture to be progressive and friendly and innovative plus it is constantly growing! An exciting scene with more to come for sure!
Do you have a favourite coffee origin and what tasting notes do you look for?
My sensory training has made sure I am always going for coffees with the most complexity of flavour, the most natural sweetness and mouthwatering acidity with a rounded body! African coffees are usually my favourite with Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda having some incredible examples of high quality coffees. Our current Ethiopian washed from Bombe is delicious and a favourite in the roastery, possibly seconded by our Colombian coffee from the AMACA womens cooperative, it’s so vibtant and fruity and great value for money, plus they are the last coffee producers I visited pre pandemic so that influences my choice!
Lastly, do you have any upcoming projects that we should keep a look out for?
We are always working on something! Right now our main focus is on getting back to where we were pre pandemic, finding a safe way to get our training courses back on track and supporting our customers whilst always sourcing the best coffees and roasting them to their best flavour point. We’ve had a reset and the it feels good!