Blog Post Archive

Interviewing The Coffee Industry - Dominic Ide

 Today's guest on The Coffee Life is Dom - if you didn't know, Dom is my boss at Pallets.





How are you?

2020 was a tough year for me professionally and personally and in turn it has, at times, left me feeling overwhelmed and deflated but looking back over the year there is a lot that was achieved under the circumstances. My weeks consisted on juggling being a dad to my awesome little boy Angus, keeping Pallets afloat and changing the way it operated through Covid and creating a plan for the development of my second business The Beaulieu Bakehouse. Doing all this and working the shop floor of Pallets most days of the week was a huge challenge but you can only look forward and stay positive. Pallets is doing great and has come out the other side very successfully with an amazing team helping me all the way.



Where do you work, what is your job role?

I am the Owner and Director of Pallets Tea and Coffee House in Beaulieu and have recently taken on the lease to The Bakehouse Tea Rooms just down the road from us also in Beaulieu.




How has Coronavirus affected your job?

Well... What a question! It's affected everything. Pallets went from being a very secure coffee shop in the way it operated, to changing into a general store for our locals through lockdown and then a take away hub in the summer when we couldn't open the inside. I had to look at new ways that worked within the rules given from the government which would keep us above the break even point and it was achieved. Our local community kept us alive, gave us purpose and reminded me that I opened Pallets to be a place to connect people together so it was nice to be part of the glue keeping our community supported. The great thing about this was that now Pallets can operate in more than one way if we ever needed to and we know it can still be successful.



What has been the biggest challenge you faced in the Coffee Industry in 2020?

The biggest challenge for me personally again came down to keeping my business from sinking and keeping my staff safe. I love our customers, but honestly we have seen some horrors which has left me wanting to close the doors until it calmed down. To give you one example, back in summer about a week after we were told we could operate as a take away, a lady and her mother and child came to our front door coughing really badly, openly saying to other customers who were waiting outside that she had recently come out of isolation after catching the virus but is she she's fine now... She looked awful and no one was comfortable with her being there just for a coffee! Neither her or her mother were wearing masks and the other customers said to her, rather sternly, that she needed to go home. She decided to ignore them and try and step into the front of the shop, where our counter was to try and order but before she stepped in, I explained that I was not comfortable serving her and agreed that she needed to go home as she could be putting so many people in danger. They begrudgingly walked away and then I had to go round and carefully sanitize any touch point she could have touched in full face mask and gloves. It becomes different when we all have to rely on the common sense of others to keep us safe and we get put in such a vulnerable position everyday, but we had to keep operating. Thankfully we have been very careful but it's nerve-racking when so many peoples well-being relies on you being on it as much as you can. It's also exhausting.



How have you felt about the Coffee Industry in 2020?

What an industry. It's pulled so many together in a way other industries do not. The support between Roasters, Coffee Shops and all professions in the industry has been amazing to see. Even being a place for customers to delve more into the arts of brewing coffee from home and the passion we all have for it is great to see. Although it has been tough for people working for companies that have collapsed, especially when they get zero notice before it happens. I feel deeply sorry for them and it drove me more to ensure it didn't happen to Pallets.



What is something you missed in the Coffee Industry in 2020?

Cuppings and social events, hands down.



How has Coronavirus/Lockdown affected your mental health?

Haha! No... Of course not... YES! Massively, but coming through the other side only helps to make me more resilient but it hasn't been easy and I've felt very alone at times. That's the hardest bit.



What are you looking forward to in 2021?

Honestly I cannot say as we are not out of the woods yet. What I can say is that I'm excited for The Bakehouse to be complete and operating but I'm very nervous about it at the same time. I'm also excited about having the sun slowly returning! I am definitely going to take more time to enjoy it this year. My son is also 3 this year and is becoming such a little dude so I cant wait to spend as much time with him as I can. 




Find Dom 

Instagram - Click Here


Pallets and The Beaulieu Bakehouse

Pallets Website - Click Here

Pallets Instagram - Click Here

Bakehouse Instagram - Click Here







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Interviewing The Coffee Industry - Millie Gay

Today's lovely guest is Millie. I've followed Millie for a long while now on Instagram, so it was brilliant to get her involved in this interview series. She's an incredible barista and also does barista training too! What a dream!




How are you?
Okay! This lockdown was definitely very different from the first. The first one, I was full of ideas and plans - got loads of random things done. This one? Complete and utter sloth child! I mainly got through it by trying new coffees and chatting to friends online.


Where do you work? What is your role?
I work at a cafe called Woods Cafe (@woodscafe) full time and then do pat time barista training for Cornico Coffee Roastery (@cornicocoffee)


How has Coronavirus affected your job?
Well, we were furloughed March until the end of June and then again more recently. It has hugely affected how things run at the cafe and how we serve people/what we serve people/where we serve people. However, we are really lucky to have been able to keep out jobs unlike many other baristas and other people in the Coffee Industry.


What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in the Coffee Industry in 2020?
I have been very lucky to have kept my job - so the main difference for me has been the social aspect as well as some of the personal goals I had for myself. I wanted o do another course that was more sensory based. I wanted to compete in more latte art throwdowns and I also wanted to go to more coffee cuppings/learn more about flavours. Whilst these aren't massively life changing/huge things - the saying that you don't miss something until it's gone is massively true. I super miss the events and getting to learn!
I have also found that this has brought out the best and worse in people - customer wise! Some people are amazing, they are so happy to have some form o normality left and are super appreciative of the fact you might be short staffed/slower than usual/not serving their fave thing but you are there. Other people not so much! It has been a little disheartening at times to see people lose their sh*t over the fact you cannot make them a sausage sandwich or the fact they had to queue.. or the list goes on! Lucky those people are few and far between but it has been interesting to see the difference for sure!


How have you felt about the Coffee Industry in 2020?
I have actually felt more involved in more things in a weird way! I guess because of being in Cornwall, usually events happen in London or Birmingham or Manchester and I wouldn't be able to go. However - zoom life is meaning that I can actually "go" to a few more things that I wouldn't be able to usually! It has also been amazing that so many events have still run but in a very edited format. I feel like I have made a load of friends because everyone is trying to pull together. We are all going through the same things and some of the projects/ideas that have come out of this have been awesome. I have been going along to the Kore coffee mornings and getting to meet loads of amazing people who work in different capacity's in the coffee industry. It is really lovely to form connections with other people who love the same things you do. I now have a massive list of coffee shops, roasters and people to visit when it is safe to do so (and a new appreciation of how much I adore just sitting in a nice cafe with good coffee and a book.)


What is something you've missed in the Coffee Industry in 2020?
I am kinda splitting socialisation into "real-life" and online. I really miss the real-life stuff! I miss the throwdowns with pizza, beer and supreme nerves that I am going to make a tit out of myself. I miss coffee cuppings with the faint background of horror that I will accidently say that a chocolate-y coffee is floral. I miss coffee shop hopping in big cities - getting so caffeinated I can hear colours. So, whilst I have had an awesome time attending more events than I ever would have usually - now I really want to go do "real-life" stuff and visit all these awesome coffee shops!


How did Coronavirus/Lockdown affect your mental health?
The first lockdown was a corona-coaster. A few days of productivity and getting sh*t done attitude followed by a day of WHATS WRONG WITH THIS WORLD duvet monster.
This lockdown? Technically, I have struggled! I live by myself and found it hard especially with no sunshine and it being all cold and horrible. However, I recognised it for being a tough time so just let myself do what felt ok - aka - curl up and binge watch NCIS. Not productive in the slightest but it was needed!



What are you looking forward to in 2021?
Can we call his "looking forward to when this hell is over?" (Jass: Absolutely we can!)
I cannot wait to get to those things where you are like I never appreciated this before but this is PERFECT. 
Nights out where you don't have to book a table/remember masks/work out if there is more than 6/worry that you will get a track and trace call.
Coffee Shop hopping and curling up in one with a good book.
Courses - LEARRRNINNNGGG
Meeting people and going to coffee events.
City trips getting utterly over-caffeinated and then drinking espresso martinis all night.
So so many things! 




Find Millie 
Instagram - Click Here






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Or you can show your support by "buying me a coffee" for just $3 


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Interviewing The Coffee Industry - James William

 Today's wonderful guest on The Coffee Life is James William, also known as the big brains behind DrinkCupboard and the upcoming app focusing on changing the way we buy coffee, and having more transparency between farmers and coffee drinkers.





How are you?

Right in this moment, pretty tired. In general, very up and down, but such is the nature of the pandemic we're all living through. More recently, I've been feeling pretty weirdly refreshed by the uncertainty of it all, and incredibly grateful for what I have, but who knows how I'll feel next week.



What do you do for a living?

Honestly, I'm not making much of a living right now. I'm in survival mode, living off basics, and using my time to execute on various different ideas.



In terms of the Coffee Industry, how long have you been involved and what do you do?

I've been involved in coffee since I was 17, which is 6 years now. It started as an apprenticeship with Starbucks, then working at a couple of smaller independent coffee shops, and now I've been running my own coffee company for the past 3 years. Recently, I've embarked on a new journey, with the goal of using tech to better connect with the coffee industry.

Shameless plug, it's @drinkcupboard on all socials, follow along and drop us a  👋 emoji!



How has Coronavirus affected you during 2020?

Thankfully, I haven't been affected too badly. I'm mainly doing exactly what I was before the virus hit, with some obvious adaptations and added stresses, of course.



What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in the Coffee Industry in 2020?

Everything is up in the air and changes from one day to the next. It's made it incredibly hard to plan anything, and when you're finally able to set your plans in motion, chances are it'll get disrupted by one of many factors. I'd say this has been my biggest challenge in the industry this year. It's financially challenging and incredibly frustrating, but still it could be a lot worse.



How have you felt about the Coffee Industry during 2020?

I feel like this year has brought a lot of issues to the surface. Racial inequality within the industry, for a start. General lack of care for employees as another example. Endless green washing if you needed a third. The chaos of the pandemic has understandably taken the focus away from these issues, and I find that very concerning to say the least. We really need to be digging deeper into the problems of our industry, as a matter of great urgency.



What is something you have missed in the Coffee Industry in 2020?

I've wondered a few times, what the industry would've looked like had we not hit a pandemic, and I think in general we would've seen more creativity. That's what I've missed. Creativity and seeing new ideas coming to life.



How has Coronavirus/Lockdown affected your mental health?

It's affected a lot more than I could've ever imagined. I've struggled with my mental health as long as I can remember, and lockdown really laid it all out in front of me. It was a blessing and a curse, but overall I'm grateful that I've had this experience of it. It's handed me some clarity on areas of myself I need to address that I didn't even notice before.



What are you looking forward to in 2021?

Since the start of the year, I've poured my soul into creating Cupboard, and I'm stupidly excited to launch it into the world. It's an app that I believe has the power to genuinely change the way we purchase coffee, and bring our industries most undervalued heroes (coffee farmers) to the forefront.

Other than that, I'm excited to see other peoples ideas take shape as well. I've got my eye on a few companies in particular, BubbleHeadBarista, Wylde Coffee, and I'm always excited to see the incredible work from Standart. 


Find James

Instagram - Click Here

Cupboard Instagram - Click Here

Cupboard Website - Click Here







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Interviewing The Coffee Industry - James Gallagher

 Today's guest on The Coffee Life is someone who has recently entered the coffee industry with his new coffee blog. James first introduced himself to me on Instagram and since then I've loved reading all his posts (please go and check him out!) - I've also done an interview about The Coffee Life on his blog which you can read here




How are you?

I'm doing well. I have not yet had a coffee for the day, but one is coming soon. I have two cups each day but there is something special about that first cup. I'm trying Cojones from The GOOD Coffee Cartel which has some of my favourite flavour notes: cherry, raspberry, and dark chocolate. (I like taking questions in the direction of coffee!)




What do you do for a living?

I'm a technical content manager. This is far away from the coffee world but I've found that many people who are interested in coffee do not themselves work in coffee.



In terms of the Coffee Industry, how long have you been involved and what do you do?

I have been involved in the coffee industry since the middle of the year. I do not have an exact date because time seems to have warped quite a bit this year, a fact with which I am sure many of your readers can empathise. I started by writing the occasional blog post about coffee but I quickly found myself fascinated with more details about coffee, from how it is processed to how it is grown. The entire journey of a bean from farm to cup is complex and beautiful.

I have tried to write once per day on my blog over the past month. I am now reducing my schedule to three times a week, which I think will be more manageable. I do not have a massive list of ideas that I want to cover. I write about what I find interesting and what I think I have something to say about. I've written about the Aeropress, scales, the roasting process, and so much more. I also share my posts on Instagram.



How has Coronavirus affected your relationship with coffee during 2020?

I do not work in coffee and so I do not know the extent to which COVID has affected the industry, although I can surmise some of the impacts. I feel increasingly confident that speciality coffee will continue to grown.

This year coffee has brought me happiness. A cup can lift me up on a bad day. I remember waiting for coffee shops to open so I could go out and get a cappuccino (my first one was from Greggs). I've seen a lot of people get into speciality coffee during lockdown (including myself) and the more people who think about speciality coffee, the better.

I have enjoyed spreading what I've learned about coffee with others. I have spoken with many people who are passionate about coffee and it gives me hope that the industry will keep moving. What gives me hope is that the taste of coffee can lift people up. I brewed a cup of speciality coffee for a family member earlier this year and it bought us together. I told  them about the coffee and they enjoyed every sip. I loved that feeling.

In terms of coffee shops, I do hope people return, but I have no unique insights to share on this point.



What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in the industry this year?

The biggest challenge I've faced is figuring out how to educate myself. I would ideally like to go and visit cafes around the country in my free time and talk to baristas and owners but this is not possible. I've learned a lot through books, interviews just like this one, blogs, and videos, but there is only so much you can learn outside of a cafe. In the back of my mind, I've been telling myself that this is theory revision. There will be time for practical work in the future.

There are many wonderful resources on the internet. I've personally enjoyed your blog and Brian's Coffee Spot as places I can go to remind myself of how much there is to explore in the world of coffee. Book's are great. I'd recommend How to Make Coffee and Craft Coffee: A manual if you are already interested in coffee. I'd love to see more online classes. I attended an online cupping and it was great.



How have you felt about the Coffee Industry in 2020?

As someone who has only just started brewing speciality coffee this year, my perspective is somewhat limited. I am glad that I stumbled upon speciality coffee. I have found a community of people who are passionate about a craft -- an art -- that I can practise myself. It took me some time to find the right way to get started but there were so many resources to help me get started. This is part of the reason I write about home brewing. I want to share what I practise at home. 

I've felt welcomed by the speciality coffee community. One roaster from whom I've tried many coffees, Steampunk Coffee in North Berwick, encouraged me to join Instagram and follow some accounts. Through this medium I have met many great coffee people and have learned more about the contemporary coffee culture. Books are useful but Instagram brings a more visual dynamic to what I learn.



What is something you have missed in the Coffee Industry in 2020?

I was just beginning to explore new areas before the pandemic hit. I have been out to cafes a few times since lockdown restrictions were eased but in many cases I've been deterred from going out, even when allowed. I know there will be other years to explore different coffee scenes but it would have been nice to get out to a few new spots.



What are you looking forward to in 2021?

Ah, looking forward. I like this question! I am looking forward to hopefully being able to visit new cafes. I plan on going around Edinburgh and visiting many of the cafes who at the moment exist in my life as a social media presence. I love the Scottish coffee scene. There are many great cafes and roasters in Edinburgh, Glasgow and other areas. I'd like to visit new spots and take notes, perhaps even for my blog. I do not know yet.

I'd like to visit one of the coffee festivals in the UK next year, I they go ahead. I am looking forward to learning more about coffee, although that's a journey I am already on. I would like to keep up writing.


Find James!

Website - Click Here

Instagram - Click Here





Support The Coffee Life

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Or you can show your support by "buying me a coffee" for just $3 


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Interviewing The Coffee Industry - Em, We Are Here

Well, it's certainly been a few weeks since our last post Interviewing The Coffee Industry. I have 5 left to post, so no better timing then the next 5 days!

18th-22nd every evening at 5pm we will have the final 5 Interviews of 2020. Let me know if you've enjoyed this mini series on my blog and if you'd like to see it again (and who would you like to see?!)


 Today's wonderful guest on Interviewing The Coffee Industry is Em from We Are Here Coffee! 








How are you?

Great, nervous and excited. What a fun ball of emotions that is. How are YOU? (J: I'm v good thank you!!)



What is your companies name and what do you do?

I am the founder of We Are Here [coffee]. Founder meaning, doing all the bits and bobs for the business. Luckily I love variety and being busy so this has worked out perfectly (phew!)



How has Coronavirus affected your company during 2020?

Well, WAH started (again) in March... after a few years hibernating after Fred (the coffee cart) was stolen. I'd been thinking of starting a roasting business for the last few years, working on a concept, scribbling some designs, asking friends questions and just as I was ready, Ms Rona came a knockin'. A good 4 minutes were spent thinking "WTF am I doing starting this in a pandemic?!" but then I'm a fan of making brave/stupid decisions (plus, I'd just quit my job so what would I do with my time anyway?). As I've had nothing to compare to I can only imagine that encouraging people to drink good coffee at home has weirdly been helped by a pandemic, I'm looking for silver linings here.



Have you had change any aspect of your company to adapt to new regulations?

Not so much as I started with them in place.



What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in the industry this year?

Since the first lockdown there's been a pretty big boom in coffee subscription companies, before that it was mainly roasteries with a handful of boxes that combined them. In the last 6 months roasteries have switched from what might have previously been a predominantly wholesale focus to home consumers meaning huge jumps in website development and spend on social ads. Being a bootstrapped business means I don't have the same funds to drop on Facebook or Google that those big boyz do. So instead I make sure the website, coffee and experience is as easy, fun and uncomplicated as I can. Being different can sometimes seem a little scary - not putting any details on our labels and donating money with every bag certainaky raised a few eyebrows - but I think those are the best bits about us and (hopefully) the reason people buy them.



How have you felt about The Coffee Industry this year?

It's been a tough year for the industry for sure, cancelled events/markets, coffee shops having to chop and change every 6 minutes. It's certainly kept everyone on their toes but on the flip side with a lack of places to go... a beautiful online community has emerged. It feels like there is a 'place' for coffee fans to go and learn more, making friends (both locally and internationally) and discover new coffees/roasters. People have been more creative and innovative with their business and customers have been more loyal than ever. Two big extremes and I just hope everyone makes it through safely; physically, mentally and financially.



What is something you have missed in the Coffee Industry in 2020?

Oh, so much! But y'know casually just heading to another roaster... walking in with no weird screens or distance or talk of Covid (it's our new how's the weather right?). Chatting - not about anything important - just hanging... shooting the breeze. Seeing them get excited about something new they're about to do. Cupping something great. I miss that. Lots.



How has Coronavirus/Lockdown affected your Mental Health?

It's been a wild ride hasn't it? I definitely found it really tough at the start but learning triggers, adopting a cat and making sure I didn't watch the news every evening helped keep things in balance. But, I do love a good cry and my bed so those have been good go to's when it's all got a bit much. Shout out to anyone locked down alone, I did it for a few months and it was...HARD. Hit me up on Insta if you fancy random chats about pointless stuffs.



What are you looking forward to in 2021?

Great hugs, having people over for dinner and taking down the patriarchy?


Find Em & We Are Here Coffee

Em on Instagram - Click Here

We Are Here Instagram - Click Here

We Are Here Website - Click Here







Support The Coffee Life

Like what I do? Join the club to get exclusive perks and updates
- Exclusive discount to the coffee life co
-Exclusive blog posts and videos
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$5 a month 


Or you can show your support by "buying me a coffee" for just $3 


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(information page)

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Latte Art Lookback 2020

2020 was a weird old year, but we're all about traditions here on The Coffee Life.

If you're a regular reader of The Coffee Life you'll know that for the past 3 years I've done a round up blog post of all the Latte Art I managed to capture on camera from the year, and this year despite everything I still have nearly 80 photos of Latte Art I did throughout the year. 



There are a few gaps (obviously...) and 2021 is the year that I start to learn new patterns again. I always stick to my "safe" patterns, like tulips or swans. However, this year I want to learn at least 2 new patterns (1 being a seahorse because I have been trying all year to get that right!)


Grab a cup of coffee, maybe a snack or two and get ready to scroll through some Latte Art.



January 2020



January 13th

(Apologies about the AWFUL quality... did I take this photo on a potato?!)



January 27th



February 2020



February 7th



February 14th




February 17th




February 17th



February 25th

A little different perspective, never usually have photos of me pouring




February 25th

I'd just like to flex that this is Oat M*lk




February 27th




February 27th

(I told you I needed some practise!)





February 28th




February 28th




March 2020



March 6th





March 7th




March 7th



March 9th




March 16th




March 19th



April 2020



April 12th




April 12th




May 2020



May 22nd



May 22nd




June 2020



June 22nd




July 2020



July 13th




July 14th




August 2020



August 4th




August 4th 




August 4th



August 7th 




August 15th 
 
(Clearly I got ahead of myself and took a sip before photographing)



August 16th



August 18th




August 22nd

 


August 23rd



August 25th 




August 30th



September 2020



September 14th



September 14th



September 15th




September 16th




September 16th



September 18th



September 18th





September 18th




September 18th




September 21st




September 23rd



September 28th



September 28th 




September 28th



October 2020



October 1st




October 5th




October 6th




October 10th



October 30th




November 2020



November 2nd




November 2nd




November 11th



November 16th



November 19th



November 22nd




November 22nd




December 2020



December 6th




December 9th




December 18th




December 20th




December 24th


Here's to another year of pouring throughout 2021.





Support The Coffee Life

Like what I do? Join the club to get exclusive perks and updates
- Exclusive discount to the coffee life co
-Exclusive blog posts and videos
-Exclusive giveaways and competitions for members
$5 a month 


Or you can show your support by "buying me a coffee" for just $3 


Shop the coffee life co - A store for reusing coffee grounds

(information page)

Find me on social media 

Get in touch via email