Interviewing The Coffee Industry - Esther, Hope Espresso

Today on The Coffee Life is the lovely Esther, I can not describe the love I have for Esther, and when I say I could listen to her tell me stories all day, I really could. I cant wait to give her a big squeeze when we're allowed.

How are you?
I'm currently curled up in blankets, jumper and a dressing gown watching Handmaids Tail whilst trying to edit some documents (fun) - safe to say I am MISSING people and working with others contact so badly!

What is your company called? 
My company is Hope Espresso - I am the founder/basically a coffee hustler- I work with other coffee companies (particularly roasters and social enterprises) to improve their coffee offering : from teaching roasting, giving feedback on coffees, helping with supply chains/sourcing and selecting green coffee and profiling, installing and programming machines on site, barista training, SCA training, setting up a new roastery... It covers everything!

How did Coronavirus affect your job during 2020?
Oh dear. Covid completely screwed me over really. I had so much booked in for 2020- from teaching SCA barista skills in Indonesia, to visiting coffee farms in Brazil, to working with businesses across the UK : I went full time to Hope Espresso in March and I had immediately about 6 months of work cancelled!! So I ended up at home, twiddling my thumbs, livestreaming making coffee for a bit of cash and literally hustling about the coffee world.

Did you have to change any aspect of your company to adapt to new regulations. 
I totally had to pivot to focus on UK companies as I knew that international travel was not going to happen (even though I tried to reschedule flights to Paris for September (cancelled again!) and Poland in December (cancelled again!)… Even still, I get a lot of opportunities instead to work with commercial coffee businesses and improving the training and quality of their coffee on various sites. Do you know what, I think this pivot was actually a great achievement in the end as it meant I was able to talk to people who were making coffee and hadn't previously considered where it had come from, and open them up to the stories of the farmers behind the cup and why it is so important to make the coffee to the best of our ability to showcase the hard work of the people before us in the supply chain!

What was the biggest challenge you faced in the Coffee Industry in 2020?
The biggest challenge was probably with so much work being cancelled, as a coffee trainer, it is so hard to train when you are not allowed to meet in person- so much work was cancelled and postponed- and it was hard to try and transition the learning experience to online. There were also several businesses that I helped to launch across the UK and they have all been delayed in opening and setting up because of Covid! Or even, like we did huge refurbishes across multiple sites through a customer this year, and we gave the staff all super in depth training, and then they opened for a few days and were shut again because of Covid! AGH!

How did you feel about the Coffee Industry in 2020?
Honestly I have been extremely sad and hurting for so many people in the coffee industry who have lost their jobs, seeing businesses having to shut down, or struggling to keep going - I have genuinely been really upset to stand by people through this- especially when I haven't had stability myself - it's been a collective struggle!

What is something you have missed in the Coffee Industry in 2020?
You know what, more than anything I have missed the events- like I didn't think I'd say that, but there's something about everyone gathering for a few times a year, either in the UK at a coffee festival or internationally and just catch up and learn about coffee together, drink coffee together and just have some time to wind down together- especially when you work for yourself- those parties can be such a lifeline for us to connect with each other and have fun. 

How has Coronavirus/Lockdown affected your mental health?
The first lockdown was hard, I was struggling but the second and third (Wales, then England) - were copable, because they had an end in sight-this newest one -DAMN- it has crushed me a lot! Finding it very isolating and frustrating, but understand that it is what is best to keep people safe and get a hold on fighting Covid once and for all!

What are you looking forward to in 2021?
2021 I am looking forward to seeing and cuddling my God children, cuddling my nana, going away with friends and not resting, being able to drink coffee with people in person - and dare I say it... The end of zoom calls!!!!

Find Esther 

Instagram - Click Here
Hope Espresso Instagram - Click Here
Website - Click Here

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