Caravan Coffee Roasters
Three New Zealanders travel to London, England, enter the restaurant business, and build the forward-thinking Caravan Coffee Roasters in the process.
Ray: You have joined us for another thrilling episode of Unpacking Coffee. This week …
Kandace: Caravan Coffee Roasters.
Ray: Caravan Coffee Roasters of London, England.
Kandace: You remember London?
Ray: Yeah. They’re in a big grain mill right now. If you see grain mill in London, see if there’s good coffee there, because there might be, although they are moving into a new space. How do we know this? We talked to them.
Kandace: We spoke to Mike Logue, head of operations for Caravan Coffee Roasters. Mike spoke to us from their top-secret new location.
Mike: Hi. My name’s Mike. I’m the head of operations here at Caravan Coffee Roasters. We’re a specialty coffee roaster based in London.
Ray: How’s the coffee? What do you think of the coffee?
Kandace: It’s fantastic.
Ray: I am just having a Manhattan today. Sorry. I did try the coffee earlier, and I liked it.
Kandace: Okay. This isn’t coffee.
Ray: That’s a Manhattan too.
Kandace: The new location, they’re focusing quite a bit on sustainability. They have a rooftop garden, which is interesting, because Caravan started in 2010, and they started as an all-day restaurant and in-house roastery. They have their roots in food also.
Kandace: They are just going for it. Solar panels.
Ray: Harvesting the sun. Power of the sun. Mother nature in all of her beauty.
Kandace: I like your hat.
Ray: Thank you. Speaking of the design, I really love their design. Being a designer, actually, I love the attention to typography.
Their website, it’s interesting because it’s done in Shopify, so it’s kind of like … It’s all about the imagery, and they did a really good job with their website because they used the strong typographic and logo symbols for all their coffees, and then there’s super-immersive images.
Then they did this thing with the brew guide, where I don’t know what you call it when like there’s a still photo, but there’s a little part of it that’s animated. I don’t know what the name for that is, but I love that effect. It runs well. You see it, and it looks like a photograph, but then you’ll see a little part of it that has movement. They did that with their whole brew guide, and it’s really nice, because they’re still shots, so most of the frame is frozen. You know what, I’ll just put a little clip of it in here so you can see with your own eyes what I saw, and I said, “Wow.”
Kandace: That was awesome.
Mike: We started roasting back in 2010, in the basement of our first restaurant in Exmouth Market, which is in East London. The company’s founded by three New Zealanders, who all live in London: Miles Kirby, Laura Harper-Hinton, and Chris Ammermann.
We started roasting predominantly for our own site and then sort of started to grow into the wholesale side of things. As time went on, we started to grow out of the space and, in early 2013, we moved out coffee roasting production to our newly opened second restaurant in King’s Cross (also in London).
It’s a much bigger space, in a big grain mill that’s being converted. We’re at the point now where we’ve outgrown that space three years down the line. I’m sitting here in our new roastery which we’ll be moving into later in the year, which is a really exciting prospect for us. It’s a huge 8 1/2 thousand square foot Victorian warehouse. Got a lot of work to do yet in the big build to come, but we’re really looking forward to it.
Kandace: The coffee is phenomenal.
Ray: Cool typography.
Kandace: I think that they do a lot of their design in-house.
Ray: Yes, although it was Bureau Creative who did their website. Good job, guys. Good job, Bureau. It must have been very recent, because it’s top of their portfolio.
Kandace: From what I can tell, one of the founders, Laura, is kind of driving the visual philosophy of the brand, and she’s doing a fantastic job of just keeping it super modern, and interesting, and consistent.
Ray: Maybe she’s responsible for that awesome brew guide.
Kandace: I think she probably is.
Ray: It’s not often you see something unique in the world of brew guides in the coffee industry, I’m sorry to say. This time, Caravan, yes, we struck gold. We have something new in the world of brew guides, and you guys should go check it out, or I’ll show it right here.
Kandace: How did you get that right in your hand right there, Ray?
Ray: It’s amazing.
Kandace: Okay then, Caravan Coffee Roasters, pretty awesome.
Ray: Of London, England.