We go behind the scenes at artisan coffee roasters Stewarts of Trent Bridge
Inside an unassuming building near Trent Bridge, a huge metal drum which looks a bit like an industrial washing machine is whirring. Green coffee beans from Brazil, Colombia and other far-flung places are going through the 15-minute roasting process before they emerge as the dark, aromatic ones we all enjoy in our morning brew.
I had gone to visit the team at Stewarts of Trent Bridge, an artisan coffee roaster committed to producing fresh, hand-roasted beans. Although the founder Stewart Falconer has been roasting coffee in Nottingham for the past 30 years, the company has recently undergone a re-brand and is continuing to expand into new venues in the East Midlands and beyond. The coffee has already become a firm favourite of customers at the Riverbank Bar and Kitchen, Tom Brown’s Brasserie, Café Bleu in Newark and top gastro-pubs such as the Martins Arms in Colston Bassett.
Mark Whittaker, who is the sales manager at Stewarts, said: “Stewart was a pioneer of the Nottingham coffee scene in the eighties. He had a café on Upper Parliament Street with the roaster on display so people could see how their coffee was produced. This was really ahead of its time.”
Stewart continues to roast to this day and uses his experience and expertise to offer a great selection of roasts for everyone’s tastes. And as the company expands in the commercial and domestic markets, it has also taken on more staff including apprentice roaster Ong Srichan, a former barista at the Riverbank.
“I had always loved working on the coffee machine, perfecting my latte art and making sure customers got a great cup of coffee,” he said.
“When I had the chance to learn the art of roasting I thought, ‘Great, let’s give it a go’. We’ll be working on new roasts and blends soon to add to our range.”
Now the Stewarts team is aiming to get the coffee beans into even more cafes, restaurants, delis and homes – and staff say that the feedback they have received from the public at events such as the Great Notts Show in Nottingham and the Great Taste Festival of Food and Drink at Clumber Park has been extremely positive.
Mark said: “Coffee is a ‘feel-good’ product. Good coffee shouldn’t be the exception – people expect quality wherever they go. And if they can source it locally, then even better!”