Can you tell us about Redemption Roasters and its history?
We’re on a mission to reduce reoffending rates through speciality coffee. At our Roastery in HMP The Mount we train offenders in coffee industry skills with the aim of reducing reoffending rates.
We also run barista training academies across 9 different prisons within the UK.
On release, we help our graduates to find work in our own coffee shops, or within our network.
As a social enterprise it is important for us to track and measure the impact of our work: For every £1 invested in Redemption Roasters, £3.47 has been generated in social value.
The result is a finely crafted cup of coffee which raises the bar for everyone.
What is the mission behind this exciting community enterprise?
We want to show the coffee community that exceptional specialty coffee can come from places and people you wouldn’t expect.
Can you take us through your everyday?
Most mornings begin with the inevitable emails and liaising between the roastery inside Aylesbury young offenders and our office in Bloomsbury.
A big part of my day is making sure everyone along our production line is happy! This includes those working in the prisons all the way through to those making the coffee in the shops and cafes.
It's a great job because often times, no two days are the same. One day I might be visiting cafes around London, chatting to staff and tasting delicious coffee, the next I might be elbow deep in a coffee grinder, making sure it's in tip-top shape for use.
There are obviously the dry moments when the inbox is too full and I'm inevitably over caffeinated and sitting still to work behind a desk seems just too hard, but even then there is nothing really to complain about.
Can you tell us the most moving experience that you’ve had through Redemption Roasters?
During my first trip out to the roastery, I was given a tour of the place by one of the guys who we work with. Chatting to him about coffee roasting and the science behind coffee production was one of the most inspiring things that has ever happened to me. A teenager in Aylesbury prison talking to me about coffee with more passion and knowledge than most of the coffee professionals I know really made the value of what we do here feel very apparent.
What is the process behind the making of your coffee?
Our coffee is roasted in a Loring S70 Peregrin at our roastery located inside the walls of HMP The Mount, Hemel Hempstead.
Once roasted, the coffee is packaged and distributed out to our warehouse from which we deliver it to our cafes and customers. We source only high-grade specialty coffee from coffee farmers around the world.
Being part of the specialty industry and with our social enterprise mindset, we always endeavour to source the most ethical and transparent coffee possible and pay a fair price for it.
Once the coffee has been roasted and distributed we use the coffee for both filter and espresso coffee, with beans sourced specifically for each brew method.
There are an amazing amount of processes that go into the final cup of coffee you drink in one of our cafes and it's always nice knowing that each step has had a huge amount of care and consideration given to it.
What is your favourite Redemption Roasters coffee?
My current favourite is one of our seasonal filters; Bulessa
This coffee is from a female run washing station in Sidamo, Ethiopia. Its a project run by a woman called Tizita Bizuneh and is a project designed to empower women working in coffee throughout the production chain.
The station is operated entirely by women, and services 400 mainly female regional smallholder producers.
Because coffee-producing countries often have higher levels of gender inequality due to more traditional cultural role divisions this makes the Bulessa washing station very unique and something we love to support.
What was the last thing you bought?
To be honest, it was a bag of coffee from a different coffee company! Obviously for research purposes only...
What is your life motto?
Everything will be ok in the end, if it's not ok - it's not the end yet.
What’s next for Redemption Roasters?
We have big plans to expand both the in-prison training side of our Redemption and also the commercial side of our business; expanding into new coffee shop sites, growing our ecommerce offer and scaling our wholesale model.
We have just brought on board a new role who will deliver a technicians training course in prisons with a focus on coffee machines. This will be another world first and something we are really excited to be launching in the new year.
What do you think makes a good company?
Good foundational values and employees who embody that company's ethos.
Can you describe your workplace?
My boss calls it casual professionalism. We all work really hard and care a lot about what we do but still keep the office light hearted.
There is a lot of nerdy coffee banter, but it's a great place to work!