Things are very nearly coming to a close for this year’s Build-Outs of Coffee season. But before we say “ta-ta for now,” let’s take a look at an exciting new project out of Birmingham, England—a husband and wife team who proudly counts themselves as “the first independent/specialty coffee roaster in Birmingham.” Their new space is a significant expansion from the original Quarter Horse Coffee location opened in 2015, and when it opens in late 2022 will represent a major new opening in the city, one with serious gear and a thoughtful, considered outlook on modern coffee.
As told to Sprudge by Nathan Retzer.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Quarter Horse was founded in 2012 by wife and husband Ameeta and Nathan Retzer. We started as a small cafe before moving to Birmingham, Ameeta’s hometown, to start roasting in 2015. We are the first independent/specialty coffee roaster in Birmingham. Since 2015 we have worked hard on sourcing and roasting great coffee, prioritizing meaningful relationships with farmers and with our local customers.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
The new space is massive compared to the corner of our cafe that we have been roasting in. It increases our production space by over four times and will allow us to have a new training space for courses and wholesale customers as well as a small espresso bar. Our new site will be located in the Jewellry Quarter of Birmingham, which is very close to city center and easy to get to by public transit.
What’s your approach to coffee?
We start by building lasting relationships with farmers to source our high quality grade 84+. We source many different types of coffee and we want to showcase what is special about each one while still maintaining sweetness and balance. We try to have nine different single origin coffees on all the time to give customers a choice and to make sure we can cater to all preferences. Although we take coffee very seriously we want to meet customers where they are and make sure they enjoy the coffee they purchase.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
We will be roasting our blends on a Giesen W30 and our filter on a Stronghold S9X. We will be the first in the UK to color sort our coffee with the Sovda Pearl. In the espresso bar we will continue our relationship with La Marzocco and have a KB90. Our grinder partner is Mahlkönig. We will also be brewing with the Tone Touch 03 for filter coffee.
How is your project considering sustainability?
Sustainability is at the heart of our move. By roasting filter through the Stronghold we will be able to use green electricity rather than fossil fuels. We have recently changed our packaging to all home recyclable/compostable to limit the waste we are creating. We are working with a local company to repurpose some of the waste from roasting. Lastly we will be offering free local delivery to all of our wholesale partners via 100% electric van and in reusable containers. We are always looking at how to improve our energy usage and waste production.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
We are hoping to initially move in December 2022 with full opening (and party) in January 2023.
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
Our redesigned packaging is a collaboration with local illustrator Tom Woolley.
Our build out and design is with Reiss Davies Concept Build.
Our bespoke crockery is with local ceramicist Pavlov Ceramics.