We've been following Manchester's booming coffee scene for years and are delighted to shine a spotlight on a newcomer to the community: Blossom Coffee Roasters. The four-month-old company is made up of a team of seasoned coffee pros with a desire to deliver the “highest quality coffee with the lowest possible environmental impact,” says Blossom co-founder Andy Farrington.
“We have introduced a lot of measures across the business to find ways in which we can drive our emissions as close to zero as we possibly can and we are a certified CarbonNeutral® company and a pending B Corporation,” Farrington explains, “meaning that we are legally required to consider the impact of our decisions on both people and planet.”
We spoke with Farrington digitally to learn more about this new company their branding and packaging—as well as to find out how to spend one glorious day in Manchester when things open up again.
When did you all begin roasting coffee?
Blossom itself has only been operational for about four months (yep, we did open during a global pandemic) but the team here has been in speciality coffee for a long time and we’ve all had the privilege of honing our craft at some of the industry’s best establishments. Joshua Clark, our head roaster and co-founder of Blossom, started his coffee career about five years ago with a roasting apprenticeship at Coffee Supreme in Melbourne, moving on to roast at some great roasteries here in the UK. Our head of wholesale, Oli Jones, has joined the team having headed up the North of England wholesale operation at Origin Coffee for the last five years and is a certified AST with the SCA as well as an established competition barista, twice making it through to the finals in the UKBC. I started my coffee life about eight years ago at London’s world-renowned barista training centre and cafe, Prufrock Coffee. Since then I’ve been lucky enough to move all over the world working in speciality coffee and more recently I’ve been focusing my attention on tackling the effects of climate change in the future of coffee production, a subject really close to my heart.
How are y'all doing here in November 2020?
Where to start? It goes without saying that this has been a bit of a rollercoaster year to have launched a business, but we’ve had an extraordinarily talented bunch help us along the way and we’ve been totally blown away by the support of all our customers so far. It’s always a little scary stepping out into the unknown and wondering if people will actually like the thing you spent so long creating, but the feeling when they do is incredibly rewarding. With the latest lockdown just being announced here in the UK we’re preparing for the next couple of months by organizing some collaborations with other local businesses that tie in with our shared ethos of achieving exceptional quality in a way that is responsible towards people and the planet. I’m imagining we’ll be spending a lot of time doing local deliveries in our electric van.
Tell us about the coffee offerings at Blossom
We have designed our menu with the intention of offering a broad spectrum of flavor profiles at all times, but keeping it small and seasonally-focused to ensure we are only ever offering coffees that are fresh and vibrant.
You often hear a lot of buzzwords when it comes to coffee sourcing, so we try to keep it as simple as possible, guided by our long-term aim of buying from the same farms and coops every year. One of the fundamental problems with the supply chains in coffee is that farmers are not being paid enough, and we believe that the best way for us to address this as a business is to buy from the same producers each year, as it’s only when a producer’s business is financially secure that we can expect to see ongoing quality improvements. To that end, we only work with importing businesses whose ethical credentials we feel we are most aligned with, whose mission is grounded in securing a sustainable future for coffee producers and who are truly transparent in the prices they pay.
We roast in small batches on the world’s most eco-friendly roaster, the Loring S15, with the aim of maximizing sweetness and presenting a clear expression of the natural characteristics of the coffees we work with. We separate our filter and espresso coffees, roasting what would be considered “light” for our filter range and extending the roast a little further for our espressos to enable easier extraction during brewing and creating a more balanced cup.
Who designed your packaging?
We’ve been super lucky to work with the lovely folks at Manchester-based With Love Project on creating all the brand materials for Blossom. We’ve been following the work the guys do for years and they’ve had a hand in helping create some of our absolute favorite brands so it was a no-brainer to ask for their help to create a brand that stood out from anything we’d seen here in the city. The challenge was to create a brand that demonstrated our commitment to working in a way that is responsible towards people and the planet whilst at the same time appearing fresh and clean and removed from the stereotyped design of an “eco” brand. This focus is really clear in the design for all our packaging, with the information that we display accessible and easy to understand and a simple color scheme of blue for our espresso roasts and orange for our filter roasts.
You are currently offering a limited release—tell us about this project.
Ever since starting Blossom we’ve wanted to offer a Competition Series, a selection of coffees which pushes the boundaries of coffee quality that people can experience from the comfort of your own home. This latest release is the first of that series and it’s a really special microlot produced by Jairo Arcila at Finca Villarazo in Quindio, Colombia. We’ve been scoring this coffee consistently between 88.5-89 and the cup profile speaks for itself, with an incredibly intense tropical acidity, an unusual white wine characteristic and sparkling notes of pineapple, passionfruit, and plum. We actually had the privilege of sitting down with Felipe, the son of Jairo Arcila, recently to learn more about the farming practices at his father’s farm and the interesting processing methods that are used to give this coffee its unique profile—you can read the full interview over on our journal.
Who designed the packaging for this release?
That would be the very talented Hannah Valentine. She’s a local designer who has again worked with some brands we really love. We’ve also been lucky enough to have her design the current edition of our Environmental Impact Report.
Where is your coffee currently available?
When this pandemic is behind us and we can visit again, how should we spend a perfect day in Manchester?
We’re blessed with some pretty incredible places for breakfast in the city but we’d definitely recommend stopping by and picking up a brew from our friends at Feel Good Club before heading over to Pollen to indulge yourself with one of the best pastries you’ll ever eat. Back to the famous Northern Quarter for a little window shopping before dinner with the guys at Higher Ground (if you can get a table) and then onwards for the thing we do best in Manchester – beers. Take your pick of venues but you’d be crazy not to pay a visit to the Cloudwater tap room at the brewery itself, it’s beer heaven.
Zachary Carlsen is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge Media Network. Read more Zachary Carlsen on Sprudge.