An interview with… Garage Coffee Roasters

We spoke with Garage coffee roasters, from Canterbury, Kent, founded by Luke.

Starting out in 2017 they have three cafes across Kent, in Canterbury, Whitstable, and Margate.

They roast in small 12kg batches for optimum quality, and only roast specialty grade coffees which are always fully traceable and fairly traded. Since launching, they have been building relationships with farmers, and sourcing coffee from the same farms season after season, with plans to make trips to these farmers in the near future

Garage roasted in Kent

QUESTION 1: Hey Sam and team! You’ve been so great to work with this October, thanks for partnering with us. We loved showcasing your Agata Brazil and also loved featuring a Kent based roaster (as we live there now!) Tell us a bit more about your business? 

Firstly, can I say how much we’ve enjoyed putting coffee out there for the RiSE subscribers, and we really hope they’ve enjoyed the Agata. It is an incredibly tasty Brazil and delivers not only fruity notes, but also some big Nutella vibes – so, thanks to you guys for featuring us this past month!

Garage has been roasting small batch, speciality coffee for 8 years on our independently made roaster. The idea around the business is that we believe in full traceability and transparency on where we source our coffee- providing great, ethically sourced coffee from farm to cup.

We also have three shops dotted around Kent and the coast in Canterbury, Whitstable, and Margate, with a fourth set to open in Herne Bay next year.

QUESTION 2: What got you into coffee and what do you see as the future of coffee in the next 2-5 years?

We all come from various coffee making backgrounds. Luke finished his hospitality management degree in Surrey,  while working in various speciality coffee shops, but moving back to Kent realised a lack of a speciality scene which is what prompted him to start up Garage Coffee.

I grew up in New Zealand, and speciality coffee wasn’t actually something I was initially aware of until I moved to the UK, over there it was just normal coffee!

So, moving here, I got involved with managing coffee shops, something I had done in New Zealand, working, and furthering my own training within what was revealed to me as the speciality coffee side of things. Over the past 10 years I have ducked in and out of working in the industry, and competing - while also doing hospitality and events management, but coffee has always reeled me back in! I love it.

Our main goal – aside from roasting great coffee - is trying to create better sustainability in Kent - petitioning and discussing better, sustainable infrastructure with the relevant authorities. There is a big failing in the UK overall for how we handle waste, and coffee packing is a big part of that, and the most efficient systems are only located around the hub areas like London- so Kent can really do a lot to step up.

With this we’re always looking at how we can package coffee in a similar way. Coffee is a difficult product to package because of the need for things like co2 valves and an airtight layering to ensure the quality is kept at its best. We currently try to be as paper recyclable as possible, and plastic recyclable where there is no other option to match up with our local waste resources. So, all our packaging can be put into the recycling or home compost if it’s cardboard.

Seeing more advancement on this in the next few years would be great, as I know quite a few other countries already are coming out with solutions to solve these issues, becoming fully home compostable.

QUESTION 3: How does the Garage team like to brew, and what are you drinking at the moment? 

We always have a batch brew on the go in the office! We’re loving the Kanjathi AA from Kenya that we have in – one of the tastiest Kenya's I’ve had in a while. Really juicy notes or mandarin and cola – with an exceptional acidity. Delicious! 

QUESTION 4: Any big plans for the next year or so, that you’re willing to share? 

As I mentioned we’re opening our next shop in Herne Bay which is going to be a big step forward! It will be us expanding the bakery operation that is currently located in the downstairs of our Canterbury shop – looking at creating the great bakes we’re known for in store anyway, but expanding to also make bread, croissants and maybe a few savoury options too!

I’m hoping there will be a few tasty loaves and pastries that make their way back to the Roastery as well!

Also… How can we not mention the Kent Coffee Festival! We are so excited to be hosting and holding it this year in Dream Land, Margate on the 19th & 20th of November.

Garage coffee Kent coffee festival

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