Head roaster Simon Cunliffe-Jones is a softly spoken man, but beneath that quiet exterior there's a passion and love for coffee like no other. In keeping with our understanding across the organisation that coffee is more than just a drink, Simon treats each coffee bean that he sees through our roasting operation as a means to an end, a shared coffee experience like no other.
Simon's love for coffee began when he worked with Kevin Crouse, our head of training and innovation, at Kev's social enterprise café. Trained up as a barista, Simon not only learnt how to brew the perfect coffee, but how to create an experience to go with it and the connection that it sustains. Moving behind the scenes hasn't meant that this talent and drive to share the power of coffee to make a connection has halted. Those that work with Simon brush up against his dedication to the coffee bean and he's seen non-coffee drinkers turn into specialty coffee aficionados. Unfortunately, many of us have been first introduced to coffee via its mass produced, bitter variety. Simon wants to see that change and for more of us to understand that coffee is much more than just a drink.
This philosophy has taken Simon to a variety of places where he's been able to share an appreciation for the possibilities of coffee. While teaching in Cambodia, Simon serendipitously met with the Cambodian barista champion, struck up a friendship and worked with him on the weekends. Feeling in a rut in terms of his teaching, Simon was able to appreciate that philosophy he had been extolling, and found that his weekends spent in the cafes of Cambodia gave life back to his weeks in the classroom. Returning to Cambodia later, Simon established a café and conducted barista training and coffee distribution.
These experiences and more have continued to inspire Simon as he conducts the daily roast. He looks forward to sharing this attitude via tours of the roastery and showing baristas and café owners how much love goes into each bag of coffee. Ultimately, however, it's the simple act of saying 'let's catch up for a coffee' that epitomises Simon's approach - that coffee is the key to connection - and if he can make that experience any better, he will.