We discover the secrets to success for Voyager Coffee
PUBLISHED: 12:34 27 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:34 27 November 2018
We hooked up with RACHAEL JOWITT, head roaster for leading South West coffee roastery, Voyager Coffee, to hear how the business is developing
Based on the edge of Dartmoor and established in 2001, Voyager Coffee have become highly respected, local specialty coffee roasters who continue to grow from strength to strength. We quizzed Rachael on all things coffee, what she’s passionate about and what’s next in the world of coffee.
How why and when did you get started in the coffee roasting industry?
I’ve loved coffee since the first cup I drank at a café I worked in, managed by a Kiwi, who steamed the silkiest milk. I realised then that coffee could be this deliciously indulgent drink and I wanted to learn more and thought working in a roastery would be the dream job!
An opportunity arose to work at Voyager, where I’ve advanced my roasting and sensory skills to better focus my palate when tasting coffees, which is what I’m passionate about!
Can you tell us a bit about your team?
We have a talented team of people at Voyager and most mornings we’ll be fighting over the espresso machine to make coffee. The day always starts with a tasty brew!
I’m lucky to have a brilliant team in the roastery, with Stephen being my right hand man. It can get very busy, so it’s important everyone works well together and that we have fun. The music choice is mostly mine, so I’m sure the guys will say they get fed up with my cheesy R ’n’ B most of the time, ha ha!
What kind of roaster do you use and why?
At Voyager we use a Genio 30Kg coffee roaster. We started with one little 6kg, 3½ years ago and have progressed to the first 30kg Genio ever made for our production and a 15kg for our smaller specialty batches.
Genio are a young company of coffee enthusiasts, designing and making roasters in South Africa, unlike most of the big manufacturers and right on top of artisan roasting technology.
What things are changing in the world of coffee shops in the West Country?
We are seeing a shift towards cafés serving specialty coffees, working seasonally to fit with what’s on offer from their local roaster.
To be deemed specialty, a coffee is professionally scored on many factors, for example, flavour, sweetness, acidity, balance and body - a lot like wine! It must have a score of 80 and above.
Skilled baristas are sought after, as coffee drinkers flock to cafés where their flat white is expertly poured with beautiful latte art! A lot of new business for us out there is of this type.
People want to know the provenance of produce and this applies to coffee too, where we’re seeing more transparency of the entire process, from farmer to roaster. Baristas are the last link in the chain, playing an important role in spreading the message of specialty coffee.
Which of your customers are serving specialty coffee?
We have many great customers serving our specialty coffee blends Road Trip and Fat Roc which include; The Winking Prawn and Sailor V in Salcombe, Bayards Kitchen and Cove in Dartington and Dartmouth, The Game Larder in Yelverton and The Glorious and Powderham Castle in Exeter, the Theatre Royal in Plymouth and The Independent Coffee Trader in Tiverton.
Some customers have begun serving our specialty, single origin coffees too! The Cove in Hope Cove have recently started serving our delicious Guatemalan coffee alongside their house blend, go and give it a try on their swish new balcony!
How can businesses and consumers find out more?
Since January we’ve been holding monthly cuppings (or coffee tastings – the word cupping always raises a smile!) at our roastery, where we taste new, seasonal coffees for our trade based, Round the World club. Check out our socials for info. We plan to offer these coffees to the home consumer through a subscription service later this year.
For people starting a coffee business, the specialty market is thriving and Voyager are offering some really special coffees. With customers becoming more discerning and educated in specialty coffee, it is the way of the future.