008: Interview with Matthew Deyn from BrewCoffeePlus

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BrewCoffeePlus are a newly established roaster opening in April 2019.

Based within a restored and modernised industrial unit in Streatham, the brand combines the production of ethically traded and high quality coffee with a forward-thinking approach. Enea and Matthew combined their love of coffee after 18 years working with in the industry to start BrewCoffeePlus.

You can find their coffee on our retail shelf for a limited time and taste them on our brew bar at the Old Bank Residency and possibly brew a few up yourself at our Training Space during our public workshops.

Great to be drinking fantastic coffee from a new start-up business who like us want to work with passionate and skilled producers. As well as help work towards finding solution’s to issues we’ve seen within the industry.

Click these links for their social media accounts: Instagram. Facebook.

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Interview

Josh: Hey Matthew. Thanks for doing this!

Firstly, What is it about coffee that made you gravitate towards working in the industry?

Matthew: At first it was the social aspect. I was content sitting in a comfortable, living-room like space with other people. Coffee in hand, music on play and the possibility of something interesting happening through meeting or conversing with other people.

After that I began to drink it. It was here where I slowly began to understand that little things could make a big difference when it came to flavour. I wanted to learn more so I could understand how to improve my drinking experience.

Josh: The social interaction is something very key for me in the coffee drinking experience. Which is perhaps often way to overlooked. As you’ve just touched on. Over the years in which you’ve worked behind the machine. How do you view technology in regards to the way it’s effecting the role of the barista?

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Matthew: I think it is a dangerous thing to be honest. Whilst more consistency is definitely a great thing when brewing espresso I believe that in order to provide longevity to a person's career they need to treat their profession as a craft in order to grow and develop. When that connection to craft is lost, it can be harder to get joy out of the whole process I feel. Some of the best memories I have when brewing espresso were on a simple Linea Classic - the very same espresso machine we have installed at the roastery. I would much rather focus on the coffee than anything else though it is always useful to have a goalpost and numbers to work with too. Balance is the key I think - much like with life!

Josh: That’s a sentiment I can definitely back! I find myself becoming immersed in new areas of interest continuously whether a subject, business or person. What is it that you’ve seen recently within speciality coffee that has caught your attention?

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Matthew: Most recently was probably James Hoffmann's video featuring Scott Rao at the Decent Espresso Machine booth at World of Coffee in Berlin this year. It seems his filtered espresso puck technique is able to achieve a super high extraction which I found pretty interesting. I also recently went to a roasting workshop with Scott Rao which was well worth attending.

Josh: So now, a bit more about BrewCoffeePlus. Obviously, I think your coffee is delicious and I’m stoked to have it in the cafe. Talk to me about how thing’s came together, whose involved and where you’d like to be in the coming years?

Matthew: Sure thing - so strangely enough there wasn't much of a job description when I initially applied for the role of roaster online. Nonetheless I had seen a few quality images associated with the brand and I had already met the founder which always helps! After moving back to London early last year to pursue the world of roasting, I worked a couple of different roles which were great but not quite what I was looking for. One was at Perky Blenders, a specialty roastery in Leyton where I was doing training and some QC and then a great sales role at popular and innovative start-up IKAWA. It was actually at the latter where I first met Enea, the brainchild of Brew Coffee Plus. He was one of my leads who I demonstrated the new IKAWA Pro V3 to in the office - complete with flight case and durable exhaust sensor. After that sale was successful we stayed in touch over WhatsApp and although I had a brief moment of thinking about getting into data science or software development, I realised that coffee is the thing that makes me tick so when Enea offered me an opportunity with the company it just made sense to me. Currently there are just the two of us so it is exciting to be helping with various systems and the first few roast profiles however we do have a friend called Tom (a talented barista/head of coffee at Hagen espresso bar) who helps us make purchasing decisions from time to time which is always useful. In the coming years we would like to provide more depth in what we offer coffee selection-wise, build long-term relationships with the right producers by regularly visiting origin and build a consistent training programme that helps baristas elevate their understanding.

Josh: Seems like things always fall into place. The market at the moment has never been more competitive than right now. What is it you think small operations like ours can do to stand out against larger established brands with large wholesale operations and investment groups backing them?

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Matthew: That's a good question! This is something I am certainly learning more about now nonetheless, for small organisations, I think clarity of vision, consistency in action and a focused strategy are crucial elements that can allow them to reach and serve their ideal target market well. It's no good scoring a goal once and then trying something new just for the sake of it. Additionally having a brilliant culture is going to help smaller organisations a lot as the whole team will be in sync. This is certainly hard when it is just two of you but it is something I am very aware of. It is important that each person feels valued but also knows what is expected of them and what resources they have available to execute. By focusing on the 20% of actions that achieves 80% of the results members of the team can utilise their time more effectively, deliver better service to customers and improve systems. I wholeheartedly believe in the small and nimble approach and am grateful for having had the experience of working at a start-up company previously too as it has instilled in me an approach of iteration, learning and curiosity. Without this last aspect, things stagnate and change becomes slower - something that I think is common in those larger brands.

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Josh: Now for a fun and light hearted question to end on. If you were to drink one coffee for the rest of your days. What origin would it be, what varietal, which processing method, who would roast this coffee and how would method would use to you prepare it?

Matthew: Nice! Tough but it would be: Ethiopian Biftu Gudina heirloom & fully washed roasted by Joanna Alm then made with a V60.

Josh: Thanks again for doing this Matthew. All the best with BrewCoffeePlus. Hope to cross paths soon!