The Orkney Roastery
The newest members of Orkney Food and Drink are the latest subject of our Business Focus feature. The Orkney Roastery is the first dedicated micro-roastery in the islands, sourcing quality coffee beans and, with care and attention, creating its own range of delicious coffee blends.
Orkney is famous for its food and drink.
Over the years the focus has very much been on the 'food' side of things - things like our beef, shellfish, cheese and and ice cream. But, more recently, the 'drink' aspect has really been coming to the fore. We now have two world-famous distilleries, two award-winning breweries and three artisan gin producers.
Now coffee is the latest tipple to be tackled by local producers, with the launch of the Orkney Roastery.
Sara Tait and Euan Smith have been working hard in the background over the past few months, sourcing and roasting high quality coffee beans from around the world to make the perfect blends for the Roastery's new Aria brand of coffees.
Coffee has been a shared passion of theirs for a number of years. 'I used to work as Operations Director with the Edinburgh Tea and Coffee Company,' said Euan. 'I've also worked closely with the catering industry locally and felt there was a real opportunity for a micro-roastery here. The aim is to supply a premium product for people to enjoy, not just in Orkney but further afield too. Anyone who has tasted freshly roasted coffee, produced with real care and attention for the beans, will know how special it can be.'
Creating the perfect cuppa is no easy process. It's the same as producing beer, wine or whisky. There is a lot of trial and error, a lot of testing and a lot of patience required. Sara and Euan invested in a special 10kg Toper gas roaster, which has been customised to have exact control and recording capabilities to match their roasting processes.
Beans from around the world, including places like Colombia and Kenya, are sourced and then Sara and Euan get to work. They figure our the best way to treat and roast the green beans to maximise the flavour, a process which involves testing various beans in a sample roaster, then 'cupping' them to taste test each one. This helps them understand the characteristics of each roast, and is a very exact process.
'Our production runs will be very small, probably around 8-10kg at a time,' said Sara. 'This means we can really fine tune things and focus on what really works. Our ethos is all about producing coffee that folk will enjoy. It’s handcrafted and we genuinely care about the process, which lets the beans shine.'
The Orkney Roastery will be offering whole bean coffee along with cafetiere, filter and espresso grinds. There are also plans to develop special blends, including espressos with real variety. The main brand is named 'Aria', after a coffee loving character in Johann Sebastian Bach’s comic opera, The Coffee Cantata. The musical theme continues with the Roastery's first Colombian coffee named Bolero, and its first espresso called Overture.
The brand will be available in local shops and it's hoped cafes, restaurants and hotels will take on stock as well. Sara also wants to attract new people to the delights of drinking coffee. 'There are lots of people interested in fresh coffee, but I'd love to reach instant coffee drinkers too so they can taste the difference. Hopefully catering establishments in Orkney will take the chance to commission their own special blends and roasts too. There's plenty of options and lots of work to do, that's for sure!'
So, another unique local company creating an original, hand crafted product in the beverage sector. Maybe it's time to change the name of the group to Orkney Drink and Food.
For more information on where to find the Aria brand of coffee, visit the Orkney Roastery Facebook page.
Visit the Orkney Food and Drink website for more details on our talented island producers.
Inside Business Focus
In a small community it's important that a wide range of goods and services are available, and one shop in particular has been doing that locally for generations. Our latest Business Focus feature takes a look at one of the oldest established businesses in the islands, William Shearer.More
There have always been talented craftsmen and women in Orkney - now the latest generation of makers are beginning to take centre stage. Our new Business Focus feature visits the workshop of Kerr Carpentry in Burray.More
The Deerness Distillery
Orkney now has three top quality gin producers, each making their mark on the national stage. Our new Business Focus feature takes a look at the newest kid on the block, the Deerness Distillery.More
Our latest Business Focus feature takes a look at Ortak, one of Orkney's most iconic jewellery brands. The company is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and is beginning to once again make its mark both in the islands and globally.More
Peedie Chocs and Desserts
Our next business focus feature takes a look at new Orkney Food and Drink member 'Peedie Chocs and Desserts'. Sarah-Louise Drever's enterprise offers high quality and delicious chocolates, truffles and fudges - and this is just the beginning.More
The Brig Larder
Our latest business focus feature takes a look at a unique shop in the centre of Kirkwall. Orkney Food and Drink member The Brig Larder offers a wide range of local products, showcasing the best Orkney has to offer.More
Michael Sinclair Woodturner
Our business focus feature for March takes us to Harray and the home of new company and Orkney Crafts Association member, Michael Sinclair Woodturner.More
Karrawa Guest House
Every month we’re going to take a look at the work of a successful Orkney based business - for February we're featuring Orkney Tourism Group member Karrawa Guest House in Kirkwall.More
The Island Smokery
Every month we’re going to take a look at the work of a successful Orkney based business - for January we're featuring Orkney Food and Drink member the Island Smokery, makers of smoked and flavoured cheeses and much more.More
Every month we're going to take a look at the work of a successful Orkney based business - from food and drink producers to tourism and renewable energy companies. The aim is to highlight the breadth of economic activity in the islands, and to showcase just some of our innovative entrepreneurs. This time the focus is on local designer Hilary Grant.More