What made you want to start your business?
Our story starts many moons ago, when Juan’s grandfather won a little piece of a mountainside on the outskirts of Medellin, Colombia. Luckily it was the perfect conditions for growing coffee. Juan grew up on the coffee farm. It wasn’t until we went backpacking with our children in Central America that we realised we wanted to learn how to roast coffee and bring awesome, ethically sourced coffee to our little pocket of South East London. A mind-blowing cup in Chiapas, Mexico, got us thinking again about the joy of good coffee and the magic of the beans. We decided to change our lives and start our own coffee roastery.
What’s your background? Do you have previous experience in the food and drink industry?
Juan grew up on a coffee farm so has always been surrounded by coffee all of his life, we had both worked as Baristas too along the way, but roasting was totally new to us when we started out.
What's the secret to making great coffee?
Roasting is a science and an art, for us it is about ensuring we always source magical and ethical coffee, learning all about the beans and spending time with each new coffee to understand its nuances and how to achieve the best flavour through roasting. We do a lot of testing, tasting, and quality control, ultimately we luckily get to source coffee that we love and share it with our community.
What does your day-to-day work environment look like?
We currently roast in a workshop in our garden.
What does a typical day look like?
Long but the best! We wake-up super early to plan roasting schedules, pack orders, source and sample new coffees and chat to our wonderful cafe partners and wholesale customers. We plan bike routes around South East London for daily deliveries. We are doing nearly 200 miles a week in push bike deliveries to SE20, SE25, BR3, SE19, SE26, SE23, SE22, SE4, SE13 and SE6. Sustainability is something we are super passionate about, we are always trying to find the most-eco friendly way to package our coffee and deliver it and ensure we are leaving the most minimal footprint.
What are your favourite recipes to make using your products?
We brew coffee as you can imagine in every way possible to taste it, which is super lucky. At home our go to recipes are for our Kalita wave or V60
What would you tell any aspiring food or drink sellers?
Just do it! Looking back, we can’t believe how much we didn’t know when we first started and we have learnt so much along the way, and continue to learn everyday. Coffee roasting and sourcing feels like a bit of a wonderful dark art that we will be learning about for the rest of our lives.
Any favourite spots you like to hang out in that we should know about?
Ooh so many! We love (and of course we are biased as they serve Carnival coffee ;)) Reunion, Deli Twenty Two, Le Querce, SE Twenty Cafe, The Birds Nest, and Antenna Studios to name but a few.
What does the future look like for the London independent food and drink scene?
It’s an exciting time for makers and this year, although it has been super tough, has brought lots of new customers and opportunities. People are definitely drinking more coffee!
And finally, what does the future hold for Carnival Coffee Roasters?
We are luckily always trying to keep up with demand and will shortly be moving into a bigger workshop and hope to have a brew bar and an exciting art space for our customers to come and visit and drink some amazing coffee.
Visit Carnival Coffee Roasters website to order coffee and keep up to date by following @carnivalcoffeeroasters on Instagram.