Belfast's Root and Branch Coffee has been named among the world’s top 50 coffee roasters by Roastful
Belfast-based Root and Branch Coffee has been named among the world's top 50 speciality coffee roasters by Roastful, an influential industry specialist.
The global recognition is an indication of the emergence of coffee roasting as a significant and increasingly successful sector within the Northern Ireland food and drink industry.
Dozens of smaller companies are now roasting coffee from beans for major retailers, restaurants, cafes and hotels here and in global markets such as China and the US. One company in particular has a developing network of coffee houses around Shanghai!
Root and Branch was listed along with coffee roasters in New York, Kyoto, Stockholm and Amsterdam. It was the only local roaster on the select list.
Formed in 2016 by Simon Johnston and Ben Craig, Root and Branch now operates from premises in the Portview Trade Centre in Belfast.
The company says: "We’re super chuffed to have made the list! Curiosity and innovation to produce the best coffee possible will always be the focus at Root and Branch. To make it on to a list with the best roasters from around the world is icing on the cake."
The company sells its premium coffee products through retail and subscription.
Holding the record for exporting coffee to China is Lisburn's Pure Roast Coffee. The small company, formed by Martin Symington in 2006, has an agreement with a leading Chinese corporation to supply ground coffee from Lisburn to Pure Roast Coffee branded outlets around the greater Shanghai area. The coffee shops also offer packaged Pure Roast coffee from Lisburn to be enjoyed at home.
In addition to China, Pure Roast coffees are to be found throughout Britain and Scandinavia. He's recently installed a second coffee bag line to cope with the continuing growth in sales worldwide.
Pure Roast is now among more than a dozen roasters operating in NI. Slumberjack in Antrim, for instance, has won significant business from Lidl Ireland.
Recently launched roasters include Fidela Coffee in Coleraine which is the 13th member of the Économusée of artisans that offers visitors a range of bookable coffee experiences from their roastery and coffee shop.
Graham Watts of Causeway Coffee, also based in Coleraine, has shipped his hand roasted and award-winning coffee to a customer in the US.
Export approaches have also come from several parts of Europe.
Experienced business couple Dermot and Úna O’Kane are planning the development of the Upperlands Coffee Company in Co Derry, a small roaster they bought from its original owners back in February. They have already shipped small batches to contacts in Europe.
Among the best known in Belfast is Bailie's Coffee Roasters, now a major supplier to the retail and hospitality sectors here and further afield. Based in Townsend Enterprise Park, Belfast Coffee Roasters has also grown its sales steadily.
Other successful coffee roasters here include: Johnsons in Hillsborough: Ristretto in Banbridge; Wild Heart in Bangor; SD Bell's Belfast, Belfast; Established, also Belfast and Bro in Newcastle, the latter listed recently in the latest Grow with Aldi Ireland marketing scheme.