Chipp Coffee Co.: Meet the man behind the Leeds coffee roastery who started with one coffee bag in his dad's warehouse
It’s the local coffee roastery that serves specialty coffee to numerous Leeds venues - and it's just released a compostable coffee pod.
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After moving back to Leeds, the 32-year-old decided to start his own roastery, and the roasting kicked off at the back end of 2018 in a small corner of his dads warehouse on Dewsbury Road - with half a bag of coffee and a tiny roaster.
Zach told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “I actually started my career as a bartender at Jamie’s Italian in Leeds back when that was a thing, and part of that was to do barista work. And I got quite good at that to the point where Jamie’s coffee supplier offered me a job down in London as a barista trainer.
“I took the opportunity and moved to London where I got to work with some high-profile hotels and restaurants.”
While working as a trainer, he learned more about roasting and specialty coffee, what he describes as an “industry within the industry”. Teaching himself by reading books and studying online, he eventually landed a job in York as a trainee coffee roaster, learning how about commercial coffee production and running a roastery.
Today, Chipp Coffee Co. is based in a small industrial space in Holbeck, with little room to move around between the stacks of coffee beans and barrels or roasted coffee ready to be packed and shipped out to coffee shops, bars and restaurants.
Zach mostly handles the sourcing these days. Working with specialty coffee, he puts a lot of emphasis on ethical and sustainable sourcing.
“All of our coffees are fully traceable to whoever has grown that coffee”, he said. “With our coffees in Colombia for example, we can get on a call with the producers and know what tree it came from.”
“Our Colombian coffee comes from a social enterprise, run by a good friend of mine, Herbert, who is actually coming to my wedding next year in Leeds. So it’s that close sustainable relationship where we know everything about the coffee that is coming to us.
“And a lot of the work on the sourcing side is not just forecasting how much coffee we’re going to need and what we want it to taste like. But also who is it being grown by; Are they getting paid fairly for their product; Is there anything more we can do from our side as the consuming country to better showcase the coffee growers who produce it? They never seem to get enough credit for their work.
“Because all we do is the roasting and packing, and it’s got our brand on the side - which is amazing - but there’s also so many other people in that chain that deserve the credit.”
Including Zach, the roastery has two full-time staff and three part time staff, and currently produces between ten to 15 different blends, as well as fully compostable pods. But with Christmas coming up, a number of specialty roasts are now in the making.
Sold on their online web shop, Chipp’s coffee blends is served at a number of Leeds venues including, Kapow Coffee, Coffee Synthesis and Out Of The Woods. It's can also be enjoyed at a several Call Lane bars, including in an Espresso Martini at Jake's Bar.
Zach added: “You can also buy the coffee at The Cheesy Living Co. in the Corn Exchange, and there’s a few other independent businesses in Leeds and Wakefield.”
With the business quickly outgrowing their roastery, high up on the agenda for 2024 is finding a new space.
Zach said: “We’re a bit tight for space here, so we’re looking to expand to a new roastery space next year. We’ve also got plans to open up a training school as well - so we’re opening a coffee school!”