Getting to know Richard Robinson - CEO & Founder of Old Spike Roastery.
What's the story behind Old Spike Roastery and how did it all start?
Old Spike started first and foremost from a passion about coffee. I spent there years living in NYC back in 2008 where I discovered the speciality scene living round the corner from Blue Bottle’s first roastery in Brooklyn, New York. When I moved back to London, I joined forces with my friend and business partner who was studying at the ’school of social entrepreneurs’ and we decided we could combine our love for coffee and do some good in our community. With that, Old Spike was born - the UK’s first social enterprise, coffee roaster supporting people experiencing homelessness with training and employment. Since the earlier days, we are now roasting on a 30KG batch Giesen roaster and operate 4 cafes across London.
Can you share more about Old Spike's approach to sourcing and roasting coffee?
Old Spike directly source around 70% of our coffee supply - working closely with a couple of select importers for the more unique, smaller volume coffees we stock. We have range of coffees from all over the world and source based on all brewing methods. We generally like to offer at least one exclusive, experimental lot three to four times a year to give our customers something a little different.
What motivated Old Spike to explore putting your coffees into the capsule coffee format?
We saw the explosion of the home pod market in the UK and felt we were missing a large base of our customers by not having an option for at home pod customers. It is also an incredible quick and easy option and with the Morning Machine, allows greater control of the extraction to get more out of the coffee.
We all have our morning routines, and coffee is often a crucial part of it. What is your morning ritual like?
I tend to wake up pretty early as I run two different businesses and have two kids under 5 years old so coffee features very early in the morning for me as soon as I wake up.
What are you most excited about right now and for the future of Old Spike Roastery as a brand/business?
We have just moved into a much larger roastery site and are about to kick off our training which was put on pause whilst we moved site. I am really excited in continuing our impact and helping people who are struggling with accommodation and employment get back on their feet. This year - we hope to support over 200 people and every coffee we sell helps fund our programme!