3 mins read

Coffee Snapshots | Michaela – Founder & Director of Bean + Brew

Our Coffee Snapshots series showcases the people who make the coffee industry tick, and shares stories & insights from coffee shop owners, baristas, roasters & more.
How did you get started in the coffee industry, and what did you do before?

My path to coffee is a little unconventional – I didn’t even drink coffee before I decided to jump into the industry. Before coffee, I worked for a large accountancy firm as a Corporate Tax Advisor. As with most trainees, I had to qualify as a Chartered Accountant to keep my job which was a challenge (and a real slog). Between working, studying and exams, I lost all interest in the job. Though I had started with ambitions to climb the corporate ladder, my physical and mental health was suffering so some time after qualifying, I decided to press ‘eject’. I did a bit of travelling but still had no idea what I wanted to do next. Instead of pinning down a particular ‘role’, I considered all the aspects lacking in my previous job that I wanted to fulfil in my next one, whatever that may be.

Among other things, these included human connection, the opportunity for creativity and to support the development of others. I had always wanted to start my own business and hospitality ticked many of the boxes I was looking for. Being detail-oriented meant that diving into speciality coffee seemed especially suited to me.

I started drinking coffee and working as a barista in various different cafes to learn from as many people and workplaces as possible. This gave me invaluable experience, not just in brewing coffee, learning about workflow and shop design, but also the awareness of the day-to-day challenges faced by baristas on the ground. This set me up to be a more sympathetic and well-rounded owner operator.

Where do you source your coffee from and why did you choose it?

For the past 4 years, we have worked with Campbell & Syme, an independent family owned roastery. Coffee is our ‘bread and butter’ and so selecting a roastery partner who aligns with our values and who I could see us working with week in week out was crucial.

The team at Campbell & Syme are a pleasure to work with – their product is great and well-loved by our community, they send us a coffee menu weekly which invites variety through a rotating filter and retail offering, while their omni-roast technique allows versatility to the customer’s preferred brew method. We opt for a Brazilian house espresso on the bar to offer consistency to our regulars.

What makes your coffee shop stand out?

Service. Even though we are one of very few speciality coffee shops in the area, I believe offering great coffee is a minimum standard; it’s our friendly, approachable and hospitable service that leaves a real impression. This is what I am most proud of.

How did you choose your brand/shop name?

Bean + Brew was one of 10 shortlisted names still sitting in a Word document I created in April 2018. For each idea, I considered its relevance to coffee, listed pros and cons, and noted the potential website domains and social media handles that could be used.

Bean + Brew does what it says on the tin which was especially important being situated on a busy High Road, though interestingly, some people thought we brewed beer! This was an early lesson about perception and that not everyone will see something through the same lens as you.

What’s your coffee of choice?

An oat flat white or latte as a mid-morning ‘snack’, or a filter coffee. I don’t have a favourite origin, it just depends on what I fancy at the time, though I certainly have a preference for light / medium roasts.

Follow Bean + Brew on Instagram @beanandbrewlondon

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