The Exhibitor Edit: Allpress Espresso
We took a trip to Allpress Espresso Roastery and Café in Dalston, and met with Ollie Simon, the UK Communities Manager. Allpress Espresso is a premium specialty coffee brand roasting globally for 30 years and we are delighted to have them exhibiting with us for the first time this October. Read on to learn about how the company launches, the story behind the brand, their all-important steps towards sustainability, and what hoteliers can expect to see and experience on their stand.
How did Allpress Espresso launch?
Allpress started in Auckland, New Zealand about 33 years ago and it started from Michael Allpress when he was travelling around Seattle. It was around the time when Starbucks was in its infancy and blowing up all over the world. New Zealand hadn’t never really seen anything like it, so he came back with the goal of setting up a series of franchised coffee carts. He started with a coffee cart in an area in Auckland called Victoria Park Market and for a while he was buying coffee from another roaster. It was getting busy but it got to the point where Michael wasn't happy with the coffee that he was buying and so he linked up with a friend of his, Tony Papas, who became a co-founder, and they ended up roasting their own coffee.
The customers loved the coffee and so they opened a roastery in Auckland, followed by one in Sydney and then went on to open one in London. We also roast in Japan which is our most recent opening.
What three things do you think sets your business apart from your competitors?
One is the way that we roast. It's called ART which is a roasting technology that means we can have a delicious, clean, and consistent coffee all the time. It also means that we can push what we're doing to the maximum levels of bold, full flavour, without any of the burnt bitter notes typically associated with over-roasted coffee.
Another things is that we were one of the first in specialty coffee to identify that a full service or “360 support” model works well for a product like ours. That means our kilo price includes expert guidance on how to maintain your machinery and train and develop your baristas. Since we started doing this in 90s, most of our competitors have begun doing the same.
The third thing which links to how we roast is our iconic flavour, the Allpress Espresso Blend. It’s not exactly the same flavour as 32 years ago as some components have evolved over the years, but the coffee still retains the original flavour and taste. We work really hard to maintain a consistent flavour and it's something that our customers know and appreciate.
What coffee blends are most popular with hoteliers? Are there any specific ones, or do they usually opt for a variety to stock in their hotels?
The Allpress Espresso Blend in the capsules is always a really popular one. Capsules are never going to be the same as an espresso but these ones are pretty close and we’ve worked really hard to retain the iconic flavour experience in capsule form, so that's definitely our biggest seller in the hotel market.
We've also got A.R.T. Espresso Roast, a slightly darker and stronger tasting coffee, which shines with milk-based coffees, and is quickly gaining ground on the Allpress Espresso Blend in popularity. Our third in the capsule range is Haus Decaf Blend, which our global head of coffee Cam reckons is the best of the range. We know decaf drinkers enjoy our coffee for the flavour alone, so we’ve made a concerted effort to deliver on that promise.
Because we only have three different capsules, it’s very common for hoteliers to have all three options in their hotels to give guest more choice to choose a strength or taste based on their unique preferences.
What steps are Allpress Espresso taking towards sustainability?
We’ve begun the process to become B Corp, which is quite a major task with operations spanning 5 different markets. There’s a lot of different approaches our business is taking towards being more sustainable.
One is the way we source coffee. Where possible, most of our coffee is sourced directly from origin and because of this we always pay well above market rate. We maintain long-term relationships with producers that we work with and aim to buy coffee from them year on year which means that it’s financially sustainable for the farmers and their communities. A lot of these communities that we work with are under resourced, and work incredibly hard to introduce sustainable growth into the way they work, so it’s our duty as roasters to do as much as we can to support that.
We've got a series of different charitable campaigns that link back to the work our producers do. Here in the UK, we launched a Rwandan coffee from the KCRS Womens’ Cooperative. £2 from each bag sold went back to the cooperative to buy worms, allowing them to create organic fertiliser which opens their coffee up to more organic sales opportunities. We’re currently also running a SurfAid coffee, which is a Sumatran coffee. The proceeds from this go back to remote Indonesian communities to assist in the establishment of clean water, healthcare and education. Later this month we’re excited to share a beautiful coffee from DR Congo produced by the SOPACDI Women’s Coffee Project. £2 from each bag sold will go directly to the Panzi Foundation who support survivors of sexual violence in DR Congo.
In terms of packaging, all of our retail coffee bags are commercially compostable and all our capsules are made from aluminium, which are fully recyclable through capsule recycling schemes supported by local partners. We work with Podback, so we pay for the bags our customers use to return their used capsules either to us, or directly to Podback’s recycling facility in Cheshire. The capsules are shredded, each component is separated into food waste and the aluminium is then infinitely recycled into other aluminium products.
Additionally, all of our vehicles here are hybrid but we very rarely fill up with gas. We've got plugs at our Dalston Roastery, so we aim to reduce any carbon fuels that we can. We’ve also started working with HIVED for our deliveries, which are a zero emission UK based delivery company, and they use electric vehicles.
What can our hoteliers expect to see and experience on your stand at the show?
At the Independent Hotel Show, we will be showcasing our full range of capsules. Our Allpress specialty coffee capsules might look like ordinary coffee pods, but we’ve squeezed in three decades of coffee roasting expertise to deliver the ultimate home brew. Our goal was simple: to produce a capsule espresso as close to the café experience as possible. Therefore, our stand will be kept fairly simple with some big benches to encourage visitors to come and experience our flavour promise for themselves. We’re excited to share them!
What do you enjoy most about exhibiting at trade shows?
We do a lot of varied trade shows, such as like London Coffee Festival, Manchester Coffee Festival, various health food festivals, which is really cool. It's great meeting different types of people in various industries, discovering innovation and being aware of what's new in the world.
It’s our first time exhibiting at the Independent Hotel Show, which is very exciting. We’re looking forward to meeting hoteliers, showcasing our capsules, and getting them to try out our coffee.
You can meet the Allpress Espresso team on stand 928 at the Independent Hotel Show and try out their delicious coffee. Register here if you haven’t secured your badge yet.