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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!
Inspired by Jemma Melvin’s winning Lemon Swiss Roll and Amaretti Trifle, we whipped up The Royal Americano in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. It’s a refreshing drink to enjoy by itself, or to pair with Jemma’s dessert - perfect for the warmer days that are approaching.
Well, how does it taste? You'll have to try it yourself at home - the proof is in the pudding!
Things You’ll Need: (Serves 4)
To Prepare In Advance: Homemade Orgeat Syrup
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 205C/400F
Step 2: On a baking tray with a sheet, spread out a layer of 1/2cup raw almonds
Step 3: Let the almonds bake in the oven for 3-4 minutes, then let cool.
Step 4: Use a food processor to grind the almonds to a medium-coarse size
Step 5: Soak the ground almonds in ¾ cups of water for 3 hours
Step 6: Use a cheesecloth (or similar) to strain and squeeze the ground almonds from the water and you should get about ½ cup of liquid. Squeeze until dry.
Step 7: On a saucepan, heat the liquid for 2 minutes then add ½ cup of white sugar. Stir for another 3-5 minutes until dissolved. Let it cool.
Step 8: Strain the liquid mixture again into a bottle/jar using a cheesecloth to get a clear syrup. Add ½ teaspoon of orange blossom/flower water.
Step 9: Keep in the fridge until needed. Good for two weeks.
Recipe Preparation For (1x) The Royal Americano:
Step 1: Pop a CRU Kafe Organic Light Roast capsule into the Morning Machine
Step 2: Brew the capsule using the "Classic" recipe
Step 3: Fill you stainless steel shaker with ice cubes and dunk the brewed coffee inside.
Step 4: Add 3-5mls of your homemade Orgeat Syrup. Lid the shaker.
Step 5: Shake it, shake it, shake it like a polaroid picture.
Step 6: Strain the Shaken Americano into your serving glass.
Step 7: Add the almond milk and heavy cream into a cup or a milk pitcher.
Step 8: Use the milk frother to aerate the mixture until you get some foam. You may use the excess half & half for the other 3 drinks.
Step 9: Scoop some of the Whipped Almond Foam on top of your Shaken Americano.
Step 10: Top it off with a Lemon Thin and you’re good to go.