Union Hand-Roasted Coffee, the award-winning and integrity-driven coffee roasting business, reports it is firmly establishing itself as the UK’s leading roaster and supplier of higher quality coffee, with an ambitious plan to double turnover in the next three years.
Building on two decades in the industry, co-founders Jeremy Torz and Steven Macatonia have increased revenue by nearly 150% since 2008, and now employ 55 staff worldwide. With wholesale having previously been the sole focus for the entrepreneurial pair, the majority of the company’s partnerships are in the hospitality and food service sector.
This year, Union Coffee was a three gold star winner four times over in the annual Great Taste Awards – the highest accolade possible. Alongside this industry recognition, the implementation of an enterprising growth strategy will see Union’s well-established offering expand more prominently into retail and ecommerce. The move is set to bring a superior-quality coffee to the home consumer, with existing listings in Waitrose and Ocado setting a strong precedent. Discerning coffee-lovers can also order their favourite coffees online for delivery direct to their front door.
Union is at the forefront of sustainable coffee production practices, with the company name reflecting the unity of farmers, workers, roasters and customers. Pioneering Union Direct Trade, a business model which sees farm-gate prices negotiated directly with producers, Torz and Macatonia remain fiercely committed to maintaining this hands-on approach when dealing with suppliers.
“The aim of Union Direct Trade is to eradicate the imbalance of power that characterised the supply chain we were working in. We encountered a lot of mistrust in the early days of trading, with buyers promising one price and paying another,” explained Macatonia. “By visiting the farms, we saw first-hand how much producers depend on their coffee to make a decent living, so we wanted to offer a price that would improve livelihoods long-term,” he added.
This proactive approach has proved to be profitable for the company, with a more sustainable pricing structure assuring a higher class of coffee. Union sets itself apart from competitors by only selling coffees achieving quality grade 84 and above on a 100-point scale, the industry standard threshold for superior quality coffee. It is also a calibre that Torz and Macatonia liken to a Grand Cru Champagne, but one that’s more affordable to everyone.
“While the UK is more famously known as a nation of tea drinkers, demand for speciality coffee is growing. As coffee roasters, we are perfectly placed to communicate the needs of both producer and consumer with one another in order to drive quality across the industry. To support our growth plans, we’ll be looking to integrate our knowledge into the mainstream – particularly highlighting the benefits of Union Direct Trade to all our customers. In this way, we hope to improve perceptions of coffee sourcing and distribution across the board,” said Torz.