It revs us up in the morning, keeps us going throughout the day, cools us down in the summer and is the one drink we can find anywhere. No high street is complete without a bevy of coffee shops and most of us never leave home without our own coffee mug.
One of the great benefits of having a membership at Uncommon is that we understand coffee culture better than most. Each Uncommon workspace houses its own café, offering incredibly high-quality coffee by Assembly Coffee, alongside healthy snacks and drinks.
Here is our interview with Claire Wallace from Assembly Coffee, who is their Lead Production Roaster. She gives you the rundown on what Assembly Coffee does, their values and sustainability, and her personal insights on coffee.
Tell us a little bit about Assembly Coffee
We’re a coffee roastery founded in 2015 and based in Brixton, South London. We source high quality and delicious coffees, roast them on our incredibly energy efficient roaster, and they are served in some of the best hospitality and people focused spaces in the world (including Uncommon!). We’re passionate about what we do, and we want to make sure we make a positive impact whilst we do it.
One of Assembly’s key focuses is on sustainability. Can you tell us a bit more about why it is so important and what Assembly is doing to drive change in the coffee industry?
Of course! Climate change is obviously a very serious consideration for our industry, as many coffee growing regions are feeling the effects of it. We don’t want to operate in a way that has a net negative impact on our environment. We are a certified Carbon Neutral Company and use 100% renewable energy sources to power our roasteries. In the short term, we are offsetting our carbon use by supporting reforestation projects in countries we purchase coffee from. Our long term plan is to greatly reduce our carbon emissions through fully compostable packaging and carbon neutral shipping solutions, amongst many other projects. Watch this space!
Additionally, we would not have the business we have if not for the wonderful coffee grown by our farming partners. The financial sustainability of our supply chain is a big concern for us; coffee farmers are often paid very little for their crop, and the market can be volatile. We regularly pay more than double the market price per KG for the coffees we purchase, and at fixed prices regardless of currency fluctuations. We have strong relationships with many of our suppliers, and purchase from them every year, providing them with the security of a recurring income. For the industry to be sustainable, everyone within it must thrive, and thrive equitably.
Why did you choose to become a Production Roaster? What has your journey been like being a champion for Assembly Coffee?
I’ve always really enjoyed the exploration of flavour – whether through cooking, drinking different wines or spirits, or tasting coffee from different countries. Being a roaster has allowed me to learn to manipulate flavour and express the amazing coffees we buy in the best possible ways. It’s an incredible learning curve!
I’ve had the chance to do lots of different projects at Assembly, and it has been a great journey so far. Every time I compete in a competition, run an event or host a training, I meet so many interesting people all coming together over coffee. It’s never boring!
Which one of your coffees is a fan favourite? Which one would you personally recommend?
Coffee, like most other fruits and vegetables, is harvested seasonally and so our offering changes depending on which coffees are available at a particular time of year. The flavour profile of our House Single Espresso is consistent all year round though– a coffee that is sweet, chocolatey and mellow, and tastes brilliant as a filter coffee or in a flat white. A real crowd pleaser and fan favourite.
I really love our current Ethiopian coffee, Shantawene. It has a lot of floral and stone fruit flavours, and It’s really elegant and complex. It has been very popular with everyone else who has tried it too!
For Coffee Brewing Tips, check out the 20 minute session Claire hosted over on our Instagram TV.
You can also follow Assembly Coffee on Instagram.
If you are looking for a sustainable and reusable coffee cup, we have Uncommon branded cups available to purchase at all of our sites.
You may have already spotted them on display at our cafés!