Liverpool’s Neighbourhood Coffee has come a long way since I first met the founders, Ed and Chris, at Cup North in 2015, the year Neighbourhood was founded. Although the company was new, Ed and Chris were old hands in the coffee business, having previously worked for green-bean importers and African coffee specialists, Schluter (now part of Olam). Back then, Neighbourhood was Liverpool’s first speciality coffee roastery, operating from a very modern set-up in a railway arch just north of the city centre, which I visited at the end of the year.
These days, the company is still going strong, consistent growth leading to the roastery shifting further north in 2020, moving into a large unit on the Sandon Industrial Estate by Liverpool’s docks. When I visited, in June 2022, the faithful 15kg Giesen, which has been with Neighbourhood since the beginning, was about to be joined by a 60 kg Giesen, evidence of Neighbourhood’s continued growth. Typical output now consists of three blends, a decaf and around 15 single-origins, plus a new line in coffee pods. These are available from coffee shops around the UK, online via the revamped website and in-person at the retail counter at the roastery.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
You can read about Chris and Ed’s story, which led to the founding of Neighbourhood Coffee, in my original post from April 2016. These days, they’re still at the helm, although they now employ a team of 14. Although roasting is at the heart of the operation, it’s only ever been a small part of what Neighbourhood does. The focus is as much about building and sustaining a market for speciality coffee, plus providing training and support for existing and new customers in the dedicated training suite next to the offices.
The actual roasting takes up a small part of the large industrial unit Neighbourhood now calls home. There’s also the logistics of managing a large, complex operation, from ordering and storing the green beans to packing and dispatching the finished products. The unit, which is on the Sandon Industrial Estate, is right next to Liverpool’s busy docks, although its ironic that all of Neighbourhood’s green coffee is imported via Felixstowe and other ports in southern England, from where it makes its way overland to Liverpool (there are parallels to Chris’s career working as a coffee trader in Liverpool, where he never saw the beans he was importing, since they too went via the same ports to a warehouse in the middle of England).
When Neighbourhood burst onto the scene in 2015, it was partly due to its innovating naming scheme, which still marks the company out. All Neighbourhood’s coffee, single-origins as well as blends, have names, usually puns on song titles. It might seem a strange strategy, but it works: throughout the years, people have been drawn to the bags which have titles such as Born Sippin’, one of the originals from 2015, I Stirred It Through The Grapevine, a Guatemalan single-origin, new for this year, and (I Can’t Get No) Caffeination, Neighbourhood’s house decaf, which is produced and decaffeinated in Colombia using the ethyl acetate process. Don’t worry if your favourite name isn’t currently on the website (I have a soft spot for “I Still Haven’t Ground What I’m Looking For”, one of the original single-origins, an Ethiopian Sidamo). Coffee is a seasonal product, so different beans come in and out of stock all the time.
However, the mainstay of Neighbourhood’s output is the award-winning Espresso Yourself house-blend, a seasonal espresso blend that changes its components through the years (a Brazil/Colombia mix in 2015, the current incarnation is from Brazil/Rwanda). Described to me as “forgiving and chocolatey” by Chris back in 2015, that’s still as good a description as you’ll get. I’ve been enjoying it down the years at various coffeeshops and it’s still as good as ever.
As well as these blends and single-origins, Neighbourhood also produces bespoke blends for various coffee shops in the region, such as Ditto Coffee (Liverpool, Manchester and London), Press Bros. Coffee (Liverpool) and Lateral/Wylde Coffee (The Wirral). On my most recent visit, Chris told me that Neighbourhood was also starting to get its coffee into non-speciality coffee shops and restaurants, including chains as well as independents. Two he is particularly proud of are the new coffee shop in Caernarfon Castle and The Climbing Hanger, a national chain of indoor climbing centres which began life in Sandhills, Liverpool, a short walk from the roastery, and which uses Neighbourhood Coffee in its cafés.
Having enjoyed Neighbourhood’s coffee over the years, I thought I should give something back, so before I left, I presented the team with a gift from Ernst Kaffeeröster in Köln, a bag of the Chelbesa Lot 414, a washed coffee from Yirgacheffee in Ethiopia.
December 2016: Neighbourhood Coffee was a runner-up for the 2016 Best Roaster/Retailer Award.
January 2020: Neighbourhood Coffee has moved to a larger unit, just a little further down the Mersey, on the Sandon Industrial Estate, swapping a railway arch for an industrial unit by the docks. You can see what I made of it when I visited in June 2022 in the Coffee Spot Update.
|UNIT 22 • SANDON INDUSTRIAL ESTATE • SANDON WAY • LIVERPOOL • L5 9YN
|+44 (0) 151 236 6741
|09:30 – 16:30
|09:30 – 16:30
|09:30 – 16:30
|09:30 – 16:30
|09:30 – 16:30
|Original: 14th December 2015
Update: 9th June 2022
Liked this Coffee Spot? Then check out the rest of Liverpool’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Liverpool.
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