How long have you been in business and how did the idea start?
LAURA: Our grandfather (the chap with the bowler hat on our packaging and logo), was a very driven businessman. With a love for good quality coffee, he noticed that there were no roasters in the local area, so in 1970 he established ‘Brian Wogan Coffee’. It started out in the city centre, with the same 1968 90KG Probat that we still use now (although it’s been refurbished and tweaked over the years, and is now alongside our 1KG, 30KG, and 120KG roasters), with our father then taking the reins in 1991. Myself and James both went to university, but then realised that both our passions lay in coffee (our blood is literally made of the stuff), so we have been working together in the business since, learning from our father to one day end up running it side by side . We are in the midst of some very exciting times, and will be seeing our Roastery triple in size over the next few months. Watch this space!
What’s your favourite thing about living in your town?
JAMES: The Wogans are really drawn to water, so the Harbourside has got to be my favourite part of the city. Wapping Wharf in particular – it’s an awesome area, with brilliant independent businesses and a serious buzz. I’m also yet to find a city that beats Bristol on the food scene, although Laura the Londoner would probably argue with me on that one.
Where’s your favourite place nearby to visit?
LAURA: Firstly I don’t know if I can wholeheartedly disagree with James’ comment on the food scene in Bristol, given that my two favourite restaurants are there (shout out to Pony & Trap and Adelina Yard). But in London, I love heading for a walk along the Thames in West London (Wogan Coffee in hand, obviously) – I was also very late to the party discovering Spitalfields Market when we were at the London Coffee Festival, and think it’s pretty magical.
Which is your favourite coffee/ origin and why?
JAMES: It really depends on my mood… And time of day… And time of year… And how I am drinking it… But right now it’s got to be our Colombian Finca La Laguna Reserva. I’m still amazed each time I drink it, and I absolutely love seeing peoples’ faces on their first sip. Huge notes of cape gooseberries, caramel sweetness and a really creamy mouthfeel through espresso – it’s just such a classic and stylish Colombian, and I’m always going to be a sucker for that!
How do you take your coffee?
LAURA: Considering I’m on about six cups of coffee a day (IT’S GOOD FOR YOU, I PROMISE), my answer is probably annoyingly vague like James’. On an ideal day, I’d start the morning with our Ethiopian Hafurasa Waro Honey through a V60 for breakfast, next up our Costa Rican San Luis Tarrazú as an espresso, the Cup of Excellence Nicaraguan La Bastilla as a long black at lunch, and our silky Colombian La Laguna as a flat white in the afternoon. Drool.
What’s life outside roasting like for you?
JAMES: I know people might roll their eyes at this, but I’m really lucky to be in a job that I absolutely love, so for me coffee permeates through just about everything. We have a small roaster at home and a single group Slayer, so I spend a lot of time playing around with roasting and brewing profiles (and trying to make pretty patterns, of course.) Apart from that, I love my food, so we eat out a lot as a family – alongside Laura’s two favourites, I’d add Casamia and Pasta Loco – helps that they happen to serve a pretty good cup of coffee too… I’m also big in to my films, so spend a lot of time persuading Laura (whenever she’s in Bristol) to tag along with me to the cinema. Or friends, I have those too.
What was the last book that you read?
LAURA: I’ve just finished The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne, and really couldn’t recommend it more. A lot of it is set in Dublin where I studied for four years, so aside from the absolutely incredible, emotional and thought-provoking plot, it was wonderfully nostalgic for me to be able to revisit all of the streets, pubs and surrounding towns that I spent so much time in.