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Coffee and a Chat with Jason Hughes, Bad Hand Coffee

This month we catch up with Jason, Head Roaster at Bad Hand Coffee. Based in Bournemouth, Bad Hand are a climate positive business and are actively looking at methods they can adopt to improve the quality of their coffee whilst reducing the carbon footprint.

Hey Jason!

Tell us about you and your current role at Bad Hand. 

I came to travel Europe from down under about 10 years ago and like a true cliche I met a girl and stuck around. Now I’m a new dad, I think I’m here to stay.

Bad Hand began in 2018 and I joined as head roaster a year later. We’ve grown a lot since then and as we’re a pretty small team our roles are ever changing. Currently I deal with all things coffee, from sourcing green, designing blends, production roasting, quality control etc.

Tell us about your journey in coffee

I never really planned a career in coffee. I started in hospitality straight out of school as a stop gap… for a bit of beer money if you will. I bounced around in the industry for a few years chef, bartending, management, until I landed a role as a barista. Coffee was something I got really passionate about which I hadn’t experienced in my other roles, and I was pretty decent at latte art. After a few years in cafes a roasting position popped up at Bad Hand and I jumped at the opportunity.

What does a typical day look like for you?

To be honest, most of my time is spent glued to the roaster with bits of admin thrown in between roasts. I try to set aside at least one day a week for those larger jobs like QC and green sourcing.

What were you doing before you were at Bad Hand?

I was slinging coffees out of a local cafe, the Coffee Saloon. Where I honed my latte art skills and won a few local competitions. Now I’m not making coffees daily, those skills are now all but gone haha.

Is there anything you like doing in your spare time?

Family time is how most of my spare time is spent. If I ever do have a free day it’d probably be spent riding down to Cornwall on my motorcycle looking through as many record bins as I can on the way.

How do you approach sustainability and the environment in your personal life as well as business?

I think the main thing is to make small changes as often and as consistently as possible. Trying to get a whole family to adopt a certain way of life can be challenging so encouraging better choices I think is our main approach.

With running a business though it’s much simpler as we can have a set of guidelines that we can all agree we are going to follow. For example, all our wholesale customers have coffee delivered in reusable tubs. Our warehouse is run off solar which also powers our electric van used for our wholesale deliveries. Prior to the electric van we cycled most of the deliveries on our cargo bike.

We also reuse packaging from items we receive for some online orders. So next time you get a Bad Hand order delivered in a VivoBarefoot box you’ll know why.

If you had one day in your city, how would you spend it?

At the beach. I think Bournemouth probably has one of the best beaches in the UK. It’s definitely one of the reasons I get a little less homesick.

Earlier this year, you sent us a copy of your fantastic Bad Hand Journal. How did this come about, and what is the importance of this in your business?

Ah, thanks so much. It was kind of just a fun project to do but also gave us the ability to talk about stuff that we’re into. I think because we’ve been such a tight group of friends for so long we want people to know that we’re more than just coffee roasters, we have other stuff going on too. It’s been so well received, that we’re working on Volume 2 as we speak.

Music looks to play a big role at your roastery. Do you find inspiration in music for coffee and other areas of the business?

We usually have something rocky/heavy blasting through the roastery. Between us all we have quite a diverse taste in music so we’ll occasionally have an Enya session too.

I wouldn’t say we use music as an inspiration for anything, it just mentally fuels us through the day.

What are you listening to right now?

Yard Act seems to be the newest band we’ve had on repeat this year.

Do you have a mantra you live by?

I wouldn’t say I live by it but it is certainly one of my traits. If anything is worth doing, it’s worth doing properly.

How do you take your coffee?

A fruity V60 is my go to, and sometimes a flat white for a treat.

What is your favourite origin, coffee varietal and processing method?

I tend to sway towards cleaner, fruity, washed coffees more than anything else. Favourite origin is a lot harder to answer. Hmm, maybe Peru or Colombia?

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