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Coffee and a Chat with Lisa & Anna, Dear Green

Dear Green are a speciality coffee roaster based in Glasgow and established in 2011. The company was born from a place of passion and ethical frustration. In the search for an ethical path, they discovered B Corporations and now they are proud to contribute to a bigger impact. Over a decade on, Dear Green continues to drive forward the coffee scene in the UK.

We caught up with Lisa and Anna to find out more…

Hi Lisa & Anna,

Thank you for joining us for this Coffee and a Chat. 

With Glasgow Coffee Festival just a week away, it  seems right to start with this! Tell us a little bit about Dear Green’s involvement with this incredible independent coffee fest?

Dear Green organised the first ever Glasgow Coffee Festival in 2014 with the intention of creating community and showcasing the Scottish coffee scene. Since then we have hosted the festival annually and grown it to a two day event which is connected to the wider international coffee community. The festival has hosted various competitions over the years including UK Barista Championship, Brewers Cup, Cup Tasters and it’s where we launched the first ever UK Roasting Championship. The festival is a great opportunity for the coffee community to connect which has been especially apparent after a two year break due to the pandemic.

Outside of the festival, what are your respective roles at Dear Green?

Lisa: Founder of Dear Green and Glasgow Coffee Festival, I generally pick up whatever needs done on any given day. My focus is on coffee quality, sustainability, community, marketing and most importantly customer and team happiness.
Anna: Roaster for Dear Green, I’m responsible for sourcing, profiling, roasting and QC of our delicious coffees as well as supporting the team with product development, events and general day to day business

Dear Green are one of the trailblazers of speciality coffee here in the UK. How did you end up setting up a speciality roaster in Glasgow?

Lisa: I bought a second hand coffee roaster (a Probat L12) on a bit of a whim after I had roasted for a while in Australia for Tobys Estate Coffee. There wasn’t anyone roasting specialty grade coffee locally and I could see a gap and a welcome challenge in Glasgow. I was also really inspired by what we had achieved as a start-up in Australia in such a short space of time. Dear Green has grown quite organically since we set up in 2011 and we now roast on a Probat P25 and P5. We’ve maintained our strict focus on high quality coffee, sourced responsibly whilst also being on a constant learning curve to approach business differently which proudly led us to B Corp certification in 2020.

Sustainability seems to be a major part of the Dear Green culture. Are there any projects you are working on at the moment that you want to share?

We are constantly working on something and once the fun distraction of the Glasgow Coffee Festival is over we will be sharing the results of our carbon measurements, our learnings and our reduction plan by our Net Zero Coordinator. Martha joined us at the start of the year and has helped us progress this project along with many others. She will also be assisting us with our B corp recertification this year.

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

As a team we all have strong environmental and social values. This has become a big part of Dear Green’s mission and culture. Simple acts such as using reusable cups, considering how we travel and being less wasteful are easy ways for everyone to improve their personal impact. When we started to measure our impact at Dear Green it became more apparent what we needed to focus on and what we could and couldn’t control. Every action we take informs the next. Ultimately we are consumers and we need legislation and policies to ensure that there is systemic change and that our efforts to reach Net Zero are possible.

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

We’d go to Glasgow Coffee Festival of course! (13-14th May 2023). If you miss those dates then be sure to immerse yourself in the rich culture and heritage of our city. There are great parks to escape to, incredible restaurants to eat in and a never ending list of gig venues to see the night through! Not forgetting our bustling coffee scene to fuel your day!

Do you have a mantra you live by?

Too many! Our mission as a company focuses on Planet, People and Product. That’s a pretty respectful social and environmental approach to life and work whilst always sourcing roasting and drinking delicious coffee!

How do you take your coffee? Any DG brews that are shining right now?

In the roastery we have a batch brew on the go at all times, we never let the flask get empty! And occasionally we’ll treat ourselves to a round of flat whites. A firm favourite amongst the team right now is our Rwanda KCRS with its bold red fruit flavours, tea-like notes and lasting sweet finish.

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

Lisa: We’re both big fans of vibrant, clean, washed African coffees. Ethiopia is a current fav for me following my trip Daye Bensa earlier this year. we also showcased their Odaco microlot at the UK Barista Championship.

Anna: I am loving our current Kenyan coffee from Ndmaini, it’s a classic. We’ll be sad to see it go but are always excited to cup new Kenyan coffees at this time of year.