For those that have followed the story so far, you'll know Crankhouse operations centre has been in my garage. It wasn't the place I had envisaged growing my business from the start but in retrospect it's been ideal. In the early days before I'd even started roasting and selling coffee I made a telephone call to Dave Faulkner at Extract in Bristol. They're one of the big boys with a great reputation and I'd heard that Dave was the guy to speak to about working on a roaster. I wanted to know how to clean the drum on my 15 year old Petroncini 7.5Kg machine and that's exactly what Dave was planning to do with their 120Kg Probat ! Anyway I'd met Dave briefly at that years London Coffee Festival and he remembered me and what I was planning. He asked where I'd got the roaster installed and I told him not to laugh, "it's in my garage". There was a silence which I assumed was Dave having a little snigger but then he said. "Why would I laugh ?, I started in my shed in the garden ! Every decent roaster started in their shed or garage or in someone else's shed" He basically told me every roaster needed to serve their apprenticeship somewhere, shed, garage etc.
So, it's time to move on. Not that I think I've graduated from my apprenticeship. Far from it. Like most subjects, the more you learn about something, the more you realise there is to learn. Right now I'm learning about leasing a commercial property for the Crankhouse Roastery. It's exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time but it feels like the right next step. At the least it will give me more room to organise my roasting space and to separate the production area from the packing area from the greens area etc. I'll be able to setup a permanent cupping and tasting space, a dedicated espresso bar for testing and for training. The added bonus will be that I won't be in danger of banging my head into hanging bikes and other general garage stuff. I'll miss the convenience of walking out of my back door taking 5 steps and finding myself at the roaster. It will mean that those 8pm Sunday night customer emails or telephone calls won't result in me heading to the roastery to bag up and package stuff for a 9am post-office trip on the Monday morning. That transition to a work and home space separation will be a welcome one.
So here it is:
It's a converted barn on the Culver Estate near Longdown on the B3212 about 5 Miles west of Exeter. Initially I won't open it up to the the general public but the plan is to open a small retail area with brewing kit, retail coffee packs and a brewing station for Espresso and filter.
All of this is in the future of course and right now there's some work to be done to get the roaster in and operational in it's new home. Next week the Tour of Britain will pass the entrance to the roastery on Stage 6 on the final run-in from Mortonhampsted through to the nasty steep climb from Ide up to Haldon before they head to the big finish up to Haytor Rocks. I thought I'd use my new fancy Gazebo and set it up opposite the driveway to the new roastery and I'm going to take the opportunity to serve coffee and Exploding Bakery cake for the day. So, if you're planning to head out to watch the pro's doing their thing on the Devon stage of this years Tour of Britain then come and say hello, have a coffee and a bit of cake and I'll tell you about the new roastery.
I've been a little cheeky and inserted the very unofficial Crankhouse Coffee zone on the route map. Times are of course estimated but expect the peloton to come through 15-20 mins either side. I'll be in place from about 10am so come along for a brew.