Introducing… Guy Snead
Next up in our ‘Introducing…’ series is the man who keeps our coffee tasting great, Guy! If you’ve ever placed an order with us, he’s the one pulling the strings so that everything goes according to plan. He’s the King of Efficiency, a bottomless pit when it comes to food, and the most curious man you’ll ever meet…
- Name and Occupation
Guy Snead – Head Roaster. My job is to make sure that the way we roast coffee is up to date with the latest practices in the industry – that it tastes as good as we can get it. More generally, I make sure that The Granary (our roastery) runs as smoothly as possible, so that everyone gets their coffee on time.
- How did you get into coffee?
I guess like a lot of us in the coffee industry – I just fell into it. I was a teaching assistant prior to being part of Rounton Coffee. I was always making my coffees on my breaks using my second Aeropress that I bought specifically for work. It was the notorious Ethiopian Rocko Mountain that really opened my eyes to speciality coffee, so much so that I had it as wedding favours!
- What is it that you like about coffee specifically?
Well it would have to be specifically about the speciality side of coffee because what I really like about it is: there is a culture of sustainability and ethical trading. The movement for re-usable cups started in speciality coffee and I love the way the industry always strives to be more sustainable. It has been good to see some larger chains adopt these trends without regulation, and some of them do really pay their farmers well.
- What is your favourite coffee origin, and why?
Getting to taste different coffees from different origins has showed me that I can’t pick one. It changes regularly, and that’s a good thing.
- Washed or Natural, and why?
It varies. One of the best espressos I have had was an anaerobic natural from Costa Rica, and it was so different I couldn’t get it out of my head for days. It was reminiscent of a cinnamon bun. The process involves sealing coffee cherries in an airtight tank, with extra mucilage (the sticky layer in the middle of a coffee cherry), and fermenting it for 20 hours.
- How do you drink yours?
My first drink of the day is always a Flat White, however, Paulina Miczka’s World Aeropress Championship recipe is currently my favourite way to brew coffee.
- What is your proudest achievement in coffee?
It’s only the beginning of the road but so far I am proud of how efficient and streamlined the production in The Granary has become since I started.
- If you were not working in coffee, what would you be doing?
Probably teaching – I was heading down that route before I started with Rounton Coffee. During my 6 weeks off, Rounton Coffee were looking for an apprentice roaster and at the time I didn’t know it was for me. We agreed to let me volunteer for a few days to see if the role was for me.
- If you could change one thing in the coffee industry, what would that be?
To link the price of cafe drinks to inflation. Currently we have a situation (called ‘sticky pricing’) where currency naturally inflates at around 2-3% every year, but certain items aren’t being priced accordingly. This change could have a huge impact on farmers and currently in the commodity side of coffee many prices farmers are receiving are below the cost of production – meaning that the trade of coffee isn’t just unsustainable, but can be outright detrimental to some.
- What do you do away from coffee?
Videogames, MTG (Magic: The Gathering) and boardgames with friends. I really enjoy the competitive side of these hobbies; it really keeps my mind sharp.