Introducing… Nicola Peacock
Name and Occupation
Nicola Peacock. Coffee one (wo)man band. I’m a jack of all trades when it comes to coffee! If you need beans, training, machine maintenance, day to day support or to be bored to death about anything coffee related; I’m your woman.
How did you get into coffee?
Having done a degree in Philosophy at York University, I decided to never use that, and instead I bought a smart car (yes, one of those tiny little things) and put an espresso machine (yes, one of those big things) in the boot.
I would drive round offices in York and make coffee outside office blocks for people in the morning, and work at a Caffe Nero in the afternoon and weekends. After doing this for a year (including winning the Caffe Nero Barista of the Year Championships), I decided the car wasn’t quite big enough (and I didn’t like making coffee outside in the snow), so I found a disused tower in York’s city walls and set up my first coffee shop (The Perky Peacock). This grew to 2 coffee shops and a bakery, which I sold in 2018. Having had a little rest, I found out I don’t like rests and have joined the team at Rounton Coffee Roasters.
What is it that you like about coffee specifically?
I really like coffee shops. I like that they can bring people together, can be fantastic spaces to be in and can serve you a world class drink, that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. I quite like drinking coffee too!
What is your favourite coffee origin, and why?
Generally I like light and fruity coffees from Kenya or Ethiopia, but I think one of the best things about coffee producing countries is that they can surprise you. Any origin can throw out something completely unexpected because of a change in altitude, soil, shade, farming or processing methods. You’ll always find me at the front of the queue to try something new. Except that coffee that’s been through civet cat’s digestive system – I am not interested in that at all.
Washed or Natural, and why?
Washed coffee (where the sticky flesh of the coffee cherry is washed off the seed before it’s dried) tends to bring out a bright and clean tasting coffee which is great in a black filter coffee or small milky drink like a piccolo or flat white. Naturally processed coffee (where the coffee cherry is dried out in the sun before being removed) tends to make sweet, boozy tasting coffees – this can create both filter and milky coffees that taste so unexpected they blow you away. Both can be amazing.
How do you drink yours?
Always in a mug, never in a glass, sometimes out of a bowl.
With milk, without milk, pourover, Chemex, espresso… I’ll even have a go at a
gingerbread latte at Christmas!
What is your proudest achievement in coffee?
I have competed in the UKBC (UK Barista Championships) on a few occasions and reached the semi-finals and became one of the top 10 baristas in the country. Despite being one of the top baristas in the country, my dad has always declined a coffee made by me (he’ll have a hot chocolate as long as I make it lukewarm), so my proudest moment is yet to come, when I finally persuade him to have a (probably lukewarm) latte!
If you were not working in coffee, what would you be doing?
Blue Peter presenter, adventurer or Serena Williams’ gym buddy.
If you could change one thing in the coffee industry, what would that be?
I would like to see more recognition for women in coffee, especially farmers. Hopefully by being a Nicola in a sea of Daves at Rounton Coffee, I’m already doing my little bit in a small piece of North Yorkshire.