Introducing… Steve Ashman

Name and Occupation

Steve Ashman – Business Development & All-round Coffee Chap.

How did you get into coffee?

Discovering the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs in London was a great way to really get into coffee for the first time. Closer to home, meeting Dave Beattie at Yarm Farmers’ Market, back when Rounton Coffee was in its early days.

What is it that you like about coffee specifically?

I’m never specific! Coffee is never just about the drink, it’s about how it changes lives. Grown and sourced well, it changes the lives of the people whose living is based around coffee. Served well, it lifts the soul and can bring people together.

What is your favourite coffee origin, and why?

Burundi is a coffee country close to my heart. When we opened Mint Hobo (my old shop), it was the first one we picked out as our house coffee. Since then, I look forward to every Christmas, when the coffees from Burundi start to land in the UK. They’re so sweet and complex – generally a chuffing good coffee!

Washed or Natural, and why?

I can’t be specific here either… There’s so much to be said for both, so it totally depends on my mood.

How do you drink yours?

Flat White, if it’s with milk. If it’s black – from my 1950’s Cona Rex Syphon, which is an amazing bit of kit that gives you a bit of theatre and a great tasting brew.

What is your proudest achievement in coffee?

Reuniting two friends who hadn’t seen each other for 40 years and thought each other may have died. Like I say, it’s never just about the coffee itself. Deep!

If you were not working in coffee, what would you be doing?

In my mind, riding motorbikes and jumping out of planes… In reality, who knows? I’m fifty-odd now, and feel I could have a go at anything …

If you could change one thing in the coffee industry, what would that be?

Simple menus in coffee houses. Great coffee should be accessible!

What do you do away from coffee?

I’m not sure if I’m ever really away from it. I remember going on a date once, and my daughter’s only advice was to not talk too much about coffee… Needless to say, I didn’t get a second date! Note to self: must try harder to get away from coffee…

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