Interview with Lisa Lawson, Founder of Dear Green Coffee Roasters

Credit: BrewDog

I first heard of Dear Green coffee roasters a couple of years ago when Scottish brewery BrewDog announced that they had selected Dear Green as their suppliers of coffee to their UK bars. As BrewDog mentioned in their announcement, the attitude towards uncompromising quality was a key deciding factor:

As advocates for amazing coffee in our bars, we only want to work with the very best in the business. We are bringing the same attitude to our coffee as we do our craft beer, so fostering relationships with those at the cutting edge is essential. From the La Marzocco espresso machines even down to the Inker cups that we use – everything is dialled in so that when you order up a macchiato or an Aeropress, you know you’re getting the very best.

Source: Dear Green and the BrewDog Blend

I really loved this attention to detail of BrewDog, and their desire to ensure the greatest experience of a visit to one of their bars, even for those not going for the craft beer, but for a coffee.

Photo: Simon Robinson

The theme of coffee runs throughout Customer Experiences with Soul, and in our book we discuss the way in which a poor coffee can impact disproportionally on the experience of visiting a hotel. We were also so impressed with this attitude of BrewDog, and the values and ethics of Dear Green, that we included them as an example in our case study of BrewDog which was published in Harvard Business Review Brasil: Não comece um negócio, comece uma cruzada (Don’t Start a Business, Start a Crusade).

Every year Maria and I visit my parents in Dumfries, in Galloway, Scotland, and we were delighted to discover that one of the cafes, Burns Coffee House, had been refurbished. We went in one late afternoon, and discovered that they are a customer of Dear Green.

Photo: Simon Robinson

The owner, Robert, told us that he had a background in hotel hospitality, and had taken over the cafe a year ago. He oversaw the refurbishment, and he decided not to offer different types of coffee, just filter coffee which is served in endless free refills. I am not normally one for opting for filter coffees, especially since they are often left on the hob to burn, but the Dear Green blend was deep, rich and extremely tasty.

We talked a lot with Robert about his focus on customers, his approach to generosity and serving, and he also mentioned the attention to him as a client from Dear Green, the way they are able to send fresh coffee out at regular intervals, ensuring the very best quality, and also the way in which their values and ethics were in complete harmony with his own.

Maria and I really wanted to find out more, and since we would be heading to Glasgow for a few days, we decided to contact Lisa to see if it was possible to visit the roasters, which is located in central Glasgow.

Photo: Simon Robinson

We met Lisa and her team, and we had an extremely interesting discussion about their philosophy of coffee, how and why the company was created, Lisa’s story of her many years of experience and training, including working in Australia, and also the way in which Dear Green have developed a business model which fully supports the coffee growers, their families and communities.

Photo: Maria Moraes Robinson

Lisa also talked us through the roasting process, which is highly scientific and means that they can guarantee the quality of each blend and batch every single time.

Maria and I were also keen to hear about Lisa’s approach to customer experience, and also what the word ‘soul’ meant to her in a business context. Rather than explain more, we recorded this interview with Lisa in which you can hear about Dear Green’s story in her own words:

Maria and I really enjoyed speaking with Lisa and meeting the Dear Green team. They visit coffee farms whenever they are able to, to ensure that the beans are always coming from fair and sustainable sources, and also to form and nurture long and trusting relationships with many of the small farms which they work with. And also, just like BrewDog themselves, as an ethically conscious company, Dear Green are a Living Wage employer.

If you would like to find more about their business, you can read more at their blog: Dear Green Coffee

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