There is a story behind every journey, and it’s fair to say that the Grumpy Mule and the delicious artisan treats featured in March’s coffee box are no exception. We wanted to dive a little deeper into their story, to find out more about how they came to create their brands. Take a closer look into the path these fantastic entrepreneurs and their treats have taken to make their way into our coffee box.

Speciality Coffee & Artisan Treats: A Closer Look

We had so much fun interviewing the people behind this month’s box content, and we thought we would share the love and joy with you! If you are interested to know what treats were included in March’s box, why not take a look at our ‘what was in March’s box’ article. So, let’s kick start this with the coffee roasters!
Friends with coffee

Grumpy Mule

Grumpy Mule roasted up some delicious coffee for March’s coffee box, and it’s fair to say that our subscribers, and us of course, loved indulging in the delicious notes and tones they had to offer. But of course, there is a story behind every bean and their roasting machine, so we interviewed Grumpy Mule to find out more!

How do you source your coffee?

We have a range of approaches, depending on where we are working. The Finca La Fortuna, I first cupped at the dry mill with the farmer, Delmy Regalado, and we’ve been working with her for the past few years now. For the Kenya coffee, we have a specialist East African sourcing company that we work with, who present us with the best options to meet our preferred flavour profile, so the producer group often varies, so that the flavour doesn’t!

How do you roast the coffee beans?

These coffees are roasted on our Loring Smart Roaster. It’s one of the most energy-efficient roasters available and we find it brings out the best sweetness and acidity in our lighter roasts.

What inspired you to start roasting coffee?

For as long as I have been working with coffee, I’ve wanted to know more and more about it. Roasting is a natural progression from being a barista to learn more about how coffee works and what influences how it tastes in the cup. It’s truly fascinating.

How do you know when the beans are perfect and ready to go?

Once the roast gets past the first crack, it’s time to really give it total focus. By now the gas is as low as it will go, and we’re really looking for it to be evenly roasted all the way through and produce the right colour. To an extent, it’s a bit of trial and error, but mostly I just sort of “feel” that the coffee is ready. When we try to map it scientifically, what we find is that the time from first crack to when we drop the coffee is somewhere between 12-20% of total roast time. Different coffees need a different approach – it’s what keeps things interesting. To confirm that we make the right decision every batch is cupped by our team of professionally trained coffee tasters before we let it leave the roastery.

Grumpy Mule Mug

Siddhi Mehta From Rhythm 108

There was so much we wanted to ask Rhythm 108 about their journey, and we loved speaking with the lovely and friendly founder of the brand, Siddhi Mehta.

What about Switzerland inspired you to create your treats?

I relocated to Switzerland with my husband a decade ago, and this move was a completely different experience for me, as I was accustomed to living in metropolitan towns. However, the soothing atmosphere in Geneva made me realise the importance of “slow living.” The beauty of the Alps inspired and calmed me, influencing me to create a brand that reflected my new lifestyle. At one point in my journey, I even went to the Democratic Republic of Congo to see what it would take to run a business there – a lot it turned out! After that, the taste of being an entrepreneur never left me, and I decided to start making my own snack bars, which in time evolved into Rhythm108.

What kind of impact/change do you want to have on your customers?

As a brand, we look at everything from sustainability to company culture and how we can be a company that our clients are proud to purchase from. We work with co-operatives who are farming organic produce, and they are increasing their scale to do so, they are learning how to do it better and better. I always think about the impact that we have, when more people buy our products we touch more lives. That means we can work with more co-operatives and farmer families to get our organic products from.

Additionally, with the persistent rise in veganism, we continue to respond well to the environmental and ethical concerns surrounding animal farming by supplying all plant-based products to customers while gaining popularity in doing so. We are keen to ensure that those with allergies and intolerances can continue to eat a healthy and varied diet, with an occasional treat too. Having personally turned vegan, the natural step for us was to remove dairy from any of our current ranges.

What job did you have before moving to Switzerland/before starting the Rhythm 108 brand?

Graduating from Oxford University with a degree in engineering science, I worked in various city jobs, including management consulting at McKinsey & Co, before following my love for food, travel and entrepreneurship to found Rhythm108.

Laura From Popcorn Shed

The fun and creative treats made by Popcorn Shed are just a representation of their founder’s personalities, and it was so much fun to find out the rather funny moments that shaped this brand into what it is today. We spoke with Laura, co-founder of Popcorn Shed, to find out more about what goes into making their premium popcorn.

What’s your favourite memory from the early days of creating popcorn in your Shed?

There are so many fun memories. One that comes to mind was when we had a bad batch of popcorn – it went soft – due to using the incorrect packaging. So, we decided to turn what could have been a negative experience into a fun one, and did a photoshoot! That’s where the umbrella and popcorn bath shots came from.

How do you know when the popcorn is the perfect texture for that ultimate ‘mouth-feel’?

We have a team of hungry testers at Shedquarters, so no flavours get signed off without rigorous taste testing and perfecting.

How do you decide what flavours would go well with popcorn?

We usually have an idea of what flavours should go well together, however, sometimes what we thought would work well doesn’t, and sometimes the flavours we weren’t too sure about are a huge flavoursome success. We try out lots of recipes, and it very much is trial and error.

Dean From The Nutty Group

The Nutty Group treats are rather on the unique side, and bring a whole new meaning to a grab and go delicious treat on the way to work. Dean’s passion in providing a product that protects animals, as well as the planet, is what drives this artisan treat to be so successful and tasty.

Why are your treats vegan?

We love animals, so it is important to use that no animals are harmed in any way when making our treats. We have also made sure that our on-the-go treats are organic, gluten-free, high in protein and refined sugar-free. All of our treats are also covered in plastic-free packaging that can easily be recycled and reused after enjoying what’s inside!

How do you come up with the flavour combinations?

If I’m going to be completely honest, it came from a crazy thought I had in my old bedroom, and over the years, I have managed to perfect the art of vegan goodness.

What kind of charities do you donate to?

At the moment our favourite charities to donate to are Cancer Research, Battersea Dogs and Cats, as well as the WWF. However, unfortunately, because we are only a small London-based business, we don’t have enough funds to donate to as many charities that we would love to. Our aim is to be able to donate more and more to the charities closest to our hearts and values.

Nutty Nibble and Coffee

And Now You Know It All

It’s nice to know the in’s and out’s of the artisan brands that get featured in our coffee box every month, as it brings us closer to their story, getting to know more about why and how their treats are so tasty. If you are interested in finding out more about the treats and speciality coffee that Craft Coffee Club hand-picks every month, why not take a look at our coffee subscription and gift packages.