Origin Coffee was created in rural Cornwall in 2004 by Tom Sobey after he was inspired by Australia’s advanced cafe culture first hand while working in cafes there in the late 90s. He came home aiming to change drinking habits, buy coffee ethically and give something back to his local community.
Origin’s mission was a simple mantra which doesn’t sound particularly unusual in the UK today but which was 15 years ago : to make great specialist coffee. The company launched with shops in Porthleven, Bristol and London and in addition to selling coffee the company stocks brewing equipment and provides industry-certified barista training offering a great career path in an area which suffers from high unemployment but has a booming hospitality sector.
Origin source coffee by cutting out the middle-man and trading directly with coffee producers in countries such as Brazil, Honduras and El Salvador. Tom has always tried to trade coffee that’s Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance-approved as well as having control over worker pay and what happened to waste materials. Today more than 90% of Origin’s trade is direct, it roasts the green coffee beans it receives from producers at its state-of-the-art roasting facility in Helston, Cornwall.
Investing in people has led to success across the business. Dan Fellows, Origin’s head of wholesale, is a local who has risen through the company’s ranks and who is globally well known and highly thought of in coffee circles having won several national and International Barista awards.