In conversation with Laura Harper-Hinton
Whether it’s down to natural talent or quantities of specialty coffee, Caravan co-founder Laura Harper-Hinton is adept at juggling multiple projects. We discuss launching London’s largest independent roastery and how happy customers still make her smile.
Why should we care about speciality coffee?
Because it tastes better and truly cares and helps coffee farmers directly.
What’s been the biggest change in the industry since Caravan opened? Public recognition and understanding of what specialty coffee is and a significant growth in the sector
What’s the best reaction anyone’s had to Caravan?
You often remember the most recent things – we got the most hilariously passionate email last week from a Californian women who was spending a month in London close to our Exmouth Market restaurant / roastery. She absolutely loved the grain pancake that we had on the menu and was begging us for the recipe, luckily we have a cook book coming out soon. It doesn’t sound that big a deal, but you need to have read this email!
Setting the tone through your branding, your website and the design of your spaces is critical to convey the whole message
Why are design and branding important to Caravan?
They have always been as important to us as the wonderful staff, food and drink. Restaurants are just as much about a feeling, a mood, a vibe as they are about the contact you have with your waiter and your food. Setting the tone through your branding, your website and the design of your spaces is critical to convey the whole message. Furthermore, we are super passionate about branding and design, so it allcomes naturally for this stuff to be important.
What prompted the launch of retail coffee? Isn’t it just an added headache?
Coffee is an integral part of the Caravan story and we have always sold our house roasted coffee to both wholesale and retail customers. We want our customers to be able to buy and take home the delicious specialty coffee they may have had in house or have access to our coffee if they don’t live in the same city as our sites. Since launching the online platform, we have had coffee orders from all over theworld and its been a really exciting journey so far. More to come!
What’s the future for Caravan?
2017 and beyond will be busy for us! We have outgrown our coffee roastery in our King’s Cross location and will be moving into a 9,000sq ft Victorian warehouse in North London. This will be a dedicated coffee roasting facility with quality control room, training rooms, retail café, servicing department, staff club rooms and head office and even a cold pressing juicing space. We also have another couple of exciting projects in development – watch this space.