Deep in the rolling green hills of Shropshire, England, you’ll find Matthew Wade, co-founder of Hundred House Coffee, inhaling the flavour profile of an adventurous new brew. A few feet away, his partner and co-founder Anabelle de Gersigny perches over her laptop. New label designs, sent over by an artist hundreds of miles away, are ready to review. The java connoisseurs are proof that you don’t need a pricey city premises to sell a specialty beverage – just a shared passion for the craft.
At Hundred House Coffee, creating artful cups of coffee extends beyond lively aromas: beans are sourced from sustainable farmers in Africa and Latin America; meanwhile, the packaging, messaging and artwork that accompanies each limited-edition brew stems from collaboration with creatives worldwide. Matthew’s international roasting experience, including stints in New Zealand, London and Dubai, combined with Anabelle’s background in gallery and museum curation, has allowed the duo to raise the bar on coffee culture.
“When we release a new coffee, each has their own exhibition moment, because we want to showcase what the farmers are doing and provide as much information as possible,” says Anabelle.
The passion and integrity of Hundred House Coffee extends beyond the roastery – sales are poured back into the community through an Art + Industry programme that benefits inner-city schools. The couple has worked with students to build creative briefs and designs around a coffee product, and Matthew and Anabelle plan to create an open-source curriculum using Dropbox that teachers can access. They’ve kept fellow artists and local java lovers top of mind, too – the next project for the Hundred House Coffee team is to convert a Victorian-style cowshed into a new roastery and creative space for workshops and events. “We want to bring artists out of the cities, and into rural areas, and be that bridge,” says Anabelle.
Video and story by Citizen Research