When we think of ‘origin’, Kelston Round Hill is to us Synonymous.
This lush grassy knoll just outside Bath with its clump of trees and views over Somerset, is not just our namesake, but the backyard of where our roastery was founded. It’s our origin, and it was there that our journey started. That Journey has taken us to distant origins with their own hills, on whose slopes some of the world’s greatest coffees are produced by the world’s best farmers.
Round Hill was founded in 2012, which was a different era of coffee, third wave specialty coffee was in its infancy, there had been some pioneers pushing quality but it really was slim pickings. Coming at coffee as outsiders, Eddie, our founder, got into coffee largely through working in restaurants and being on the other side of the counter. Blackstones Kitchen worked with Monmouth Coffee, who are one of those early pioneers of specialty coffee. Working at Blackstones Kitchen really gave Eddie an understanding of seasonality and really started to form the ethos and approach that would inform Round Hill’s. Rather than having a set menu they built a menu around which ingredients were available, and tasting good. Similarly we’ve never built a coffee list around specific spots, sometimes seasonality and availability dictate that the list will be entirely Colombian coffees. We try to prioritise what’s tasting good and is fresh rather than the things people expect to see or following the latest trends.
In this way Round Hill was built off the back of love for coffee but from a culinary perspective, not from a professional perspective. Started in a small shed with a small roaster, it was essentially a double garage with a high roof. The UK barista championships was where we really started to hone our skills, as a support for competitors, roasting a lot of practice coffees for competitors and also helping with people’s routines, kind of a domestique role. We were kind of the new kid on the block in the UK coffee scene and developed quite a good reputation quite quickly.
Our approach has always been quite playful, projects like Claude highlight that in a big way but also our blue and pink bags. The idea behind them is that coffee should be fun, like candy for grown ups. For us the aim has always been to celebrate and highlight producers who are doing great things and do so in a way that is approachable and down to earth.
The first few years of Round Hill was a kind of self discovery, and learning the ropes, and then around 6/7 years ago we worked out that what we really wanted to do was a more direct relationship kind of working and that our ultimate goal as a business was to link farmers with customers. That’s basically the direction we’ve been working in and the direction we intend to keep going in for the foreseeable. It’s why we put farmers names / farm names on bags, it’s why we include information cards with our coffees and why we are working hard to produce blog posts about all of the amazing farmers we work with. We’re excited for the future, a future that includes lots more amazing coffee and growing sustainable and transparent relationships with amazing producers along the way.