One Year at Cafeology as Coffee Production Specialist

The first year in my new role as a Coffee Production Specialist at Cafeology has certainly been a roller coaster, and certainly not one I had planned. It’s easy to forget the beginning of my journey after all that’s happened this year but we’ll wind the clock back. I will try my best to not riddle this with motivational clichés and the word ‘unprecedented’. But I can’t promise…

After completing an honours degree in photography, a job in the coffee industry is not your typical pathway. Coffee is one of the largest traded commodities in the world and reaches every corner of the earth. It feels very rewarding to assign my skillset to such an influential and fascinating global industry. More specifically, being part of Cafeology with ethics running through the core of the business, we are benefiting the lives of thousands of families out at origin in a sustainable way which is very important to me.

I cannot avoid mentioning Covid 19 as this was such a pivotal time during my first year. In this period I was offered the opportunity to continue the operation of the entire coffee roastery as a key worker, whilst the whole country faced bitter lockdown measures and the full brunt of the virus. I feel proud to say I’ve ran a coffee roastery by myself in the first year of my career. The last 6 months have developed my professional skills and expertise at a noticeably accelerated pace.  I now have an increased confidence to apply myself to any area within the business.

For me, this is not a job, it is a career. I now seek to progress in the world of coffee and business even further so that I may contribute in an innovative, ethical and sustainable capacity. There is a fantastic energy in the work place at Cafeology or as we like to put it, ‘Team-ology’. The working environment plays to my strengths to be creative and innovative. I am devoted to constantly upskill myself as each week presents itself with new tasks, challenges and situations.

The warehouse and roastery is a vast place when working by yourself. This was lockdown life. For the majority I was too busy to notice, however there were occasions between packing literally thousands of bags of coffee for you lovely customers that I was able to reflect. The magnitude of how influential this industry is seldom thought about when you tap your contactless card at your local café and be about your business. I appreciate more than ever where my cuppa comes from and I encourage all you readers to do the same.

Sustainability is truly at the heart of the company and this was evidenced in my first couple of months as I was lucky enough to meet two of our principle coffee producers from Colombia. It was interesting to learn about life as a coffee grower and backs up Cafeology’s uniqueness of working directly with producers for long, sustained periods.

I have been fortunate enough this year to go to Portugal, which of course landed me in my flat for two weeks isolation. This has been a really exciting period to realise the significance of all areas of coffee production. Understanding the processes and numbers behind the day-to-day has been essential insight. I have had time to sink my teeth into new projects and peel back a few more layers of this huge metaphorical onion that is the coffee industry.


I wanted to end with a huge shout out to the incredible team I get to be a part of. It is an absolute pleasure to work alongside such a devoted group of individuals and inspirational management, without whom I would not be where I am. One notable memory I have with our Managing Director, Bryan, which will stay with me is during a typically busy week, I asked if there’s time for a coffee before a meeting, which with knee-jerk like response he replied; “there’s always time for coffee”. The people you work alongside and surround yourself with, whether that be personal or professional, far outweigh any other positives of the role. If you are a young graduate reading this or know of one, I encourage you to not give up on finding that ‘perfect role for you’, stay true to your values and to embrace change; ‘new different’ as much as ‘new normal’.  

I’m thrilled and ready to embrace year 2 at Cafeology. It is a privilege. There’s only one thing left to do after reading all that: Pop Kettle on!


Alastair Dolbear

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