Origin Coffee opens in Edinburgh: CEO Tom Sobey tells us more about the Cornish brand

They’ll be taking over from Union Brew Lab in the spring
Tom Sobey of Origin CoffeeTom Sobey of Origin Coffee
Tom Sobey of Origin Coffee

Edinburgh’s coffee scene seems to be percolating.

There are a handful of new independents, as well as previously unheard of chains, such as the suddenly ubiquitous Black Sheep Coffee, and hot chocolate (and coffee) specialist, Knoops.

Another fresh contender in Scotland is the roaster Origin Coffee, who were founded in 2004 and already have something of a presence in the city as they currently supply wholesale to Gleneagles Townhouse, Ondine, The Fishmarket, Aizle and The Milkman, among others. In spring, they will be taking over at the Union Brew Lab spot on the Capital’s South College Street. It will be their eight venue in the UK, to join their original Cornwall roastery headquarters, plus four cafes in London, Bristol and others. If you want a preview, from March 11, they’ll be offering gratis coffee in their pop-up withing Finisterre on George Street.

Tigre CoffeeTigre Coffee
Tigre Coffee

We asked their founder and CEO, Tom Sobey to tell us more.

Tell us about the brand

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Origin Coffee is an award-winning, B Corp speciality coffee roaster. It all started in Cornwall and this year we’re celebrating our 20th year, making us one of the longest-standing, independent coffee roasters in the UK. We’ve built a reputation on quality, honesty, and integrity. Along the way we’ve won a few awards and accolades including Best Speciality Coffee Roaster in Europe last year which is something we’re really proud of.

We hold ourselves accountable every day as a business to always do better, actively seeking out relationships where the common goal is the same as ours. We’re in pursuit of coffee excellence, setting standards and changing attitudes for the global speciality coffee industry.

Origin Coffee London Scoresby Street branchOrigin Coffee London Scoresby Street branch
Origin Coffee London Scoresby Street branch

Why Edinburgh and why that specific location?

We recognised the well-established specialty coffee scene in Edinburgh as an opportunity to become part of a close-knit community and to support our wholesale partners, not only within the city but also throughout the rest of Scotland. Brew Lab, renowned as one of the pioneers that built a reputation for specialty coffee thirteen years ago, is a brand I respect greatly. When we had the opportunity to take over its site, we knew it was perfect and a chance to continue celebrating speciality coffee in the city. Their significant contribution to the industry is undeniable, and it’s essential for us to uphold this legacy as we move forward in this next chapter.

What's different about your brand?

We strive for the highest standards, embracing our core values of seasonality, provenance, and transparency in every aspect of our operations. Whether it's sourcing the finest beans, the meticulous roasting processes, fostering meaningful relationships, or striving for continuous growth, our commitment remains unwavering. What truly sets us apart from non-speciality roasters is our dedication to direct trade relationships that have been cultivated and nurtured for more than a decade. These partnerships are the cornerstone of our identity.

Our dedication to these values extends beyond our business practices. We recently announced that we have been recertified as a B Corp—an achievement that underscores our collective efforts and steadfast commitment to driving positive change. This recognition fills us with pride and further motivates us to continue our journey toward a more sustainable and ethical future.

Who is your product aimed at?

While specialty coffee can sometimes seem exclusive, we take pride in being a business and brand that embraces inclusivity and accessibility for all. We want everyone to experience and enjoy ethically sourced, quality coffee which is why will be offering brewing courses in Edinburgh to take people on the journey and get them excited.

How do you differentiate yourself in the market?

We’re one of the longest-standing coffee roasters on UK shores. I have remained as involved in the business as I was from day one to the present day which I’m really proud of. We have a loyalty programme that means every customer earns points with every purchase which can be used in-store but can also be used to enjoy coffee at home through our subscription service.

What else will you offer, apart from coffee?

In Edinburgh, we’re working closely with local suppliers to offer a fantastic selection of pastries and baked goods. We’ll also be offering Land Chocolate and Canton teas so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

What will the space be like?

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In all our sites, we’ve worked closely with interior designer Megan Sadler so Edinburgh will be a continuation of our roastery café in Cornwall, offering a sophisticated industrial aesthetic. Visitors can expect a fresh and modern space that compliments the character of the original building. Materials such as a bronze effect bar and Stainless Steel worktops alongside oak furniture, boucle fabrics, and reclaimed lighting will come from Skinflint. The original wooden floor will also sanded back to add new life into the space.

Can customers sit in or is it more of a takeaway?

We’ve redesigned the space to allow for additional seating for over thirty customers. We’re laptop-friendly so people can come in for a quick espresso or stay longer for meetings, to work, socialise or just relax. The space will also be available in the evenings to host community-focused and special events.

Do you hope to expand to other Scottish cities?

Right now our focus is on the opening of our Edinburgh site and building a community with the locals.

6-8 South College Street, Edinburgh, www.origincoffee.co.uk



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