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2016. Coffee, comps and collabs.

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The year of 2016. Here's a run-down of some of our highlights.

Coffee competitions

We’ve been blown away with the success of the team this year who currently hold the UKBC and UKCIGs titles, as well as #3 World Tea Brewer. More on these proud moments below.

UKBC 2016
An absolute highlight of 2016 was Dan Fellows taking the title of UK Barista Champion, in which Jesse Dodkins also performed exceptionally taking 5th place in the UK. Dan brewed Nekisse N2, produced by the prestigious NinetyPlus, performing a routine based around precision – hugely apt, playing to Dan’s strength. Dan’s UK win saw him taking a hat trick of ‘best in category’ titles and going on to compete in the World Championships in which he ranked an impressive 9th. 

Dan UKBCPic thanks to

Whilst the World Barista Champions were taking place in Dublin, so too was the World Tea Brewers Cup. Without any prior fanfare Will Pitts, GM of our Charlotte Road shop, snuck in an unbelievably impressive 3rd place.

World Tea Brewers Cup in which Will Pitts took third place
Pic credit: Waterloo Tea. Will seen on the left.

Kaffeine Latte Art Smackdown
The hat tricks continued with the Origin team throwing down 1st, 2nd and 3rd place at Kaffeine's Latte Art Smackdown in October.
1st Place - Alex Passmore (National Training Manager)
2nd Place - Will Pitts (GM, Charlotte Road)
3rd Place - Paul Ross (Barista, Charlotte Road)

Kaffeine latte art smackdown
Pic thanks Glenn Watson. Left to Right, Will, Alex, Paul.

UK Coffee In Good Spirits 2017
Paul Ross then went on to storm the 2017 UK Coffee in Good Spirits, taking the title of Champion. Paul based his routine around food memory and the nostalgia that foods can create, he did this by devising coffee cocktails that represented Lemon Drizzle, Apple Pie and Christmas Pudding.

Paul Ross UK Coffee in Good Spirits ChampionPic thanks Bruno Vincent.

Paul's next stop will be the World Coffee in Good Spirits Championships taking place in Budapest 13-15 June 2017. There he'll represent the UK and battle it out with over 50 nations, showcasing incredible barista and bartending skills.


This year saw our Head of Coffee, Joshua Tarlo visit El Salvador, Nicaragua, Colombia and Brazil to meet with our long term direct trade partners and seek out delicious new coffees. It also saw our inaugural trip to Honduras, where we sourced from the new farm of our longstanding producing partners, the Mierisch family. As part of our sourcing at Cerro Azul, we secured a delicious small lot - Karate Tablon - for 108 Coffee House in Truro as part of their 5 year anniversary celebrations.

Honduras, Mierisch Farm
Cerro Azul, the Mierisch's new farm, Honduras, 2016

This year also saw the results of a producer collaboration conceived in autumn 2015 with Fernando Lima, owner of Santa Elena in El Salvador. Back in 2015 Joshua spoke to him about an idea for a processing experiment. We were delighted with the results - the Lima Tasting Series Reserve Collection - which showcased Santa Elena’s Tablon One processed in three ways; washed, pulped natural and natural. The series saw coffee shops showcasing it across the UK, such as Foundation Coffee House in Manchester and Tilt in Birmingham. Thanks also to The Sorting Office, St Agnes and Good Vibes in Falmouth for hosting talks about this collaborative coffee experiment.

Joshua with Fernando Lima
Joshua Tarlo with Fernando Lima

Lima Tasting Series

In early 2017 we can look forward to a new sourcing project taking form – the Colombia Coffee Producer Competition. This new initiative of Joshua’s gives us an opportunity to reward diversity among the producers who contribute to San Fermin. Previously only coffees from the producers that have fulfilled a pre-determined flavour criteria have made it into our mainstay San Fermin coffee. We’re now accepting samples of any coffees that don’t fit this profile but offer something different but equally incredible. We’ll then cup and judge these in order to short list three coffees that we’ll buy small lots from and reward with an additional premium. More information to follow on this.

 Colombia coffee competition
Illustration by Davitt Steed, A-side studio

Origin Shops

Hot on the heels of our Charlotte Road shop opening, 2016 saw more Origin coffee shops pop up in London; A pocket shop at the Aircraft Factory in Hammersmith, the British Library entrance hall bar and the British Library Euston Road shop. As ever, great to have worked with Anna Hart from Hart Miller Design to bring the spaces to life. Thanks too to the Aircraft Factory and the British Library for making us so welcome.

The Aircraft Factory, Hammersmith cafe
The Aircraft Factory in Hammersmith. 
Beautiful pic by Bean There At Blog.

The British Library, Entrance Hall
Origin espresso bar in the Entrance Hall of the iconic British Library
Pic thanks to Alastair Sopp.

Origin at the British Library, Euston Road coffee shop
Origin Coffee, 96 Euston Road.
Pic thanks to Kate Beard.


2016 saw us partner with UK cold brew pioneers and all round nice guys, Sandows, distributing to our wholesale customers across the UK. We’ve also started roasting the coffee for their brew. Hugh and Luke have some incredibly exciting things planned for 2017, which we look forward to sharing with you shortly.

Sandows cold brew
Image credit: David Bowden

At the back end of 2016 we were also delighted to join forces with another Cornish brand, cold water surfing company, Finisterre. Finisterre opened the doors to a new shop in Park Street featuring a coffee bar. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it’s definitely worth a visit

Finisterre store coffee bar in Bristol
Origin x Finisterre, 70 Park Street, Bristol
Thanks to Jonny Simpson for the great shot.

Dor & Tan
Craftsmanship and design have always played important roles at Origin so our working with local St Ives potters, Dor & Tan, was a natural fit. Ever thanks to Twigs & Greens florist for the introduction. As well as launching tumbler gift sets, the potters created custom glazes for our Manchester Coffee Festival sensory bar in which we tested the effect of colour on flavour perception. This test formed part of a series of sensory experiments, devised to celebrate our AST's (Authorised Speciality Coffee Association of Europe Trainers - Alex & Jesse) launching the SCAE Sensory Skills module. 

Dor & Tan coffee tumblersPic thanks to Jonny Simpson.

Dor & Tan colour ceramics for flavour perception test  Manchester Coffee Festival
The team at the Origin Sensory Bar at Manchester Coffee Festival

Huge thanks to you all for all of your support in 2016. We look forward to another year sharing delicious coffees and stories from our journeys both near and far. We raise a cup to the friends we've made in 2016 and to those that 2017 will bring.

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