For our next Client Feature, I spoke to Becca Stisted owner of HOST, an independent, speciality, small batch coffee roastery based in Chichester.
Tell us a little bit about your business, how it started etc?
Forever I have championed the independent coffee shop as a customer and, as someone who is interested in the ‘behind-the-scenes’ part of a business I wanted to find out where the best beans came from. That was all part of the plan when setting up HOST – source beans where the farmers are treated fairly, the land is looked after and the coffee is delicious – very happymaking indeed.
Back in 2019 I was working as a freelance event stylist and it was a lucrative project for Adidas which allowed me to buy a small second-hand, tiny coffee roaster and deli grinder. Lockdown hit, life slowed down and I started to play and learn all things coffee.
In 2021, I joined an amazing initiative called Discover your Future organised through the Chichester Community Development Trust and met Blue Spire’s Katie Wilson, who thankfully agreed to be my mentor and HOST Coffee Roaster officially started trading the same month.
It was the steepest, almost vertical learning curve to get the business off the ground and begin selling a locally roasted coffee to the cafes and businesses as well as to individuals. A huge shout out to the support from the local folk who have enthusiastically taken HOST to their hearts.
What is different about HOST?
It’s about creating a brand which supports happymaking coffee – from the farmer to the person standing in their kitchen starting their day with a brew. I do that by thinking about Pleasure, People and Planet and trying as best I can to do right by all three.
HOST roast beans which are ethically sourced through a partnership of importers, who have visited the farms and work with the farmers to ensure better working conditions and a fair price.
These farmers dedicate their lives to ensuring the ideal microclimate, altitude, soil and surrounding vegetation are the very best for the quality of the coffee beans produced. Of course, the plan is to visit these farms myself one day and drink a cup of coffee there.
My first morning on a coffee plantation in Colombia – tiny, iridescent humming birds flitting, a waterfall roaring in the background, hills filled with trees bursting with ripe red beans and delicious fresh coffee with that view – it was overwhelmingly wonderful.
What does a normal day consist of/look like for you?
I feel super lucky to live and work on the South Coast. I love the brilliant local community and top support from other female led local independent businesses – Julia at Winters Moon, Esther at Refilled and Steph at Serendipitious bakery are all amazing.
Geographically it is wonderful to go walking in the Downs or with the sea just a mile down the road I often try and coordinate deliveries with a walk or swim at the beach.
Do you have any future goals for the business or things you are looking forward to?
When you’re running a small business, it’s not just about the ways you can sell or source new products, but about how people are going to taste the coffee and what they are going to feel like. So I would love to develop community at The HOST HUT and have lots of fun getting more folk to try good coffee.
How has Blue Spire helped you with your business?
Right from the beginning having Katie and Ben has been the best support. They are endlessly patient with my questions which are always answered quickly and explained in a way that is easy to understand.
They have helped me take myself seriously – it really makes me feel like I am running a business, rather than just going around in circles like a headless chicken.
To learn more about HOST Coffee Roaster or buy a bag of delicious coffee pop over to their website or follow them on instagram – @hostcoffeeroaster.
|For any help or business advice, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Blue Spire today.|