Allpress slakes UK thirst for better brew

By Hamish Fletcher

Michael Allpress. Photo / Dean Purcell
Michael Allpress. Photo / Dean Purcell

When it comes to the global language of coffee, the team at Allpress Espresso would say they have the gift of the gab.

Eight months on from opening an Antipodean cafe and roastery in the London suburb of Shoreditch, founder Michael Allpress said the business was making gains.

"We're meeting our expectations in terms of customers. Our topline is great, that's not sensitive - it's a reality," he said.

Allpress, who set up shop in Auckland 25 years ago, said Londoners were becoming more selective about the coffee they drink.

"They've had a taste of something a bit better than what they're used to being served on the High St by the big commercial multinationals and there's a lot of little independents starting up who care about what they're delivering," said.

The 4500sq m East London site is the second overseas venture for the company since it set up its first overseas operation in Sydney 12 years ago.

The company hopes to carve a niche in the United Kingdom by being "espresso experts".

This means it tightly controls the product they are serving, from the selection of beans, to the way they are roasted, to the barista who makes each cup, Allpress said.

"Other people go up there and they half do it, while we're boots and all. We're in there for the long-haul. We've put a roastery in, a cafe, we've got trainers, and technicians," he said.

While Allpress is pleased with the progress the company has made, he said he isn't resting on his laurels.

"We want to grow a global brand. We've been successful to some degree in Australia. We've got a formula, we understand the market and think the opportunities in rest of the world are phenomenal for us - we're quite keen on Japan we see that as a strategic albeit difficult [market]," Allpress said.

The company was given a boost in its push into Britain by the University of Auckland of Business School's Entrepreneurs' Challenge, which it won in 2009.

The challenge, now in its third year, gives businesses with export potential the chance to access between $200,000 and $1 million to help with their overseas expansion. The winnings are invested into a business and are then paid back after three years.

Entries for this year's contest are now open and close on July 25.

- NZ Herald

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