Specialty coffee roastery Allpress Espresso is having a big year of expansions, with operations set to open in Dunedin and London.

Allpress Espresso founder Mike Allpress said the new, three-storey, 4500 square metre roastery and cafe in the East London district of Shoreditch would be operational by August.

The London venture required an investment of between $800,000 and $1 million by Allpress and business partner Tony Papas.

Papas spent 10 years at the helm of Allpress Espresso's highly successful Sydney operation, and will now take control of the British site, Allpress said.

Allpress Espresso was one of three winners of the 2009 University of Auckland Business School Entrepreneurs' Challenge, and was awarded funding, which is given as a low-interest loan, to help get the British operation off the ground.

"[London] is a market dominated by a lot of chain stores, but there's been a lot of growth in smaller, independent operators, both in the roasting side of the business and from a cafe, espresso bar perspective," Allpress said.

He said Londoners were starting to appreciate a higher standard of coffee, and Shoreditch was an up-and-coming district of the city.

"Which is great because we tend to operate at the top end of the market."

Allpress said a cafe and coffee distribution centre would be open in Dunedin, near the Otago University campus, by July.

One of the coffee roasters used at Allpress' Auckland roastery would then be shifted to Dunedin, making the site fully operational by early next year, he said.

Allpress said the Dunedin operation would provide a higher level of service - and save on transportation costs - for the 50 South Island cafes the company supplied.

"We do a really good job of servicing them from Auckland, but we can offer a different level of service when it's personal and local," he said.

Allpress Espresso has long history with Dunedin. Some of the first cafes the company supplied, in the 1980s, were in the city. Allpress hoped the Dunedin operation would be roasting a thousand kilos of beans each week within five years.