A new coffee house which offers a range of artisan varieties and hopes to capitalise on the ever-increasing interest in the drink has opened in Perth.
A rise in the consumption of coffee during the coronavirus pandemic has seen a “crazy idea” become reality with the opening of a new artisan coffee shop in Perth.
Mhor Coffee in Kinnoull Street, which has created four jobs, is an evolution of the Mhor Coffee e-commerce platform launching later this year, which will offer a wide range of artisan coffees for purchase, delivered direct to a customer’s door.
The business is a real family affair with the Mhor Coffee brand and platform co-founded by husband and wife team, Tricia Fox and Ian Christie, and the Kinnoull Street coffee house co-founded by Tricia’s sister and brother-in-law, Kimberley and David Bauchope.
The coffee house is managed by Kimberley and David’s daughter, Ellen Bauchope, an experienced and trained barista and self-confessed coffee fan.
Mhor Coffee was born out of the observation that the consumption of artisan coffee during the first UK-wide lockdown went through the roof.
Both avid coffee lovers, Tricia and Ian were ordering regularly from a range of artisan coffee producers and spotted a gap in the market for pulling all these specialists under one roof for other coffee lovers to discover and explore.
Tricia was acutely aware of the e-commerce rush created by the unique lockdown situation, and the sheer volume of small businesses looking to get their products into an online environment.
Research demonstrated that Tricia was not the only one looking for a coffee fix during lockdown, with a report from the Speciality Coffee Association released in May 2020 showing a huge 5,380% increase in combined sales across kerbside and/or pick up orders.
Five exclusive Mhor Coffee roasts will be available to purchase in the coffee house as well as on the website, including The Aonach Mhor, The Creag Mhor, The Etive Mhor and newly launched decaf version No Mhor Caffeine, with The Festive Mhor launched in time for the Christmas season.
The house blend in the Perth café is The Aonach Mhor, named after the Scottish mountain, with “Mhor” meaning “great” in Scots Gaelic.
The café will primarily operate as a takeaway, with a very small amount of socially distanced sit-in tables available.
Co-founder Tricia Fox revealed opening a coffee shop evolved from an original plan for an online platform.
“This is a crazy idea dreamt up during lockdown – number one lockdown – and it’s kind of grown arms and legs a little and come together very, very quickly,” Tricia said.
“We took over the lease on the first of October and turned it around in five weeks which, under these circumstances, has been no mean feat. We are very grateful to everyone who has pitched in and helped us, suppliers and the like. It’s really been quite something.
“The idea started off as a digital platform, which is still in development, but it’s really quite simple. If you walk into a bar you don’t ask for just a beer you ask for a specific kind of beer, so people have either a brand preference or a taste preference, but if you walk into a coffee shop everyone just asks for a coffee and you just get what you’re given.”
Tricia added that she thought it was strange that coffee houses had not embraced the idea before.
She said: “We think that is rather unusual when you consider that every other industry has evolved to having choice. But not coffee shops – that’s the coffee we serve and that’s the coffee you’ll drink. The idea really was about bringing lots of different tastes of coffee, lots of different artisans into one place so that people could buy it all in one place.
“Unlike other coffee shops we will have more than one grinder so we’ll have different types beans on offer so people can taste and we will use our artisans in the shop so we will have a guest artisan coming in.
“We will be brand agnostic and serve other coffee shops brands in that respect. Conceptually it’s very simple because you expect it in every other kind of business where you eat food or drink drinks, but strangely not in coffee shops.
“Most other industries have kind of moved in this direction, but coffee doesn’t seem to have done so and it’s strange. You would think it would be obvious, but coffee consumption during lockdown has gone through the roof.”
Opening a coffee shop is something very different to what Tricia does normally, but she has brought a family member on board who has great experience in the industry.
She continued: “My normal business is running a PR and marketing agency which I am still doing. I have a wee bit experience in the food and drink setting, but luckily my niece is a trained barista and she has been employed as the general manager of the coffee house.
“She is much better at that than me I must say. She doesn’t let me near the coffee machine.”
Kimberley Bauchope added: “The last few weeks have been a complete whirlwind for us all. Setting up a business in normal circumstances is challenging, doing it in the middle of a pandemic is something else.
“We are so lucky to have a great network of local suppliers who have really come together to bring this to fruition so quickly, and we have got a great team in place who are all raring to go. We’re very much looking forward to serving the people of Perth with that all-important caffeine fix.”