Three months ago Steve Peel opened the doors of a small converted garage space in Angel Street and a glorious smell wafted out. It was the aroma of roasting coffee and Yellow Bourbon Coffee Roasters was born.
It marked the end of a long self-imposed apprenticeship for Steve – honing his skills working for others while he not only learned what makes the perfect cup of coffee but also how to roast the beans it is made from.
“I have always loved coffee, right from a child with coffee ice cream. I finally bought myself a coffee machine and learned how to repair it but the most important thing is the quality of the beans,” said Steve who is 36 with a wife Kate who is a teacher and sons Edward, four and Ernie, six.
He grew up in Wellingborough and after school joined a mate’s plastering business simply to earn some money.
“I was making up the numbers. I enjoyed the people but it was not a career. Then I saw on the internet a job for a delivery driver for a prestigious coffee company. They wanted a driver who could talk to the customers about coffee when he made deliveries,” said Steve who spent a year commuting to London just to jump in a van when he got there.
The company was Monmouth Coffee that has a coffee shop at Borough Market and Steve impressed so much as their driver he was able to move across and become an apprentice roaster.
A spell serving coffee there told him he was not ready to open his own place yet but he carried on accumulating knowledge and commuting and then finally made the break to share his roasting knowledge with a company closer to home.
By this time Steve was beginning to realise he had deeply held beliefs about the right way and the wrong way to sell coffee to the public but it would take him a further two years to find a premises where he could turn his dream into reality.
“It took us a long time. We looked all over the county, in every market town and thought we had found the right place a couple of times but then it fell through. Then we found this place and it was right from every point of view,” said Steve.
Downstairs is where the roasting and coffee making happens and whether you like coffee or not (Steve sells other drinks but will take it as a personal challenge to find you a form of coffee that you can enjoy) you’ll find the smell intoxicating. Upstairs there are sacks of coffee beans and some benches and seats so you can sit in to enjoy your tipple.
An Americano in an 8oz mug will cost you £2.30. Despite his gourmet approach, his pricing is very competitive. The quantity of liquid in the cup is all about how much coffee is being used in the drink, so 8oz of Americano is powered by 2oz of coffee. If it was served in a pint sized mug the coffee would be too diluted (“I wont do that” explained Steve).
The name Yellow Bourbon is a select type of high quality Brazilian bean and Steve said he wanted the coffee shop to have a bold, brash, modern feel to it.
“I have to say places like Magee Street Bakery and Ground Craft Coffee broke the ground for me in Northampton and it’s starting to pick up,” said Steve, who was probably being modest.
While we chatted a steady stream of customers was passing through. For many of them he already knew their order.
You can go as far as you want but you won’t find another coffee shop like this one because Steve roasts the coffee himself and there is a very personal touch to his service.
“It’s been a long time putting the dream together and my wife Kate has been supporting me all the way. Also none of it would have been possible without the help of shop manager Catia Coelho,” said Steve.
Yellow Bourbon Coffee is in Angel Street, Northampton.