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OUR

STORY

Ground Coffee

The Black Dog started out of adversity, and has developed into a small company with a strong presence, currently providing coffee for cafe outlets in Edinburgh, trading at Stirling Farmer’s Market and providing coffee for individual customers.

Our remit is to source and roast high quality, specialty coffee from around the coffee-growing world. As a specialty coffee roaster, our coffees are sourced and traded ethically and sustainably. We have been fortunate to find excellent coffees traded directly from their place of origin through UK-based representatives. This helps us to find unique coffees that are hard to obtain elsewhere. We also work with well recognized and respected coffee importers who source coffees globally and work with the growers to ensure product quality and sustainability.

 

The most important consideration for any of the coffees that we select is that they must taste great!

Coffee is a seasonal product, so we aim to obtain recently produced coffee (within the constraints of processing, packing, shipping and practicality). We try to cater for broad tastes with the coffees that we select – some show the fruity and/or floral characteristics that contribute to the diversity of flavours to be found. If that is not your thing, we also roast coffees that bring sweetness, caramel and chocolate flavours to the fore. As well as very well-known coffee origins such as Brazil, Colombia, Kenya, etc, we have also roasted fantastic coffees from less prominent regions such as East Timor and Malawi, Burundi and Uganda. We also have a fantastic decaffeinated coffee, coming from Colombia.

The company name and logo were designed to reflect the circumstances in which the company came into being, its location in Linlithgow and our family life here.

The Black Dog represents the Black Bitch* of Linlithgow and also makes reference to the metaphor, most commonly associated with Winston Churchill, about the depression that seemed to follow me. The image of the dog is based on our own (now sadly deceased) greyhound, Dixie. Unfortunately, Dixie had one of her rear legs amputated after a seemingly innocuous accident, so having her as part of the logo symbolises the overcoming of adversity, as she did for a number of years following the amputation, and that my move into coffee roasting – something for which I have  a real passion – continues to do for me.

 

* This, rather contentious name in current terms, is applicable to people born in Linlithgow. The name arises from a legendary tale of a black female dog (a greyhound, indeed) who took care of her master following his arrest for criminal activity within the town. It has to be said that the origins of this story are rather vague!

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MEET COLIN
(OWNER & ROASTER)

I moved in late career into coffee roasting, having served in a number of roles in a variety of companies over (a few too many) years. My educational background was in the sciences, chemistry in particular and I obtained a PhD in the mid 1990s. Both prior to that and since, my working life included stints within laboratories and a precious metals refinery, educational establishments and offices. Within the most recent period I was mainly office-based, working in the field of Regulatory Affairs in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. It disagreed with me! I became unwell with anxiety and depression which led to a point where I realised that something had to change.

I had just started out on what became a prolonged absence from work – the second one within a 10 year period – when, one dismal late October afternoon, feeling very sorry for myself watching daytime TV, I stumbled upon a cookery program which included a short feature on a coffee roaster in the Manchester area. A small light clicked on in my head! I started researching through books and online, gradually working my way to a Coffee Festival in Glasgow and meeting people involved in the coffee industry. From such small coffee beans…required.

 

I had always been a coffee lover, although that meant different things at different points in my life – well sweetened and milky instant in my youth, frothy coffee in Italian cafes in London, being taken by friends to Starbucks in Seattle as that brand was becoming established (they had small pots of honey available to sweeten your coffee, can you believe?), the realisation that there was much more to it than I was perceiving at that time. Gadgets and gear were purchased and “better” cafes and coffees were sought – a slow process, admittedly, over a fair number of years. Always, when out for a walk, there had to be good coffee (usually) at the end of the route (perhaps this is why I always tended to prefer city walks to the countryside!).

My gradual immersion into coffee culture and understanding (and often I feel like I’ve only dipped my toe into that pool) has brought a greatly improved state of health and happiness. I still feel the anxiety and the lower moods from time-to-time, but I now feel that I’m in the right place to handle those days better. I’m much better at introducing myself to people and more comfortable in discussion with other coffee professionals and customers. This helps me provide the best service that I can to my customers, be they individuals or cafes, by being approachable and working closely with them when required. I tried to encapsulate this in my company mission statement:

Small scale coffee roasting with a positive attitude.

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The Black Dog Coffee co supports the charity, Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), through a donation per retail bag of coffee sold.

SAMH operates 60 services in communities throughout Scotland, providing support services in a number of areas to individuals experiencing adverse mental health. As one such individual, having been personally affected by anxiety and depression, I am very proud to be supporting SAMH, as a charity that assisted me during those harder times.

Proudly Supporting SAMH

WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS SAY

Nick Mortimore

Kiva Van Coffee

I had the great fortune to meet Colin in the very early days of Black Dog Coffee Company and was his first customer. I ran (pre covid) a mobile coffee company and he was instrumental in improving my customer base markedly and the reaction to the new coffees on offer was wonderful. Colin takes great care to source a rich variety of beans and they are all roasted with enormous care and respect and I have learned an amazing amount from him since our first meeting. I love trying new coffees often from countries I had no idea even produced beans. I was immensely proud to sell Black Dog Coffee and can’t recommend him highly enough.

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