Artisan coffee roasters are popping up all over the country, so its never been easier to get your hands on a proper cup of coffee. Roasting is a real art form and Lars and Margo know a thing or two about bringing out the best in their beans. Situated in South East Cornwall, in the ancient market town of Liskeard, Mandy and Peter roast speciality seasonal green beans in small batches in order to ensure only the highest quality coffees leave their HQ. We caught up with them to find out more…
Photography by Holes in the World Studio and Ali Green
What’s the story behind Lars & Margo?
We were holidaying abroad (celebrating my 50th birthday with an old school friend, Wizzy) and sitting at the foot of Mount Kenya, sipping on coffee. Peter had just been hit with redundancy after 25 years in retail procurement and I asked him, “where do we go from here?”
Several days later, now sat on the Kenyan coast overlooking the Indian Ocean, he answered: “I think, when we head back home to Liskeard, we should set up a coffee roastery.”
Where are you based and how big is your team?
We’re based in Liskeard, South East Cornwall. It’s a wonderful location because we’re sat between the moors and the coast. We are mainly a husband and wife team with our three youngsters occasionally dipping in to help. In the future, who knows – the business is growing well, so we may need to look at taking on some staff…
Have you faced many challenges in setting up a business in 2020?
To be fair, no we haven’t. As far as we were concerned, things couldn’t really get any worse than going from 25 years of job security to suddenly no employment for either of us. Luckily, we both found employment with the NHS just as Covid-19 was kicking off, so we were very secure in our roles there. We managed to get a business start-up unit via Cornwall County Council.
Genevieve – our coffee roaster – was shipped over from Turkey during the UK lockdown but Turkish freight was still good to go. It’s only now that I would say we are starting to meet challenge. We’re becoming very busy in both our NHS roles and our roastery roles! We had hoped to get our coffee into cafes, but many are already set up with established coffee roasters and we’re only a tiny minnow in comparison. But our web designer suggested we approach retail and farm shops and we haven’t looked back!
What kind of roaster do you use?
A Toper 5kg named Genevieve after the 1953 film of the same name – watch the film and it should make sense!
Where do you source your coffee from?
We source from Central America, South America, Africa and Asia. It’s important to us that the farmers receive fair prices for their hard labour – all our coffees are ethically and sustainably sourced.
Do you have a favourite type of coffee/origin?
Mmmm tricky… variety is the spice of life for me. That’s the beauty of being married to a talented roaster! Last week it was the refreshing Ethiopian. Ask me this week and I’d say the Guatemalan decaf. Next week it could be the Peruvian. I’m looking forward to the Ugandan coming in this month. For Peter – Peruvian is currently taking the lead.
What’s your favourite brewing method?
Where are the best places to grab a cup of coffee in Cornwall?
The Lars & Margo Roastery of course. We aren’t a cafe but we do offer samples.
How can our readers find out more about your products?
Come and visit us. We love meeting and chatting to people about our coffee. In the past we’ve found roasters to be quite guarded but we aren’t those kind of roasters. We attend the Liskeard Market and also the Whitecross Market at Lanteglos-by-Fowey. We have our website and I’m an Instagram addict: @lars.and.margo