Wednesday 21 March 2018

Thomson's Coffee Roasters - The Arches

Argyle Street Arches
253 Argyle St
Glasgow G2 8DL
Open every day
Espresso, batch brew, nitro
Coffee: Thomson's
Also: Meals, cakes, alcohol
Coolness: Roastery, café, bakery and training centre - in a great historic setting

Thomson's Coffee Roasters is proud of its heritage. So much so, that 'Est 1841' is part of their logo and their history still plays out in their 'legacy' coffee roasts, alongside their more modern range.

Critical to Thomson's survival for nearly 180 years is their focus on their customers and their willingness and capability to change as their customers' tastes and desires change. That's wholesale customers to whom they supply large quantities of beans, and retail customers of all sorts who want coffee for home, from 18 to 80+ years old.

Installing themselves in a major way within the redeveloping Argyle Street Arches (5♥) is another move by Thomson's to not just stay with modern coffee drinkers' needs and wants, but to provide more than most realise they want yet.

It's a roastery, cafe that seats around 60 people, stone-baked pizzeria and training centre for wholesale and consumer coffee lovers, and all set within one of the Argyle Street Arches right by Glasgow Central Station. An arch that is cavernous, beautiful, evocative of Glasgow's industrial leadership, stylish and welcoming.

Further proof of intentionally balancing heritage, community and innovation, The Arches also hosts Platform - a weekly street food market open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. A wide range of independent vendors set up each weekend and sell tasty portions, from Japanese octopus to vegan sausages, to shrimp burgers and creme brulee - alongside craft beers and other drinks.

A few things help us like Thomson's approach to coffee.

One is that they love dogs, which may be irrelevant to some readers, but the other is their inclusive approach. Having chatted with Managing Director Russell Jenkins at last year's Edinburgh Coffee Festival, I like that they continue to flame-roast darker coffees for some of their established customers because those customers are valued.While Thomson's is also experimenting with newer coffees (their 'lab') and providing single origin coffees with lighter roasting styles, replacing the flame thrower with a Loring Smart Roaster for their 'new standard' range, designed for specialty coffee palettes.

Roasters who were established in the 1800s face a bit of an identity challenge if they seek to reinvent themselves for today's specialty coffee lovers. Thomson's is doing a grand job of it.


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