Tucked into a historical building along the vibrant Brick Lane in East London sits High Grade ‑ an independent coffee shop punching above its weight class on quality and innovation thanks to their decision to roast in house with Bellwether.
Founded by partners Liam and Stevie, High Grade began as a weekend pop‑up serving specialty coffee from a makeshift wooden bench. What they thought would be a modest beginning, quickly became a booming business. The hustling duo saw potential for growth right away and began to consider roasting in‑house to invest further in their brand and their values. The pair soon learned that the limitations of their retail space wouldn’t allow for gas roasting. They would need a solution that solved for the challenges of ventilation while delivering the range of volume they aspired to produce.
As it turns out, Bellwether's compact all‑electric roaster proved the perfect "wish list" solution to sustainably scale within tight spatial constraints. As Liam told us:
"If I had to design a wish list of what a roaster would be, the Bellwether is what would come out of that conversation. It doesn't need venting ‑ super clean and super green, so it meets all of our needs."
Unlocking New Revenue Streams
Once they were able to roast commercial volumes of consistent, high quality coffee, creative ideas for expansion quickly flowed at High Grade. Bellwether’s responsive roast profiles empower High Grade to deliver on their promises for quality and sustainability while exploring new revenue streams beyond the four walls of their business.
Retail coffee bags now line the shelves of their cafe, complementing their meticulously crafted coffee bar experience. A growing wholesale business supplies other cafes and offices with High Grade coffee beans.
The diversification not only accelerates growth ‑ it protects High Grade from competition. As Liam explained:
"The revenue stream generated by the Bellwether would overtake what the cafe would be doing, which makes us a roastary with a cafe frontage. That can be repeated and can produce, probably as much as a centralized roastery."