White Star Coffee is one of Northern Ireland‘s premium coffee roasters. The White Star logo and distinctive packaging is evident in coffee shops across Northern Ireland. The name White Star is already synonymous with Belfast; the famous White Star line was the owner of the Titanic, built in Harland and Wolff.
Chapter 1: The Lisburn Road
October 2017 saw my first visit to White Star Coffee. Situated just off Belfast’s Lisburn Road, the roasting setup is already impressive. The company had just started roasting its own beans embarking on comprehensive research and development.
The brand colours were already appearing on the walls, a distinctive design with a clear focus on quality. It was clear from the start that nothing was leaving the roaster if it didn’t meet a very high standard of quality. There was a clear vision and determination to deliver high-quality coffee across Northern Ireland. White Star Coffee was already in demand.
James Price explained the process from coffee bean procurement to creating the perfect cup of espresso. It’s definitely a fine art to dial in the perfect grind.
For this chapter, I was shooting with the flagship Fujifilm X-T2, the Fujifilm 56mm and Fujifilm 35mm lenses.
Chapter 2: The Roast Works
Fast forward to December 2022. White Star Coffee has grown at a remarkable rate. Now situated off Boucher Road, the premises house a rapidly growing enterprise. The original roaster now replaced by four state of the art installations, each being a different size to allow efficient coffee production. The technical set up has changed significantly.
During my brief pre- Christmas visit, the roasting process was in full production. Roasting coffee is a skill and there was a great deal of concentration and screen-watching to ensure the perfect roast. The building is divided in two. One half dedicated to coffee importation, the other to the roasting process. Direct import to Northern Ireland means the company can ship to the EU and Britain easily, (this is not simple in the opposite direction). Monday and Wednesday are generally roasting days. Tuesday and Thursday focus on packaging and distribution.
The Next Chapter
Philip Chick outlined his plans for the next chapter. The concept of an open office is common place in large cities. Phil plans to introduce the ‘open’ concept to the coffee roasting process. It will be possible to book a roaster on an hourly basis. This is perfect for coffee shops wanting to introduce their brand beans to the market.
Saturdays will offer a new level of excitement. Courses for the novice coffee maker may open to the opportunity to roast your very own kg of beans to take away. It is definitely going to be a popular space for coffee lovers. It’s hard not be enthusiastic about the road White Star are following.
The duality of an already established business surrounded by fledgeling evidence of what is head, it all points in the direction of growing success. The fact that White Star produce some of the best coffee beans in the country is an additional positive footnote in this coffee success story.
You can buy White Star Coffee beans on local coffee shops and via their website (link below).
Chapter 2: All photos Fujifilm X-T5 Fujifilm 33mm and 16mm lenses.