“My first memory of coffee is tasting instant coffee as a child and being so upset that I spat it on the floor. It wasn’t until I was 23 or 24 that I actually started to enjoy it… I was a latecomer to coffee.”
– James Hoffmann, Founder, Square Mile Coffee Roasters, London
James (eventually) became fascinated by coffee after reading a book that highlighted its unique influence on cultures all over the the world.
“I realised I would never be bored doing coffee. And that’s still the case. I’m still fascinated by it, I’m still learning about it every day, and I love that. It’s something I’m incredibly grateful for.”
Today he’s grateful for his customer base – after all, “if you want them to be there every day, then that’s a big ask.”
“You’re asking them to change their life, their routing, maybe the way they walk to work, what time they get up in the morning. To convince someone to do it, a great cup of coffee on it’s own is not enough.”
James believes he has a moral obligation to do the best he can with his business – after all, there are plenty of invested parties. It’s a big part of what drives his passion to succeed.
“There’s no requirement of skill or knowledge to open a business, which kind of terrifies me. As we grew I realised that we were getting to a size where the failure of this business would have a huge knock on effect. The stakeholders within that are numerous and it’s sort of a ripple effect and it’s terrifying.”
Of course, he’s also driven by the desire to make the best coffee – and make someone’s day a little bit better.
“I don’t believe that coffee has to be something you sit and pay attention to and focus in on. I would just like that cup you drink in the morning just to be better, enjoyable.”
“I’m still extremely passionate about product – I’m very driven by it. But I can’t deny that I enjoy the business of business a huge amount too. I just love being able to see how the machine is working.
“Changing to Xero got rid of the pain and just let me enjoy that bit – and I love it.”
This video is the latest in our video series highlighting leading specialty coffee entrepreneurs. We bring this Square Mile Coffee episode to you together with with Sprudge, the world’s most popular coffee publication.
We love our customers just as much as they love us. The people behind the small businesses all have unique stories to tell. Follow Xero on Instagram to see more beautiful customer footage.
We’d love to see what more of our customers get up to behind the scenes – share your own story and image with the hashtag #XeroStories so we can check it out