For many coffee pros, Stuart Ritson needs no introduction. The former chair of the Barista Guild has worn many hats in the coffee industry, including serving as Cafe Imports’ director of European Sales. In 2019 Ritson left that position to take some personal time and reevaluate his long-term goals. After that sabbatical, Ritson launch his own consulting company, a roasting project, and is working to amplify the voice of charities working at coffee origins.
We recently caught up with Ritson over Zoom to learn about his new projects and how taking some time off gave him a new perspective.
How did you get started in coffee?
I was in my last year of college and needed a job. I applied at all sorts of places and nothing stuck. I got an interview at a café and bakery that was re-opening. The new owner had a real focus on specialty coffee. I really fell in love with coffee and wanted to stick it out.
After that, I started with Monocle to run their café in London. It gave me a chance to be hands-on running something, but I didn’t stick that out too long.
I realized my skills are better behind the bar than on the bar, so I joined Workshop Coffee for 3 or so years. I was their wholesale manager and trainer. All sorts of stuff. It was a very formative time for me. By the end, I was cupping like a pro.
In 2019 I left Cafe Imports to take a personal break and work out what I really wanted to be doing. I now have a really broad portfolio of what I do. In essence, I source green coffee, I roast for another brand, and my own brand, Untitled Coffee….