The Gold Box Experience: Striving to be the best!

Friday, 11 August, 2023

The team at Gold Box Coffee, which stretches across two continents, is a fun-loving and competitive crew! We had the privilege of getting to know some of the wonderful humans from the Dubai Roastery during our time in the UAE (Emmanuel Velora, their head roaster won the ASITD Middle East Roasting Competiton!) and their passion for specialty coffee is inspiring!  And all you need to do is spend two minutes on their Instagram page to know that these humans know how to have FUN. There is a wonderful first-hand experience review in Issue 44 from one of our long time readers. We wanted to know a bit more so we asked the team some questions.

First of all, how did it feel to win the inaugural A Shot in the Dark Middle East Competition?

We were very thrilled for Emmanuel and Gold Box to have won the first Middle East Shot in the Dark competition and look forward to the next one! 

We love to challenge ourselves and always want to keep our skills fresh and at the top of the industry!

Luca Croce, the son of Gold Box Roastery founder Barbara Croce competed in the Brewers Cup Championship at World of Coffee Athens, representing the UK, and placed 4th overall! Wow!

Tell us where the Gold Box story began? Who are the founders? And why purple? :)

Gold Box Roastery started from a small popup selling coffee on the banks of river Tyne in Newcastle, UK. Barbara Croce’s love and passion for specialty coffee led to the beginning of Gold Box Roastery’s story in UK in 2012.   

The colour purple not only represents luxury and royalty but also creativity and power.  Characteristics we believe we have as Gold Box Roastery. 

How has the landscape changed in the UAE since you opened your doors?

The UAE has seen a significant rise in specialty coffee culture with many specialty coffee shops offering a diverse range of single-origin coffees and unique brewing techniques. Consumers are increasingly seeking unique flavour profiles, traceability, and sustainability in their coffee choices.  They have also shown a growing interest in understanding the origin of their coffee beans. Direct trade and fair trade practices have gained popularity, promoting transparency, sustainable sourcing, and closer relationships between farmers and roasters.

Please tell us about the team that makes Gold Box so delightfully fruity?

Teamwork makes the dream work! Everyone on the team plays apart in the success of the roastery and the quality of our coffee. From Barbara Croce who founded the company in the UK back in 2012, and who is also our Q grader and green buyer; down to our packers and delivery team. We are all committed to driving the company’s policies in sustainability practices and we have fun doing it as a family. 

Your attitude to coffee and roastery life is all about fun, what keeps that spirit alive in the day to day?

Creating a fun and enjoyable environment often involves a combination of factors that align with the roastery's vision and the individuals involved in the day-to-day operations. Such as a genuine passion for coffee, and promoting a culture of continuous learning and exploration keeps things exciting.  Also, allowing room for creativity and experimentation can be invigorating. Encouraging team members to develop new blends, try different roasting techniques, or explore coffee-inspired innovations can bring a sense of playfulness and excitement to the roastery.  And not to forget of course having a sense of humour and positive energy.

How important are relationships when it comes to the producers of the coffees you roast and serve?

Strong relationships between coffee farmers, producers, and roasters form the foundation for a sustainable, transparent, and quality-focused coffee industry. These relationships promote mutual understanding, trust, and collaboration, benefiting all stakeholders involved, from seed to cup.

Please tell us about the UK based roastery and what the future expansion plans for Gold Box are?

The UK roastery is based in Newcastle Upon Tyne, which is in the North East of England. It was established in 2013 and later in Dubai in 2015. The specialty coffee seen in the North of England has seen a change over the past few years with the public’s increased awareness and appreciation for specialty coffee.  The team have been working in coffee for over 20 years and the licensed Q grader is based there too.  The next generation is now entering the business and is already establishing himself as coffee professional with winning the UK brews cup championship this April and now is representing the whole of the UK on the world stage in Athens.  As a company we have always been focused on sustainable practices and reducing our carbon foot print. With introducing practices such as installing solar panels, reducing the use of plastics and offsetting our carbon foot print by planting trees in Brazil. 

We are currently looking for newer and bigger premises in the UK as we have increased production and would like to increase capacity.  We are also currently looking at opening in the US. 

Question for Emmanuel: How do you approach each new coffee that comes through the roastery doors?

I first test the coffee for moisture and density, then create a roast profile for both espresso and filter brews.  I would then cup them every day for a week to find the profile that best highlights the coffee’s tasting notes and characteristics.

Question for Emmanuel: What is the most interesting coffee you’ve had to create a profile for recently?

Probably the Mandela from Café Granja La Esperanza with its XO process.  The new processing method required a new approach that’s completely different from the standard processing methods and you can taste it in the cup! Super fun to roast.

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