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Help us start a cargobike revolution

Two cargobikes

You might know by now we’re big fans of cycling, we talk about it a lot (maybe more than we talk about coffee!). We use an electric cargobike to make our local deliveries in Nottingham. For us as a business it’s much cheaper than using a motor vehicle and more convenient – you can park a bike anywhere. It’s also much more fun, and helps us achieve our goals of being as sustainable as possible. 

We think more people should have access to cargobikes. Most car journeys in the UK are under 10km and have only one person making the journey, but people cite needing to sometimes carry goods and transport people as reasons why they can’t give up their car. Cargobikes help with that. While they may not replace every single journey, they can replace lots of local trips and help reduce the number of cars on the road, making it easier and safer for everybody (including  those who need to drive!). 

Cargobikes, and especially electric cargobikes are often expensive and most people don’t need one every single day. That’s where commons cargobikes come in! 

The idea behind commons cargobikes is that a community based business hosts a cargobike that anybody can access on a pay what you can basis, any time they need to. This makes them more accessible to more people. This is already up and running successfully in Europe, especially Germany where it is known as Dein Lastenrad. We’re now trying to bring it to the UK, via our Nottingham roastery. We’re buying the first bikes to kickstart the scheme, and also building the bike booking platform that any other commons cargobike scheme across the UK can use to start their own free cargobike share. 

We’re raising funds to help make this happen, and are match funding every donation up to £2,000. We’ve also secured a generous 25% discount donation from Raleigh to purchase the first bikes, making it even more achievable. 

If you’re able to donate, please do so at Even if you can’t donate, we’d really appreciate it if you can help spread the word. 



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Saying goodbye to Facebook

Around two weeks ago we decided to stop using Facebook and its two other platforms, Instagram and WhatsApp. This is something we’d been considering for a while. While we didn’t have much of an audience on our Roasting House accounts, our other business Plastic Free Pantry has a combined audience of around 60,000 followers and we used this account to also promote our Roasting House coffee so it meant walking away from a significant marketing channel. A lot of our custom came from Instagram. 

This has been a decision long in the making. For years now Facebook has increasingly strangled the reach of small businesses, forcing them to pay for advertising to reach even those who have opted to follow their pages. We fundamentally disagree with the surveillance capitalism model of Facebook and therefore don’t want to endorse it by paying for ads. We also don’t use their tracking pixel on our websites. We’ve also become increasingly concerned by Facebook’s lack of action against hate speech. We can’t continue to endorse Facebook through continuing to use it. 

This does of course pose a challenge for an online business who reaches people through social media! So we’re calling on you to help us out. If you like what we do, please let people know. Sign up to our newsletter to stay in touch, recommend us to your coffee loving friends and family, share your favourite coffees. 

If you regularly buy coffee, why not sign for our coffee club? Regular subscriptions allow us to plan and operate more sustainably as we know how much coffee we need in advance.  

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Why we use compostable packaging

Bio plastic compostable coffee bag

Packaging is such a challenging issue. We used to use the same valved bags that most other coffee sellers use, but after looking at a stack of coffee packed up and ready to go out to customers and realising that all of those bags would be in the bin soon as the multi-layered bags can’t be recycled, we started to search for more environmentally and socially responsible packaging. It’s become something of an obsession!

Initially we used paper. It was easily accessible and recyclable. We had some concerns about coffee freshness, but did an experiment and found that as long as the coffee was used quickly or transferred to alternative packaging then for whole bean paper worked fine to send coffee out in.

However a significant number of our customers buy ground coffee, and this doesn’t stay fresh for long at all. By the time coffee has arrived by post, in 1-2 days, most of the coffee oils seeps through the bag rendering the paper no longer recyclable (although it can be composted) and the coffee no longer fresh. Food waste is also a huge problem and we don’t want people throwing coffee away because it went stale in the post.

We’ve sampled pretty much every supposedly environmentally friendly coffee packaging on the market and found most of it unsuitable. A lot of compostable packaging is PLA (poly lactic acid) based, made from corn starch. This material requires industrial composting which most people don’t have access to so we rejected it. Then we found Natureflex, a compostable material which is certified as home compostable (and confirmed by us and others in home testing).

Natureflex is made form wood pulp, similar to paper, but it has a lower carbon footprint, and is much lighter weight (6g compared to 30g for a similar sized bag) which reduces the carbon impact of transporting it to us and the overall package weight of our coffee.

Crucially, unlike paper it provides a good air and moisture barrier which keeps our coffee fresher than paper.

Of course not everybody can compost at home. If you have a garden you can bury the compostable bag in soil and it will break down (please don’t do this in a public setting as that is littering), or you can return it to us and we’ll compost it for you.

If you wish, you can request paper bags via the order comments box at checkout. However we don’t recommend this for ground coffee and we don’t take any responsibility for coffee spoiling during transit. If you opt for this you’ll need to ensure you transfer the coffee to an airtight container immediately upon receipt.

We’re always looking in to new developments in the packaging world in search of the best option available. What we use now may not be what we use in a couple of years time as things change and more information is made available. The most sustainable packaging of all is some you already have and can re-use many times. If you have a coffee roaster locally to you we encourage you to contact them to ask if you can get your own packaging refilled by them.

If you’re local to us in Nottingham, you can refill  your own packaging directly with us via requesting this at the checkout stage. You can also refill with our coffee from Shop Zero in Nottingham City Centre (sent them in refillable pouches) or Re:Source in Norwich (sent to them in paper).


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We’ll be closed 3rd – 13th October 2019

We’ll be taking some time off in early October for a well earned break so we will be closed 3rd – 13th October. You can still place orders via our online shop but they won’t be processed until we return on Monday 14th October, and then it might take us a few days to catch up so please expect your order to be delayed. We will not be checking email or social media during this time as we need a real break so if your enquiry is urgent please send it after 14th October.

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Winter deliveries

Brrr, it’s getting cold out! The Met Office is forecasting a particularly cold winter with plenty of snow. How will this affect your coffee deliveries?

We do deliver throughout winter, however if the weather is particularly bad we will most likely post coffee instead at no extra charge. If we have deliveries scheduled for a particular day but the weather makes it too dangerous to deliver we will contact you to let you know and re-arrange delivery.

Typically we’ll make a call on the day of delivery itself as, especially in the case of snow, weather can change quickly, or sometimes turn out not to be as bad as forecasted. In the case of Coffee Club we will make a call by the Thursday before the scheduled delivery day to give us time to get them in the post in time if we need to.

During winter we might sometimes use a vehicle for deliveries if we have a lot of them and it makes better financial sense than posting them. However we will keep this to a minimum.

However we’ll mostly be cycling as usual throughout winter enjoying the frost glazed scenery as long as the conditions aren’t dangerous and when we do need to make changes we’ll let you know as soon as possible if it affects your order.

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Why we use bikes in our business

Back in September we were invited to talk to Mark Dennison at BBC Radio Nottingham about why we use bikes in our business. The email inviting us to speak on the show included the line “businesses that still use bicycles” which made us laugh at the idea that using bikes as a delivery vehicle is a funny little quirk from the past. Although despite enjoying a giggle at that one line it was actually a really great chat about why we use bikes, what we like (freedom) and dislike (bad infrastructure), and whether we’ll continue to use bikes as we grow. I thought it was about time I got some of our thoughts on all of this down in writing on our website.

For us, using bicycles for deliveries is very much the future, and we’re not alone in thinking this. Even supermarket behemoth Sainsbury’s is trialing bicycle deliveries while Deliveroo are popping up in more and more cities following huge funding rounds to expand their restaurant bicycle delivery service.

In many European cities, cargo bikes do many of the inner city deliveries that we in the UK still use vans for. We believe it is the van model that is outdated as more and more people order goods online while space does not expand and city traffic is grinding to a halt. By using bicycles we rarely get stuck in traffic and can take many off-road scenic routes that those delivering in motor vehicles cannot.

We also have a commitment to keeping our environmental footprint to a minumum, something that delivering on bikes helps us to achieve. Last year we kept 1 tonne of CO2 out of the air by delivering by bike instead of in a small petrol vehicle. And of course using bikes is great for well-being. Before starting this business I was a desk-bound tech worker battling anxiety. Being out on the bike in the fresh air and getting regular exercise is the best medicine I could ever take.

We will continue to use bikes for deliveries. If we grow to the level where our own two sets of legs are no longer enough then our plan is to add more people on bikes to the team rather than a van. Of course on occasion we do use a vehicle, usually in bad weather or at times of illness. However we keep these to a minimum, and almost always end up staring out of the window watching a cyclist cruising by us as we sit in traffic regretting our choice.

For urban and suburban businesses with deliveries to make, we truly believe that bikes are the future. If you have a small business and would like to talk to us for advice or sharing resources, feel free to get in touch via


Thanks to Mark Dennison for having us on the show.

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We’re finalists in the Nottingham Post Environmental Business of the Year Awards

We’re delighted to announce that we are through to the final round of the Nottingham Post Environmental Business of the Year Awards. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Nottingham on Thursday 20th October.

Regardless of the outcome we’re really excited just to be through to the final round. We work incredibly hard to try to reduce our environmental impact as much as possible through making deliveries by bike, using paper packaging which can be recycled, sourcing our coffees carefully, and having a zero waste to landfill policy.

You can read an article about our entry to the awards on the Nottingham Post website.

Wish us luck!

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We’re on holiday until 25th September

We have decided to take a short holiday before we get in to the busy C-word-which-is-too-soon-to-say season and spend a few days relaxing on a beach. Therefore any orders placed between Friday 16th and Sunday 25th September will not be fulfilled until the week beginning Monday 26th. This doesn’t affect Coffee Club which will be delivered and posted on schedule as usual (unless we decide to do a runner and live on the beach for ever).

To help you cope with this lull in coffee delivery there will be a 20% discount on all coffees ordered during this period with voucher code RoastingHouseHoliday2016.

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Make a difference with your coffee for #DoGoodFriday

This year some businesses are forgoing the imported horror show that is Black Friday and instead taking part in Do Good Friday by donating money to charity.

We love this idea and so we’ll be donating 10% of all sales made between Friday 27th November and Monday 30th November to the Emmanuel House Give a Cup of Kindness campaign.

Emmanuel House is a fantastic organisation based in our home town of Nottingham which provides shelter and support to homeless people, a service which has increased demand and importance over the cold winter period.

Head over to our online shop to buy freshly roasted coffee and support this great campaign. 

Image of cup of coffee in snow by Kalexanderson CC-BY-2.0

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Christmas delivery dates

For deliveries in the Nottingham delivery area (please see Nottingham delivery area map for details):

  • Last delivery date will be Weds 23rd in Nottingham, last orders midday on Tuesday 22nd.
  • Delivering again between Dec 28th – 30th, no deliveries on Dec 31st or Jan 1st, then back to normal from 2nd January.

For deliveries elsewhere in the UK:

  • Last post is 21st December. All orders need to be made by midday on 20th December to be included in this.
  • Postal orders will commence again from Monday 4th January with the exception of Coffee Club deliveries which will be posted out on Tuesday 29th December.

To let us know that your order is intended as a Christmas gift, please let us know in the notes field at checkout. There is a checkbox to enter a different delivery address.