From marketing guru to CSO (Chief Sandwich Officer), community cheerleader, and owner of Ritual & Grub Ltd. in less than two years - how?
John Kelly tells us all 'I've always had a philosophy that life was too short for sh!t sandwiches and back in my corporate life I was often asked to make lunch for my colleagues, in fact one boss (thanks Fay), positively encouraged me to set up my own sandwich business. Fate/Covid would 'gift' me an opportunity and in Oct 2020 I found myself redundant and without a clear plan of what to do next. A conversation with Kay gave me some insight in to how a coffee shop worked
The business started as Coffee Charisma in 2002 when I realised the IT training market had had its heyday and I went on a long holiday to NZ to decide what I was to do next. The coffee in NZ was far superior to what we could get in the UK – and being born at 11.00am (which is coffee time) I decided I had to change the world. First came the Market Stall in Guildford Market where I sold Freshly Roasted coffee beans, then I started attending food fairs and making top quality filters. From there I designed and built one of the first mobile espresso vans in the UK, and Coffee Charisma Unplugged was parked outside Farncombe Station Monday to Friday 6.00am till 12.00. The Kiosk reared its head at Christmas 2006, where I was seen working through the night to get it open before the Christmas, but IKEA put a stop to that dream, and finally I was open early Jan 2007.
Time for me to learn more about coffee by travelling to my most favourite coffee destination, Guatemala where I literally bumped into a guy who had a coffee farm and after working with him for two days on the farm, he wrote this espresso recipe on the back of a fag packed for me to take home and roast. UN POCO DEL CIELO was born (a little bit of heaven), which is still drunk today.
I was completely in over my head with coffee, and trained to be a National Barista Competition Judge, going to Vienna as a volunteer to the championships.
2016 saw Natter Café open in the village and the mobile espresso van sold on to someone else to enjoy – but the station has always been the solid part of the village. When I sold Natter Café I was really wondering about what to call the kiosk in this era. Ritual Coffee UK popped up like it had been there for years and I always said that the name is un-important – it’s the quality of the coffee and the staff that make the place a great place to be.