Meet our client of the month stirring up your espresso - Mousetail Coffee
From a latte to a flat whites, 1.7billion cups of coffee are sold in the UK each year and London startup Mousetail Coffee is looking to take a sip out of the market by bringing what founder Kristel Parts describes as ‘good coffee for good people.’
She says there is too much arrogance and marketing on a coffee menu and while customers labour over choosing between a skinny latte or Americano, really the main choice is simply an espresso, or espresso and milk.
From fish to flat whites
Kristel, 26, came to the UK from Estonia in 2010 initially to sell smoked salmon in Camden Market.
But she struggled and instead after working in hospitality and catering, decided with her boyfriend Margus and two friends Kristine and Jaanus to turn their love of coffee into a business.
It took them a year to launch the business and they used their last paycheques and savings to buy their first Piaggio Ape minivan and convert it into a coffee van in 2013.
Since then they have opened locations in Whitechapel, Borough and Canary Wharf employing 18 people.
Kristel says: ‘Speciality coffee shops often come with a sense of not making the customer feel welcomed.
Often is the case that you get frowned upon when you ask for some sugar in your coffee, or decaf instead of regular. Our aim is to provide the very same excellent quality but without becoming arrogant or pretentious about it.
‘Our mission is to change the perception of really good coffee for at least one person a day.’
The third wave of coffee
Mousetail is part of the booming speciality coffee industry. The sector has been steaming ahead since 2010 as developments in equipment and a more artisan approach changed the way people look at the drink, with more focus on flavours and the type of beans being used.
According to the Allegra World Coffee Portal, this ‘third wave’ of coffee makes up an estimated 15 per cent of the market and is expected to grow by 10 per cent.
The mouse tail
The founders came up with the name Mousetail in recognition of the first shot of espresso that drips out of a coffee machine.
If it flows evenly and looks like a smooth mouse tail then you will have a nice tasting coffee, if not you probably won’t like it.
To get the best mousetail, Kristel says you need the skills and expertise of the best baristas that can do everything from grounding the beans perfectly, preparing them in the coffee basket and applying the perfect amount of water pressure.
Choosing a mousetail
The Mousetail Coffee menu has two prices for either an espresso or espresso and milk and this can then be made into a latte, cappuccino flat white or whichever style you wish.
This approach stems from the bean being more important that the brand.
Kristel explains: ‘The process of making the perfect coffee starts way back at the farms. You have to give credit to the people who pick all the fruit by hand, this is where the quality control starts.
‘The beans need to have a story. Not just a country of origin, but information leading all the way back to the farms. This can lead to good things - for example one of the coffees that we sourced from a farm in Sumatra led to them being able to build a schoolhouse for the local kids.’
Kristel says even the big name high-street coffee brands are cottoning on to the trend of speciality coffee.
This is just the beginning for Mousetail.
Kristel wants to open more shops to create more jobs, while giving back to the farmers growing the coffee beans.
She says London is the ideal place to do this as there are so many people, especially compared with Estonia.
Kristel says: ‘Anyone starting out needs patience and you're really need to believe in what you are doing.
‘We want to put excellent cups of coffee into more hands and even more than that - smiles onto even more faces.’
The right mix
If you are looking to turn your passion into a business then follow in the footsteps of Kristel and give us a call. Not only are we small business accountants, we also work with our clients to help them grow; could you be our next Client of the Month?