Union Hand-Roasted Coffee

Union Hand-Roasted Coffee (formerly Union Coffee Roasters[1]) is a privately owned British coffee roasting business based in East London, United Kingdom. The company was founded in 2001 by Jeremy Torz and Steven Macatonia.[2] [3] Coffee House says the company "effectively bridges the definitions of independent and mainstream" as they work according to craft principles while still selling their products in supermarkets.[4]

Union Hand-Roasted Coffee
Company typePrivate
IndustryCoffee roasting
PredecessorTorz & Macatonia
FoundedStar Lane in East London, (14 June 2001 (2001-06-14)) --> Present
FounderJeremy Torz
Steven Macatonia
Star Lane, East London
Area served
United Kingdom
ProductsSpeciality Coffee, Single Origin Coffee, Microlot Coffee, Coffee Blends
ServicesCoffee, Coffee Roasting, Wholesale Supplier
Number of employees

Hand roasted coffee is made in small batches with the direct intervention of a master coffee roaster. The master coffee roaster watches over the batch as it's roasted to make sure it's done to perfection.[5]



Working at Peet's Coffee & Tea in San Francisco in the early 1990s sparked the interest in coffee in Jeremy Torz and Stephen Macatonia, both from the UK. In stark contrast to the country's local coffee scene, which was at the time essentially nonexistent, they discovered a bustling coffee environment in the Californian metropolis.

Macatonia worked as an immunologist and Torz as an optometrist before founding the business. Both of them, however, were drawn to the coffee roasting scene and decided to stay for four years even though they had only intended to visit for six months. Over the course of four years, they learned a lot about the local coffee sector and the craft of growing and roasting coffee.

In 1994, when they were back in the UK, they decided to leave their day jobs and found Torz and Macatonia, a tiny coffee roasting business. They didn't have any prior expertise in the retail area, so they started a wholesale company.

In 1995, they became the main supplier for the Seattle Coffee Company, the first major coffee shop chain in the UK.[6] Torz and Macatonia eventually merged with The Seattle Coffee Company in 1997 [7] which was then acquired by Starbucks in 1998.[8][9][10]

After some time, Jeremy and Steven left in 2000. In 2001, they founded private company Union Coffee Roasters and in 2007, it was rebranded to Union Hand-Roasted Coffee.[11]

By 2005, the company was producing 11 different lines, four of which were special editions and seven of which were for sale in Sainsbury's, Asda, the Co-op and Somerfield.[12] In 2015, Union refreshed their brand to help "share the joy of good coffee[13]". As part of this, they created a new company logo, revamped and rationalised their coffee range for Waitrose[14] and Ocado[15] and launched a new coffee subscription service known as CoffeeClub.[16]

On The High Street


Union Coffee supplies wholesale specialty coffee and barista training[17] Gail's Artisan Bakery,[18] Brasserie Blanc[19] and Peach Pubs.[20]


  1. ^ "Wake up and smell Union's artisan values". The Grocer. 21 April 2007.
  2. ^ Jenny Linford (8 October 2001). "Why they are full of beans; Like a Savile Row suit, you can buy bespoke coffee to suit your own palate. Jenny Linford meets two men who know a good roast when they make it". The Evening Standard.
  3. ^ "What We Do". www.unionroasted.com. Retrieved 2016-03-13.
  4. ^ "State of the Union" (PDF). Coffee House. June 2011.
  5. ^ "Link".
  6. ^ Sheryl Garratt (8 September 2002). "Wake up and smell the money. Cappuccino, frappucino, skinny latte, ..." The Observer.
  7. ^ "History of Coffee Part V - Speciality Coffee | Galla Coffee". www.gallacoffee.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2011-11-26.
  8. ^ "Starbucks to Buy U.K. Company -- Seattle Coffee Deal Opens Door into Europe | the Seattle Times".
  9. ^ "BBC News | the Company File | Starbucks storms into UK".
  10. ^ "Archives". Los Angeles Times. 30 April 1998.
  11. ^ "Branding Brief: Union Coffee Roasters renames itself | PR & public relations news | PRWeek". www.prweek.com. Archived from the original on 2013-04-07.
  12. ^ "The best possible taste".
  13. ^ "The Entrepreneur: Jeremy Torz, Union Hand-Roasted Coffee - Startups.co.uk: Starting a business advice and business ideas". startups.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-03-13.
  14. ^ "Union Hand-Roasted revamps and rationalises coffee range". www.thegrocer.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-03-13.
  15. ^ "Union Hand-Roasted Coffee rebrands and relaunches premium retail range". Retail Times. Retrieved 2016-03-13.
  16. ^ "Union Hand-Roasted Coffee launching CoffeeClub subscription service". Business Reporter. Retrieved 2016-03-13.
  17. ^ "Barista Training". www.unionroasted.com. Retrieved 2016-03-13.
  18. ^ "Drinks - GAIL's Bakery". GAIL's Bakery. Retrieved 2016-03-13.
  19. ^ "Growth Capital: Forming a Union to source coffee that'll really". Evening Standard. 29 April 2013. Retrieved 2016-03-13.
  20. ^ "OUR FOOD & DRINK | Peach Pubs". Peach Pubs. Retrieved 2016-03-13.