At CombiniCafe, we believe in supporting businesses who share our passion for coffee, community and environmentalism. That’s why we partner with Edinburgh based roastery, Machina who supply our coffee beans. Founded in 2013, Machina offers training, machine servicing and equipment as well as owning two coffee shops in Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh. We reached out to Head Roaster, Dan Todd to hear the story behind the business.
Who are the people behind Machina?
Machina's story is one of coffee and music. The brainchild of two people on the lookout for their next creative challenge. Founded by Steve Glencross, an ex DJ and A&R Manager from the music industry, with a major coffee obsession, and Michael McCracken, a long-time coffee industry professional, with a background in training and a semi-professional show-tune singing habit.
Our team has grown exponentially since those days, and Machina is run by many talented and hardworking people across our roastery and cafe.
When was Machina founded and what was the inspiration?
Machina was founded in 2013 when, Managing Director, Steve Glencross, decided to move on from the music industry and follow a new path… Coffee fitted the bill perfectly. Less travel, but still bringing people together through a collective experience and still focusing on a creative passion that he could share with everyone.
Machina is heavily inspired by the budding coffee scenes in places such as Wellington & Auckland, LA, Portland & NYC through to Tokyo, London and more. On his travels, Steve found that coffee culture wasn't all rustic and hip, in fact it was developing a new style driven by aesthetics and knowledge, and the fusion of coffee retail, Scandi design and the reducing of barriers to understanding coffee were all key to what shapes Machina to this day.
Photo cred: Sam Christie
What are Machina’s values and what makes it different?
Machina is driven by one core idea: that everyone, regardless of skill, experience or knowledge, can enjoy great quality coffee. We know firsthand as individuals that specialty coffee culture can feel alienating and exclusionary if you’re outside that loop - so by lowering those barriers through our vocabulary, training and education, we believe that anyone looking for a quality, sustainable and ethical product can feel part of the growing movement towards specialty grade coffee.
Tell us about your coffee!
We aim to cover a broad spectrum of flavour preferences, experience and budgets - essentially, a tasty coffee for everyone. All our coffee is specialty grade, meaning it meets specific criteria regarding sustainability, fair trade, and quality. We choose our coffees according to the seasonal coffee calendar, meaning the crops are always at their best during the varying harvest seasons across the globe. We also prefer to buy green coffee that comes from smaller producers, often those part of collectives and cooperatives, where our partnership has a greater economic impact (as opposed to buying from large, wealthy single estates). We roast our coffees based on their unique flavour profiles in our Edinburgh roastery, just behind Arthur’s Seat.
What kind of services do you provide?
We are a full service roastery, meaning in addition to coffee, we also offer equipment, training and machine servicing, to businesses and customers alike. We host private cupping events with our wholesale partners, either at their location or at our roastery, and before the pandemic we also hosted public cuppings that everyone was welcome to attend - something we are excited to reintroduce very soon at our new flagship cafe in Marchmont. Watch this space!
Photo cred: Mike Guest
For those coffee lovers out there, what would you recommend for making the perfect home brew?
Patience and practice! The best thing to do is pick a recipe, stick to it, and perfect it. Once you build up confidence you can play with variables such as grind, yield, time, temperature to tweak your recipe for every new coffee you bring home. The key to making great coffee is consistency and repeatability, which means if you haven’t already, you really should invest in a pair of coffee scales (accurate to 0.01g), a scale and a timer.
Lastly, what is your favourite part about being a part of Machina and what are its goals for the future?
The people. It’s such a great team here, everyone works together so well and is always up for helping each other out. It’s also such an amazing opportunity to work for a growing company that’s always evolving with new goals and challenges all the time. Never a dull moment!
Machina’s goals for the future are to continue raising the standards of independent coffee in Scotland, and evolving the coffee scene here to a level on par with what you would expect in London.