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Five Foodie Minutes with Coaltown's Scott James

Meet the Maker
Five Foodie Minutes with Coaltown's Scott James

Wow – what an incredible couple of years it has been for Scott and the gang at Coaltown Coffee Roasters! We were over the moon to see them featured in Lonely Planet’s, ‘Global Coffee Tour’, where they were listed as one of the best places in the world to visit for their incredible coffee and their amazing ethos of supporting local! Such a fantastic achievement and hats off to Scott for putting Wales on the map, showcasing the truly magnificent produce and people that we, as a nation, have to offer.

When they weren’t receiving these awesome accolades, however, Scott and his team were getting ready to unveil their brand new, state of the art coffee roastery, which opened its doors last year. Featuring an Espresso Bar, artisan bakery and an on-site Barista Training Academy, this is undeniably a huge deal for the community of Ammanford.

As we had some time with the busiest man in the business, we decided to seize the opportunity to ask him a few questions to get to know the man behind the coffee…

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I’d love to open a series of Espresso bars in other local mining towns, where community is at the heart of the place. I have no ambition to move to the cities, for me it’s all about community.

What’s your greatest ambition?

Wow, that’s a big question!! [pauses to work through his many ambitions] I think it’s definitely to bring jobs to Ammanford, to make it a happy place to be. My ambition is to see people coming to Ammanford for a reason, to socialise and to spend time here. Up until now, it’s been very much a commuter town with people travelling away from the place to go to work elsewhere. I want to change this and get visitors coming in as opposed to going out.

What’s the best bit of advice you’ve ever been given?

Ahh, this is an easy one. Definitely ‘do one thing, well.’ David Hieatt, founder of Cardigan based clothing brand, Hiut Denim Co. gives some great advice and this is one that resonates with me. Then again, he also told me to put my new jeans in the freezer…!

If you had to choose your favourite coffee variety, what would it be?

Hands down, Rocko Mountain – it’s amazing and tastes like strawberries. Just incredible.

Most memorable moment?

Getting asked for an autograph by a Swedish woman who had travelled over to Wales for the football – she turned up at home (we used to roast in the back garden at mum and dad’s before moving to the Espresso Bar in town) and pointed at an article we’d been featured in asking for ‘him’ (me)! It was so crazy, she bought all the coffee she could fit in her suitcase and a second-hand Chemex, as we didn’t have any new ones in stock!! Probably one of the most surreal moments yet!

Modest, passionate, enthusiastic and generally great company, we really enjoyed our time at Coaltown with Scott. During our visit, we were taken on a guided tour of the town and it was lovely to see the clear sense of community that exists in Ammanford. Scott is known by everyone- even the local policeman stopped to say ‘hi’!  It is this community spirit that Scott is so keen to preserve, whilst promoting the benefits of visiting Ammanford and other nearby mining communities, by restoring them to their former glory.  The coalmines may have shut, but Scott is determined to bring a new industry to the town, a new form of black gold.

We’re very much looking forward to a return visit – diolch, Scott!


Like what you see? Explore the entire Coaltown Coffee range here.