Sheffield’s central place in Britain’s industrial history is well known, a foremost steel town on the eastern edge of the Peak District. A healthy hospitality and cultural offering also includes specialty coffee, with Sheffield Coffee Festival drawing crowds during May. Part of the town hugs the train station, with Kelham Island and the canal orientating another set of residential, food and drink developments. Mow’s Coffee is part of this waterside vector, also where barista Ellie Simpson works.

In this interview, Ellie outlines a journey into coffee which is blended with ambitions in interior design and learning via books. Read on…

When did you start your career in coffee and how did you come across the industry?
I began working with coffee four years ago in 2018. It started as just a part-time job in one of the large coffee chains - I fell in love with the cafe culture rather than the coffee. It was only when I moved to Sheffield two years ago and had my first experience in speciality coffee that made me realise how incredible coffee is and the processes that get it from crop to cup! This is what made me want to pursue coffee as a career rather than just a job.

What's the status of specialty coffee in Sheffield?
Speciality coffee is all over Sheffield! Practically any part of Sheffield has a cafe with amazing coffee and vibes

What types of people are suited to working in coffee?
In my experience, coffee can be suited to anyone! Creative minds tend to be drawn to the latte art and artistic side of coffee, while academic-focused people will have a field day understanding the sciences behind what makes a good or bad cup of coffee

If someone is new to coffee and looking to start out, what would you recommend they start with?
If you’re new to coffee and don’t know where to start my advice would be to speak to the baristas in your local cafes - the most passionate baristas will do anything to share their knowledge and advice!

Are there some central blog posts or websites that you go to gain more knowledge, develop further skills?
Podcasts and YouTube videos are my go-to for learning about coffee as I tend to have them on when cleaning at home or driving about. However, I am a fan of coffee books such as The Curious Baristas Guide to Coffee by Tristan Stephenson.

What's next for your career? What's on the horizon and what goals do you have for the coming three years?
Currently I am studying interior design at university alongside my barista job, so for the upcoming academic year I am content with progressing my knowledge in both of these subjects. However, over the next three years I’d love to compete in the UK latte art competition and then look to open my own speciality coffee shop.

Find Ellie on Instagram at @EllieRoseCoffee, and stop by Mow’s when you’re in Sheffield