Since opening their first Bloomsbury venue in July 2017, Redemption Roasters has presented a competitive offering for London’s specialty coffee scene, opening a further six venues in Liverpool Street, Islington, King’s Cross, Barbican, King’s Road, and Broadgate Circle. The venues are stunning, often integrating legacy features of heritage sites. Yet this storefront represents only the end point of a supply chain with deep integrity, underscored by a commitment to train prisoners in facilities near to London.

Redemption Roasters was founded with this mission to improve the UK’s prison system, grounded on firm evidence about the relationship between post-sentence employment and recidivism. Writing in 2018, Redemption Roasters noted that 74% of young offenders re-offend within a year of being released from custody, costing the state up to £10 billion annually. 64% of ex-offenders are unemployed two years after being released, while offenders that leave prison with improved skills and job prospects are half as likely to re-offend.

Any inmate can apply for Redemption’s programmes, hosted at Aylesbury Young Offender Institution, HMP Bullingdon in Oxfordshire, and HMP Wormwood Scrubs. Once accepted, they are given in-depth training via a syllabus developed internally. Trainees learn about everything from sourcing beans to serving customers. 10 trainees are enrolled in the programme as any given time, with graduates receiving job support on release.

Redemption Roasters, Lamb’s Conduit Street

Redemption Roasters, Lamb’s Conduit Street

The training has delivered results - dozens of graduates have benefited from Redemption’s training, published in an annual Social Impact Report. The 2020 edition published in June accounts for the number of learners (422) and indicates that each £1 that has been invested in Redemption Roasters Education Department has delivered £3.47 in social value. Between 2019-2020, in-prison training and post-sentence job placements (18) have saved the government £956,000 - none have re-offended.

Scale is also part of Redemption’s story - the new roastery at HMP Mount Hill is now home to a Loring S70 Peregin machine, the most environmentally efficient 70-kilogram-capacity machine on the market, capable of roasting up to 600 tones of coffee per year. Writing on their website, the company note:

Although the roaster takes the limelight, the space itself is just as important a change; the 5000 sq ft warehouse is five times bigger than the workshop at Aylesbury. Featuring a vehicle bay and dedicated goods drop off area, it allows for convenient logistical management and streamlined production.

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