Stephen Rapoport, founder of Pact, the coffee delivery service, gives us a tour around the office and roast house, based at the Biscuit Factory.

Pact, the coffee delivery service, have hit a milestone. They managed to grind, roast and ship the most amount of coffee they have ever achieved in one day: 1.5 tons of the stuff. And all from their roasting house in The Biscuit Factory in Bermondsey. But for Pact, that still isn’t enough.

The team aim to deliver on their brand promise: “Make coffee a force for good”. And to make a significant impact, they know they’re going to have to sell a lot of coffee.

 

 

 

The desire to make Pact Coffee as ethical as possible was behind their decision to source by direct trade all the coffee they supply. Stephen Rapoport, the founder and MD, hijacks our visit to Ed Grattan, head of media relations, to show us around the roasting house, personally introduce us to the large metal roaster in the corner, and point out the coffee sacks that are now branded with the Pact logo since the company started working directly with coffee producers. The beans get shipped over from plantations in Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia and other coffee-growing regions, dock in the Thames Gateway Port and then make their way, once a day, to The Biscuit Factory.

 

Their office is geared towards the flexible work-life that a new generation of creative and innovative workers desire and even expect.

 

To make that happen, Will, the company’s coffee expert, now goes out to South America, Asia and Africa to meet famers and source their beans. “We know exactly what the growers are paid because no agents are taking a cut,” Stephen tells me – then adds, almost religiously, “Coffee is a force for good.”

The team aim to deliver on their brand promise: “Make coffee a force for good”. And to make a significant impact, they know they’re going to have to sell a lot of coffee.

 

 

 

Just as Pact Coffee try to make the lives of their customers as happy as possible – they still call all first-time customers to make sure they’re satisfied with whichever magic bean they’ve chosen – the startup wants to ensure that staff are equally content. Their office is geared towards the flexible work-life that a new generation of creative and innovative workers desire and even expect.

 

 

Ed Grattan takes over the tour again and points out all the perks that make everyday life at the grind a bit better. The open-plan environment and hot-desking arrangements mean that staff members don’t feel tied to their desks; they can relax at the coffee bar or in one of the breakout spaces, or just as easily work from home. Time off is actively encouraged (the company has an unlimited holiday policy).

 

 Staff numbers have risen to over 50, up from 30 last January.

 

As the company has grown, they’ve had to adapt their space. Staff numbers have risen to over 50, up from 30 last January. This means the marketing team mostly sit together, as do the developers, almost as if they’re back in the school canteen. The customer service lot are up on the balcony so they can keep each other up to date without disturbing the rest of the team.

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The large table at the centre of the room is cleared for team meetings, which take place amid all the action, and there’s a screen just above the high desks, which are there for those who want to straighten out their spines and work standing up.

 

 

 

The office is full of specially built nooks and crannies and it turns out that many of the team are dab hands at DIY. The interior decoration is all done in-house. The bar perched on crates was made by Dale, who works in the grindhouse, and Tatiana from customer service. There are cubbyholes for each employee so they have a storage space that isn’t connected to their desk. There’s a video camera, which was used in the Kickstarter campaign to raise £20,000 for R&D for Pact’s own specially developed coffee pods – other brands “don’t taste that good”, Ed says – that can be found around the office.

 

“The local area and the building is really suited to us,” Ed says.

 

In fact, the only space in the office that’s always left clear is the route from the front door to the bike shed, which is in the office. Staff can cycle in and hang their bike up like a coat. Pact joined the Cycle to Work scheme to encourage staff to get on their bikes; the take-up was so successful, Pact have been featured as a case study.

 

 

 

“The local area and the building is really suited to us,” Ed says. “We love Borough Market, which is nearby, and it’s great to be based in such an iconic building in the world of food and drink.” Iconic it is. Celebrated snacks such as the Bourbon biscuit and the Twiglet were invented right here. 

Just as the building seems strangely perfect for Pact, the actual office suits the new working practices of a successful startup down to a tee. Coffee isn’t the only thing that can be a force for good; office design is too.

Find out more about Pact Coffee at pactcoffee.com

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