How it all started?
Machina was created by two people looking for their next creative challenge. One, an ex DJ & A&R man (and coffee nerd) from the music industry, the other, a long time coffee industry professional with a background in training (and an apparent obsession for show singing).
They met through a mutual friend, again through music and discovered that they both had a huge passion for equipment and sharing knowledge. From here Machina took on it's own momentum, which is an extraordinary story of people, coffee and lots of equipment (that's a lot of equipment...), on a path to becoming a speciality coffee roastery.
The business started off as just equipment, but was always working towards one goal - becoming a premium speciality coffee roastery. We just needed to raise funds, and ideally do it without needing to bring in investors who would (no doubt) push us in a direction that we didn't want to go in. We had a vision, and the only way to ensure that actually happened, was to do it ourselves.
Steve Glencross (co-founder and MD) 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 and still focusing on a creative passion that he could share with everyone.
Around 2004 the Edinburgh coffee scene had just started to enter the 'third wave', but it was definitely in it's humble beginnings of hipster-dom, which was not really what he had in mind for Machina. When he left the city to work in the South and travel, he already had plans to return with his version of a coffee business.
Steve then spent the best part of two years researching coffee scenes around the world, from Wellington & Auckland, LA, Portland & NYC through to Tokyo, London and more (to the ongoing annoyance of his wife). What he found was that coffee culture wasn't all rustic and hip, in fact it was developing a new style driven by aesthetics and knowledge.
Places like Intelligentsia in LA, Gimme Coffee in Brooklyn, Customs in Wellington and Bear Pond in Shimokitazawa were inspirations behind what ended up influencing how Machina was created. They helped fuel the ideas of fusing coffee retail, Scandi design, multi roaster offerings and reducing barriers to understanding all key to the model.
Great service was not something the UK was famed for, and coffee had a somewhat snooty reputation, both of which Steve was determined to challenge with Machina. The kind of experience Steve experienced in places like Intelligentsia in LA, demonstrated how good a customer service experience could and should be. This was one of the main things that was shouting out to be done in the UK.
Michael, a man who had been engrossed in coffee since he left school was looking for a new avenue to channel his skills and passion. Numerous barista jobs and a training school for Scottish barista's under his belt, he was ready for a new project to work on. He was fascinated with equipment and loved taking things apart and putting them back together again (Steve does not), so the opportunity to come on board with Machina and start developing a premium equipment business was clearly too much for him to resist.
What they found was that there was a rising demand for two things. 1: Coffee equipment offered from people who actually knew what they were taking about and 2: less attitude and a more grounded approach to service. From there, the project grew legs and resulted in what you see today. A cafe, a roastery, a service area, a quality control lab, distribution of the best brands in the industry and lots of Inker cups (that's lots of cups).
Machina has been part chore, part joy. But the outcome is one we hope you all enjoy. We hope you find the coffee (and kit) you're looking for and find the process fun, not a headache, as that was always our goal.
Making great coffee accessible to all.