“I went to Australia on a gap year and got a job packing coffee beans – it changed my life.

“I graduated with a degree from the Scottish Hotel School, which is part of the Business School at Strathclyde Uni and worked as a chef before I left Scotland to go travelling.

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Glasgow Times:

“When I left, in 1999, people were only just starting to walk around with takeaway cups from the big multinational brands like Starbucks.

“No-one was doing freshly roasted coffee. In Australia, it was different. Something just struck me. It was like discovering the difference between homebaked bread and a supermarket loaf….”

“I stayed on help the deli owner’s son, who was starting up a coffee business. That was Toby Smith, who went on to set up Toby’s Estate – a huge name in the coffee industry - and he taught me how to roast.

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Glasgow Times:

“I was one of only two female roasters in the country at that time. I helped build up the business, which had 20 staff by the time I left three years later.

“I got a job as a wine rep back in Scotland and spent the next few years building up a network of customers. But my frustration over the lack of speciality coffee in Glasgow, never went away. Eventually I bought a coffee roaster and set up Dear Green. I didn’t really have a business plan or a strategy and in the early days it really was just me, cycling around Glasgow, selling coffee to places I knew.

Glasgow Times:

“I love Glasgow – as a teenager, I’d come into town all wide-eyed and excited about the city, so it was always where I was going to set up my business.

“When the coronavirus pandemic hit, it was a huge shock. Overnight, the thing you have spent years building up suddenly starts crumbling around you. But then, something kicks in and you just get on with it.


“But we have a roof over our heads, and some people don’t even have that.

“Our business will survive, but it won’t be the business it was.”

Lisa Lawson, owner of Dear Green Coffee Roasters

Glasgow Times:

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