Stall of the Week: The Little Red Roaster’s 15-year love affair with Norwich market
- Credit: Nick Butcher
It's been a mainstay on Norwich market for 15 years, and has expanded to two other sites in the city.
But it was the market which gave the Little Red Roaster its first break, and allowed it to thrive.
As part of the Evening News' Get Behind Your Market campaign, we'll be featuring one stall a week, to let you get to know your local traders better.
And today, we kick off with Darren Groom, who started Little Red Roaster with a friend after coming back from living in Australia.
'We couldn't find the same quality of coffee we'd had there, so we thought we'd do it ourselves,' said Mr Groom, 41, who lives in Drayton.
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'This was the first place we had and then everything grew from there.
'It was a place you could start a business from scratch without the cost of doing a shop front.
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'We were chuffed to be in the market.'
As well as the market stall, the Little Red Roaster also has shops on Grove Road, and St Andrews Hill.
Speciality coffee is their main pull even though they do other coffee paraphernalia and cold drinks.
All of their coffee comes from James' Gourmet Coffee Company, based in Ross-on-Wye, and at any one time they have six to nine types of filter coffee, and another one or two especially for espresso.
At their shops they also have croissants, pastries and cakes, soups, sandwiches, paninis and rolls – where possible this is locally sourced.
Mr Groom said running the business hadn't been without its challenges.
But he saw the market returning to being a traditional provisions market, with more food stalls coming on board.
'The choice of stalls and the great variety of stalls in recent years has changed,' he said.
'It's starting to move back to how it used to be, when people could do their weekly shop here.
And he championed what the market could offer shoppers, including his own stall which has the motto 'life's too short for bad coffee' above the counter.
He added: 'We've got some of the best coffee in the city.'
Coffee accessories just as popular as the drink
Mr Groom said a flat white was the most popular order when people came to the stall.
With origins in Australia and New Zealand, this drink is espresso-based – either a single or double shot – and then topped up with frothy milk.
At Little Red Roaster, this will set you back £2.50.
As well as the other coffees you would expect from any barista, Little Red Roaster sells accessories for making your own brew at home too.
Mr Groom said the aeropress – a coffee maker which uses air pressure to brew the drink – was almost as popular as any coffee they sell.
It costs £25, and can make up to four cups of coffee.
Finally, Mr Groom said in the bid to cut the carbon footprint, the Frank Green reusable cups were popular. At £15 for an 8oz cup, or £17 for 12oz, Mr Groom said: 'It's a way of stopping waste.'
Why use the market
Mr Groom, who has three children with his wife, Kate, said he thought there were two main reasons people should support the market.
'It's got local produce, and it really does help the local economy,' he said.
'Every single stall is independent, and money spent on my stall is money I then go and spend on the market.
'They have got an amazing choice of local produce and quality.'
He added the market was a 'bastion for independent traders' which was only seen elsewhere in the Lanes.
And he urged people to support the stallholders. 'They get fresh, quality produce,' he said.
Speaking about his stall specifically, Mr Groom said it was the quality of the coffee which brought customers in.
And it was clear the stall had a good reputation, as those seeking a caffeine hit queued down the market row for their cup of joe.
We love this stall
Josh Smith, 24: 'It's the best coffee in Norwich. They care about the coffee, it's a lot nicer than at a chain.'
Anna Foerster, 44: 'This place had the longest queue, so it's got to have the best coffee!'
Tracey?Lincoln,?44: 'I meet up with my son, Aaron, once a week and we always come here. I like to put the money in the local pocket.'