Robi Lambie once had high hopes of a life on tour, launching a professional singing career after his music degree, before co-founding and running a music venue in Thurso.
There he discovered his creative flair didn’t only extend to writing music – he found a love of building a brand and a business from scratch.
Inspired by his father’s cafes in the Highlands, Robi has brought his own brand to Edinburgh, now running two highly successful Cairngorm Coffee café outlets in the city. And as well as those busy shop-fronts, there’s a thriving online, in-store and wholesale market for his specially selected bean and ground coffee offerings, sourced from around the world and roasted here in Edinburgh.
“We’ve got seven coffee bean ranges which we roast over an open flame at our roastery in the city,” he says. “The most popular is the one we call Guilty Pleasure, our only blend, with hints of chocolate and smooth caramel.”
Importing the raw, or ‘green’, beans from Kenya, Rwanda, Columbia, Brazil, Costa Rica and Peru, Robi and his team make the magic happen at their hi-tech roastery, where the latest innovation goes hand in hand with a tradition dating back to the 15th century.
And expansion into this lucrative market, which sees him sell to domestic customers and wholesale suppliers around the country, was helped by his contactless payment provider, Zettle by Paypal.
“We made the decision to go entirely contactless about six months before the pandemic, and chose Zettle as our provider. Cash handling is very time consuming, banks charge fees and there is a security risk when keeping floats in the cafes.
“Instead, we opted to go entirely contactless. And when we wanted to expand with a bigger roastery, Zettle were on hand to help.
It’s been a huge success for Robi and his team, with the branches on Melville Place and Frederick Street thriving.
And it is a far cry for his roots in the highlands.
“I never really liked coffee when I was younger,’’ he said. “I think it was just so readily available at home that it no longer inspired me. But once I started running the music venue and found out how much fun it was starting something from scratch and building it up, this was the right fit for me.”
Zettle by Paypal is a proud sponsor of the Edinburgh Evening News Food and Drink Awards. Find out what they can do for your business at https://www.zettle.com/.