Alex Kragiopoulos (known by all as ‘Krag’) – Roaster & Director (Owner)
Alex (known by most as ‘Krag’!) founded the business in 2013 having learnt to roast on a 5kg Toper following a trip to Kenya in 2011 where he spent time with producing families learning more about the coffee supply chain. Born and bred in Leeds, Krag felt it a travesty that there was no roastery in his home town and very much felt that needed to change. He was 22 when he started North Star, pretty much fresh out of uni and spent a good year trialling roasts and profiles before getting the coffee to a point he was proud of.
Krag now heads up our production on our 15kg Giesen and 35kg Loring working with James and the packing team to ensure weekly orders are prepared and packed in a manner in keeping with our approach to quality and freshness. Krag works closely with Hols to forecast our green purchases based on his understanding of roastery procedure and stock requirement. He travels at least once a year to provide valuable input at origin helping us to accurately plan the stock we require and ensuring we are never holding onto coffee for longer than necessary making sure it is always guaranteed to sing in the cup. Krag has helped many other roasteries to get off the ground running consultancy in France, Wales and the Isle of Man.
For wholesale inquiries, contact Krag here – firstname.lastname@example.org
Holly Kragiopoulos – Coffee Specialist & Director (Owner)
Hols heads up our sourcing approach drawing on her previous experience of green buyer for Falcon Specialty Green Coffee Importers. During her time with Falcon, Hols worked with roasters all over the UK assisting with blend development and sourcing requirements, she also regularly travelled to coffee producing countries to identify programmes and projects to coordinate to meet Falcon’s ethical supply chain commitments. She became a licensed Q Grader taster in 2014 and has worked on various consultancy projects alongside setting up our sourcing policy with regards to quality and ethics. She manages our producer relationships and regularly travels as part of the Cup of Excellence jury – a group of experienced and licensed coffee tasters responsible for judging in country competitions to select lots that will be entered into an international auction often fetching record prices. She works tirelessly to guarantee we are sourcing the best coffee we can get our hands on from producers we know we can trust and work with on a long term basis. She also runs the SCA Sensory Skills program through our Coffee Academy, training coffee professionals how to taste and implement QC systems.
Her experience is unique and extremely valuable, helping us to get our hands on some of the best coffees in the world. She has also penned our own ethical procurement policy and will be working to set up some North Star assisted community projects in the future.
To contact Hols about the courses offered through our Academy or for wholesale inquiries, get in touch here – email@example.com
Ollie Sears – Wholesale and Equipment
Ollie has worked in nearly every aspect of the coffee supply chain having started out as head barista at a specialty coffee shop before landing a job running the cupping lab at Falcon Specialty where he was responsible for managing samples, sample roasting and cupping with the team there to assist with green coffee purchases. He joined North Star in 2016 as Wholesale Manager and looks after our customer base with frequent visits, offering support with machinery, training and business development based on his unique understanding of the industry.
Ol approaches relationships with the understanding that you really get out what you put in and he invests himself into each and every one of our customers working alongside Krag to ensure we can continue to meet customer expectations and requirements. He is unique in that he approaches all training and equipment requirements from the need of the business first and foremost, ensuring there is a business case there for any investment we ask a company to make. He is an Authorised SCA Trainer in both Barista and Brewing Skills and runs a comprehensive programme alongside Hols in the Academy to cater for a host of training needs. He works closely with our machine suppliers to put together competitive equipment options and also nurtures our Latin American producer partnerships as he is a fluent Spanish speaker.
For machine/training and wholesale inquiries, get in touch with Ollie here – firstname.lastname@example.org
James Fairweather – Production Roaster
James joined North Star in 2017 to work in packing and dispatch before progressing to becoming the main Production Roaster for our wholesale customer orders. James comes to us from a background in nutrition and has always had a real passion for the food industry and specialty coffee in particular. We first met James after he self-funded a spot on one of our Sensory Skills courses as he wanted to learn more about how he might get into the coffee industry.
He has since visited our producing partners in Guatemala and El Salvador and is working on his sensory skills to assist Hols with our selections each year. This experience has been valuable in assisting him in his main role as production roaster where he works through our weekly schedule of orders to ensure all are prepared to our specifications. You might also catch him in the North Star van hauling our precious cargo to local customers.
Rory Murphy – Production and Wholesale Assistant
Rory came to us in October 2018 to lend a hand over the seasonal period with our packing and dispatch. He proved to be an invaluable asset to our team taking responsibility for order fulfillment and dispatch. He works closely with James and Krag from our Armley site to ensure all orders are carefully and correctly packed before they are sent out by courier to our customers across the UK.
Rory (aka Murph) has worked as a barista in Leeds and proudly operates ‘Cafe Murph’ from our new site, preparing perfectly crafted coffees for our visitors and production team. He works alongside Ollie to fulfil aspects of our training program assisting businesses with the quality of their coffee preparation and efficiency of service.
If you are interested in joining our team, drop us a line to email@example.com or follow our social media pages for info on any positions we may have available 🙂