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Our Story

We are a coffee company and family united by a love for great coffee and a desire to protect all it supports. Our journey began over conversations with small scale coffee producers  in Kenya as we asked them about their experiences of Fairtrade. This opportunity was life changing and inspiring but also deeply emotive, displaying the deep seated issues in this global supply chain and showing us that the industry does not work for all those it serves and specifically, for those it relies upon. 

North Star was founded to prove that an approach based on quality and impact can improve the viability of business models across the coffee supply chain. We have a vision of a more certain future for coffee, free from the volatility of the commodity market and resilient to the impacts of climate change. If you share our vision and love for great coffee, you too can take steps to safeguard its future!

Become a part of our North Star family, you can order from us online, visit the North Star Coffee Shop or try our beans in one of the amazing spaces run by our wholesale partners across the UK.

Meet the team

Holly Kragiopoulos

Co-Founder, Director, Licensed Q Grader

Hols started her career in coffee as a buyer and ethical coordinator for green importers, Falcon Specialty. She became a licensed Q Grader taster in 2014 and participates as a member of the international jury for the Cup of Excellence. Hols has penned our ethical procurement approach and selects our green coffee as well as the producers we work alongside.


Alex Kragiopoulos


Alex (known to most as ‘Krag’) founded the business in 2013 at the age of 22. He learned to roast with some of the best and now heads up our Roastery operation, overseeing production and managing our green coffee purchases with Hols. Krag has worked on consultancy projects for a host of roasteries across the UK and Europe, and now holds a managerial role within the operational side of our business.


Matt Andrews

Head of Sales

Our operations manager Matt is no new kid on the hospitality block. He started as a barman, then became a chef, then worked in the pub business for several years before seeing sense and switching to coffee. He still loves spending time in pubs as a keen pub quizzer, and enjoys going on adventures with Gordon the Dalmatian and Freddie the Golden Retriever (always with a country pub visit along the way!)

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Kirri Palmer

Account Manager

Kirri is our dedicated Account Manager with over a decade of experience in fine dining restaurants, specialising in developing coffee programs. In previous roles she transformed coffee experiences in restaurants, connecting with top roasters nationwide, enhancing staff training, and curating coffee menus. Now, Kirri brings her expertise to our coffee-loving North Star community.


Lucas Jubb

Head of Brand

Lucas has over ten years of experience designing for independent brands and is the man behind many of Leeds’ much loved brands. We started working with him when searching for more sustainable packaging options and he was responsible for launching our new packaging in 2021. He has since joined us full time! Lucas is responsible for both North Stars’ external and internal branding and will play a key role in delivering our impact-led brand values.


Katie Kent

Management Accountant


James Fairweather

QC Manager

James has been roasting for North Star since 2017. He now heads up our production roasting whilst working alongside the dispatch team to fulfil all orders coming in. James has developed a fantastic palate which hugely complements his approach to roasting, and has provided him with an interesting vocabulary to describe his experience of the coffees we bring in. James is the reason our coffees are so consistent, he genuinely wants to bring out the absolute best of each bean and he does a great job of inherently understanding the potential each lot holds.


Marcus Reading

Head of Operations

Marcus manages the preparation of wholesale and retail orders. He is fastidious in his commitment to our customers to package their orders with care and attention to detail. He also shares our collective love of sweet treats!


John Smethurst

Barista Trainer

John became a part of our Coffee Shop team in 2020, however, it didn’t take long before he joined the ranks of our roastery crew. Originally brought in ‘on loan’ for one week only, it quickly became apparent that he was a triple threat, steering his teaching abilities towards the wholesale team. Two years later, John is now our dedicated barista trainer, providing training to our entire wholesale customer base, as well as running our beloved Home Barista Course and other in-house events

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Joe Ilson

Content Creator

Joe worked alongside North Star for content creation of the compostable packaging launch in 2021. A photography wizard with a background in hospitality management, Joe has switched to coffee content creation and joined us to spread the word, via socials, of our impact led brand story! 


Roastery Operations Team

Andrew Thompson

Roastery Operations Assistant

Andrew joined the roastery team in 2022. Returning to a career in coffee after a spell in sports broadcasting. Andrew’s favourite brew is the Burundi Kigeri brewed on an Aeropress.

Zee Yun Lam (Mero)

Production Roaster and Roastery Ops Assistant

Mero joined the roastery team in July and still works part-time in our docks coffee shop. She loves all things coffee and can be seen competing in competitions outside of her day to day coffee life. Mero’s favourite coffee is the Ethiopia Dahab brewed on a Hario Switch.

Ben Hunt

Production Roaster and Roastery Ops Assistant

Ben is a veteran of our Leeds Docks coffee shop. He joined the roastery team in July and quickly developed into a production roaster. Ben loves the Cyato Anaerobic Natural on espresso.

Jaide Hy

Roastery Operations Assistant

Jaide joined the roastery team in August 2023 after finishing an engineering degree in Glasgow. Jaide’s love of coffee saw her pursuing a career in coffee with us at the roastery and has hit the ground running. Jaide enjoys the Peru Nerya Chinin on V60.

Coffee Shop Team

Jesse Lazenby


A full-time star at the coffee shop, you'll tell them apart due to their love of colourful outfits & aprons! Currently studying graphic design at Uni, they have a love for art, stop-motion media and design. Often seen sipping on an Oat Panela Iced Latte!

Henry Kwok Ho Leung


Henry moved from being full time graphic designer to pursue a career in coffee. Away from the tools, Henry likes bouldering, playing badminton, gaming, and chilling with his cat Jemima. 

Tom Saunders


When Tom isn't performing in his band, you'll find him behind the machine with full concentration on making you the best coffee possible! A truly lovely guy, who will always go out of his way to make your day! When he's not hard at work, you'll find him café hopping, going to art galleries and thrifting!

Our Philosophy on coffee

It is crucial for us to build solid relationships with individuals and companies who can help us ask the right questions, no matter how uncomfortable, and encourage us to challenge long established systems and ideas to truly regenerate the supply chain.

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