Man who loved Bold Street shop so much he 'didn't leave'

Tian Tso, Allison Whorton and Tom Sumner have set up Two Words Coffee
Tian Tso, Allison Whorton and Tom Sumner have set up Two Words Coffee -Credit:Liverpool Echo

A man ‘refused to leave’ his favourite coffee shop and ended up creating a new business.

Two Words Coffee is Liverpool’s newest coffee roaster. It will officially launch tomorrow in a collaboration with Ropes and Twines coffee and wine bar on Bold Street.

It is a joint venture between Tian Tso, the owner of Ropes and Twines, Allison Whorton, a manager at the shop, and Tom Sumner, who specialises in marketing.

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The venture came together partly due to Tom’s love of the shop. Speaking to the ECHO, Tom, 35, from Garston, said: “I just had a keen interest in drinking coffee. The office I worked in was opposite Ropes and Twines. The first time I walked in was for a glass of wine." Laughing, he added: "Whether they liked it or not, I didn’t leave.”

Alison, 28, who is originally from Widnes but now based in Toxteth, has been working in Rope and Twines since it opened in 2018, and for the past six months has been supplying them with a house espresso and filter options, all from a modest kitchen on Bold Place. She said: “It’s been quite a few years in the making. I have worked at Ropes and Twines since it opened. We’ve naturally got more into coffee as a thing.

“I was getting more and more into the roasting side and we all wanted to give it a go. It’s all happened quite organically.”

From there, Two Words Coffee developed into its own brand, with a focus on quality and ethics. Alison said: “The coffees we’ve got on offer, we try to focus on single estate coffees - the green bean exporters know the family they buy from. It’s small plots that are processed on our farm and sold to us directly.”

Tomorrow, customers will be able to select from a menu of Two Words coffees specially roasted by Allison, in what she describes as a "fun, laid back event". Roasting 24 times a day, three days a week on a 1kg Bullet machine, Allison will move onto a 15kg Loring roaster shipped from California, when the roastery opens in its permanent residence off Hope Street later this year.

On the difference this will make, Alison said: “It’s the first menu I’ve ever created in terms of different coffees. We’ve done some iced coffees as well. We’ve tried to make it as fun as possible rather than just making an espresso.

Two Words Coffee will launch at Rope and Twines on Bold Street
Two Words Coffee will launch at Rope and Twines on Bold Street -Credit:Liverpool Echo

“I think it’s going to be quite exciting. There’s going to be more opportunities for work. It’ll be a functioning roastery, we'll do some training there once we’re set up.”

Tom said it will be a big help to Alison, who due to the size of their current 1kg machine has to haul the beans to and from Ropes and Twines several times a day. Tom said: “It’s the next step for someone like yourself.

“Often, when you get to manage, it can be tricky to know where to go next. There’s only so many coffee roasters around and so many head roasters who know what they’re doing. We’re in a fortunate opportunity to give it a go.”

Both Alison and Tom feel roasters can be a forgotten part of the coffee-making process. Alison said: “I think generally, it can get overlooked. You order flat white and you don't know where that comes from.”

Tom added: “Like with anything, if you’re interested, the information is there for you. Like with any product, like the wines for example or craft beer, the producers are becoming far more of a brand themselves.”

Nevertheless, they feel interest in making different types of coffee is on the up in the city. Alison said: “I think Liverpool’s really stepping up its coffee game. There's way more than we first opened. We’re getting roasters from across Europe.”

Two Words Coffee will be at Ropes and Twines, Bold Street, tomorrow from 10am. You can find out more information here.

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