A musician who has performed in chamber orchestras and in London’s West End has changed key to built up a business distributing coffee.

Jeremy Perkins, who hails from Honley, studied viola at the Royal Academy of Music and at the Brussels Conservatoire before returning to Huddersfield to compete successfully in Kirklees Young Musician of the Year.

He worked as a professional viola player in London for 10 years, playing chamber music and as part of the orchestra for a number of West End shows as well as performing up and down the country.

He studied law at Leicester University and more recently has undertaken a Masters and started a PhD in music at Huddersfield University.

When his contract as a player came to an end, Jeremy looked for other challenges – and business beckoned.

“I had always wanted to set up some sort of business and thought now would be a good time,” he says.

The result was the launch of coffee shop Coffeevolution, which is based at Church Street in Huddersfield town centre and opened in 2000.

It has stood the test of time – becoming a popular watering hole with a large and loyal clientele, providing a venue for musical events and offering gallery space for aspiring artists.

The musical element means Coffeevolution is a popular town centre base for visitors during Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.

With the coffe shop flourishing – it received a certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor this year – Jeremy and his brother James have now embarked on a new coffee roasting venture under the Bean Brothers name to supply coffee to individuals and other retailers.

“We decided it was the way ahead,” says Jeremy. “We bought a roaster in America two years ago and started working in James’ garage. The roaster kept breaking down!

Jeremy Perkins of Coffeevolution, Church Street, Huddersfield
Jeremy Perkins of Coffeevolution, Church Street, Huddersfield
 

“We studied roasting and we got some funds together and went to Turkey to see another family business and bought a new roaster, which arrived in this country in January.”

Bean Brothers now operates from premises at Fairfield Mills, Queen Street South with the two brothers dividing their time between that the Coffeevolution.

While the Perkins take running the business seriously, they’ve injected a bit of fun, too. Their business cards feature smiling caricatures of themselves – which always provides a talking point with potential clients.

“We have been roasting commercially since January,” says Jeremy. “We roast for ourselves and sell on the website as well as supplying other local coffee shops.”

Other clients include car dealerships, which are increasingly keen to treat their customers to something a good bit better than the contents of a plastic cup from a vending machine!

Jeremy says: “We roast the beans, but not as dark as a continental roast. People are used to seeing very dark beans, but that can ‘take on’ the flavour of the roast more than the beans themselves.

“You can lose a lot of flavour. We have to convince people that dark, shiny beans aren’t always the best!”

Bean Brothers sources coffee beans from a variety of countries, including Brazil, Ethiopia, Timor and Papua New Guinea.

And there’s no holding back the coffee culture, Jeremy says.

“We had a stall at the festival of Light and the Tour de France event,” he says. “We have also had a stall at the Up Market Sundays at the open market.

“We have also done talks at the university about coffee and coffee tasting.”

And Jeremy’s pleased to be basing his business ventures in the town.

“Huddersfield is a great town and what we do as a town we do well,” he says.

“I got a real sense of pride walking through St George’s Square at the time of the Tour de France when we had a French farm right outside the railway station.

“Ideally, perhaps we wouldn’t have all the pound shops, betting shops and cheque cashing shops – but that’s just the result of the recession.

“I think the town centre will change. We need to see more speciality shops rather than just the big, generic high street stores.”

Jeremy’s ambitions are undimmed.

“Coffeevolution has been established 14 years now,” he says. “The aim there is to do more ouside events.

“The main focus at Bean Brothers is to improve our website and get involved in events such as the London Coffee Festival. “

The festival features more than 200 artisan coffee and gourmet food stalls, tastings and demonstrations. “It’s a major event for the industry and a big draw for the public,” says Jeremy. “It will be interesting to see what’s going on.”

Bean Brothers is also a member of the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe – enabling Jeremy and James to share knowledge, experience and information with other coffee professionals.

When he’s not busy helping to run Coffeeevolution and Bean Brothers, Jeremy enjoys time with partner Hannah and children Emily and George.

“We have a house near Dijon in France, which we acquired about three years ago and we enjoy going there,” he says.

“But it needs quite a bit doing to it. To begin with, it didn’t have any water and it needed rewiring. It’s very much a work in progress!

“Our holidays are shared between the house in France and trips to British Columbia in Canada, where he have relatives.”

And he still enjoys playing chamber music.

New Year’s Eve saw Jeremy playing in a string trio.

“I like to aupport anything to do with the arts,” he says.

Jeremy Perkins

Role: Co-owner

Age: 43

Family: Partner Hannah and children

Emily, 16, and George, 11

Car: BMW Estate

Holidays: France , British Columbia and

Cornwall

First job: I worked as a chef and barman at Elland Cafe Bar

Best thing about the job? There’s always something different. It doesn’t matter if its Coffeevolution, Bean Brothers or my music. Sometimes, I don’t know whether I’m coming or going!

Worst thing about the job? Red tape and paperwork

Business tip: Be original, persevere and work hard. Don’t be afraid to employ someone to do the things you’re not very good at doing

Bean Brothers Coffee Company

Work: Coffee distributor

Site: Fairfield Mills, Queen Street South,

Huddersfield

Phone: 07734 845189

Email: jeremy@bean brothers

Web: www.beanbrothers.co.uk