Coffee with… Neil Glover of Figment
Business Now’s editor fi nds an inspiring passion for coffee in oil-and-gas executive’s newest venture
I do enjoy my coffee, so it was with great relish I accepted an invitation to meet Neil Glover, who has recently opened Figment, a new artisan
coffee shop and roaster in Countesswells Road. It is quite a diversifi cation for Neil, who is an engineer by trade and the founder and managing
director of oil and gas services company, Swell X. Neil has combined his love of coffee with a real passion for how it is made and I couldn’t
wait to sample what he has to offer.
Chatting over a delicious flat white, made with beans only roasted last week, I asked Neil how and why he decided to embark on this project.
Neil responded: “Being heavily involved in the oil and gas sector meant I was continually travelling across the world, which included regular
trips to Houston. I often found myself using coffee shops as a base for work and was struck by the quality of the coffee. It was sweet and
velvety and unlike anything I had tried at home
There was a distinct speciality coffee scene there and I thought we could really benefit from this at home in the North East. So, having identified a gap in the Aberdeen market for an artisan coffee shop which roasts its own coffee, Figment was born.”
Neil sources green coffee beans from around the world and Figment has its own roaster, a feat of engineering in its own right! His baristas have been taught to the highest level by a contact Neil made in the USA, who flew over from Dallas. As a Specialty Coffee Association lead instructor, he has taught the team the art of coffee making and helped orchestrate the coffee house. Consistency is important to Neil and every shot is weighed. This means when you visit, no matter who the barista is, the coffee is of the same high standard.
However, Figment is so much more than a coffee house. Neil has formed an association with Jamie Scott (pictured below right with Neil), a previous MasterChef: The Professionals winner and owner of The Newport Restaurant in Newport-on-Tay, which has two AA rosettes for culinary excellence. Working with Neil and his team, Jamie has provided intensive staff training, ensuring that the food on offer complements the coffee that is served. There is an exciting breakfast and lunch menu on offer, boasting well-crafted dishes that are that little bit different and excellently executed. Try the spiced sausage and egg muffin or the smoked bacon and crowdie buttery.
Neil continued: “I worked with Hampton Associates to create the brand Figment, which was – as an oil and gas executive – a ‘figment’ of my imagination, but has now become a reality. The brand and concept can be rolled out throughout Scotland and the UK, and rival the established names we already take for granted. Our coffee can be distributed to other restaurants, hotels, coffee houses etc., and a key market is to target local businesses and offices.
“Our aim is to provide an exceptionally high standard of coffee, possibly not being enjoyed currently.”
“So, how would you describe your venture?” I asked. “Is it a café, restaurant or coffee house?”
“It is really all of these, but I don’t want Figment to be pigeonholed into any particular category. It is its own brand with its own identity. I have deliberately designed the coffee house with a modern and contemporary look, and a minimalistic approach, to allow the products and service to shine.”
“What of future plans?” I enquire.
“We are currently open six days a week, closed on Wednesdays, but by the end of October we will be open seven days: Monday to Friday from 7.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m., and 8.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. at weekends. We are also looking at the possibility of opening in the evenings, allowing Jamie’s delicious, local, seasonal produce to come to the fore.
“However, my main aim is to spread the Figment brand throughout Scotland and educate coffee drinkers that there is an alternative to what the national chains have to offer.”
Sadly, my time with Neil – and my coffee! – has come to an end. In my short time with him, I have become mesmerised with his passion for his new venture which I have no doubt will be a huge success.
Just time to top up with another flat white from his ‘grab and go’ service before I head off!!