Coffee and the creative. The two go hand in hand. Look at any coffee shop in the city and you’re bound to find a spread of artistic folk working in speciality coffee while balancing their creative venture on the side. Such is the case with Martyn Nash, manager at Twin Pines coffee shop in Kemptown.

A drummer with local three-piece Sick Joy, he manages to balance band practise, touring, social life as well as running one of the city’s most highly-respected artisan coffee shops: a coffee shop that in itself is a hub for creatives. With the ability to offer guest roasts on their espresso machine and brew bar as well as an ambience that induces feelings of freedom and relaxation, it is no wonder Martyn is the man in charge of such a thriving coffee and creative space.

We caught up with him to talk about his harmony between work and play and his ethos as a barista.

Hi Martyn, can you tell me a little bit about yourself…
Originally from Bolton, I moved down to Brighton in 2011 to study Politics. Of course this was a façade to play in bands, so I decided to stay here and make the most of a really creative and inspiring town. Coffee became a big interest of mine while still a student and it seemed like the perfect job to fit in with my lifestyle. So yeah, here we are!

What was your first job in coffee and how have you arrived at Twin Pines?
I had a few stints in smaller speciality coffee shops (Milk No Sugar being one of those) but my first proper position was at Small Batch. I worked for the company for a good couple of years before briefly moving to Manchester where I worked at a place called Foundation. Upon my return to Brighton in 2016 I got into the training side of things before taking my position at Twin Pines.

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What is your current role at Twin Pines?
I’m the manager. Apart from the usual management responsibilities (rotas, ordering stock, machine maintenance etc) I oversee our guest roast programme which is always lots of fun as we have the freedom to get interesting coffees from wherever we fancy. Completing filter/espresso recipes for these coffees is a constant thing in Twin Pines which is something I really enjoy, it just keeps things interesting and new.

What is your ethos when it comes to making and serving coffee?
Care and attention (an awful lot has gone into those beans before they arrive, packaged up), try and make the drink quietly (I’m not really into loud banging sounds), play some good tunes and be nice.

It feels like you have more freedom at Twin Pines than most baristas in the city, does that ring true and why do you believe that is?
I believe that’s true. We’re really fortunate to not be tied to any particular roastery, which as I said, keeps things interesting. Of course we keep our mainstay from Cast Iron in the hopper. They do us our own blend and it’s delicious!

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What do you enjoy most about the Brighton coffee scene?
The fact that there’s a handful of really good coffee shops, all with their own style of brewing and vibe. There’s also a pretty strong community of really good baristas, some of which have become good pals. It’s easier being in a smaller city to make good connections.

Where do you see Brighton coffee heading and what would you change about it?
More independent speciality shops always, keeping the culture alive. There’s not really a lot I would change other than trying to keep them all open, it can be a tricky industry sometimes.

What’s the most surprising comment you’ve received from a customer?
“7 shot mocha”

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In Brighton we have a high turnover of baristas, with few seeing it as a long-term career, why do you think that is and how do you think that be changed?
A lot of baristas in Brighton have other creative outlets, it kind of goes with the territory. Also pay them properly and treat them well. Otherwise, they’ll quit…

Where can people find you?
I’m either in Twin Pines, Brighton Electric or the Black Dove. That’s pretty much it at the moment!

twinpinescoffee.com