Say hello to Simon, the face behind Root & Branch. It’s fair to say Simon has lived many a life before setting up and settling down with coffee roasting. Born and raised in Bangor, he moved to Aberdeen to study biotech, before spending some time in both the US and London where he studied theology, got ordained, and started an anti-trafficking network. If such ventures were not enough, Simon then undertook a solo motorbike trip to Siberia, via Central Asia and Mongolia.
When he finally decided to return to Northern Ireland, Simon moved straight into work in his family’s company. He always knew, however, that he ultimately wanted to work in sustainable business, so after a year of intensive research into the world of specialty coffee, Root & Branch became that work, and he’s existed at the helm ever since. Now married to Gemma, and with two young children, Simon has settled into family life. On his days off, you’ll find Simon somewhere along the shores of Strangford Lough, whether on a paddle board or in a canoe, his Hungarian vizsla, Otto, will always be in tow. Outside of the coffee world, Simon’s interests include technology, food, adventure sports, bitcoin, and growing vegetables in his poly tunnel.
Barista, Production Assistant, and Head of Training
A self-professed nomad, Stephen was born in Belfast, and raised in Newry. Over the years, Stephen lived in England, before moving back to Ireland, and then moved back to Manchester for his studies. He then settled in Edinburgh, where he married Sarah and their first child Niadh was born. While in Edinburgh, Stephen worked for a Multinational Telecommunications Industry, an experience that taught him the importance of enjoying where you work! A decade later, and family in tow, Stephen moved back home to where it all started.
During his time in Edinburgh, Stephen saw specialty coffee begin to take off, and he found himself hooked. When he made his way home in 2018, he helped his brother, Dan, set up his own coffee shop in Warrenpoint, Church Lane Coffee. Following this, Stephen and Sarah relocated to Belfast where he joined Established Coffee as a barista, and enjoyed an informative time there pre-COVID 19. In June 2021, Stephen joined Root & Branch. He looks after the Roastery Brew Bar, assists with production, as well as collaborating with wholesale customers in setting up their coffee bar and training their staff. We’re big fans of Stephen and the entire Fearon clan.
Originally from the north east of Thailand, Prin moved to Chiangmai in Northern Thailand to study ceramic art and loved it so much he decided to stay. After several years working in the ceramics industry, Prin joined a Christian mission organisation where he worked for 10 years. This provided him opportunity to work with local churches and to meet people from all around the world (including a certain girl from Northern Ireland).
Prin’s first experience of the coffee industry was when he worked as a barista in a small coffee shop in Chiangmai; he was instantly hooked. He worked hard developing his skills as a barista and buiding his knowledge through conversations with local coffee growers and roasters. After moving to Belfast with his wife, Sarah, in 2012 Prin worked for a high street coffee shop chain for several years before moving into speciality coffee. Prin is delighted to now be working at Root and Branch, furthering his knowledge of coffee and developing his skills as a roaster.
When not roasting coffee, Prin’s extra-curricular habits include playing football with friends, playing his guitar, cooking Thai food or cycling. As a busy dad of three young children, he spends a lot of time in local parks and loves to travel when he can.