In a Coconut Shell
If truth be told, I’ve generally pogo’d from job to job like a one-legged tap dancer, hoping that the next gig would bring me some sort of incredible career satisfaction. I’ve been a cabinet maker, a sixth-form teacher, worked in publishing and the outdoor industry. I hoped such jobs would somehow steer me clear of the rat race… but I just ran around that hamster wheel faster and faster, feeling like something fundamental was missing (apologies for mixing the rodent metaphors). Photo: The Rinsta in a big girl's blouse.
I was born in West Cumbria with a stunning view of the Ennerdale fells from my bedroom window. When I say "my bedroom", I mean I shared it with my 4 brothers. My 5 sisters were next door in the "girls' " bedroom, my Italian parents in the next. I got asked a lot whether or not we had a TV.
My brother Pietro (left) and yours truly looking like I'd overdosed on too much Bill and Ben.
I grew up on a friendly, nondescript council estate and had a happy childhood, although there was no danger of becoming spoiled, coming from such a large family. Home life was generally chaotic and in fairness to all my siblings the mayhem was mostly generated by me. I remember escaping to the woods, building dens, dreaming of living on wild berries and woodnuts. When I was about 12, I bought my first tent from a catalogue my mam used to manage, and in my big sister's walking boots, I trekked about 20 miles to Wasdale and camped overnight. I must have thought I was Tom Sawyer or something. My love of the fells was truly born that day. Each year, through my teens, I'd head off into the Lakes for longer periods, my parents hardly noticing I was away.
But what I loved more than anything was making stuff with my hands. In the back garden I’d fashion all manner of odd things with my dad: wooden golf putters, overweight skateboards with dodgy wheels, bird boxes that only a crow could love. And at primary school I'd be cutting dovetails at 9 years old and speaking decent French. Daft as it sounds, these were the things that gave me my love of nature and an appreciation for the artisan approach.
Me, front row, far right... The name's Rinaldo, not Ronaldo! (I won a prize for writing an essay about those George Best boots I'm wearing)
Around the same time I got into fine loose-leaf teas too and I wanted to take things further. Again, I realised there was another incredible side to fine teas, not least the huge variety of them. The better the leaf quality, the more I was impressed by the taste.
So, I decided to take the plunge and looked for premises to set up my own artisan coffee roastery. In early 2015, I began a Crowdfunding campaign to raise the funds to get a W15 Giesen Coffee Roaster (hand-built in Holland, rather beautiful and delight to roast with). My thanks to the 130 backers who supported me and became part of my venture.
Roasting my own coffee from green beans and selling the very best teas was a natural progression. For the first time in my life things were actually slotting into some sort of order and making sense. And I was really happy in my work.
In November 2017, we upped sticks and moved to a brand new build at Lakeland Food Park, on the edge of Kendal and inside the Lake District National Park.
We're now on 2 floors and are open to the public. You'll always get a friendly welcome at Rinaldo's unless you ask:
1) if we "roast instant coffee" (?)
2) if we sell syrups
3) whether our Earl Grey improves your Maybot dancing
I’m committed to the highest-standards of production. I roast only 100% Arabica beans, sourcing all the green beans from individual farmers or small holdings. You can be assured of the provenance of the product - farmers and workers have excellent conditions and are paid a good wage. You can find cheaper commodity coffee anywhere on the high street these days, but it will be sourced en masse and, is usually very bitter, over-roasted, the robusta variety and (there's no other way to say this) just ... awful.
Yes, I'm chuffed that more independent roasters and speciality cafes are popping up like hipster tulips. And long may they spring up! In my mind, bringing better coffee standards to the UK can only be a good thing.
I also support local manufacture and love working on creative projects. Just check out the handmade products range on this site. If you want to know more please get touch. I hope you enjoy drinking my coffee and teas in all sorts of ways, as much as I love producing them.
So, we've come quite a way in the past few years and love welcoming the public to our new gaff. So drop in - I can guarantee the very best speciality coffee and tea in the Lake District and warm welcome.
Oh, and we love dogs, so feel free to bring along your pet pooch. Here are a few regular miscreants.