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Published: 14 June 2016

The coffee’s on me!

A graduate who developed a love for coffee while working at the University’s Lakeside coffee shop as a student is full of beans that the outlet is selling his very own brand of the beverage.

Luke Underdown who graduated with a BSc in International Hospitality Management in 2014, is now owner of Garage Coffee, a specialty coffee roasting business, which sources beans from all over the world.

He is thrilled that his alma mater is now stocking his own product. “It’s fantastic! Having worked at the Lakeside Coffee shop with Rhian and Tony, I was delighted when they got in touch about stocking Garage Coffee.

“I owe a lot to the shop as it is where I really first started working with coffee, and where I caught the bug for it. We have started off with a really delightful filter coffee from Papua New Guinea in there, and hopefully more additions will be coming soon!”

Luke developed his passion after University by going on an extensive coffee and barista training with coffee house company Harris & Hoole. When he moved back to his native Kent, Luke received start-up funding from the local council and has now been operating for just over six months.

He says his Surrey degree has been the perfect preparation for running his own business. “It’s a great course as it gives a real insight into all aspects of the industry across a really broad spectrum – which is demonstrated by the number of different career paths graduates take following it.

“The skills you learn throughout it are invaluable and are great tools for succeeding in the industry – I know when you are sitting trying to take in accounting for the first time it doesn’t seem useful, but I am really grateful for it now! Not only that, but the support network within the faculty is excellent and I am benefitting from that.”

Tony Webber, Lakeside Assistant Manager, said: “As a friend and former coffee shop supervisor of Luke’s, I cannot express how excited and proud of him and his company I am. It is a great privilege to be a part of a team that is willing to support former students. Luke’s coffee has been selling really well. It just goes to show with a lot of passion and determination you can do anything you put your mind and skills too.”

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