Uist coffee connoisseurs look to make fresh start

Skydancer – which will be run by husband and wife team Michael and Sarah Faint – is scheduled to open at the end of next month.

The only speciality coffee roasters in the Western Isles will soon open their doors in Lochboisdale.

Skydancer is the brainchild of husband and wife team Michael and Sarah Faint. Their business will share space with An Solas Òir Photography which produces fine art abstracts that interpret the beauty of the islands. After their respective careers in psychology and logistics throughout the UK, Sarah and Michael are bringing the concept of fresh, high-quality coffee to the residents, businesses, and visitors of the Western Isles.

Sarah said: “Why Skydancer? Hen harriers thrive in the Outer Hebrides, especially in the Uists. In the spring the males perform magnificent aerial displays that are called ‘skydancing’. In honour of the amazing spectacle, we have named the roastery after the Hen Harriers and in the future, we will pledge a percentage of profits to their conservation and to nominated local causes.”

The couple maintain that not a lot of people realise that the coffee they drink is stale.

“It has been hanging around on supermarket shelves for many months in supposedly fresh, nitrogen packed, bags,” added Michael. “Coffee comes from the pit inside a fruit called a cherry and once it is roasted it is best consumed as fresh as possible. We will, therefore, be able to offer the freshest beans which will reflect in the quality of taste and mouthfeel. Additionally, it is our policy to steer clear of single-use plastic wherever we can which will be reflected in the types of packaging we will use.”

Skydancer will offer different roast profiles from light to dark and offer bespoke blends to businesses. They will roast on particular days which will be advertised so visitors can see the roaster in action.

“We will grind daily using a burr grinder rather than a blade,” said Sarah. ” Burr grinders actually grind down the coffee bean whereas blade grinders literally smash the bean – diminishing flavour. We will offer an extra coarse grind to extra fine depending on the requirements. We can be contacted via phone, email, website and social media to take orders. Long term we plan to expand and offer employment opportunities to local young people thus encouraging them to stay on the islands.”

Food and cups of coffee will also be available to visitors and residents alike on site and door to door delivery will also be available. Coffee making equipment such as cafetieres/French presses will be on sale from the roastery alongside V60 dripper sets and filters so that people can make coffee at home.

Skydancer is scheduled to open at the end of next June