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Figment of imagination comes to fruition for Aberdeen coffee roaster

Neil launched Figment Coffee after he was inspired during his time in the US.
Neil launched Figment Coffee after he was inspired during his time in the US.

And pigs might fly.

Until trotters take to the sky, this phrase would bring most people back down to earth with a bump.

A reminder that whatever they may be dreaming about simply isn’t achievable.

Neil Glover is not most people though, and the thought of achieving the impossible was enticing as opposed to off-putting.

The former oil and gas worker is the man at the helm of Figment Coffee, which can be found in Aberdeen’s West End on Countesswells Road.

It has been three years since the hard-working dad launched his new dream, inspired by the speciality coffee scene in the United States, Figment is a small-batch, speciality coffee roaster and neighbourhood café.

Much like beer has taken the leap from the mundane to the innovative with brands such as Fierce Beer and Six Degrees North, coffee and more specifically, speciality coffee, is also coming into its own.

Say hello to speciality coffee.

From producing a delicious brunch menu to having ambitions in becoming an internationally recognised roaster the Figment vision is taking flight.

We caught up with Neil and found out why good food and good coffee are the order of the day.

A passion for speciality coffee

“When I worked in the oil and gas industry, I was travelling by road all across the US,” said Neil.

“I spent a lot of time in coffee shops, including one called Greenway Coffee in Houston.

“I had this latte, it was so sweet and just delicious.

“Looking back, that latte changed my life.”

Neil fell in love with speciality coffee, and wasted no time in training as a coffee roaster.

“I went on this journey of discovering coffee,” he said.

Neil trained in the art of coffee roasting,

“I realised that it was such a lovely industry, and complete strangers opened their hearts to me.

“That’s when I decided that I wanted to try and create Figment, I’ve always been driven to try and do good things with my business.”

The perfect opportunity arose when a unit became available opposite The Palm Court Hotel.

“I always wanted a neighbourhood place, somewhere where we could build relationships and really get to know our customers,” said Neil.

“We’ve been open for three years now, bar part of lockdown where much like everyone else, we had to shut completely.

Neil believes the minimalist style gives people space to think.

“I was inspired to roast coffee in the same building because I think people want to know not just where their food is coming from, but where their coffee is coming from.

“Something I had come across in the US, were these incredibly cool coffee shops.

“You could have an amazing breakfast and good coffee, all in the same place.

“I felt Aberdeen was missing that.”

Community catch up

It would have been easy for Neil to cram the space full of tempting cakes and of course his very own coffee creations.

But he decided to keep things minimal, in a bid to give people some time to themselves.

“I don’t think there’s many places you can go when you are having a bad day though.

“Someone might come in for 15 minutes, and those 15 minutes will be the best part of their day.

Creativity galore.

“They will leave feeling better than when they came in.”

Neil’s dreams did not stop there, and he wanted to make sure that his menu was as good as his coffee.

“Nowhere else was food focused on brunch, and I feel we have pioneered brunch in Aberdeen,” he said.

“We drew on our experiences of worldwide cafes.

“We wanted people to feel that even though they were in Aberdeen, they could be walking into Figment in London, New York or Edinburgh.”

Pioneering brunch

The brunch menu has a mouth-watering mix of classics, such as your humble bacon roll, to the more unusual such as a teriyaki tofu and beetroot burger with beetroot jam and spinach.

Vegan and gluten-free options mean the menu is as inclusive as possible.

“One of my favourites is our Huevos Rancheros,” said Neil.

“The dish has a toasted corn tortilla topped with chorizo and tomato stew, with black beans, a fried egg, guacamole and coriander.

The menu offers a range of delicious dishes.

“I also love our French toasted crumpets with housemade smokey bacon baked beans.

“It’s crazy good.”

Figment offers a range of blends and single origins, and Neil is looking forward to attending Glasgow Coffee Festival in May.

Figment only roast speciality grade coffee, which must have a score of 80 or over out of 100, but there’s no need to be daunted if you’re not sure of it.

“My advice would be to start with something familiar and then let us take you on a journey,” said Neil.

Neil is hopeful of becoming an internationally acclaimed coffee roaster.

“Take our flat white with a wonderland blend. It’s designed to go with milk, with notes of chocolate and caramel it is naturally sweet.

“We brew our single-origin coffee as filter using the new harvest coffees and changing on a weekly basis.

“Just as a Chablis wine will taste different from an Australian Chardonnay, single origin coffees have different tasting notes and flavour profiles.

“We want people to join us on that journey of discovery.”

Rare roasts

Figment is only one of five roasters in the world to roast a speciality Madagascan coffee, and has recently taken in a coffee from Yemen.

“We work in a way that enables us to have a direct relationship with the farmers and to support them.

“To so many people, coffee is just like a fuel. But my eyes were opened to just how good coffee can be, and I think it’s an exciting time for the industry.”

Coffee like no other.

Figment also offers an evening menu, which boasts Forest Farm gelato with Edradour whisky cream, alongside a small plate menu that includes cheese and charcuterie boards.

“We’re hoping to open more in the evening,” said Neil.

“We have a beautiful curated wine list and amazing cocktails.

“Figment is my ultimate coffee shop. I love coffee, wine and great food and we use fresh, local produce.

“I want Figment to embody all of that without compromise.”

The team are currently working with Brian McLeish of Moonfish, an award-winning restaurant in Aberdeen, in order to take their menu to new delicious heights.

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