Episode 24: Joanna Brennan Co-Founder of Pump Street Chocolate & Bakery

Description: Joanna Brennan is the featured guest of the Well Tempered mini-series focusing on 'Cocoa Innovation.' She is Co-Founder of Pump Street Bakery and Pump Street Chocolate in Orford, Suffolk, England. In my humble opinion, there is hardly a more perfect pairing than bread and chocolate, deeply comforting and nostalgic. Alongside her father Chris Brennan, Joanna and staff have been leading the craft chocolate and artisan bread category since 2010. With their steadfast attention to detail, bread made by hand, and transparent relationships w/ owner-operated estates, farms and co-operatives for their, it made perfect sense for them to intersect both passions and crafts. Listen in as we talk about the charm of the English countryside, local pastries, running an internationally known family business, and fine inimitable 2 or 3 ingredient chocolate as a main ingredient for chefs. 

Joanna Brennan Co-Founder of Pump Street Bakery & Chocolate (photo credit: Pump Street)

Joanna Brennan Co-Founder of Pump Street Bakery & Chocolate (photo credit: Pump Street)

Themes discussed in this episode:

  • Launching a slow food business as the bread renaissance was picking up in the UK

  • Building the brand and business of a destination artisan bread bakery

  • The parallels between bread and chocolate; & how knowing one inside-out helped asking the right questions for sourcing, fermentation, building farmer relationships, etc.

  • Single origin vs blends in bread and chocolate - consistency and highlighting farmer partners/terroir

  • Crop/harvest year on packaging; what consumers are starting to notice and request

  • International distribution, an organic part of Pump Street's growth

  • Introducing ice cream into cafe menu. (They serve Eccles & Armagnac, sour dough bread crumb, nutmeg - using nutmeg from Crayfish Bay, single origin Madagascar chocolate, & sorbet.)

  • Logical advancement in their business model; if using chocolate in bread, why not adding bread to chocolate?

  • An exciting conversation to have...craft chocolate for chefs and pastry professionals (Pump Street serves 15 London restaurants as of Summer 2018) & how to speak to chefs in that :their: craft chocolate differs in temperature when tempering in comparison to the couverture that the industry is used to

chocolate is one of the final frontiers for chefs

Sound Bites by Joanna:
- In regard to holiday-taking, do it! Set aside time to take a vacation/rest and most importantly, set an auto-response email letting others know you're OOO so that reply expectations are set beforehand
- International distribution. Intentionally thinking about the long-game and if your business can afford to offer a distributor price, and still succeed as a business
- On packaging development: "I was very conscious that it was going to have to speak for itself on the shelf when I wasn't there standing behind the counter.....(but) the judgment of the chocolate should be in the eating." Pump Street opted for enchanting potential customers with intrigue and quality without being too loud (in packaging colors/design). 


Eccles (cakes) 55% Chocolate (photo credit: Pump Street)

Eccles (cakes) 55% Chocolate (photo credit: Pump Street)

Lauren WKND