Neil Le Bihan, known locally to the folks of Crystal Palace as “coffeeman”, is the face and heart behind Le Bihan Coffee. Neil’s journey/obsession, into the depths of all things coffee, began while backpacking through India, specifically in Karnataka at a plantation in Madikeri in 2008. It was here, at the source, that Neil was first introduced to the coffee trade, an experience that sparked the desire to seek and foster more direct and long term relationships with coffee farmers.
Before those heady days on the coffee farm in India, Neil had never had a latte; didn’t know what a flat white was; and certainly did not know that coffee grew on a shrub into a small red fruit, the coffee cherry, with a little seed inside that we call a ‘coffee bean’. Don’t tell him we told you, but he was earning his way as a professional footballer in his “previous” life. Nevertheless, on returning from his travels, he’s been hooked on coffee ever since.
In 2009, now back in the UK, Neil began learning his craft at Monmouth Coffee in Borough Market, further honing his skills with Caravan in 2011 before striking out on his own as an independent barista. From there on, Neil had pitches on the street market circuit, serving up skilfully crafted brews by day, and winning national barista awards by night.
In 2017, Neil took up roasting and his roasts have since then been served up at Blowing Dandelion, Crystal Palace’s favourite artisan chocolate shop as well as a number of cafes in south east London. Finally putting a name to his roasts and blends, Le Bihan Coffee is a culmination of Neil’s experience, obsession and love for that dark magic brew we call coffee.