"Industrial, minimalistic look with an edgy vibe" - Warriors business partners Callum Black and Nick ‘Sharky’ Schonert reveal all about 'Guilt Trip Coffee' and their venture into the world of coffee and donuts.

‘Guilt Trip’ is a café/fresh donut shop that first started with one outlet in Northern Ireland whilst Black was with Ulster and now, Black is bringing the brand to Worcester, with two outlets set to open their doors this side of Christmas.

Ahead of their opening next month, Worcester News sat down with the Warriors’ front row duo to talk all things guilty.

Black takes us back to his days with Ulster, where his passion for coffee first began.

“I never really drank coffee until then,” Black said.

“The independent coffee scene in Belfast is pretty big and that was my first experience of speciality coffee and I was pretty much hooked from then.

“I started drinking coffee at home in a big way and started making it at home and got really into it and then thought, after a while, I might as well give it a go a business venture.

“So in 2017 with fellow Ulster player at the time, Darren Cave, we went into business, we came up with concept of coffee and donuts to start with and tried to really perfect those two things.

“It was the best speciality coffee we could get our hands on, new roasters every month from Europe and further afield and then also making donuts fresh, from scratch, in house every day.”

Black then explained how they went about trying to make Guilt Trip coffee into something a little bit more than just a coffee shop that sells coffee and donuts.

“We got together with a branding team,” he went on.

“We tried to create something that was more than just a coffee shop, kind of like a destination and create that whole brand around it.

“We wanted it to be a place where people travel to and want to come to, we are a destination, a stop off on your journey.

“It’s quite an industrial, minimalistic look with an edgy vibe, think that’s the best way to put it.”

Whilst the brand was a major focus, Black emphasised that the quality of the produce on offer was and always will be the main concept.

“A big thing for us is we never wanted to compromise quality for quantity,” Black said.

“The focus was simply making the best donuts and coffee every single day.

“That was in 2017, when opened our first store, it was received pretty well from the start and we were lucky in that respect.

“We then opened our second store in July in Northern Ireland on the north coast, with plans to open a third one in December there as well.”

This is where Nick, AKA ‘Sharky’ came in.

“Since I came back to Worcester two years ago, I always wanted to bring Guilt Trip to England.” Added Black.

“Sharky (Nick Schonert) came to me with a business interest.

“He was keen on looking at opening a coffee shop and at the time I was keen on forming partnerships and trying to bring ‘Guilt Trip’ to England and if he was keen on it and he was so here we are now.”

Nick expressed his amazement at how successful the store in Northern Ireland was when he visited and admits his love for donuts may well have had a role to play…

“Cal told me that I had to see it to experience it,” Nick said.

“So I did and when we were on our way there in the car I kid you not, there was cue of about 20/25 people coming back outside a building and I thought it was like an ATM or something.

“But then as we got closer, Cal said, that’s the shop.

“I got out and that’s when I realised it was for the shop and I just thought, it’s just donuts right? But after I had consumed 12 of them I figured out why, even if I was a few seconds away from being a full-blown diabetic!”

Callum admits that the whole concept of Guilt Trip is to act as a destination, a stop off point on a journey somewhere and he feels it lends itself perfectly for social media, which is so important for a brand to be successful.

“It’s very big in America (coffee and donuts),” he said.

“Down in Dublin it’s big as well and now I think people appreciate good coffee and freshly made donuts more.

“The brand also helps as it has this destination feel where you can hang out, it lends itself quite well for social media.”

Nick added that part of his decision to team up with Callum was based on his close friend’s clear passion for the business and a vision for the future.

“I have always roomed with Callum on away trips or whatever and Cal would always be taking up the whole room with his coffee stuff,” he said.

“You know how most girlfriends or wives take up the whole bathroom with all their products? That’s what Cal is like with his coffee.

“I was like, this guy is really into this coffee thing.

“I see Callum as a class mate of mine and he approached me and said if I would ever be interested in joining him then we could talk about it.

“I spoke to my folks about it and they said you should never go into something for the brand itself, you invest in the people.

“Without blowing too much smoke up him, Callum has surrounded himself with good people.

“For me it was a no brainer and it’s been a hell of a learning curve but the sense of pride you must get from running a well established outfit must be sensational so if I can have just a taste of what he has then I am in.

“So when he came to me, it was just like, give me then pen, where do I sign?”

The plan is for the two new outlets to be open this side of Christmas but official dates are yet to be confirmed.

Stay tuned for more information about when and where the opening will be on Instagram; @guilttripcoffee.