"THE mystery of a strange smell of burnt toast lingering over Hove has been solved.

The unusual aroma had been perplexing residents for weeks.

But it turns out another breakfast staple was behind the smell – coffee.

Small Batch Coffee has opened a new coffee roastery in Portslade, called Wellington House, and the smell of the coffee bean husks if often likened to burned toast.

Residents in the area around St Leonards Road had been coming up with suggestions for weeks, but local councillor Robert Nemeth got to the bottom of the matter.

He said: “I can straight away confirm that there isn’t a toast-burner in the area.

“Nor is it the new cafe in Boundary Road.

“It’s without doubt the new Small Batch Coffee premises in lower Portslade, a block west of Boundary Road.

“For those who haven’t seen it, the seafront premises includes both a cafe and a roastery. It replaces their previous facility that was on Goldstone Villas by Hove Station.

“There is currently one, small, roasting machine in operation and it is connected to a new stainless steel chimney.

“This chimney is not particularly advanced and doesn’t yet include features that should cut out the smell.

“The smell is the husks around the coffee beans burning.

“It’s unpleasant and sadly doesn’t smell like brewing coffee.”

Small Batch founder and managing director Alan Tomlins has offered local residents tours of the roastery and is keen to help out with local community events.

He added: "Funnily enough we’ve actually had some of the locals from Goldstone Villas where we used to roast saying they the miss smell.

"We’ve been so happy with the welcome we’ve had in Portslade and from the local community. We had lots of people asking us to to open a small batch in Portslade over the years so we always wanted to do a coffee shop here and when the chance to have the roastery and attached coffee shop at Wellington House came up we were stoked.

"The smell from roasting is obvisouly quite distinctive and while some people find it pleasant we know it’s not to everyone’s tastes so we are working on several solutions to reduce it.

We’ve just received a custom made cyclone from the States that will reduce the emissions and hopefully disperse the aroma higher and further, this will be in operation in the next week or two.  
"Then next year when we commission our new roaster we are fitting a catalytic afterburner that burns off all the emissions and eradicates the smoke and aroma completely. These things take a while to be built and aren’t cheap but we are working as quickly as we can on them. "

Neighbour Anna Thornton said: “After a while it gets a bit too much but as long as it doesn’t harm our health I am okay with it. We smelt at work in Vale Road too.”

Resident Paul Thompson said: “It is certainly distinctive. I don’t mind it to be honest.

“You sometimes get some odd smells coming from Portslade so in the grand scheme of things burnt toast is not too bad at all.

“It is nice to have a good coffee shop in the area.”

Small Batch’s ethos is to roast its coffee in small batches to ensure the beans are as fresh as possible.

The beans are roasted at the the new Portslade premises which also has an espresso bar attached.

The company also runs a wholesale service and as such many cafes and restaurants across Sussex now serve Small Batch coffee.