Cooper & Co

  • Child Labour

    Dispatches on Channel 4 last night (2/3/20) raised the thorny issue of child labour in coffee being purchased by such behemoths as Starbucks and Nestle from Guatemala. Simply put, the pickers are being paid so little money that families have no choice but to get their kids working from a young age so that they can put food on the table.
  • Lessons from Honduras (Part 11)

    Every time I visit a country where coffee is grown I am struck by the resilience of those at the very beginning of the coffee journey. You can’t help but have enormous respect for the extraordinary effort that is made to achieve the quality of the coffee that we have the enormous pleasure of consuming. Thankfully Honduras is a coffee drinking nation and can enjoy some of the fruits of their labour.
  • Coagriscal and XOL Chocolate Factory (Part 10)

    We’re staying in Hotel Bethania, Copan. It’s an odd mix. My “room” is more like an apartment with a huge entrance hall, two bedrooms and a bathroom. Complete overkill but then I didn’t book it so I guess I shouldn’t complain. However for all the surface glamour getting the shower to produce any water, hot or cold proved to be a challenge. Downstairs there was no sign of a breakfast offer. So a coffee and a muffin had to suffice. It reminded me of the slightly risqué term “all fur coat and no knickers!”
  • Coffee planet (EXPROCCI) and the Oompa Loompa (Part 9)

    Following breakfast, we settled our bills, packed and were on the move again. For the first time we were headed out of the mountains and as we dropped down towards Santa Rosa there was a noticeable rise in both humidity and temperature.  
  • Rwanda - Kinigazi

    This is the first time in over 20 years that we have made a conscious effort to import coffee from Rwanda. I was reflecting upon why this was the case and checked out one of my favourite reference books written by the renowned author of all things coffee, Kenneth David’s. I noticed that in his book “A guide to buying, brewing and enjoying coffee” published in 2001 there is no mention of Rwanda as an exporting nation.
  • London Coffee Festival

    This festival has become one of the highlights of the year for my industry and this year I took two members of our team to experience the energy and enthusiasm that currently resides in our industry.
  • Van Story

    We have replaced our delivery vehicle, something we do every 3-5 years depending upon economic conditions and what else we need to renew. When you think about it, as we have been doing, it’s quite a big deal. If we get it wrong we could have 60 months of regret. Clearly there are the basics - getting the right size vehicle so that you are neither burning too much petrol carrying thin air nor one so small that you can’t fit in sufficient orders for a single delivery. Then there’s the decision as to how you to advertise our business on this white blank canvas.
  • Natural v Washed, You What?!

    In 2015 I visited Araku Valley which lies in the state of Andhra Pradesh in South East India.  There I came across this incredible social and environmental “experiment” being organised by the NGO NAANDI. They are endeavouring to keep the culture and traditions of the peoples who live in this area alive by ensuring that the farmers get a sustainable price for their produce. On top of that they are re-building the eco-system through the planting of 1 million trees each year. For more insights take a look at my book “Big ideas for a small world”.
  • Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee

    Each year we find ourselves on tenterhooks as we await confirmation that the coffee has reached Jersey. Of course this year was no different. Just as the coffee was about to leave Southampton a storm blew up and the boat was cancelled. Nothing particularly unusual there you might think, but you’d be wrong.
  • One Moment In Time

    If it’s ever possible to have a time out in my business, then Saturday morning tends to be that moment. It has been a tradition for many years now that at 9 o’clock I play uninterrupted tennis with my friends and heaven help anyone from work who tries to interrupt this golden hour and a half.
  • Myanmar coffee - The Beaujolais noveau of the east

    I visited Myanmar in February 2018 and discovered a really interesting country with a lot of historical baggage but with a bright future if only the rest of the world would stop interfering. In my book “trade and aid, the politics of coffee” I’ve tried to give some insight into what I saw without the filter of a global media. There are major problems not least of which is a resolution to the Rohingya crisis, however the democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi needs to be given some space to allow her fledgling Government to establish itself after decades of ruinous military rule.
  • Shwe Ywar Ngan, Myanmar

    Traceability has virtually become the new ethical standard for the consumer. However did you know that many of our giant and most trusted corporations use fake farm names or fake place names to give the impression of provenance? The competition for your spend seemingly means that no stone is left unturned when it comes to cosying up to the consumer and giving the illusion of that feel-good factor.