Cooper & Co

  • 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!”
  • 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.
  • Bettys!

    Post the steroidal experience of the London Coffee Festival and all that is Brexit we took a few days out “up north”. This included a visit to probably the most famous tea room in England, Bettys of Harrogate. The contrast in style is so extreme that it’s hard to believe that Edwardian elegance still has any relevance in today’s market. However the permanent queue outside Bettys would make a hipster choke on their single estate flat white and proves that you can’t beat a well delivered authentic experience. 
  • 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”.
  • The most magical forest on Earth

    In an age when we get to see and taste so many great coffees it’s rare to come across a coffee that stops you dead in your tracks. As an origin Mexico produces significant quantities of coffee but I have to say that nothing up until now had been that memorable.
  • Guatemala – Monte Rosa – “Laurina”

    Volcan de Fuego erupted on the 3rd June 2018 causing immense devastation in the south west of Guatemala, a major coffee growing region famous for Antigua coffee.  As with typhoon Hudhud in south-eastern India a few years back, devastation occurs overnight. Livelihoods as well as life is lost in these immense natural disasters.
  • Lazy Sunday

    For the first time forever I had Sunday off (normally I’ll be opening our busy waterfront café). I’d forgotten how carefree this day once was so many years ago before life got in the way.

  • 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.
  • My Day Off

    I decided to take a time out of my business the other day and go to London to see an exhibition at the Tate Modern Gallery. However being in the coffee business I find you never really take a day off, instead I found myself drinking more coffee than ever as I trawled various outlets on both my outward and return journeys.  
  • 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.
  • The Coffee Trail With Simon Reeve

    As a certified coffee nerd I can’t help but watch anything that has the word coffee in its title. The Coffee Trail by Simon Reeve whilst not new was a worthwhile watch on BBC4 last night (28/1/18).