Category Archives: Community

An Education

YT blog Becky 2

Back in December we introduced you to our 2013 supplier grant scheme, which supports our long term suppliers to carry out social and environmental projects within their communities. Here’s an update, from trainee Commodities Buyer Becky Mundy – and though it’s about tea rather than coffee, we thought you might like to hear about it:

We had a fantastic response from our suppliers this year, and we’re keen to share with you the stories of the projects that we’ve helped to support as they progress over the next few months. In fact, we’ve just had an update from our largest tea suppliers, the Kenya Tea Development Agency, about some of the education projects we are helping to make possible.

KTDA is the leading management agency for over 570,000 small scale farmers in Kenya. They collectively produce over 60% of Kenya’s tea. Not only does the KTDA make the most tea in Kenya, but also the very best and it’s that commitment to quality that’s helped us build a strong and close relationship over many years.

In 2010 the KTDA set up the KTDA Foundation, a charity which aims to improve the welfare of small-holder tea farmers in Kenya and their communities. The foundation focuses on education, the environment, and empowering growers and their communities, and as such, they were our perfect partner when it came to supporting social and environmental projects in our producer communities.

As well as supporting tree planting initiatives, the completion of a medical facility, and the completion of an irrigation water project, to describe just a few, this year we’re partnering with the KTDA Foundation to sponsor 21 secondary school students from tea producing communities through four years of secondary education. In Kenya, the government now supports all schoolchildren through primary school education, but secondary school fees are still prohibitively high for many students.

15 year old Harrison Kiprotich Mutai, who grew up near Tirgaga Tea Factory, received excellent results in his primary school exams. However his mother, who has brought Harrison and his eight siblings up on her own and relies on casual labour to make a living, wasn’t able to support him through secondary school. Working with the KTDA Foundation, we have been able to help provide a scholarship to support Harrison through the next four years at secondary school. On 5th February Harrison joined the Kaplong Boys Secondary school, where he’s excited to be studying for the next four years.

Maureen Chelimo, who is 14 year old, grew up near Chebut Tea Factory in Nandi, Kenya. Maureen received exceptional results in her primary school exams and was accepted into Make Limuru Girls School, the best girls school in Kenya, which boasts of alumni of high profile and very successful women including lawyers, doctors, and journalists.

Maureen’s parents didn’t have the funds to support her to attend the school, so Maureen applied for a scholarship through the KTDA Foundation, which we’re helping to support. Maureen enrolled at Limuru on 6th February, and our scholarship will support her for the next four years. 21 students like Harrison and Maureen from across Kenya will have the opportunity to pursue their secondary school education thanks to this initiative.

According to the KTDA, education has been proven by far to be the best tool for improving the socio-economic livelihood of communities in which they work. At Taylors we’re proud to work with suppliers like the KTDA, who care about the communities they work in and want to help improve them.

Our 2013 grant scheme will help their work to go further, building our relationship with the communities we source from for years to come.

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A big year for grants

The view over Guadalupe, where we are helping to support the building of a crèche.The

It’s the biggest ever year for our supplier grant scheme – so we’ve asked our trainee Commodities Buyers Becky Mundy and Jamie Ball, who are managing the project, to tell you a bit more about it:

Every year Taylors of Harrogate support our long standing tea and coffee suppliers with a grant scheme for social and environmental projects taking place within the communities in which we operate.

We received a fantastic response from our suppliers to the 2013 Grant Scheme and as a result we will be supporting 52 projects, totalling over £110,000 of funds that will go towards a wide range of excellent projects.

For each project, the supplier themselves will equally match our contribution, furthering the reach of each grant and cementing their own relationships with their communities. We are committed to schemes such as this because we believe our relationships with suppliers should go beyond a simple business relationship, ensuring we maintain our shared values together.

Over the next few months we will focus on some of the fantastic initiatives we will be supporting in more detail. But for now, here’s a brief idea of some of the projects we will be helping make possible.

Some of the social projects include the construction of a classroom for first grade children of workers at Nandi Tea in Kenya, helping to complete a community medical facility at Kionyo in Kenya, the construction of a crèche at Guadalupe Zaju Farm in Mexico (that’s it in the picture above) and the contribution toward a year’s running costs of a primary school, secondary school and agricultural college for 180 children based on La Bastilla coffee farm in Nicaragua.

Environmental projects funded through the scheme will include enabling farmers to carry out a recycling project at Pangoa coffee cooperative in Peru, the procurement and distribution of 200 Energy Saving Wood Stoves to small holder producer families at Igara tea in Uganda, alongside an irrigation water project at Makomboki in Kenya.

In conjunction with our Yorkshire Rainforest Project, we will be able to increase the scope of our tree planting initiative across projects in Kenya, Malawi and Rwanda.

As the projects progress over the next few months we’ll be focusing on several in more detail.

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Skills in Brazil

Computers. They’re a pretty big deal these days.

In fact, we’ll wager you’re reading these very words on some kind of computer – a big one, or a little one that doubles as a telephone.

For schoolkids, learning how to use computers is essential. But of course, the equipment’s not cheap.

So when one of our suppliers asked for some funding to kit out a local school with computers and computer skills training, it sounded like a wonderful project.

Unipcafem is a coffee supplier based in the Brazilian state of Mina Gerais.

It asked for funding for computer classes and a pair of notebook PCs for the nearby school.

Frank Tanner, who works in our commodities department, said: “We are always keen to support the communities in tea and coffee growing areas and this project in Mina Gerais really ticks all the boxes.

“Computers are great educational tools and can help the children develop key skills that they will use throughout their school career and beyond.”

It’s just one of the projects we’ve been involved with this year. Our grant scheme allows our suppliers to ask for up to £2,000 of match funding for community projects.

You can read about another one here.

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Milk and sugar?

Black, white, with sugar and without – how you take your coffee is a pretty personal thing.

But is there a best way, and a worst way? We asked people on our Taylors Coffee Facebook page for their preference.

“Black. Hot. Strong. Always,” wrote Sande, and Bernadette agreed: “Always black coffee, no milk or sugar – it spoils the taste.”

Sandra prefers it “always with a splash of milk, and generally several mugs one after the other.”

Janine enjoys “half coffee, half hot milk, half a spoon of sugar… usually Lazy Sunday,” while Alison prefers it even sweeter: “strong with milk and two sugars”.

We asked our trainee coffee buyer Emily for her professional opinion.

“In the team, we generally drink coffee white. But when we are cupping coffees to analyse their flavour, aroma and character, we always taste them black, and when we are developing blends we taste it both black and white.

“Some coffees do suit milk better – the bright acidity of a Kenyan or a really good Colombian doesn’t work as well, but something more full-bodied, with a lower acidity, does.

“The bittersweet and chocolaty After Dark, for example, works especially well with a dash of milk, which adds that creamy mouthfeel.”

As for sugar?

“I would advise people that it’s better without sugar, because you get the original flavour of the coffee,” she said. “It’s just a case of getting accustomed to the taste.

“I’d suggest trying a coffee first without milk or sugar and then making your mind up – otherwise it’s like putting salt on your food without tasting it. You might find you like it just as it is!

“But there’s no truly wrong way – it’s all definitely down to personal taste.”

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Taylors Coffee – The Song!

“I like my coffee black and strong,
I’ll take it short, I’ll take it long,
When I need a little pick me up,
I’ve got Taylors Of Harrogate in my cup….”

Snappy, eh? That’s an excerpt from the fantastic Taylors of Harrogate (The Coffee Song).

It’s the work of musician Ian Husbands and his wife Toni. Ian mentioned on Twitter that he was brewing up some Hot Lava Java, to wake him up before an evening gig.

Ian says: “A conversation ensued and Taylors suggested that I write them a song, and never one to miss a challenge, I said I would… so I did.

“I thought a lounge style song was best suited to coffee, so this is what Toni and myself came up with, in honour of our favourite coffee brand!”

We’re proud of our coffee, but we’re pretty bowled over to see it move somebody to song! You can listen to it here.

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Comfy Coffee

This week we heard about a rather talented upholsterer just down the road from us in Headingley, Leeds. She’s called Heather Linnitt and uses our coffee sacks to create one-off chairs. Like us, her business, Eclectic Chair, is big on recycling, hates waste and loves the design of the coffee sacks that our coffees arrive in. You may remember our recent blog about them.

We donate our used coffee sacks to Scrap in Leeds, an innovative social enterprise dedicated to the reuse of materials from businesses. “Schools often snap them up for sack races at sports days, but I think they’re very interesting aesthetically – particularly the ones from El Salvador which feature lots of great colours, illustrations and fonts” said Heather.

“The choice of sack is important – you can’t just use any old thing. I rummage through looking for the most exotic ones in the best condition. Taylors very carefully slit them at the bottom, which is nice of them!” What she then does with them is quite something.

“I use some of the less interesting looking hessian sacks for the foundation of the chairs. When I find a great sack that deserves to be seen, I split it along the seams, iron it and use it as the top cover.”

Apparently, thanks to Heather, her chairs and our sacks are starting to appear in industrial-styled interiors.

“I’m no eco-warrior, but I think it’s brilliant that Taylors are giving the used sacks to Scrap for recycling. It reflects really well on the company.”

We think it’s great that local people are so creative and enthusiastic about recycling and reusing. If you’d like something upholstered in a sack that contained the beans of your favourite coffee, I’m sure Heather would be interested in hearing from you. We certainly are.

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The Great Knaresborough Bed Race 2012

Water bed? Sarah's Oatlands Infants Ladies team perform a 'dry run' for Saturday's bed race.

If you had to choose between a cup of your favourite Taylors Coffee and bed, would you lose sleep over your decision? Well, in Knaresborough (the town next door to us), they love bed so much, they decorate them, take them to the streets, parade them and then race them. No, seriously, they do. In fact, we’re no strangers to taking part either.

Every second Saturday in June, The Great Knaresborough Bed Race brings the whole community together for one great big, ridiculous (and sometimes downright dangerous) race down steep cobbled streets and across the River Nidd. It’s fantastic, quintessentially British and brings the whole town to a complete standstill.

Russ from our warehouse races most years to raise funds for the fire service, but this year he’s going to mind the fire engine and let kids clamber over it whilst some of the other fire fighters race the bed. However, Sarah from the Taylors sales team is competing. Sarah seems remarkably confident – she should be as she and the five other ladies racing have been training hard for this for the last four months with 4-mile runs around Harrogate.

Sarah’s team is called the ‘Oatlands Infants Ladies’ and is taking part to raise money that will be split between funding playground improvements for Oatlands School where their kids attend and Yorkshire Cancer Research. You can donate before during and after the event here. Simply search for ‘Oatlands Infants’, click ‘View profile and events’, then ‘More event details’.

Each year there is a theme for decorating the beds and for this Saturday’s 2012 Great Knaresborough Bed Race the theme is ‘Olympic Nations’. Sarah and the Oatlands Infants Ladies are having their bed decorated to represent Pakistan with pictures by the school children and with help from their teacher.

First, the beds are decorated and paraded through Knaresborough at 1pm before the race. Sarah and the girls will be joined by some of the children from the school and there is a prize for the best decorated bed.

“The kids and the team spent three and a half hours in Bombay Stores in Bradford getting kitted out for the parade. You won’t be able to miss us!” said Sarah.

Sarah likes her coffee strong and is one tough cookie who attends Armed Forces Fitness training three times a week… she’ll need to be to complete the grueling course. At 3pm, the race will start. Ninety teams compete which are ranked 1 to 90 according to how well they have performed the previous year – one being last year’s winner. Sarah and the Oatlands Infants Ladies team are number 55. They’re hoping to finish higher this year as they want to beat the dads’ team that ran last year. They’re ridiculously competitive and the ladies fought hard to win the right to race this year.

Each team has six members plus a ‘sleeper’ who must remain on the bed at all times. Sarah’s team’s sleeper is Miss Gibbs, a slight 7.5 stone Oatlands teacher. Teams set off at ten-second intervals and race the 2.2-mile route along the waterside, up a steep hill and around the Marketplace before swimming, with their beds, across the River Nidd to the finishing line in Conyngham Hall Fields.

“We did a dry run a few weeks ago. It wasn’t really a dry run as we crossed the river too. Red hot from running then plunging into the river was a real shock. Really takes your breath away” said an excited and slightly nervous Sarah.

Well, good luck Sarah and the Oatlands Infants Ladies Bed Race Team. Enjoy your lie in on Sunday morning – we think you’ll have definitely earned it. Remember, you can make a donation here.

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