Meet our Coffee Pop-up Rooms

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Fancy a free coffee?

Clearly, the correct answer to that question is “yes”. Which is why we’ve buddied up with the delightful people at Stylist magazine to open a free coffee shop!

Now, even people with the most basic retail knowledge will be aware that offering your goods for zero money is not a sustainable business model. In fact, it’s complete madness. So our Coffee Pop-Up Rooms are going to be open for one week only.

If you’re near Covent Garden next week, you should come and say hello. From Monday, 26 May to Friday, 30 May, we’re taking up temporary residence on Floral Street.

Just bring a copy of Stylist or download the Stylist app to your tablet or smartphone to claim a free coffee – we’ll have smooth, organic Good Morning, exuberant Brasilia, flavour-packed Decaffé and fierce Hot Lava Java available throughout the day. And our lovely staff will be on hand to talk you through all our blends and flavours.

There’ll be a feast for the eyes too – along with Stylist’s pop art, we’ll be showcasing an exhibition of images from the renowned photographer Jonathan Gregson, taken on a trip to Rwanda with us. Plus there’ll be some delicious edible treats from Bad Brownie.

The pop-up will be open from 10am-6pm on the bank holiday Monday and 8am- 6pm for the remainder of the week.

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Welcome to Coffee

“What?”

That’s what some people think when they see our new, and first ever, TV ad.

There’s also “wow”, “awesome” and “I hate it”. It’s divisive, that’s for sure – but it’s definitely not boring. Boring is the worst thing it could have been be.

Our Jess, marketing manager, agrees. She says: “The vast majority of ads go unnoticed or forgotten; particularly in the world of coffee, where romantic liaisons and brimming mugs are the ‘beige’ creative norm.

“We want to disrupt that and deliver the unexpected, to be confident and distinctive. Ultimately, we wanted to create an ad just like our product; a complex, magical, and mind-blowing coffee experience.”

Does the final result, created by director Frank Budgen, go too far down the rabbit hole? Some might think so – but if you could zoom into your neural synapses when coffee hits your taste buds and caffeine finds your brain, we think it’d pretty much look like this.

Check it out for yourself by hitting play on the video above. And let us know what you think by getting in touch on Twitter or Facebook.

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Where did the tokens go?

Rainforest Tokens

Ever noticed those tokens on our packs?

If you’ve been buying Taylors coffee for the last few years, you might have spotted our Yorkshire Rainforest Project tokens. For every one a customer cut out and sent back to us, we made a donation.

It’s a huge project with the aim of helping to protect an area of tropical forest the size of Yorkshire – that’s about 1.5 million hectares.

But we figured it was time to change the system. We’ve realised that it doesn’t make a huge amount of sense to ask people to cut out parts of the pack and post them in.

So we’ve ditched the tokens. But we certainly haven’t ditched the cause. In fact, not having to process all those fiddly little squares of packaging should mean we can donate more than ever.

It’s another step closer to the goal of our Yorkshire Rainforest Project – a project we’re in for the long haul.

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Meet Colombia

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IN THE last post we told you about our gorgeous new Rwanda coffee – the end product of a huge project in the country, of which we’re extremely proud.

But we don’t want you to think that’s the only coffee in our new single origin range which has real ethical clout.

All our coffees are certified – by the Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade or UTZ – and we go to great lengths to find wonderful coffee, pay fair prices and re-invest in the people who grow it.

Take Colombia. We source our single origin Colombian coffee from the foothills of the Andes, where some of the world’s most celebrated coffee grows.

It’s a medium-bodied coffee with wonderful balance and a complex aroma. It boasts a sweet fruity acidity with hints of tropical fruit and delicious caramel notes, typical of the best Colombian beans. Medium dark roasted, it makes a beautiful coffee with a creamy body and a buttery finish.

Look out for it and the rest of the range in branches of Tesco and Morrisons.

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The story of our Rwanda coffee

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The fertile mountains of Rwanda produce some of the finest coffee in the world. Rich soil, abundant rainfall and high altitudes make for ideal growing conditions.

The country’s coffee industry is based not on large plantations, but smallholder farmers. There are over 400,000 of these farmers, and each of their incomes typically relies on a small area of trees.

At Taylors of Harrogate, we’re committed to using nothing but 100% independently certified coffee across our entire range. So we have been looking for new sources of East African Arabica coffee to meet our growing needs – but when we looked to the beautiful coffees of Rwanda, certified suppliers were hard to find.

The country has been rebuilding since 1994, when many Rwandans lost their lives in a genocide. It left a very steep path to recovery and redevelopment.

There’s a UK Government fund which provides help. Overseen by the Department for International Development, it’s called FRICH – the Food Industry Retail Challenge Fund – and its aim is to support African farmers by developing European trade links. To do this, it partners with companies which are keen to invest in developing countries.

That’s where we come in.

We’ve already done a lot of work with the Rainforest Alliance, helping a lot of our suppliers to reach certification. So working with the Rainforest Alliance and FRICH, we have extended this work to the coffee sector in Rwanda. The goal of the project was to work with 8,000 of these smallholder farmers to enable them to manage their coffee farms in a way that improves crop quality and yield – and to look after the environment to ensure coffee farming is maintained in future.

That means changes to farming practices, which at first glance can seem small. Things like planting shade trees between coffee plants, using manure and coffee cherry pulp instead of chemical fertiliser, and using mulching and terracing techniques to make sure the topsoil is not washed away.

Rwanda

But these simple methods make an immense difference. Not only can they make for better quality coffee, they can also dramatically increase the amount which grows – and that means a better livelihood for the farmers. And the sustainable approach to the environment helps to safeguard for the future, and provide some ways to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Last August, the project reached a huge milestone. Coffee supplier KZ Noir – which processes the beans grown by many of those farmers – became officially certified. It’s the first coffee from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms in Rwanda.

Because of this work, we’ve guaranteed them a premium which is greater than the market price. It’s not pure altruism. It’s more sustainable than that – a strong, invested relationship of mutual benefit, which means we know we’ll be guaranteed the pick of the crop.

That’s why you should be excited about our Rwanda coffee. It’s a remarkable coffee, even without the back story: a complex, elegant, balance medium roast with sweet berry tones, crisp acidity and a lingering butter toffee finish.

It launched in February, and you can find it in Tesco and Morrisons.

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Seeing clearly

YT blog eye camp

What, exactly, is an “eye camp”? And what does it have to do with us?

Well, it’s a small part of a big plan to check the eyesight of every person in Rwanda over the age of eight – and to provide glasses to those who need them.

It’s the goal of a charity called Vision for a Nation Foundation, and these temporary eye camps are one of the ways it’s achieving its aim.

And with some funding from Taylors, a two-day eye camp was held at the Gisovu Tea Estate.

It was led by two of the charity’s ophthalmic technicians, who trained a nurse in the Gisovu Health Centre in primary eye care – enough to conduct basic vision assessments and give glasses to patients, now and in the future.

Mutiganda Theophile, who works at the estate, was one of those eye camp patients.

He’s had problems with his vision for 13 years, which gave him headaches when he tried to read and stopped him from writing.

He said he was “very happy” to receive a pair of adjustable glasses, that have enabled him to read and write properly.

In fact, 157 people who work on the estate headed in to the health centre for an assessment over those two days. It emerged that 63 of them needed – and were given – glasses.

It goes to show just how crucial the Vision for a Nation programme is. You can find out more about it here.

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An Education

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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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Meet our Half Caffs

Meet Our Half Caffs

In the coffee bars of New York, not all espresso comes fully loaded with caffeine.

After customers started asking for a lighter version, baristas in the city devised a 50/50 blend – mixing half regular coffee and half decaf in a single cup for an espresso with a milder kick.

It was the inspiration behind our Take it Easy blend, which you might have seen on the shop shelves. But with our single origin launch last week, it felt like the right time to reboot our half caff offering too.

So it’s goodbye to Take it Easy, and hello to two half caff versions of our biggest selling blends, Rich Italian and Lazy Sunday.

Rich Italian, if you don’t know it already, is a sophisticated rich roast inspired by the elegant blends of northern Italy, made with chocolaty Brazilian beans and subtly sweet beans from Africa.

And Lazy Sunday is our coffee for lie-ins, Sunday papers and lazy mornings with your feet on the sofa, with sweet hazelnut and juicy citrus flavours from African and Latin American beans and a laid-back, medium roast.

We’ve taken these much-loved blends, and used a natural water process to decaffeinate 50% of the beans. They’re lower in caffeine, but they’ve got the same great taste. Guaranteed.

Fancy giving them a try? Let us know what you think by getting in touch on Facebook or Twitter.

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Welcome to Origin

Our Origin Range

Meet our new gorgeous range of single origin coffee – four exceptional coffees from some of the best growing regions in the world.

From the the nutrient-dense, volcanic soils in the eastern highlands of Java, to the beautiful foothills of the Andes and the abundant rainfall and high altitudes of Rwanda, we’ve chosen four origins which boast perfect conditions for growing coffee, to showcase the best on offer from the world’s main producing regions.

So from South America, we’ve found bright, buttery Colombian beans; from East Africa, the crisp, elegant flavours of coffee from Rwanda; from Asia, the intense, chocolaty beans which grow in Java, Indonesia; and from Latin America, we chosen zesty, fresh coffee from Guatemala.

“We’ve picked incredible quality beans from our suppliers for the new range,” said Liz from our coffee. “That means some really remarkable coffees which have a refined, complex flavour.”

“We think it’ll really stand out on the shelf – and also at home when people try it.”

You should start seeing the new packs on the shop shelves from this week.

Look out for them in branches of Tesco and Morrisons – and please get in touch with us on Twitter and Facebook to let us know what you think.

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Almost ready…

We’ve got some big news to announce – and we think you’re going to like it.

But it’s not ready to talk about it just. So for now, we’re afraid you’ll have to make to with these teaser images.

Thankfully there’s not too long to wait. Pop back next week and all will be revealed.

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