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Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

I’ve always drunk coffee in coffee shops, but for a long time I was completely unaware of where that coffee comes from. There’s a huge range of different coffees out there—different origins, different types of bean, and a wide variety in the processing those beans go through to get to those cups of coffee I was enjoying. The more I learned, the more intrigued I was—so when the opportunity came up to deliver Whittard’s coffee range, I jumped at the chance.

We work with a small group of suppliers, who have close relationships with coffee farms all over the world. Quality is obviously the first consideration with us—I like to get as much variety into our range as possible so our customers can choose a high quality coffee which really suits them. We introduce four limited edition coffees every three months, which complement our core range of fifteen coffees. I let my suppliers know which particular region we’d like coffee from, and they give me several different options, at different roasting levels. For the limited edition range, I tend to pick coffees which are more unusual—a flavoursome light roast, along with some classic chocolatey and nutty dark roasts to give our customers as much variety as possible.

The favourites of our range are usually the full-bodied medium-dark roasts, like our Guatemala Elephant coffee. I make sure that we always have some of these in our limited edition coffees as they’re really popular with our die-hard coffee fans. But there’s also a growing interest in lighter roasts—with a light roast you get a really bright, flavoursome cup of coffee that’s full of the flavours of its region, so it’s always good to hunt down some really characterful beans. Our Kenya Rugi is a great example of this: it’s a really vibrant, fruity coffee with hints of vanilla.

It would be really hard to pick my favourite coffee from our range, but if pushed I’d have to say San Agustin. It’s a great coffee for easy drinking, and it’s really versatile, so you can drink it with or without milk. I’m also a big fan of Kenya Peaberry: it’s a lovely light roast where you can really taste all of the original flavours of the bean.

I think what makes Whittard coffee really special is the level of expertise that goes into it, and the fact that customers can actually experience that just by going into one of our stores. It’s actually quite rare to be able to buy top quality loose coffee beans on the high street, and to be able to talk to a coffee expert as you buy your coffee. All of our staff are experts in tea and coffee, so they’re able to explain the different roasting levels, grind the coffee in store to the perfect grind for your equipment, and help you find a coffee which you really love. There’s nowhere else where you can get our specialist blends—we put a lot of care and attention into making sure they’re just right.

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