What’s in our name and hasn’t changed since the day we opened the very first SOHO Coffee Co. in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire in 1999? It’s our coffee of course.
Go into any SOHO in the world, whether you’re down the road, or in Doha and your double shot espresso, skinny latte or fantastic flat white will have been hand-crafted for you using our signature Fairtrade, organic, Arabica coffee beans; all having been roasted in The Forest of Dean.
The reason we haven’t changed our coffee is because it’s so consistently great. Why would we mess with perfection? In certain stores we do periodically bring in a ‘guest’ bean (That’s a funny expression isn’t it? ‘Guest’ conjures up the idea that they’re going to commandeer our spare room, use all the hot water and outstay their welcome doesn’t it?); but the signature SOHO coffee bean is always still ‘head honcho’... ‘the Don’... ‘the Daddy’!
You could say that Barry, our artisan roaster in The Forest of Dean was one of our ‘founding fathers’ in many ways; after all his skill and craft has shaped the very foundations SOHO Coffee Co.
Barry was in at the very beginning of the Fairtrade revolution in the 1980’s; technically probably the beginning of the beginning. He’s regaled us with absorbing, nostalgic accounts of buying his beans wholesale, from the back of a fabulous Bedford van (think ‘The Lady in the Van’ type of van) belonging to ‘Campaign Coffee’, a passionate, not-for-profit body campaigning for better welfare for coffee farmers.
This was a prelude to the Fairtrade Foundation that was officially started in 1992 and now assures farmers better working conditions and a fair price. On principle, all our coffee and hot chocolate are both Fairtrade and organic. The only teas you’ll find in SOHO are Pukka teas, a brand that shares our ethics and champions Fairtrade, Fairwild and most recently Fair For Life, looking after people, plants and the planet – that is a whole new blog post in itself!