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    A History of Coffee In England

    A History of Coffee In England

    The Various Humours of Tom King’s Coffee House in Covent Garden. Taken from Hogarths Four Seasons – c/o British Museum


     An eclectic (and mercifully brief) history

    1651

    The First Coffee House Opens in England

    Opened in Oxford by Pasqua Rosée, this coffeehouse is still open for business - 400 years after it first opened its doors. Originally entering England as the servant of a Levant Trader, he opened his second coffee house just a year later in Cornhill, London.

    1675

    The King Bans Coffee

    In England (and across Europe) Coffeehouses quickly became the place to discuss philosophy, science, current events, and - most importantly - politics. Charles II probably had good reason to be nervous considering what the English did to his dear old Dad, so he tried to shut them down. The Proclamation was met with resistance from his coffee-loving ministers though, and was withdrawn 2 days before it was due to come into force.

    1787

    Tea 'Leaves' its Mark on England

    Originally sold in coffeehouses, tea grew in popularity until it overtook coffee in the late 18th Century to become the Nation's favourite drink - particularly amongst the lower class.

    1976

    Single-Serve Coffee is Born

    For over 200 years in England, nothing really much happened in the coffee game. Something called 'instant coffee' popped up in the late 1800s, but we don't really like talking about that. But in 1976, A certain Swiss company created the first single-serve coffee system. Originally marketed to the Swiss business sector, it didn't gain traction until the 90s, when it launched with success across Europe.

    1980s

    Dick Creates a Masterpiece

    In 80s Soho, when asked by a lovely young lady to make a drink that “wakes me up and then f**ks me up”, legendary bartender Dick Bradsell went ahead and created the ultimate coffee cocktail - the Espresso Martini. We've got our own guide to mixing up a batch of these delicious little devils...

    Read More Here >

    2005

    Third Wave Coffee Hits England's Shore

    Opening in Soho, the Flat White was the first of the new wave of London cafés to champion the Antipodean way of drinking coffee - bringing the 'flattie' (or Flat White) to the country's capital.

    2008

    Cornish Coffee

    Beans grown in the Cornwall are served to patrons of Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Cornwall - thought to be the first coffee ever cultivated in England. 300g of coffee beans were produced - roughly enough for 40 single espressos!

    Read more here

    2011

    London Holds its First Ever Coffee Festival

    London's coffee scene reached new heights with the first ever Coffee Festival taking place in Brick Lane's Old Truman Brewery - celebrating the capital's bustling and vibrant coffee scene. CRU have been a part of it since 2016 - you can take a look at this year's highlights below!

    Read More Here

    2013

    C R U   K A F E   I S   B O R N

    Dreamt up by Bodil and brought to life by Colin & John, CRU Kafe started work on their first pod prototype in 2013 - lauching it via a Kickstarter campaign. Since then we've gone from strength to strength; striving to deliver the best organic, ethical coffee we could find in hassle-free, recyclable coffee capsules.

     

     Spring 2017

    No More Free Coffee

    Middle England woke up to find that a well-known national supermarket chain (the name escapes us) had announced that it will stop offering free coffee to it's customers. The fallout has yet to be measured, but staff have been warned that a backlash should be expected. 

    March 2017

    CRU Kafe Launch Coffee Flour

    On our recent trip to Colombia, we came across a fantastic new product - Coffee Flour. Full of nutrients (and gluten free), it's a new superfood and makes a perfect addition to your baking and cooking.

    What's Next?

    Watch this space - we've got something very exciting coming July...

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    Coffee Hunters Colombia Premiere

    Coffee Hunters Colombia Premiere

    Last Wednesday marked a very special evening for CRU Kafe as we launched our first ever documentary ‘Coffee Hunters Colombia’. Having been given the amazing opportunity to make the 3 part series by Jamie Oliver’s FoodTube, alongside support from Pro Colombia and Avianca Airlines, the documentary followed two of our founders as they travelled to the Sierra Nevada region of Colombia to source an exceptional new coffee.

    The premiere was held at the Hoxton Hotel in Holborn in conjunction with the start of the London Coffee Festival where we showcased our new blend. With over a hundred guests in attendance, we welcomed many friends of CRU including bloggers, investors, chefs, the amazing Pro Colombia team and we were honoured to welcome the Ambassador of Colombia himself, Néstor Osorio Londoño.

    In amongst the chatter and the preview screening of the documentary, guests enjoyed delicious chocolatey treats made with our new CRU Coffee Flour and an endless flow of CRU-tinis. These delicious espresso martinis were made with a shot of CRU plus the exceptional quinoa vodka and espresso liqueur from our friends at FAIR Drinks.

    Thank you to everyone who attended and made the event such a roaring success. Tomorrow sees the launch of episode 1 of Coffee Hunters on FoodTube - head on over to watch Colin and John's journey!

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    Hi-lights from London Coffee Festival

    Hi-lights from London Coffee Festival

    That's a wrap on another very successful London Coffee Festival!

    The glorious spring weather didn't stop the crowds of coffee enthusiasts heading down to The Old Truman Brewery to explore the wealth of goods the coffee world has to offer. We had four very sucessful, sunny days spreading the CRU message in the highly caffeinated, buzzing atmosphere. Congratulations go to Chloe who won a pair of VIP tickets to the festival through our #crumoments competition. Here are some snaps for the festival for you to enjoy... until next year!

    For the traveller, not the tourist

    For the traveller, not the tourist

    Situated in the heart of the Caribbean sea, Nevis is an island that you may not have heard of, but you soon will have. That's because this small island is doing big things! Here at CRU, we think that Nevis, with its population of just 12,500, is worth watching as it endeavours to become the world’s first carbon-neutral island,100% self-sufficient and entirely powered by its own resources.

    In a world filled with many wasteful initiatives, it’s wonderful to see a whole community coming together in order to live as eco-friendly a life as possible, hence why the island goes by the slogan ‘Nevis Naturally’. One of the key steps towards self-sustainability is renewable energy and Nevis is endeavouring to harness renewable energy through two methods. The first is via wind turbines and the second, by harnessing the energy from an inactive volcano on the island which still produces heat. A geothermal plant is soon to be constructed on the island in order to obtain this energy with the objective to start operating the first phase of the plant this year. Nevis hopes to provide the entire island with this geothermic energy within ten years, making it the first island to do this globally, and could even produce enough energy to supply surrounding islands, such as St. Kitts.

    The overall attitude of the island is to allow everyone to enjoy the natural beauty. It’s equally worth noting that the volcanic springs produced by the heat from the volcano might have been turned into a commercial spa on another island, whereas they are for everyone to enjoy on Nevis. The beaches and lush rainforests are undeveloped and eco-tourism is a priority on the island. Nevis promotes itself as an island 'For the traveller, not the tourist.’

    As well as its environmental initiatives, Nevis also boasts a rich history. Lord Horatio Nelson famously married the Nevis-born Frances Nisbet, who was the niece of the president of Nevis, John Herbert. As well as this, the island is also home to the first church where white plantation owners worshiped alongside black labourers.

    Our vital CRU ethos is to deliver delicious coffee whilst leaving as small a footprint as possible. We are so excited to hear about all the amazing initiatives going on all over the world to reduce waste and want to support communities that are working to create the most natural, ethical products and ways of living. This is why we want to tell you about Nevis. It is the ultimate CRU commendation.. Just imagine sipping a cup of CRU on an eco-friendly Caribbean island. Heaven!

    THE RISE OF SINGLE ORIGIN

    THE RISE OF SINGLE ORIGIN

    Single origin vs. blend; it's been a subject of debate in the coffee industry for decades, and now, thanks to the growth of third wave coffee in the UK and abroad, everyone's got an opinion. But what difference does 'single origin' really make to your daily cup of coffee? To shed some light on this subject, we've put together a handy guide that should help put this argument to rest.

    Blended Coffee


    Go back 20 years, and it's likely that every coffee you came across was blended. Blending coffee beans is a sort of alchemy; the beans can be chosen in order to complement one another or to create contrasts - our Light Roast and Dark Roast blends, for example, use the same beans (Indonesian, Peruvian and Ethiopian), but a slight difference in percentages (and the roasting time itself) results in two very distinct flavour profiles.

    One point that is important to understand, though, is that 'blended' does not mean 'inferior'. Many people see this word as taboo (just think of 'blended' whiskey and you'll understand what we mean), but in coffee the beauty of a blend lies in the creative freedom that comes with choosing and combining various beans. Our roasters take a huge amount of time over our blends to make sure that at the end of the process they have a carefully weighted coffee that is truly unique to CRU.

    Single Origin


    As you may have worked out from the name, 'single origin' coffee is a brew that is defined by a specific location - but therein lies the issue. Historically the coffee industry has been rather liberal when defining 'location', using it to describe everything from a single farm, to a single country. In this sense, the birth of 'single origin' was (in its early stages) really just a marketing ploy - a phrase used by large corporations to make their customers feel better about the coffee they were buying.

    Thankfully, the recent growth of independent coffee shops and roasters has meant that suddenly small groups of farmers (who could previously never hope to meet the demand of the coffee giants) could suddenly start selling to these smaller, more localised producers. Thanks to this, the term 'single origin' has become much more regulated.

    Even though you may not be getting your coffee from a single farmer, the beans themselves grow in the same soil, are subjected to the same processes and (perhaps most importantly) go through the same washing station. All farms will be working to promote the unique characteristics of the same bean - much like the Asoprosierra cooperative who create our Colombian Single Origin. Because of this, single origin coffees traditionally have a much more 'out of the ordinary' taste than blended coffees; and are perfect for those of you looking for a bit more of an adventure in your cup of coffee.

    Single Estate


    Single estate comes from just one farm or plantation; and as they're made from the beans of single farmers (or even single fields) these premium roasts have a much more individualised flavour profile. With improvements in communication and travel, the world in general has become a much smaller place - allowing us to go out and visit farms where we can build the relationships that last for years and years. One example of this in our catalogue is our Indian Coorg, a Single Estate Robusta.

    Whilst this is a fairly new term, many coffee companies are picking up on it to help differentiate themselves from 'Single Origin' - a small distinction that can up making a big difference in such a competitive market.

    Conclusions


    So, which of these methods makes the best coffee?

    As with so many things, it comes down to what you're looking for - and whilst it may seem that every coffee aficionado you meet is telling you that single origin is the only way to truly enjoy your favourite drink, it's important to take their advice with a pinch of salt.

    If you're looking to experience the unique characteristics of each bean you come across, then a single origin would seem like the way to go - but it's also worth noting that as the ultimate goal of this type of coffee is to try to pick out the unique characteristics of an individual bean, roasts tend to be lighter, and more acidic. Whilst this might be your perfect Sunday afternoon drink, it may not be what you're looking for on a Monday morning - where the only thing that will hit the spot is your favourite espresso blend.

    Ultimately, the most important thing is to always question the quality of the bean (or beans) that you're drinking. We've tasted hundreds of single origin and blended coffees in our search for the best, and you'll be amazed by the amount of poor quality beans out there on the market. The term 'single origin' does not, on it's own, equal quality - and conversely, some of the best beans we've ever tasted have been found in blends. 

    If you keep this last thought in mind, you'll never go wrong when choosing your favourite brew.

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