It’s difficult for me to imagine starting my day without at least one big mug of the good stuff. In fact, I purposefully restrict the specifics of my morning routine to the most basic of tasks because I know that there’s not a snowball’s chance that I can manage anything remotely more complicated than brushing my teeth without it, and it may well be stating the obvious but I know that I am not alone. Thankfully though I’m on my third cup of the day as I write this so luckily for you (or well, possibly unluckily) there’s little likelihood of my head hitting the keyboard in a caffeine-deprived stupor before I make the most of this opportunity to sing the praises of – yes, you’ve guessed it – coffee.
The British Coffee Association report that up to 2 billion cups are drank every single day worldwide, with the UK accounting for around 95 million cups alone, and so whilst it’s not quite as popular as it’s leafy cousin tea (the UK Tea And Infusions Association place the average daily consumption of tea in the UK at an impressive 100 million – you can also read more here), it’s fair to say that coffee remains pretty popular stuff. Indeed for most adults in the UK, whether they’re crazed espresso-shooters dashing to and fro, frequent instant sippers or iced frappe slurpers to name a very select few in the multitude of means to make and enjoy coffee, it’s a great way to give you that much needed morning energy boost, mid-afternoon pick me up, and to get family and friends around a table for a good chat.
So much so in fact, that it has its own special day that takes place (for us at least, along with Australia, Germany, Malaysia, New Zealand, Ireland just to name a few different countries) on the 1st of October each year, which is also known as International Coffee Day. Nationalday.com state that this was first instigated by the International Coffee Organisation in 2014 in Milan as a means of celebrating the drink in general, as well as to raise awareness of the plights of the coffee farmers themselves and the challenges of the industry in respect of global warming, conservation, poverty, slavery and the need to further social enterprise.
But when did coffee first come to our shores and why is it such a mainstay of so many household cupboards across the country? Historyextra.com cite that coffee was being sipped well before reaching Britain and is first thought to have been discovered by a 9th century Ethiopian goatherd who noticed his animals behaving oddly after eating some red berries. Deducing that the berries were most likely the cause of their singular behaviour (dancing is mentioned), he took the berries to a local Abbot who decided to give roasting, grinding then boiling them a go, thereby making the world’s very first drinkable coffee. Fast forward to 16th century colonial Britain with its world-wide trade and slave network, and the first coffee stall was set up by American-born servant Pasqua Rosee in St Michael’s Chruchyard, St Michael’s Alley, London as a means of entertaining his master’s friends outside of the house. In the next two years it became so popular with merchants across London that he could set up shop, and as the availability and demand for coffee grew, there was an explosion of coffee houses around the UK over the next century which according to artuk.org, gave more men (pretty much exclusively at that time) a dedicated space to meet and discuss politics, theology, philosophy and the newer, burgeoning sciences which directly furthered rapid social change as the Enlightenment took hold. Needless to say then, though coffee drinking as a pastime sparked social revolution and has become entrenched in the cultural fabric of the UK, it’s roots here remain mired in Britain’s murky colonial past much like tea, sugar and cotton.
Now at least we’re more aware of the social and political ramifications inherent in such vast-scale coffee production, including many of the themes that I mentioned above in respect of its environmental impact, the socio-economic hardship often effecting coffee growing communities, and ongoing issues with modern-day slavery. As a result, many consumers now try to make more ethical choices when selecting their daily grind in whatever form that might take, and in that same vein here at Treat Me Good, we’ve curated a wonderful selection of coffees and coffee-themed treats for our Luxury Coffee Drinkers Hamper which (we hope you’ll agree), strikes a fine balance between celebrating our national obsession with coffee, whilst keeping a weather eye to the ethics of its production so it can be truly appreciated by any coffee aficionado.
First and foremost, we have two single origin grinds from The Coffee Factory hailing from El Salvador and Brazil respectively (the latter of which is a blend and winner of 2 Great Taste awards) which also feature different varieties of beans, resulting in each having their own distinct and complex flavour profiles. For those days where time restrictions mean that only the kettle will do in a pinch, we’ve also included True Start’s Barista Grade Instant Coffee. Based in Bristol, they make it using the same barista grade beans that they use in their coffee shop to deliver a super-smooth, clean coffee that tastes incredible black or white, hot or cold in literally seconds. But we know a coffee break isn't complete without something sweet to indulge in and this hamper won't disappoint with luxury Scottish biscuits, British almond biscotti, espresso martini coffee beans from James Cadbury’s Love Cocoa and a 61% cocoa dark chocolate bar made with real cold brewed coffee by Edinburgh born Coco Chocolatier. Even the chocolate selected for the hamper is Colombian single origin, so serious are we about only stocking brands that are dedicated to bettering the social, environmental and economic conditions of the cocoa producers. Oh, and we also include free standard delivery with each hamper sold so that the customer can feel the buzz just as much as the lucky recipient upon opening a new bag of freshly ground coffee.
But given today is the day itself and without further ado, I hope you’ll all raise a steaming hot cup of the best in salute to one of the world’s most popular and enduring drinks – to coffee!