Welcome to The Coffee Extract.

A new two-monthly publication for café owners and operators.

Ewan Reid

Managing Director at Matthew Algie

Ewan joined Matthew Algie in 1993, having qualified as a food scientist. In the early days he helped lay the foundations of our sourcing and our approach to quality coffee. In 2002 Ewan joined the Board as Technical Director, overseeing quality assurance, green coffee supply chain, blend development and R&D. In 2018 he became Managing Director. During his career, in addition to working with many of our customers, Ewan has travelled extensively, sourcing coffee as a qualified Q-grader and working with producers in developing our joint partnerships. Over the years he has met hundreds of farmers and farming communities and has forged many vital trading relationships. With first-hand knowledge of the industry’s impact at source, Ewan has also helped build our ethical and sustainability credentials.

How a few months can change an industry...

In February I was in Honduras travelling with a customer to long term producer partners Capucas and COCAFELOL. Just like the Honduran welcome, the weather was warm - the perfect backdrop to selecting micro-lots for Blak Nektar. While taking time to understand future plans with Omar and Roberto and their respective co-ops, far away events on COVID were starting to gain momentum. It would be the following month before the pandemic was declared and we saw a glimpse of the potential impact in the UK and Ireland.

Hospitality has known nothing like this; complete shut down of a sector that thrives on daily customer trading backed of course by an ever-present entrepreneurial spirit. We know the latter holds the key to a way out of this and to rebuild our industry in a sustainable manner again; we need to look back to see what worked and can be adapted for the new normal and to look forward to where we can innovate. Looking back to look forward is also something we’ve taken time to do in the last few weeks and we’re delighted to reboot a magazine that we launched way back in the late 90s. This time its digital, but the mission is still the same: keeping you, our customers, updated on what’s fresh in the marketplace, to help drive your business forward again.

Like many businesses we’ve taken the opportunity during lock down to fast-track our innovation for the future, whether that’s refocusing and updating our brand or launching a strong on-line presence for our Blak Nektar speciality business. In every case we’ve been thinking of ways we can add more value to your business.

Before I sign off, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank all the team here at Matthew Algie, as well as our industry friends, our supply chain and our customers. It’s been the toughest of times and challenges still lie ahead; but to briefly return to Honduras - a good friend of mine there once said, “sin café no hay manana” (without coffee there’s no tomorrow). Something for us all to keep in mind right now.

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