||Asean Affairs 10 June 2013
Fairtrade UK coffee brand brings its finest brews to Bangkok
Coffee ‘Made the Small Way’ set to make BIG splash in Thailand
Lovers of the elixir of morning life, aka coffee, can rejoice as the United Kingdom’s No. 1 100% Fairtrade hot drink brand – Caf?direct –has arrived in the Land of Smiles. Caf?direct is an independent coffee, tea and cocoa company championing the work and passion of smallholder growers in the developing world, to deliver great tasting drinks, improve livelihoods and pioneer better ways of doing business. Cafedirect is a social enterprise driven by a dynamic mission: ‘To change lives and build communities through inspirational, sustainable business.’ And on top of that, they make a fantastic cup of Joe!
Caf?direct recently held an exclusive media briefing in Bangkok, to showcase the brand, its master blender and quality controller, Thierry Akroman, and introduce local coffee fiends to the best new ground coffee blends products – medium, rich & espresso – in town. Caf?direct is forecast to make great inroads in Thailand thanks to the countries growing appetite for quality imported food items; large existing network of gourmet stores and upmarket supermarkets stocking international brands; thriving and sophisticated local ‘foodie’ scene; and penchant for ethically-sourced products. Not to mention that the three blends being offered will be the most affordable luxury coffee products available in the country.
When it launched in 1991, Caf?direct revolutionised the Fairtrade world by introducing the movement's very first coffee brand. To date they are the only global beverage brand to have received ethical accreditation from the Ethical Company Organisation. Caf?direct’s beans are sourced in direct partnership with growers and they guarantee to pay above the world market price, to support the development of producers; in this way they can genuinely say that their coffee is ‘Made the Small Way’. Currently their network includes 280,000 growers, 38 farmer organisations in 13 countries and they routinely reinvest over 50% of nett profits. By sourcing top quality coffee directly from its source (namely Central America, South America and East Africa) the company is able to bring award-winning brews to drinkers everywhere.
Nobody understands the brand’s motives and potential more than Julian Burnham, Caf?direct’s Business Development Manager, who has witnessed the brands remarkable journey from ‘fairtrade’ provocateur to global superstar. ‘We see great potential in the Thai marketplace as here you find the optimum meeting point of high customer spending, a love of premium coffee and consumer consciousness; all factors that have worked well for us in other parts of the world. We foresee great things for Thailand and eagerly anticipate the next 6 months. Hopefully we’ll launch our entire range here soon’.
Thierry Akroman is a man who knows all too well that a good bean is the first step towards achieving a perfect cup of coffee. As stated above, Thierry is Caf?direct’s coffee guru, responsible for ensuring the quality of the raw materials purchased, as well as the standard of the finished product Most importantly, Thierry is Q-Grade Coffee Master Cupper, one of only 25 in the UK and 2,000+ worldwide (accredited by the Coffee Quality Institute). At the Bangkok media meet‘n’greet, he introduced Caf?direct’s three top best-selling products to the eager crowd, explained about roast identification, sensory skills and triangulation, provided in-depth detail of each blend and took the coffee-loving group through a unique coffee cupping and pairing journey.
Caf?direct’s Medium blend was the company’s first release and also the first ever coffee to carry the Fairtrade label in the UK. Its quality has evolved over the past 20 years to make it not only the original but also one of the best blended coffees around. This is a well-rounded coffee created by blending sweet and chocolaty beans from South America (Nicaragua, Peru) with balanced beans from the lush green highlands of Central America (Mexico, Costa Rica). This harmonious combination of origins creates a wonderfully smooth, vibrant and full-flavoured cup of 100% Arabica coffee, rated level 3*. It’s an easy-drinking blend for morning or evening and provides a great excuse to put the kettle on!
For those who like their coffee with a dark intensity, the Rich blend is a must-try, full-bodied level 5* strength coffee with a perfect bittersweet taste and spicy finish. The complex balance of flavours comes from two beans and two continents: Arabica from Latin America (Nicaragua, Peru, Mexico, Tanzania, Uganda, Costa Rica), with a rounded flavour and sweet toffee aroma, and African Robusta for its complex finish and dark strength. This blend is a UK ‘Great Taste Award’ 2010 gold medallist and best-seller throughout the globe. It’s deliciously dark, intense and bold and is best when served with an equally rich and indulgent chocolate dessert.
One of Caf?direct’s most prized blends is Espresso, a deep, intense, full-bodied flavour explosion hailing from Nicaragua, Peru, Mexico, Tanzania, Uganda and Costa Rica. This level 5* strength brew is deliciously smooth and intriguingly velvety. This blend mixes the boldness and intensity of the African Robusta bean with the sweetness of the Latin American Arabica. Darkly roasted to deliver a full-bodied flavour explosion, this blend delivers a little bit of froth on the top of each shot – known as the ‘crema’ – a sign of true quality. To transform your coffee into a decadent Caf? Noisette, try adding cream to the espresso shot to create a lovely creamy hazelnut taste that you won’t be able to resist.
*To help buyers select a coffee strength that suits their taste, a numbered icon is located on the label. The strength of the coffee depends on a number of factors, namely the composition of coffee beans in the blend, as well as the intensity of the roasting. Caf?direct’s blends span a range from 1 (light) to 5 (strong).
Caf?direct buyers are getting both a great tasting product and a trusted and honoured brand. In a survey of 2,000 brands by Millward Brown in 2007, Caf?direct emerged as the ‘Most Recommended Brand’ in the UK. Similarly, to date the company has been awarded the following accolades: 23 Gold Stars in 5 years by ‘Great Taste Awards’, the Guardian ‘Sustainable Business Award’, ‘Beyond Business Award’ by Financial Times and ‘European Business Awards for the Environment’. From June 2013 onwards Caf?direct’s three – medium, rich & espresso – ground coffee blends products will be distributed in Thailand by Renova Foods. They are priced at Baht 385.00 net for 227g and available at Central Food Hall, Tops Market, Gourmet Market and Villa Market outlets nationwide.