Since starting Elysia in 2017 as a catering company, Fabio, co-founder of Notes, and Notes team supported us and supplied us with their delicious surplus coffee beans. Their coffee is now available as part of our groceries selection and we wanted to share their story and importance of good coffee.
Fabio shares with us the story of the company and the importance of specialty cofffee.
My grandpa worked on coffee plantations from a very early age. In 1929, he married my grandma and bought his first and only coffee farm in São Paulo State, Brazil.
All six of my grandparents’ children, including my father worked on the coffee plantation. Sadly, in 1969, they realised the farm simply wasn’t financially viable for a small producer, so they made the difficult decision to sell.
With such firm roots grounded in coffee, you would naturally think my passion for it was born from my family history. This was not the case. Before 2004, coffee wasn’t really my beverage of choice and if I did drink it, I did with a lot of sugar. It just didn’t seduce my palette.
In 2004, my wife and I travelled to Italy, France and England, where I discovered speciality coffee. London stole our hearts. It reminded us of São Paulo – crowded and cosmopolitan, with numerous options for great entertainment and gastronomy. It felt like a city of freedom, opportunities and where minorities mattered.
When I returned home to Brazil, I started researching coffee and taking courses to learn the art of being a barista, whilst also visiting a number of coffee farms.
In 2007, we moved to London and the city’s takeaway coffee culture really fascinated me – Definitely not something to be found in Brazil!
Learning and developing my skills in speciality coffee re-connected me with my family roots. In 2007, I entered and won the prestigious Brazilian ‘Coffee in Good Spirits’ Barista championship. It was at this time that I realised I could make a difference in the speciality coffee sector, whilst achieving something great in an industry I was truly in love with.
A MEETING OF MINDS
Meeting my Co-Founder, Rob Robinson in 2008, was literally fate. Taking a new route home around Victoria, I stopped at a street market at Strutton Ground to have a coffee from his cart.
Rob and I over a cup of coffee (of course), discussed our love for speciality coffee and the possibility of us becoming partners with the coffee street van.
Following a few years of selling our premium coffee from a cart in London, we were introduced to our partners who had a music shop near Trafalgar Square, and it was from here that Notes Coffee was born. This was closely followed in 2013 by our first Roastery near King’s Cross.
FULFILLING OUR VISION
Today, we continue to grow organically, with 10 prime central London locations, delivering a coffee shop and relaxed wine bar experience, complemented by an artisan food offering. Currently, we are serving over 1.6 million cups of coffee a year.
As a premium, speciality coffee operator, sourcing directly from small farms and co-operatives around the world, we roast our coffee from our Roastery in Canning Town.
We focus on high grade (minimum 84+), seasonal, single origin coffee, small batch roasted so that every delicate and unique flavour is translated in the cup.
2/ Can you tell us about your coffee - what makes coffee beans good quality when looking at the production? How do you select the producers you work with?
To serve premium, speciality, single origin coffee, it has to start with the beans. Our coffee beans are always direct trade, straight from the farmers who take as much care in nurturing their coffee plants as we do in roasting and brewing our beans. We are constantly looking into the impact of buying coffee from specific communities, whilst also ensuring our farmers are paid fairly to be financially sustainable. As we progress with small producers, one of our key missions is to encourage and support producers to invest in organic handling across their estates – so, sourcing coffee morally with high quality farming management, which in turn we know has a huge impact on the entire community.
More recently, we donated $2,500 to pay for water treatment work at the farm of one of our producers.
3/ What is the production process of coffee? How different is it from the supermarket/industrial coffee?
Supermarket focuses on C-Market, which means, it is all about a commodity and the value of the coffee on the market, the coffees available on the mainstream supermarkets are not traceable, the most traceability you get from a coffee found in a supermarket is the country of origin. The commodity coffee has more defects and they come from farmers who are still using a lot of chemical herbicides, glisophate, which is a dangerous chemical for human body and the nature, those farmers who produces coffee for the commodity markets are more interested on the volume of their productions and less on the quality and the environmental impact of their agriculture.
Thank you Fabio!
Learn more about Notes and order their delicious coffee on our groceries eshop.
Discover and shop their full range of their website.