Posted in Kafevend Blog

1.Where did the founder of illy, Francesco Illy, come from?


A-Hungary: Francesco Illy was born in 1892 in Temsevár, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After studying economics and working in Vienna, he was conscripted in 1914 and fought throughout the war. Afterwards he went to stay with his sister in Trieste, Italy, and there he remained after getting married. He began to work with companies engaged in coffee roasting and soon devised a method to preserve roasted coffee during transport. In 1933 Francesco created his own company, Illycaffè. Still run by the family to this day, it's now in the hands of his grandson Andrea.


2.Which company was the first to sell fairtrade coffee in the UK?


C-Cafédirect: In 1989, the International Coffee Agreement failed when it was not renewed. The ICA controlled the prices of coffee between producing and consuming countries. Whilst the price wasn't much, it was more than the paltry 49 cents per pound that the price of coffee had dropped to by 1992, devastating the livelihoods of many coffee growers. Three communities in Peru, Costa Rica and Mexico each shipped a single container of coffee to the UK where the beans were roasted and sold in places like church halls and charity shops. Out of this venture rose Cafédirect, a company dedicated to continuing to sell coffee bought at a fair price from the growers. From the beginning it has marketed 100% fairtrade coffee, and has since added tea and cocoa to its list.


3.What colour is the seal on the Douwe Egberts label?


B-Red: Douwe Egberts began in 1753 in the Netherlands. Founded by Egbert Douwes in the town of Joure, it was originally a grocery store named The White Ox. Over time it began to specialise in tea, tobacco and coffee. The company changed its name to Douwe Egberts after the name of Douwes' son. The red seal was introduced in 1925 initially on the packaging of some of its tobacco, but it soon became a recognised symbol across the brand as a whole.


4.In which country did brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa found Costa coffee?


D-Britain: The Costa family moved to London in the 1960s. A few years later in '71, Sergio and Bruno began roasting coffee, initially selling it to local caterers. By '78, they had opened the first Costa coffee store on Vauxhall Bridge Road. Since then Costa coffee has gone on to open just over 3,000 stores, around a third of which can be found in other countries around the world. Costa is now the biggest coffee shop chain in Britain.


5.What is the main ingredient in Camp Coffee?


B-Chicory: Although Camp Coffee does contain a little coffee essence, the main flavouring comes from chicory. The leaves and buds of the plant can be eaten, but it is predominantly the root that gets used and has served as a coffee substitute for centuries. Chicory coffee still remains popular in New Orleans following a siege there two centuries ago which saw the residents turn to chicory due to blockades! Camp Coffee itself was first introduced to Britain in 1876 as a substitute for soldiers abroad. It rose in popularity at home during WW2 and still retains a cult following to this day.


6.In the early days, how did Kenco sell most of their coffee?


A-Mail order: Kenco began in 1923 when a group of retired white Kenyan coffee growers founded the Kenya Coffee Company, bringing coffee from Kenya to sell in Britain. Operating out of a shop on Vere Street in London, the majority of their sales were to country houses placing mail orders after seeing the advertisements in m

magazines. Business grew over the years and the company was bought by John Gardiner, a food merchant, whose employee Tom Kelly greatly expanded the brand. By the 1960s, the company's name was changed to Kenco Coffee as they had begun to buy coffee from other countries too.


7.In which city was Lavazza founded?


B-Turin: Lavazza was established in 1895 by Luigi Lavazza, based in a grocery store on Via San Tommaso. The site is still owned by Lavazza and is now a restaurant in the city. Like illy, Lavazza is a family owned business with Luigi's great grandson Alberto currently serving as the company's president. Lavazza is a big name in its country of origin, with almost 50% of the market share in Italy- it isn't doing too badly on a global scale either, weighing in as the 7th largest coffee roaster in the world.


8.Where did the name Maxwell House come from?


D-A hotel: As the story goes, the origin of Maxwell House coffee dates back to 1884, when entrepreneurs Joel Cheek and Roger Smith met after moving to Nashville and started working together to create a new blend of coffee. In 1892, Cheek made a free gift of 20 pounds of this coffee to Maxwell House Hotel. When the coffee ran out after a few days and the hotel switched back to their regular supply there were complaints from the patrons. Shortly afterwards the hotel started buying the new blend from Cheek and Smith, who no doubt recouped the cost of the first 20 pounds fairly quickly!

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