1st
Sep
2014

Posted in Kafevend Blog

Anyone who has been watching their telly recently may well have come across a particularly striking advert released by Kenco. As part of their coffee vs gangs project, the advert shows the choices open to a young man living in Honduras, currently one of the most violent places to live in the world, and depicts the decision he must take, either joining a gang or working on a coffee farm. The project is taking twenty such individuals from troubled areas in Honduras and giving them the chance of a new life.  This includes training in growing coffee, managing their own business, basic skills such as numeracy and literacy, along with a place to live. The cynical amongst us may well cry publicity stunt, but ultimately any attempt to help people and bring their story to the wider world is better than no attempt at all.

The Kenco Coffee Company was originally the Kenya Coffee Company, started almost a century ago in 1923 by a group of retired Kenyan coffee growers in London. At first, their business mainly revolved around selecting and selling roast and ground coffee to country houses, though they were also able to sell coffee in London itself. As demand grew, they upped sticks and resettled on a new site in Sloane Street. The company expanded again as it joined forces with Gardiner, the business next door, after WW2. Gardiner bought the Kenya Coffee Company and opened 11 coffee shops throughout London. By the 1960s business in the retail chain was booming. At the same time, the name was changed to the Kenco Coffee Company, reflecting the growing number of countries they were buying coffee from, not just Kenya.

These days, alongside their new coffee vs gangs project, Kenco have also taken on other ethical business practices. For example, all of the beans they use in their freeze dried range come from Rainforest alliance certified farms, which helps to support sustainable and ecologically minded farming practices- a good example of this would be shade grown coffee, which we've looked at before. It also works to support the growers themselves- higher prices for coffee means more money going towards the programmes across the globe that are helping to provide the basic amenities for life that we take for granted.

If you're looking for a higher quality instant coffee, Kenco have got you covered there as well. One option is Millicano- alternatively, you might like to try their Costa Rican or Colombian single origin instants. We can certainly recommend the latter, as the balanced and fruity flavour advertised on the jar does come through as a pleasing mellow taste. However, we would like to know where the no longer available Peruvian and Brazilian ones have gone!

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