I started working in the coffee industry in 1978, and after periods working in London and Amsterdam, I joined Finlays in 2001.
My role at Finlay Beverages is Coffee Purchasing Manager, which means I am responsible for buying all our green raw coffee from around the world. This involves buying the best quality coffee we can, and developing our essential relationships with exporters and farmers throughout the coffee world, many of whom we’ve known for a number of years. I am also responsible for all our coffee blend development and quality control, so I’m always kept busy!
My job is extremely varied as the coffee market changes every day, and we’re always looking at ways to ensure that all our coffees are of the best quality. Amongst other things this involves travelling to producing countries and actually meeting the farmers and seeing our coffees growing on the trees! I really enjoy not knowing what the day will bring when I walk into the office in the morning, and above all I simply love coffee!!!
I joined Finlays after a year back-packing solo through Latin America. Having spent weeks at a time in the countries Café Express buy their coffee from - and seen first-hand the coffee farmers at work in Guatemala and Colombia - I was fortunate enough to join the team as an assistant coffee buyer on my return home.
The latest addition to the buying team, I work across tea and coffee and get involved in all aspects of the role from buying and tasting to blending, roasting and new product development. I love the variety of the work and the fact that no two days are the same. The perks of the job include tasting tea and coffee from all corners of the globe, and travelling out to origin to meet the producers we buy from. I was lucky enough to visit our own tea plantations in Kenya as part of my induction to Finlays. Watching the green leaf being processed and drinking freshly brewed tea just minutes later was one of my highlights, as was my visit to the coffee cooperative CE use, nestled away in the foothills of Mount Kenya.
I work as the coffee development manager and am responsible for coffee sourcing, quality control and blend development. It’s a wide ranging job and that’s what I love about it. Whether it’s tasting shipment samples, discovering new coffees, talking to coffee growers at origin or developing a new espresso blend, each day is different and varied.
I have been working in coffee for 10 years and it was my love of food, travelling and experiencing different cultures that drew me into the coffee industry. Although 45 million people work in coffee throughout the world, it seems that everyone knows each other and every time I go back to a coffee producing country I am welcomed back as an old friend.
My favourite coffee origin – Nicaragua. Here the coffee cultivation is very traditional and the people live very basic lives but the countryside is beautiful and it’s a wonderful trek to get to the coffee farms of Jinotega.
My favourite coffee experience - Having lunch, drinking homemade fire water and sharing our different cultures with an Indonesian coffee farmer called Solomon in the deepest depths of Aceh in Sumatra. My favourite coffee - A super fresh and juicy Ethiopian Yirgacheffe brewed at home in my Chemex on a quiet Sunday morning with the newspaper and my family.