Coinciding with The London Coffee Festival (3-6 April) we discover how a traditional Austrian coffee brand finds its way into the cups of a new market.
I usually wake up around 7-7:30am. The first thing that I do every morning is to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee. The aroma entices me, wakes me up and fills me with spirit and enthusiasm for the day. I simply can’t function without it; something that I imagine comes from my childhood in Naples where coffee was an essential part of daily life and one that encapsulates the cultural values of Italy. Enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning reminds me of my upbringing, my beautiful home and reignites my passion every day to spread the joy and delight of coffee drinking across the UK. And so I am fuelled with purpose each morning.
Naturally, a lot of my daily coffee routine is also to help expand my knowledge within the industry. An important part of the day comes in trying new blends, including coffee selections from other roasters. I like to experience as many new products as possible to get a real flavour of the market and assess how the industry is developing both in terms of taste and production.
The start of my working day is as regular as many people’s daily routines. I get the train and arrive in our offices in London’s Leathermarket on Weston Street at around 9am and make sure the business is in good shape, checking finances and doing all those mundane administration jobs that keep agencies running like clockwork. As we have just set up our offices in London, I am currently sparing half an hour each day to decorating it. At the moment, I am building a collage of Julius Meinl mentions from the press, which will eventually be put on the wall to demonstrate the evolution of our journey in the UK.
At around 10am I usually meet with prospective clients to share a coffee and entice them to the brand, showing them – only if I truly believe it – how Julius Meinl coffee could be the perfect fit for their bars, hotels and restaurants. Either that or I am visiting existing customers to conduct quality checks, provide training and offer information about our newest products. Building strong relationships in any industry is essential in sustaining a healthy working partnership and none are more prevalent than the coffee industry. It is essential for me to feel satisfied that all new and existing partners believe in our product and so I try on a daily basis to entice people to our coffee, Julius Meinl’s heritage and why it is the right brand for them. It is particularly vital that we recommend the best approach and most suitable products to each individual customer as each is looking to offer a unique experience. This is something I try to accommodate on a daily basis as I wish for all customers that have shown faith in us to be satisfied with our partnership and our coffee.
Unquestionably, the best part of the day is watching people react with gratification, as they taste the coffee in front of me, especially when customers tell excitedly of increases in sales and quality. On these occasions, I am reminded how lucky I am to be involved with something I love, and that I am also able to earn a living from. In those moments, life truly is a thing of immense beauty.
From around 3pm onwards, after negotiating London traffic, I return to the office to speak with potential distributors across the country, targeting different regions to try and expand the message of Julius Meinl in the UK. This usually extends to having initial conversations with prospective business partners and customers. For this, we only outreach to establishments that we know will truly benefit from the premium experience our coffee provides. When we speak, I tell them about the unique essence of Julius Meinl, inform them of our cultural heritage as the first professional roasters in Europe, our rich blends dating back to our traditional 1862 blend and our ties to art and poetry. I tell them of our distinctive packaging that is sealed air tight immediately after roasting to preserve and maximise flavour, our sustainability and our exclusive drinking vessels. Ultimately, I attempt to guide every new person I speak to about Julius Meinl coffee to convey what it really stands for: that coffee isn’t meant to be something that simply helps people stay awake; that it is something everyone should take time to enjoy, to be inspired by and ignite a unique journey. I am a strong believer and supporter of the coffee house culture typified in Vienna and I like to take my time drinking every cup, to experience the full intensity and pleasure in every way possible. That is how everyone should enjoy their coffee.
By the time I have spread this message and it’s somewhere around 6pm – needless to say – it’s time for another cup of coffee. Tomorrow is another day and with any luck, it will be another day of helping new customers, pleasing existing ones and extending our message for the British public and the world to once again enjoy coffee as it is meant to be enjoyed.