A Day In The Life Of…

15 Oct 2014
3 min read
John Quilter is the Food Busker on Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube and London Live’s Food Junkies. In his day job as chief creative officer and co-founder of new coffee start-up CRU Kafe he brings his two passions together.

I travel a lot and have recently visited our roaster in Italy, where I’ve been overseeing the roasting of our latest blend, the Intense, our strongest blend to date.I’ve found one of the world’s few fair trade and organic Robusta beans which has quite a kick.This is quite difficult to find, believe it or not.99% of Robusta beans do not have both accreditations and most Robusta isn’t that good as it’s used to bulk out blends.But this one is more like the Arabica bean in terms of quality and flavour – it tastes great in the Intense blend.Roasting is probably my favorite part of the job, I get to oversea the whole process from the delivery of the green beans to encapsulation of the coffee.Pod coffee is so exciting because it’s the most convenient way to get a restaurant quality coffee at home.40% of Michelin-starred restaurants now use Nespresso machines to make their customers coffee. This, for me, is exciting because having a fantastic quality espresso at home means you can cook with it.


I’mstraight in to our broker in Farringdon to “cup” coffee.Our other blends only have Arabica beans in them and I spend hours cupping the very best specialty coffee beans from around the world. We taste the beans as single origin, building up an idea of their individual characteristics and then blend these coffees together to achieve specific blends. Cupping is like wine tasting and it’s a truly amazing process – you get to understand the world through coffee after a while. We only buy organic and fair trade coffee which narrows down, quite significantly, our options. We also only buy the best high altitude Arabica beans that are considered specialty grade. Specialty means the best in the world basically. Buying only the best beans means we have to work a little harder to find them but it’s so worth it. The coffee tastes better and we’re supporting our producer’s sustainable and ethical work practices.


Then it’s off to a photo shoot for our latest bunch of coffee recipes. Because the pod makes a great coffee at home I decided to start putting it in dishes. I spend days developing new food and drink recipes with CRU coffee at their heart. I love this part of the job because I get to use my other hat as a chef and the recipes get such a great reaction from our customers. CRU is very much a social media-savvy “community approach” business. We seek to interact with our customers / community in a far more rewarding manner. Connecting our community to the product they love and giving them various delicious alternative ways to enjoy our coffee means adding tones of value to our product and our customer’s experience. Recipes so far have included espresso martinis (Crutini’s), coffee chocolate truffles and bacon and coffee baked beans. I’ve also developed a Christmas Irish Whisky blend that goes into Harrods in November. We produce short videos, GIFs and photos to go with the recipes, making it easy for our customers to recreate and share these dishes. This unique approach is great because it promotes interaction between my customers and me. It connects me to who I’m creating and selling the coffee to.


Finally it’s back to the office to check in with the guys, actually mostly girls!CRU goes into every SOHO House hotel room in the UK this month along with launching in Harrods on the 14th, so we’re busy getting ready.


Then usually, at the end of the day, I’m off to the Electric in Notting Hill for a few Espresso Martinis with my fellow founders Colin and Bodil.