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1: You’ve got 100 words to describe your job, go.

I look after our tea and infusions supply chains: from the point of materials arriving at Ringtons back through each supply chain. This incorporates food safety and food quality ensuring our teas and infusions are safe for consumption, and ethical and sustainability considerations which ensures we source our materials responsibly, for both people and planet.

2: What do you love most about working in the tea industry?

I love how many people drink tea (and how frequently people drink tea), and therefore how people like to engage in conversation about the origins of a cuppa, what constitutes a good cuppa, a bad cuppa and ultimately how it impacts people’s lives all over the world.

3: What’s the question people ask you most about your job?

People want to know where we buy our teas from and why we buy the teas we do. People are often surprised by how much is involved in a cup of Ringtons tea and tea in general – it’s great that I get to engage in these conversations on a daily basis.

4: What’s the biggest challenges faced when sourcing?

Like many other agricultural crops around the globe, I would say that the biggest sourcing challenge we face is climate change. Deviation from normal climatic conditions, including changes to temperature and rainfall, affects agriculture and those people whose livelihoods depend on it. Tea production requires stable temperatures and regular rainfall. Increased temperatures and decreased rainfall can result in reduced leaf quality. In recent times extreme weather events have hit tea growing origins, such as Cyclone Idai that affected Malawi and Mozambique, as well as Zimbabwe.

The Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP) – a not for profit membership organisation, of which Ringtons are members – works to improve tea sustainability, the lives and livelihoods of tea workers and smallholder farmers, and the environment in which tea is produced. The ETP are working with the tea sector to assist understanding of the implications of climate change and to maintain production in the face of changing weather patterns and growing conditions – which in turn helps us to source sustainably and conscientiously.

5: You’ve recently been on your first trip to visit some of Ringtons’ suppliers, how did you find it?

It was my first time to India and the trip was a whirlwind from start to finish! We did so much in the time that we were there: I was in Kolkata, then Assam and finally Darjeeling. Given the relative proximity of Assam and Darjeeling, both located in West Bengal, there is a great contrast between the two tea growing regions. Assam is hot and humid, and the bushes flush a vibrant green on relatively level plains surrounding the Brahmaputra River. Darjeeling (in March at least) is cooler, and being in the foothills of the Himalayas the scenery is spectacular, with tea bushes gripping to the sides of mountains. The contrast between the two origins was inspiring, and showcases just how variable the tea industry is.

6: Finally, if you’re not drinking tea, what are you drinking? 

I drink Ringtons Gold through the day and Pale Ale by night – always sourced locally!

Recently, we partnered with our friends La Cimbali at the European Coffee Expo supplying them with an exclusive coffee to serve at the show. We managed to grab five minutes and chat shop with Dan to find out about what’s next for La Cimbali and how baristas can come into their own.

 

You’ve got 50 words to describe La Cimbali, go.

La Cimbali is a family owned and managed business with a brand heritage that dates back over 100 years. There’s incredible knowledge within the team that fuels a real passion for coffee and helps shape the technology which is focused on minimising any margin for error whilst making the role of the barista hassle free.

 

What are you loving in the coffee industry at the moment?

There is a real buzz in the industry and I am loving the ‘can do’ attitude that we are seeing from the groups that are looking to upscale their coffee offer with speciality blends to match what’s on offer from the independents.

There are some amazing, creative barista teams brewing up excellent coffees. Whether using traditional machines or experimenting with pour overs or cold brew, some operators are going to great lengths to really enhance the whole coffee experience much to their advantage. This extends to embracing Cimbali technology as a fail-safe way to deliver the quality that is needed to remain competitive.

 

What’s getting on your nerves?

Maybe a couple of things…

1: Incorrectly specified equipment which just leads to disappointment. A traditional machine is never going to be the best option in a high-volume application with inexperienced staff and we urge all operators who are looking to buy to call in a machine specialist before making a commitment to avoid costly mistakes.

2: A high volume of machine breakdowns is caused by poorly maintained equipment. It’s a bit like a car. If you forget to put oil in it then at some point it will let you down. It’s just the same with a coffee machine if it’s not looked after according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

So, make sure you negotiate a service agreement on purchase and invest some time maintaining what is probably your greatest profit generator between services to avoid down time.

 

What’s your top five tips for baristas?

1: Invest in regular staff training so there is always a competent barista available to cover staff absences and holidays.

2: Develop and implement a programme for regular end of day cleaning and machine servicing.

3: Building a dialogue with customers is a great way to create loyalty and grow repeat business. Encourage your barista team to interact with customers and SMILE!

4: Many Cimbali machines come with Turbosteam Milk 4 which creates perfectly foamed milk every time. Investing in this technology gives the barista the confidence to experiment with latte art which is essential for milk-based coffees.

5: Take pride in delivering quality drinks, it’s the attention to detail such as making sure the milk jug is clean and that cups are warmed that makes all the difference to the finished drink.

 

So, what’s the next big thing for La Cimbali?

Our design team are always working on next generation machines and with every new launch there’s a whole pipeline of new technology in development. There is so much scope in terms of new materials with advanced capabilities and innovative technologies that take automation to the next level and we will have to wait and see what’s in store in terms of new product launches for 2020. For the moment, my lips are sealed.

It’s #worldenvironmentday and we’ve been chatting to some of the businesses we work with about ways to reduce, recycle and be a bit more considerate to our planet – and you had some great ideas, hints and tips! Here’s a couple:

1: Store correctly

By storing tea and coffee correctly you can keep your ingredients fresher for longer, avoiding unnecessary waste. Once opened, store your tea and coffee in an airtight container to keep it as fresh as possible. Keep your tea and coffee away from heat, storing it in a cool dry place.

TIP: If you bulk buy, when storing your products check the best before date and bring those going out of date earlier to the forefront to use first.

 

2: Buy biodegradable and compostable cups

Think about sustainability and buy disposables that can be recycled or will biodegrade naturally over time helping to reduce the plastics we leave behind.

View our collection here: https://www.ringtons.co.uk/wholesale-c75/serving-supplies-c149/on-the-go-t201

 

3: Collect coffee grounds for composting 

Spent coffee grounds provide nutrients which can be used effectively in gardening to create compost. A number of our clients offer their customers and staff spent grounds to take home with them so why not set up your own scheme?

 

4: Offer variety

According to recent scientific studies, the product of plant-based milk is lower in greenhouse gas emissions than dairy milk. Try offering alternatives– oat, almond, soy and coconut milk are great! You can even create season specials to tempt your customers to switch.

 

Trust us, one of the secrets to making a great cup of coffee is a clean machine.

It makes a huge difference to the taste of your coffee and taking the time to care for your machine will preserve its life and reduce breakdowns. Not only this, but consumers have high expectations when it comes to service and are more educated than ever about coffee. Don’t lose out on sales and follow our simple hints and tips for looking after your espresso machine

What got you into coffee?

Years in the hospitality trade focusing on beverages and flavour profiling whilst living on a diet of espresso. It was only natural that at some point I headed into the trade itself.

 

Favourite Ringtons coffee?

Colombian bean, it’s smooth and fruity whilst retaining richness and a subtle sweetness.

 

What’s your go-to brewing method?

In the morning I love a pour over (V60) espresso. A flat white will forever be my go-to milk drink.

 

What are your top five tips for baristas?  

  1. Invest in a top-quality grinder. Getting the right grind is an essential part of producing a quality cup. A mediocre grinder could be contributing to an over or under extracted coffee.

 

  1. Freshly grind coffee beans JUST before brewing – it will result in a 75% more desirable aromas with better flavour compounds presenting in cup. Use an on-demand grinder wherever possible.

 

  1. Clean machines produce clean tasting cups of coffee. Machines should be cleaned with a specialist espresso cleaning powder and backflushed every day. At a busy site machines can be backflushed without chemical during service.

 

  1. Learn to tamp consistently. Distribute your coffee as evenly as possible in the brew basket before applying pressure, tamp with a lean, not a press.

 

  1. Put your cups the right way up on your cup warmer! You want the bottom of the up to be warm, not the lip. It’s one of the most frustrating things you see in venues.

 

If you’re not drinking coffee what are you drinking?

Well, with a long career in hospitality, specialising in beverages, that’s a difficult question! I like to keep an eye on new products and producers coming through whether in the craft beer scene or the world of gin. I enjoy a good whisky and wine is life itself.

 

What’s the biggest thing in coffee right now?

Cold brew is the obvious answer but from an origin perspective there’s a lot of good work happening in Peru which is showing signs of a promising new crop.

 

What’s the next big trend?

I’m really keen on innovative coffee processing methods, like carbonic maceration and fermenting coffee in different fruit juices – there’s lot of interesting techniques being explored at the moment.

 

Keep in the know with Ringtons coffee and subscribe to our mailing list today.

 


It’s a hard job when you get to travel up and down the country sampling some of the best places for brunch with a cup of Ringtons on the side. Here’s our April shout outs:

Five Houses, Yarm

Five houses isn’t your average brunch stop off, it’s a gorgeous farm shop, deli and kitchen. It’s the perfect destination for foodies with plenty of goodies to enjoy.

Find out more: www.fivehouses.co.uk/index.html

Five Houses Farm, Crathorne , TS15 0AY

The Factory Kitchen, Newcastle upon Tyne

Located in the Biscuit Factory, a beautiful and airy art gallery on the cusp of Ouseburn, The Factory Kitchen offers the perfect place to start a Saturday morning in style.

Find out more: www.thebiscuitfactory.com/pages/the-factory-kitchen-cafe

The Biscuit Factory, Stoddart Street, NE2 1AN

The Chapterhouse Café, Bothell

You can’t ask for more than great staff, great food and great tea and coffee. Chapterhouse is gem, after brunch we urge you to treat yourself to one of their many cakes – you wont regret it!

Find out more: www.thechapterhousecafebothwell.com

54 Main St, Bothwell, Glasgow G71 8EX


The Rooftop Café, Dixons Department store

If you’re out and about shopping in Whitehaven, The Roofstop Café is the perfect destination to stop off, relax and enjoy a spot of Brunch.

Find out more: https://www.facebook.com/DixonsRooftopcafe/

10 Lowther St, Whitehaven CA28 7AL

 

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