Thursday, 21 June 2018

UNITED KINGDOM: British Airways Now Serving Union Coffee

Coffee might be the drink of choice of metropolitan elites, with small fortunes spent on lattes, flat whites and esoteric roasts, yet the filter coffee served on airlines has seldom kept up with the soaring quality of speciality coffees over the last decade.

British Airways is set to change this with the introduction of Union hand roasted coffee served in First, Club World and BA lounges.

First class passengers can select from a range of coffee options including latte, cappuccino, filter coffee or espresso, while Club World passengers get Union’s filter coffee.

Passengers flying in economy will miss out on the Union experience, but passengers able to gain access to British Airways’s lounges can enjoy Union coffee there.

London-based ethical roaster Union Coffee is known for its quality, flavour and consistency among connoisseurs.

From a modest start Union’s success now amounts to more than a hill of beans, with revenues in 2017 of more than £12.5 million, making it one of the UK’s largest speciality coffee roasters.

But it’s Union’s great taste and ability to deliver consistent quality that has singled it out as the coffee of choice on British Airways.

Founder Jeremy Torz said We’re delighted that British Airways is looking to bring a fantastic coffee experience to its Club World and First passengers.

On our part, it’s tremendously exciting to be working with one of the world’s most trusted and prestigious brands.

Harsh bitter flavours on the palate are exacerbated by altitude, and so getting a coffee blend that works well in an aircraft’s low pressure cabin is challenge.

Union has developed a blend that, the company claims, works well at 35,000ft.

The medium roast blend of Peruvian beans has espresso-tasting notes of chocolate, pecan, and caramel, which British Airways say will complement dishes served on board, such as the chocolate dElice or warm bread and butter pudding.

Sarah Klatt-Walsh, British Airways’ Head of Product, said We have put British brand, Union Coffee, through its paces with extensive taste testing and it works incredibly well at altitude, where richness, depth and complexity of flavour are critical as they cut through the affect of altitude on our taste buds.

We believe it’ll be a real winner with customers made all the sweeter thanks to its responsible sourcing and British credentials, in line with our own.

The upgrade in coffee is part of British Airways’s current £4.5 billion investment over the next few years that will usher in improvements in long-haul economy cabin catering, new seats, wifi and power at every seat, new interiors and 72 new aircraft.

Union Hand-Roasted Coffee formerly Union Coffee Roasters is a privately owned British coffee roasting business based in East London, United Kingdom.

The company was founded in 2001 by Jeremy Torz and Steven Macatonia. They source, roast, brew, teach, and celebrate specialty coffee.

Coffee House says the company effectively bridges the definitions of independent and mainstream as they work according to craft principles, but also sell their products in supermarkets.

Jeremy Torz and Stephen Macatonia from the UK initially learnt about coffee in San Francisco during the early 1990s when they worked at Peets Coffee.

They found the Californian city to have a buzzing coffee scene, which was a stark contrast to the local coffee scene in the UK, which was at that time next to non-existent.

Before starting the business, Torz was an optician while Macatonia worked as an immunologist.

Both of them however were inspired by the coffee roasting scene, and though they originally intended to stay in the United States for six months, they remained there for four years.

During the four years they learned much about the local coffee community, and the skill of coffee roasting and production.

They returned to the UK in 1994 and decided to leave their day jobs and start a small coffee roasting business, Torz and Macatonia, taking the surnames of Jeremy and Steven respectively. Due to their lack of experience in the retail sector, they started a wholesale company.

In 1995, they became the main supplier for The Seattle Coffee Company, the first major coffee shop chain in the UK.

Torz and Macatonia eventually merged with The Seattle Coffee Company in 1997 which was then acquired by Starbucks in 1998.

After some time Jeremy and Steven left in 2000. In 2001, they founded private company Union Coffee Roasters and in 2007, it was re-branded to Union Hand-Roasted Coffee.

By 2005 the company was producing 11 different lines, four of which were special editions and seven of which were for sale in Sainsbury's, Asda, the Co-op and Somerfield.

In 2015 Union refreshed their brand to help share the joy of good coffee. As part of this they created a new company logo, revamped and rationalised their coffee range for Waitrose and Ocado and launched a new coffee subscription service known as CoffeeClub.

Union Coffee supplies wholesale specialty coffee and barista training Gail's Artisan Bakery, Brasserie Blanc and Peach Pubs.

Tourism Observer

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