A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Cafeology's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Cafeology is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Founders Bryan Unkles and
Andy McClatchey
Branding is crucial for a
quality coffee offer
With a focus on quality and ethical sourcing, Cafeology
provide both equipment and ingredients to the out-
of-home market. Originally established in 2003, 80
per cent of their products are Fairtrade certified, and the rest are
purchased through the direct relationships that they have built
up with their suppliers. Beyond merely selling their products,
they endeavour to show the entire process, from growing the
coffee in Latin America to its sale in the UK. Bryan Unkles co-
founded the company and explains how they have grown and
what they have in store for the future.
We established the business in 2003 with a central focus on ethically sourced
products, and originally we were an entirely Fairtrade business. Having previously
worked in the industry for an Italian company, I was able to use my expertise to
help formally launch the business in 2004. As we have grown, we have developed
direct relationships with our coffee suppliers, some of whom are not Fairtrade
certified, but around 80 per cent of our products remain Fairtrade.
The business is roughly split in two: providing equipment sourced from Italy and
ingredients sourced primarily from Latin America. We are committed to the quality
of each of these product areas, and it is essential for the ingredients to mirror the
standard of the equipment to achieve the best result. We source the majority of
our coffee from Colombia, around 70 per cent, but we also work with farmers in El
Salvador, Costa Rica and Honduras. We have developed these relationships over a
number of years, gaining trust and consistency with our suppliers.
»Founders: Bryan Unkles and
Andy McClatchey
»Established in 2003
»Based in Sheffield
»Services: Out-of-home coffee
»No. of employees: 16
Highlighting best practice
In order to gain these contacts, I
first visited Colombia 11 years ago.
Searching for a direct producer
partnership, I visited different farms.
I soon found Asoapia, a farm I really
liked with a great story, great-quality
produce and Fairtrade certification.
We committed to our first container
of coffee and have been working with
them ever since. Over this time, we
have built up a strong relationship.
To mark our ten-year anniversary, we
are paying for Francisco, our coffee
producer, to visit the UK and see how
his coffee is being marketed, as we are
the sole company to sell his coffee in
the country.
Developing our brand
When we started the business, we
imported coffee from the Italian
company that I had previously
worked for and used their roastery in
Groningen. As we were developing
our provision and looking to expand
into different channels, we felt we
were being held back by selling
somebody else’s brand, as well as
challenges with exchange rates. In
response to this, we developed a
brand for the out-of-home market.
Sheffield College was our first
account, and we achieved a major
breakthrough in 2006 when we
began to supply a large pub group
with sites across Britain. Initially, this
quantity was tough, but we adapted.
As we became more established, we
also took on one of the UK’s largest
contract caterers. In the last four
or five years, our growth has really
The strength of our business is based
on these direct relationships. We have
a very strong focus on people. Having
left school at 16, I left my hometown
of Sheffield to work on a building
site, living in a bedsit in the Midlands,
which taught me central values and
the importance of a strong work
ethic. We strive to drive the business
forward for the benefit of all our staff
and those we work with, from those
who grow the coffee to those who
deliver it. Presenting the story of our
products is also crucial, and we seek to
document the entire process from farm
to cup.
We are committed to sustainability and
have won a few awards in this area.
This includes the Guardian Sustainable
Business Award, and we were runner-
up in the European Business Awards
for the Environment in 2016/17.
Bryan working on the
African Drying Beds in
Costa Rica
Our principal producer
Francisco Herrera with
Bryan in Apia, Colombia
The strength
of our
business is
based on
these direct
The out-of-home market
As we are an independently owned
business with little presence on the
high street, we possess advantages
over other, similar companies.
Supplying Virgin Atlantic, for example,
is something that we are very well
placed to do. We are happy for our
bigger competitors, such as Costa and
Starbucks, to battle for control of the
high street, as we want to focus on our
ethical standards and the quality of our
product. Many companies like ours have
been acquired by bigger companies,
Coca-Cola buying Costa for instance,
and this presents challenges. As part
of a much larger organisation, these
businesses are able to access far more
disposable income, whereas we have
to adopt a more targeted approach.
Brexit may well affect us, but, instead
of dwelling on the negatives, we are
searching for the positives. The major
issue we will face will be importing
our coffee. Although the source
is outside of Europe, it still usually
requires clearance in Germany or the
Netherlands; if this has to be repeated
again at Dover, it will significantly
slow down our process. Additionally,
our hot chocolate is manufactured in
Germany, so our supply chain is liable
to post-Brexit complications.
Continuing our growth
The university sector is very important
to us, and we are targeting this area
for further expansion. We already work
with a number of leading universities
throughout the country and feel that
this sector can be developed further,
as we want to share the journey and
ethics behind our coffees. Beyond
the commercial aspect, we are also
committed to showing the story of
our process to these students; when
Francisco comes to visit, they will have
the opportunity to meet the person
responsible for growing the coffee
they drink.
Momentum is with us, but we remain
grounded. It is not our desire to become
the biggest but simply to be the best.
Central to this is supporting our staff,
and the whole Cafeology family, and
we strive to be a very inclusive business.
We are looking to innovate and keep
our ideas fresh. If we achieve this, I
anticipate we will match our growth
this year. We believe our greatest asset
is our team and our producer partners
in the field: putting people first is our
absolute priority. Having achieved
ISO 9001:2015 accreditation, we are
confident that we can manage any size
of client. We have also started roasting
our own coffee, something we began
two and a half years ago. This has
completed the process, and we can
now tell the entire story of production
from farm to cup.
Momentum is
with us, but
we remain
A patio in El Salvador
showing the natural
drying process
Our brand new Eco-
Roastery in Sheffield

This article was sponsored by Cafeology. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster