Who Loves Coffee? Jones Brothers Coffee Amsterdam do. If you think about it, there are very few people that do not like tea and coffee. Yes, there are many people that have a preference for one or the other, but not liking both? That is rare. If had to chose between the two drinks, it seems to me that coffee is the hands down winner. A great cup of coffee can improve pretty much any day. It picks you up and warms you up. It is the perfect pause or a great social moment with friends. I think in many ways that Starbucks and other mass market coffee stops have really created a bigger coffee drinking public and a wider interest in the drink. Then an increasing large section of the public became more interested in coffee and more discerning in their tastes.
With that in mind, I wanted to learn more about this drink and how trends are changing in the supply. There are real stories to be told about where it all comes from and how our choices can affect the lives of people on coffee farms across the globe. Then there are stories about how it is prepared and served. For these stories, I needed to find a coffee purist and aficionado and so I went to see Richard Jones, the founder of Jones Brothers Coffee based in Amsterdam. Richard knows more than most people about coffee having been in the industry for over 15 years. He kindly took time to answer our questions.
q1. Richard, so tell us, how did a proud Welshman end up starting Jones Brothers Coffee Amsterdam? What was your path to the pretty city?
Well, I describe it as a series of happy accidents. I started my first coffee company in Dubai in 2004, which became pretty big and successful. But by 2013 I was looking for a new adventure in coffee and perhaps a route back to Europe. I was invited to come and take a look at the coffee ‘scene’ in Amsterdam in 2012 and cycling around the city on a sunny spring day pretty much persuaded me to find a way here. Wow, I was in love!
I started the business and making coffee here in late 2013 and landed our first coffees on the shelf at Jumbo stores. Thinking maybe I had a business for real, I moved my family here in early 2015. One of the best decisions of my life. I feel like I have been here at exactly the right time in terms of the development of coffee over the last 7 years.
q2. Tell us more about your company. What are the big drivers that motivate you?
I have always felt blessed to be in the coffee industry. It’s quite a privilege to me. Coffee is such a connecting force and means so much to so many people around the world. Not just those who get to enjoy it as a beautiful drink, but all those that depend on it too. I wanted to create something with Jones Brothers Coffee that in part gave more people access to better coffee and also in part to ‘talk’ to them about coffee in a pretty normal way. Big brands have this sort of made up, tailored approach to communicating with us as consumers; and very small independents find it hard to really get across their expertise and passion in an easy to consume way.
I wanted to make sure we tried to educate people a bit more about coffee itself, its history, its journey from the crop to the cup and how we can all do something more to support what is quite a fragile industry in many parts of the world. We want to create a brand with a purpose and delicious tasting coffee. I have no difficulty getting out of bed in the mornings to come to work – coffee remains a highly motivating way of life for me.
q3. How do coffee lovers get your coffee?
We’re trying to make ourselves available in as many places as possible. Online is the easiest way through our website www.jonesbrotherscoffee.com – with an easy to order and quick delivery system. Then you can find us on the shelves of nearly 700 stores from Jumbo, DEEN and Coop and most recently we launched on PICNIC across the country as well. So, pretty much everywhere you look we hope you will find a Jones Brothers Coffee. We also export to a few countries and have distribution partners in the USA, Cyprus, Hungary and Switzerland. We hope for more.
q4. How do you see the coffee scene evolving in the coming years?
I think the trends in coffee will continue to move in line with what we have been seeing in the last 5 years and will continue to reflect wider societal concerns. Single serve coffee systems will continue to grow and move beyond the city environments to more households. Quality and choice will continue to rise in this area.
I also see a polarising effect where the plastic alternatives will come under pressure and most capsules will become with aluminium or compostable. This is why we wanted to upgrade our capsules to plant-based compostable materials, away from plastic and not choosing aluminium, as this is almost as bad for the environment in fact. More players, more choice and better quality in terms of coffees and materials is what will happen here.
In general terms, a tendency towards more transparency in the coffee chain will also continue. It is also becoming a demand from more and more consumers to understand the source of the products they consume and if this has happened in an ethical way. And while the coffee market continues to be dominated by big corporates, their lack of transparency and suppression of global commodity pricing forcing 70% of coffee farmers to live below subsistence, will continue to drive more consumers towards small independents like ours. We aim to pay not only fair prices, but fundamentally higher prices for higher quality coffees from farmers we get to know and support. It’s a continuing journey in this respect.
q5. What is next for Jones Brothers Coffee Amsterdam? What are you focussing on for the future?
Surviving the current situation is a very short term goal, to be honest. We continue to focus on building an audience for our coffees and our brand for longer term health and beyond the borders of The Netherlands. Also, we will continue to seek more partnerships in the supply chain to make it leaner and fairer for the farmers we can work with so that not only can we make a bigger impact by growing, but we can also bring confidence to our customers that we are doing things in the right way. We will continue to develop our knowledge and capability in roasting so that we really can do justice to all the green beans we source from around the world.
Q6. …so what’s your favourite origin of coffee and how do you like to drink it?
Overall for me, Ethiopia represents the best that the coffee bean can offer. The arabica coffee tree is native to Ethiopia, so it all started here. It is also the first origin that I really started to understand from a taste perspective. It transformed my idea as to what coffee really is and what it is capable of delivering to us. Especially in terms of flavour differences and nuances. This fascination keeps me addicted to the coffee world. And I like to drink it quite pure, so Espresso for me is the only way to really appreciate and understand coffee.
Thankyou Richard for all these insights into the world of coffee. Also, all the ways you run your coffee business in Amsterdam.
Lastly, here is a blog article we wrote with Richard Jones from Jones Brothers Coffee
Contact details – read more about Jones Brothers Coffee Amsterdam:
Website: Jones Brothers Coffee
Tel: 020 723 88 88