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FCB specifies Drury Tea and coffee for its artisan coffee bars

14 July 2014

Waging war on bland and ‘formulaic’ chain brand coffee shops is Barny Clevely. Already a successful coffee entrepreneur with his DP coffee cart business, he is now focusing his attention on developing his new and individual brand of coffee shops, The Flying Coffee Bean (FCB).

For over 20 years, Barny has purchased his tea and coffee from The Drury Tea & Coffee Company, so it comes as no surprise that he is using them again in the new venture. FCB already has six coffee bars, each situated at rail terminals in the south east of England. The number is set to double this year as he rebrands six existing DP sites as FCB Artisan Coffee Bars.

The latest opening is at Denmark Hill station in south London. Here, the old ticket hall has been transformed using new, hand crafted and recycled materials into an appealing and refreshingly different and individual coffee shop. The flooring has been salvaged from Chelsea Barracks; the tables and chairs are old school furniture; the antique light shades have been refurbished from Brighton station and the kiln shelves are from Nottingham.

Centrepiece of the entire coffee bar is a magnificent run of solid light oak countering hand crafted and purpose-built by skilled woodturners in Suffolk. This acts as a divider separating the public side of the coffee bar from the station side. It means that the coffee bar is open to passengers and the general public alike.

Besides offering a house blend of coffee, the FCB in Denmark Hill gives the choice of several other options, many of which are regularly changing ‘guest coffees’. Most of these are sourced from the Drury Tea & Coffee Company which has been blending tea and roasting coffee in the UK for almost 80 years. The FCB House Blend is Drury’s Caffè Cuidado. This is blended from coffees sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms. The aim of this organisation is to improve the livelihoods of coffee farmers and their workers, giving them access to decent housing and medical care whilst at the same time striving to arrest deforestation and environmental destruction.

Says Barny: “Caffè Cuidado is an intensely aromatic and well balanced coffee that works well as a straight espresso or in cappuccinos and lattès. Our customers like it so much, we have adopted it throughout the estate as our House Blend.” In addition to this, in the opening week, the new FCB Artisan Coffee Bar at Denmark Hill had Drury’s Ethiopian Yirgacheffe as its guest coffee.

When it came to selecting a tea, Barny had a particular problem. He was anxious to use a quick brewing blend so that rail passengers did not have the problem of disposing of a dripping teabag after they boarded their train. He consulted Drury, who came up with an effective solution. They first of all recommended using their pyramid style of teabag. This gives the tea more room to infuse effectively and enables Drury to use larger leaf tea. They then turned their attention to the tea itself. They included some large leaf tea which gives an abundance of flavour, but added some small leaf fannings, for strength. Finally, they increased the bag weight to 4 grammes. The combination gives a strong, quick brewing cup, which means that passengers can deposit the spent bag before they travel.

“The fact that we have worked together over a period of 20 years, probably says it all” says Barny. “Drury’s quality is totally consistent and the work that they have done to develop Caffè Cuidado and specifically in developing our tea offering shows just how resourceful and versatile they are.”

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