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Company Director Awarded British Empire Medal for Work in Fairtrade & the Community​

Company Director Awarded British Empire Medal for Work in Fairtrade & the Community

Cllr Dr Paul John Birch J.P. is mentioned in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. He is to be awarded The British Empire Medal by Her Majesty the Queen. His name appeared in this weekend’s publication of the London Gazette. He is being recognised with the medal for his work in the Community*, alongside his work in Fairtrade.  

MD at Revolver, a Co-operative specialising in ethical coffee, tea and chocolate; Paul has dedicated the last ten years to the Fairtrade ® movement by sitting on numerous boards and by developing Fairtrade commodities under the Revolver World Coop brand for sale in Coop stores.

 Phil Ponsonby CEO of The Midcounties Coop said; ‘ This is much deserved recognition of Paul’s tireless commitment to Fairtrade producers. Revolver has been an Important partner to the Midcounties Co-operative over many years by providing innovative product development and supplying Fairtrade coffee of the highest quality from growers across the world’.

Elaine Dean (President) & Debbie Robinson (Chief Executive) Central England Co-operative said: “We are absolutely delighted to congratulate Paul Birch on his award of the British Empire Medal (BEM). This is very much deserved as not only are the Revolver products fairly traded but they deliver excellent quality and have won the coveted Great Taste Award. We look forward to working with Paul and his team and wish him continuing success as a Fairtrade Co-operative”.

Birch says; “I am really grateful for the nomination and to the team around me who make every day an opportunity. After all, to quote Browning, ‘A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s Heaven for?”  

The British Empire Medal is awarded to individuals recognised for their civil or military service.  The medal has been given for over 100 years in the Commonwealth and was reintroduced in the United Kingdom in 2012 by David Cameron. 

314 words, 2 min read

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What is a Great Taste Award?

What is a Great Taste Award?

This week, we announced that we had won two new Great Taste Awards for the 5th year running. For those of you who keep an eye out for the prestigious label when staring at the supermarket shelves, you’ll know that it is a symbol of quality and an increasingly exclusive achievement. But what does it really mean, and how do you achieve one?

The Great Taste Awards are hosted every year by the Guild of Fine Foods. It is their flagship competition, the world’s largest and most trusted food and drink awards. Thousands of contestants put their food and drink to the test in front of a panel of 500 experts, ranging from chefs and buyers, food writers and retailers – in other words, the people in the industry who really know their stuff.

Founded by Bobo Farrand in 1992, the Guild of Fine Food’s Great Taste Awards have established themselves as the seal of approval for quality. It works something like this.

January 2020

The Revolver Cooperative team sits around a table and has a discussion about which products in our range are our absolute favourite. Somebody sits strongly in the camp of a south American light roast coffee, while another is a huge coffee bag supporter. After a few hours, a shortlist is devised and we prepare our best products to be sent to Gillingingham to meet the experts.

March 2020 – July 2020.

Covid gets in the way! The entire food and drink industry reorganises itself and other priorities come into play – for us, stocking the supermarket shelves and organising home deliveries. The judging is postponed.

August 2020

Judging commences… Lots of speculation starts to emerge in Revolver’s offices about the results, while a panel of judges are cupping, tasting and reviewing our submission. Simultaneously, hundreds of other judges are sampling cheeses, beers, pork pies, and every other gourmet food and drink from our friends in the industry.

September 2020

Results are announced! We log into our online Guild of Fine Foods portal to see the outcome. This year, our Sri Lanka Ceylon Mixed Berry tea bags and El Salvador coffee beans have won awards!

We read through the descriptions:

“There is an inviting bitterness on the aroma of the beans, transferred to traces of smokey spice from the liquid. On the palate, this is boosted by some fruity acidity. The balance is good; there is a degree of dryness on the finish which creates a refreshing mouthful.”

(El Salvador coffee beans)

It’s safe to say that the experts at the Guild of Fine Foods can write slightly more eloquently about coffee and tea than most people. We gratefully pass on the news to our friends around the world, including the farmers in Sri Lanka who grow CoopTea, and the roasters and farmers who grow and produce our coffee in South America and Africa.

After taking stock of the achievement (and maybe having a celebratory drink), we get back to work spreading the Revolver Cooperative message and inviting as many cooperators, retailers and cafes to try our award winning, ethical products.

For us, the Great Taste Awards symbolise an important connection. As many of you know, our philosophy and priority is to offer a cooperative, ethical and environmentally conscious supply of tea, coffee and chocolate – values upheld and encouraged by our hundreds of members around the world. Recognition from organisations like the Guild of Fine Foods goes to show that this business philosophy goes hand in hand with excellent tasting products, which helps to remind us all that we are on the right path.

600 words, 3 min read

Except where stated, this site and it’s contents are © Copyright 2020 Revolver Co-operative Limited
All Rights Reserved.
 © Revolver World 2020.                    

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COVID-19 and It’s Effect on The Coffee Industry

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Covid-19 and It's Effect on The Coffee Industry

There’s no denying that for the last four and a half months our lives have seen a dramatic change. The days of waking up early for work and leaving the door to rush to work, before picking up your morning coffee seems like a lifetime away and although we’ve all had to change and adapt over the last 165 days, industries like ours have taken a huge hit. Not only closer to home but across the farming communities of the world.  

 

Impact of COVID-19 on International Trade and the effect on SME’s. 

The global outbreak of the virus and the major impact it has on International trade is significant. Supply chains are being interrupted due to suspended travel causing delayed arrivals and associated knock on effects.  Due to delays and disruptions, the way in which companies operate has had to change completely.  

 

Farming communities and dealing with COVID-19 

There’s no doubt that farmer communities all around world have been one of the hardest hit by coronavirus. The fact that a lot of these communities don’t have the facilities to deal with the severity of the virus due to limited health services, lack of PPE and cramped living conditions means that the spread of the virus between individuals is at an all-time high.  

 As a society, and furthermore as a co-op, we need to work with the Fairtrade Foundation to make sure that farmers are taken care of.  Revolver Co-operative and other coffee businesses are taking part in UK Coffee week on the 19th-25th October. UK Coffee week is a week where money is raised for Project Waterfall. They provide clean water to farming communities in developing countries so that farmers and their families don’t need to travel miles for clean water. It also ensures some sort of sanitation, which in turn protects against COVID-19. To find out more, visit www.ukcoffeeweek.com to see how you can help.  

320 words, 3 min read

Except where stated, this site and it’s contents are © Copyright 2020 Revolver Co-operative Limited
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 © Revolver World 2020.                    

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The History of Ceylon Tea

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The History of Ceylon Tea

For over a century, Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) has been recognised all over the world for producing the finest tea in the world, with amazing flavour and beautiful aromas. When Revolver first decided to launch a range of tea, the story of Ceylon really stood out to us: our mind was set on bringing you the very best of Sri Lanka and what they have to offer.

 

The History of Ceylon Tea:

The beginning of the tea industry in Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon) is a classic story. The British ruled in 1815 and unified the country under the British flag. Ceylon was geographically located in the middle of ideal trade routes to India, Indonesia and China. Climate conditions were perfect for cultivation of tea and coffee, but coffee came first. However, when the future of the coffee industry seemed assured, disaster struck in the form of a fungus, which within a decade drastically reduced the quantities available for export. Due to this, tea was introduced as an experimental phase with 200 tea plants imported from India and planted in the hills of Nuwara Eliya.

This experimental cultivation of tea continued for almost three decades. In 1867, the British planter James Taylor proved that tea could be grown as an alternative crop to coffee, when he first established a commercially viable tea plantation at Loolecondera Estate, Hewaheta in the district of Kandy. Thus was born the Tea industry of Ceylon.

 

The Importance of Origin:

The tea-growing regions of Sri Lanka are clustered mostly among the mountains of the island’s central massif and its southern foothills, which is where our Fairtrade, CoopTea ® is grown!

 

Our Fairtrade Promise:

We have exclusive partnership where we work hand in hand to bring the 100% transparent organic teas from small organic & Fairtrade certified farmers in Sri Lanka. In this joint journey we bring out core values to promote, share & sustain our promise so that we can create sustainable ecosystems and farmer development accordingly.

 

 

Find our range of Breakfast, Fruit and Green Tea at www.revolverworld.com/tea 

 

 

358 words, 3 min read

Except where stated, this site and it’s contents are © Copyright 2020 Revolver Co-operative Limited
All Rights Reserved.
 © Revolver World 2020.                    

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Revolver’s Response to Kit-Kat Dropping Fairtrade

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Revolver's Response to Kit-Kat Dropping Fairtrade

There is a perfect storm brewing in Fairtrade cocoa, with recent news that Divine Chocolate, the champions of Fairtrade cocoa, has been sold to the company that processes its products in Germany. As part of the deal Divine CEO of 21 years; Sophie Tranchell leaves the company, and the cooperative in Ghana who represent 100,000 farmers, will have a reduced shareholding in the new enterprise.

 

At the same time another body blow to the Fairtrade Foundation as Swiss food giant Nestle, announces it will abandon Fairtrade certification on its famous product “KitKat”, in favour of The Rainforest Alliance.

 

Today Revolver are bringing forward an announcement that they intend to enter the category with a range of Fairtrade & Organic chocolate bars, with cocoa provided by Kuapa Kokoo cooperative in Ghana.

 

Paul Birch, Revolver CEO says: “This began with the vision of Anita Roddick, pioneering entrepreneur and founder of the Bodyshop. Anita had a vision, which with the early intervention of women like Harriet Lamb and Sophie Tranchell, has shone the light clearly on the viable alternative to corporate America. Co-operatives across the world, came together this Co-operative fortnight to set aside competition, in favour of co-operation.”

 

Revolver Co-op was created with the help of The Co-operative Group, back in 2010. On this our tenth anniversary we are pleased to announce our diversification into a whole range of different commodities and the creation of the Registered trademark COOP CHOCOLATE®, registered with the IPO and with both Revolver Co-op and Co-operative Group in joint partnership.

 

300 words, 2 min read.  

Except where stated, this site and it’s contents are © Copyright 2020 Revolver Co-operative Limited
All Rights Reserved.
 © Revolver World 2020.                    

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Women and Cooperatives

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Women and Cooperatives

If I had £1 for every time someone said to me “I can remember my Nans/mothers divi number!” I would be a quite bit richer! However, when that person has been asked “Why do you think it was such an important part of their lives that you had to remember it?”, no-one has been able to give an answer. 

The importance of co-operatives to the lives of women has somehow been lost. Most things historical are written by men! Over time, women’s rights have improved, and whilst the battle for equality goes on, many other issues have been addressed.

As far as I am aware, no-one has written anything from the perspective of the wives of the Rochdale Pioneers, or The Fenwick Weavers before that. In the 18th Century, violence against the mills led to the development of a specialist insurance – The Fenwick Weavers signed their documentation in a church so if they were caught, they could seek sanctuary. Given the draconian measures of those times, the “lessons” meted out to men daring to form associations and unions – the deportations of the Tolpuddle Martyrs, the floggings and imprisonments, the impact of Peterloo. All these must have preyed on the minds of the Rochdale Pioneers wives. Yet we know little of them, what their lives were like, especially as the men scraped together the £1 each to start the society-changing co-operative. 

It poses the question: ‘Would the Pioneers have been able to achieve what they did had their wives not been supportive?’. With energy suppliers refusing to provide for the shop, as well as the acrimony of other shop keepers, there must have been a high level of fear and anxiety within households. The Co-operative ideal was challenging societal norms; challenging the nouveau riche and the elite. It was a movement to change the world, so you can only imagine the repercussions on family life. Working out the dividend pay-outs to members on Christmas Day was possibly the least of their worries.

Eliza Brierley was the first woman to pay her £1 in full in 1846. Virtually nothing is known about her, apart from the fact she was a spinster, a weaver and where she lived. Her payment challenged the Principle of Equality and Equity. A decision had to be made whether the distribution for the dividend went to Eliza Brierley, the member, or to her husband. Of course, this was a time when women were chattels, and not allowed money of their own. They were owned by men, and all the women’s possessions became the husbands on marriage. 

Payment of the dividend to a woman was a revolutionary development in the cooperative movement, and most co-operatives protected the woman’s right to that payment. Anecdotally, I have heard of women getting the £1 membership as a wedding present – ensuring that the bride did have some money of her own. Co-operatives were ahead of their time when recognising the equality of women.

Invariably, women would be a part of the circular economy within the co-operative stores. They did the family shopping, so remembering the co-operative number ensured that their spend was allotted and used to calculate their dividend. Once this was paid out, this would go back into the co-operative in the form of purchases. 

The breadth of goods provided by the co-operative retail movement was huge. Shoes, clothing, furniture – the big co-operative department stores full of co-operative goods were so much more than just a shop. Stanley Matthews Co-operative football boots used to be on display in the Peoples History Museum in Manchester – “There was a new boot designed for him by the Co-op, much lighter, without the big toe-cap. He thought it made him quicker, but he would have to change them every few weeks because they were so easily damaged.”

Nowadays, of course, women are financially independent, while the implementation of computers and the 16-digit numbers have meant that Divi number no longer needs to be remembered. However, the importance of co-operatives to the lives of women remains just as important as it was in 1846, when Eliza Brierley challenged the status quo to live up to the Principle of Equality and Equity. To paraphrase Hilda Smith, not only did women need co-operatives – but co-operatives needed women. 

Except where stated, this site and it’s contents are © Copyright 2020 Revolver Co-operative Limited
All Rights Reserved.
 © Revolver World 2020.                    

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La Cimbali Donation to Italian Health Service

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La Cimbali Donation to Italian Health Service

At Revolver, we’re incredibly proud of the relationships that we have built over the last 10 years. As a company who recognises the importance of high ethical standards and positive environmental practices, it is a pleasure to work alongside organisations who share similar values.  

In many ways, the current COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the best in people, and we wanted to take this opportunity to share the story of how our Italian friends at La Cimbali have contributed to the fight against the virus.  

La Cimbali is an Italian manufacturer of professional espresso and cappuccino equipment, and a company who we’ve been fortunate to work alongside in recent times as we develop our café and bean-to-cup solutions offering. With their headquarters in Milan, many of the Cimbali team have seen the brunt of the coronavirus epicentre, which until recently was focused in Italy.  

This week, Cimbali Group donated 10 lung ventilators to the Italian National Health Service facility, a total value of around €200,000. The following quote is taken from Maurizo Cimbali, as shared by the Cimbali website: 

“Our Country is going through a dramatic time, without a doubt nothing like this has ever been experienced in the past few decades. – Declared Maurizio Cimbali, President of the Group. – As an Italian company, strongly rooted in Lombardy, we feel compelled by a need, a duty and a moral commitment to support the healthcare and hospital system which is coping remarkably in the face of this emergency, with a donation of 200 thousand euros for the purchase of lung respirators for intensive care”. 

We’d like to extend our warmest regards to everyone at Cimbali during this period, both in Italy and further afield. This is a very trying time, so it’s fantastic to see acts of generosity in our industry going a long way to make a tangible difference.  

You can read more about our work with La Cimbali here

Except where stated, this site and it’s contents are © Copyright 2020 Revolver Co-operative Limited
All Rights Reserved.
 © Revolver World 2020.                    

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Coffee At Home Part 1: Coffee Bags

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Coffee At Home Part 1: Coffee Bags

It’s no secret that coffee is a vital part of the working day for a lot of people. With recent social distancing measures due to the Covid-19 pandemic, most of us are working from the comfort of our own homes. While for many people this is a welcome change from office life, there is one thing missing. Good quality coffee.  

Unfortunately, many of our friends in the café and hospitality industry have had to temporarily close their doors to do their part in preventing the spread of coronavirus. We’re no longer able to pop into a coffee shop and pick up a drink, but that’s no reason to have to settle for an instant coffee while working from home.  

Coffee Bags remain relatively unknown to the majority of people outside the industry, but the concept is simple. Imagine a teabag, but with fresh coffee inside. All you need to do is brew, stir, squeeze and serve! It’s an incredibly simple solution for those of us who don’t have all the gear at home to make a great tasting, fresh coffee.  

Famous Blue Mountain 

This coffee is our premium blend of four single origin coffees, sourced from cooperatives working hard to make a difference in their communities. A premium blend of greens, blended together by our roasters to bring you the world in a cup.  

Cuba  

Frequent rain enriches the mountain soil’s mica and quartz crystal deposits, giving this excellent coffee its unique quality. At harvest, the ripest cherries are handpicked and brought to the Cimanayagua mill for wet processing. Naturally sun-dried, this arabica coffee has a highly intense aroma with an elegant and delicate sweetness. Since the 1950s, coffee production in Cuba has fallen by more than 80%, but now Cuba is rebuilding its economy through cooperatives. We bring together producers and customers – our members produce and drink our coffee.  

 

There are plenty of ways to brew fantastic coffee at home, but coffee bags are one of my favourites. As this blog and video series will demonstrate, there are all sorts of fancy home brewing techniques available, but nothing is easier than a coffee bag. In these, let’s be honest, pretty difficult times, it’s nice to be able to still access café quality coffee from the comfort of your own home – whether you’re working there or not!  

Except where stated, this site and it’s contents are © Copyright 2020 Revolver Co-operative Limited
All Rights Reserved.
 © Revolver World 2020.