The true origins of Cooper & Co. have been lost in the annals of history however what is known is that on 24th June 1834 Thomas Cooper, Richard Cooper and John Stringer formed a new venture as Thomas Cooper and Co, which handled the wholesale of commodities.
The business is recorded to have operated from addresses across London and Brighton selling tea directly to consumers in varying amounts. By the mid 1800's the company was engaged in international trade to various British colonies with The Cooper & Co. trading network encompassing much of the world.
A front page advertisement in an 1890 edition of the Jersey Evening Post shows Cooper & Co. traded on King's Street and were known as Tea Men with their own Tea shop. This makes Cooper's one of the oldest remaining locally owned Jersey companies, a fact of which we are hugely proud.
The first coffee roasting plant was purchased in 1949. The majority of sales in those days appear to have been a series of coffee and chicory mixes which were enjoyed by the French farmers who came over to the Island from Brittany to help pick the Jersey Royal potato crop.
We have some great pictures of very smartly dressed delivery drivers proudly standing in front of their delivery vehicles. All tea sales in those days were loose, the ubiquitous teabag having yet to take a hold reflecting the more genteel and slower pace of life of the time.
Today Cooper & Co trades from three sites on Jersey. 57 Halkett Place is the hub of our roasting, packing and retail operation. We have a Cafe at Castle Quay on the Waterfront and finally a Cafe on the first floor of the Co-Op, Grand Marche, St. Helier. Although change has always happened, it is the pace of that change which has increased so dramatically over the last 20 years. The reinvention of espresso based drinks and increasing interest in environmental and ethical issues has meant that the need to understand every aspect of the business has become more important than ever.
Cooper & Co. are long standing members of the Fairtrade Foundation which entitles us to use their logo on any Fairtrade certified coffee we roast and pack. We are also signed up to the Rainforest Alliance organisation, another ethical certifier.
To ensure that we stay up to date with the latest trends in the industry Cooper & Co. are members of the Speciality Coffee Association of America. We attend their annual conference and use it as an opportunity to get the latest training whether it be cupping, roasting or milk handling as well as visiting the many businesses who exhibit at the trade show.
In December 2013 we visited farmers in Peru and Bolivia and in 2015 visited Araku Valley in India We now import coffee from these origins. In 2014/15 and 16 we attended the London Coffee Festival.
At a local level we are proud to be recognised as an "Eco-Active" business, a States of Jersey environmental scheme which encourages us to focus on the three tenants of recycle, reduce and reuse.
Although I have focused on the coffee part of our business we find ourselves selling increasing quantities of speciality teas. I use the word "tea" in its loosest sense as more and more of the products actually have no tea in them whatsoever. We are able to source some wonderful infusions from both France and Germany.
Finally we also carry a range of accessories for making all of the products we stock in our store. Well known brands such as Bialetti, Bodum and Jura can all be found on our shelves as well as teapots from leading US brands like Stump.
We like to think that we cover most bases when it comes to Tea and Coffee, however if you have a particular product which doesn't appear on our website in which you are interested please let us know.
David Warr, Cooper & Co