Edgcumbes is an independent family business going back three generations, primarily to supply freshly roasted coffees and hand-blended loose-leaf tea, along with specialist brewing equipment and training.
Because we believe fresh ALWAYS tastes better than commercially packaged products.
It is a true family affair and headed up by Alice and Christopher Rendle with help from their four sons (when they’re in town). They always seem very enthusiastic when a trip to origin is on the cards!
From our roots as a traditional wholesaler, trade and retail customers can now buy Edgcumbes products online, while people in Sussex can visit the Arundel Roastery, Café and Shop, as well as our new Brewhouse Project (when it opens in 2019).
You can also attend a range of fascinating workshops in our Stable room, and can even book coffee-themed meeting rooms at our premises.
As you can tell, we’ve come a long way from our humble beginnings and we are delighted to be a Founding member of The Beverage Standards Association.
How did it all start?
Christopher’s father, Frank Edgcumbe-Rendle had been a jute and tea trader in Calcutta (now Kolkata).
When he returned to the UK in 1981, he was distraught to discover he couldn’t find any decent loose-leaf tea. So he sat at the kitchen table with a set of scales, and blended some high quality Assam and Kenyan tea leaves to make a delicious everyday brew.
He called the blend “Rusper” after the West Sussex village where he grew up, decided to sell a few bags to the local cafes, and the company grew from there.
At Edgcumbes, we believe some pretty simple things:
- Coffee ALWAYS tastes better when it’s freshly roasted
- Tea ALWAYS tastes better when made from loose leaves
- Buying LOCAL is better for everyone
And we have three core values that drive us:
- QUALITY coffee and tea should be enjoyed by everyone, so we’re open, transparent and accessible
- SUSTAINABILITY is essential, so being as eco-friendly as possible is part of our everyday job
- EDUCATION is important, we share our knowledge and expertise to demystify the world of coffee and tea
When you choose Edgcumbes, you’re dealing with a friendly, family-run business. We’re approachable, helpful, and – after decades in the business – genuine experts in what we do.
That means you get a really personal service, whether you’re ordering a single handmade coffee from a barista, placing a bulk order online, buying regular supplies for your business or perfecting your teams barista skills.
We’re obsessed with sharing our knowledge of the world’s best coffees and finest teas. If you’re at the Café or Roastery, our knowledgeable team is always on hand to chat. And if you need advice about what to choose from the website, our customer service experts are here for you.
Being personal also means being flexible. So, if you want something unique, we’ll devise a bespoke blend to suit your taste. That means trade customers can have their own unique branded coffees – a great selling point for their customers.
By the way, we’ve been granted several Great Taste awards – that’s independent reassurance that our products are top quality.
We care deeply about the world we live in and are handing down to future generations.
Like many other crops, coffee and tea are usually farmed intensively, using unsustainable practices. We take our environmental responsibilities seriously and therefore choose to support smaller farms that are trying to work in a more sustainable fashion.
This approach is good for us all – your coffee is of a higher quality and tastes much nicer, and we develop strong relationships with the farmers who make it possible.
What’s more, we also support the Rainforest Alliance Foundation which encourages tree-planting, including in areas where the Arabica coffee plant needs shade. And we promote fair purchasing practices, because we know first-hand the impact this makes on local communities.
We are 100% committed to sharing this message – because the more people who value the provenance of the coffee, the more likely it is that they will seek out quality rather than quantity.
Bean to Cup
We are conscious of the huge amount of effort that goes into coffee production – from picking to pulping, washing, drying, sorting, shipping, cupping and testing, right through to the final roast. That’s before the barista even gets to grind and make the cup!
The life of a tea picker or coffee grower is not an easy one. A day picking 100 kilos of ripe coffee cherries will finish up as 12 kilos of roasted bean for us to enjoy here in the UK. The higher the quality of tea or coffee, the harder it is to harvest, as someone has to manually go through the plantation and pick only the ripest coffee cherries or the most delicate tea leaves. This takes time and expertise.
Growers are vulnerable, as their product is traded on the international markets. Unless a premium is paid, how can we expect these farmers to reinvest and put the effort needed into growing the coffee and tea we love so much? The price difference between a drink made with speciality coffee beans and one using standard commercial coffee beans is only a few pence – but the taste difference is astonishing.
That’s why we only buy coffees and teas when we are 100% confident of their provenance. To identify producers who both farm sustainably and benefit their communities, we personally visit estates all over the world, including the Indian sub-continent, Central and South America, and Asia.