HRH The Countess of Wessex visits coffee roaster John Farrer & Co, Kendal

200th anniversary of the UK’s oldest coffee roaster marked with a Royal visit.

HRH The Countess of Wessex visited John Farrer & Co, Tea & Coffee Merchants of Kendal, on Wednesday 06th February, to mark the 200th anniversary of UK’s oldest coffee roaster.

Her Royal Highness arrived at John Farrer & Co, Shap Road, just after 11am, where she was greeted by general manager Dave Walsh, who then conducted The Countess and her party on a tour of the Shap Road production facility.

During her time at the coffee roastery, The Countess met master roaster Steve Cane, and production supervisor Che Oxenham, who demonstrated the coffee roasting process and invited Her Royal Highness to start production of a special 200th anniversary coffee roast.

The Countess then moved onto the production facility, where she met warehouseman Steve Nicholson, service engineer Steve Fox, tea production a packing operative, Kirsty Elgey and operations manager, Rob Bains, who then explained the packaging process before inviting Her Royal Highness to assist in packing a batch of anniversary coffee.

From there The Countess was then escorted through to the training suite, where Her Royal Highness met senior barista trainer Brain Williams, who explained some of the accredited training delivered on site, before barista trainer Ash Podda, demonstrated several coffee making techniques, before inviting The Countess to have a go at prepare a coffee herself.

Before departing Her Royal Highness unveiled a commemorative plaque in front of invited guests and dignitaries naming the training suite the Wessex Suite in her honour. Customer administrator Phillipa Bains, then presented The Countess with a commemorative hamper containing a selection of John Farrer & Co 200th Anniversary teas and coffees to mark her visit.

Dave Walsh, John Farrer & Co’s General Manager, said: ‘’We are extremely grateful that The Countess of Wessex was able to join us in celebrating our 200th anniversary. The company has been and remains to be is a firm fixture in the local Cumbrian economy, we have a proud past and are setting about making an equally proud future. We have ambitious plans, which has already seen us invest in the Shap Road production site and recruit new team members to meet increasing demand for our coffees and teas, which has seen production double since this time last year. We are also planning a further programme of investment in the coming months to ensure that we can continue to provide our customers with the high-quality products they have come to expect.’’


The original business was established at 13 Stricklandgate, Kendal, in the heart of the ancient market town, in 1819; the year of Queen Victoria’s birth, by Liverpool based Tea Merchant, John Farrer.

John specialised in the wholesaling of coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar and spices throughout Westmorland, until 1886, when he retired transferring the business over to his sons, Joseph and Edward who continued his work.

The business moved to its present location in 1989, and in recent years the site has seen the creation of a modern commercial artisan roastery, which continues to maintain its impressive reputation for crafting high quality multi-award-winning artisan teas and coffees.

In recent months there has been a programme at the Shap Road site, which has seen the enhancement of the production, packaging and distribution facilities and the creation a state-of-the-art training suite, which is already widely acclaimed as one of the best of its kind in the UK.