There is no doubt that in the past couple of years there has been a shift in the HORECA sector to a more tailored, quality focused coffee offering. Indeed, the Speciality Coffee sector in the UK is outperforming the total out-of-home coffee market, with forecasts of 13% year-on-year, accounting for more than 15% of the total volume of coffee sold in the UK. There are already signs that the Speciality scene is changing the High Street, with many of the major chains adapting and evolving their offer to try and keep up, and get their slice of the pie.
One of the most common changes has been the introduction of the Flat White to coffee menus: from High Street chains, to your local independent café. Five years ago, if you asked for a Flat White, there were probably only a handful of places that knew what you were talking about – and there was a good chance that they were owned by Aussies or Kiwis. The argument of who invented the Flat White is on-going between the two countries, but what cannot be denied is that they both played a big part in the changes we are now seeing across the globe in coffee service.
One company that has been involved in this from the start is ACME & Co. Founded back in 2006 in Wellington, New Zealand by Jeff Kennedy, a man who had already made his mark on the NZ coffee sector by opening a coffee roastery called Caffe L’affare in 1990, which he sold fora reported $25 million 16 years later. In this time, the industry had grown dramatically, and New Zealanders were hooked on good coffee. The idea to create a range of coffee cups that suited the new Third Wave Coffee was a brilliant one, and Jeff’s approach was simple yet genius: create a range of cups in different shapes and sizes that were unique to each type of beverage, not to mention ones with handles that you could fit your finger into!
“Every Acme cup is designed to make the cafe experience easier and more elegant for cafe patrons, baristas and cafe owners.” – Jeff Kennedy
Along with this, he introduced a colour palette that included soft pastels, as well as the more traditional white, brown and black. The other key aspect was durability. Made from porcelain, the cups are almost indestructible in the hands of kitchen porters and café staff – who wants to be buying new cups all the time?!
Up until 2012, they were, however, only available in New Zealand. This all changed when Caravan Coffee Roasters of London picked them up and begun distribution across the UK. Mike Logue, Head of Operations at Caravan Coffee Roasters, says “the growth of ACME cups in the UK market has been very organic and predominately focused on the Specialty sector, however, we are now seeing more and more growth into restaurants, hotels and catering, particularly in those businesses that are improving their coffee offer”. And in an environment where design is as important as the product, ACME cups cannot be beat – there is good reason why they have almost 100K followers on their Instagram page – the cups look the business on any table in any setting.
In June this year Caravan Coffee Roasters launched an online ordering website www.acmecups.co.uk to make it easier to place orders, not to mention being available through a number of major catering suppliers including Jacksons, HG Stephensons, Klaremont and very soon Nisbets and Amazon. However, if you are after a more tailored service, Logue says: “for groups, chains and multi-site operations, we offer the benefit of an account manager who will be on hand to help with all your orders”. Get in touch directly by emailing email@example.com or calling 0207 101 7663.