Edgcumbes expands café business

Edgcumbes expands café business

Coffee roasters and tea blenders Edgcumbes is set to open a new café business next month in response to ever-rising customer demand at its Arundel-based home, alongside a new training and event space to host students of its Sussex Food Academy.

Edgcumbes' managing director Alice Rendle told Coffee Business World: "We opened a small take-away café and shop three-and-a-half years ago, tacked onto the roastery, which has grown and grown in popularity to the point we decided we should expand it." Now the farm building opposite the roastery is being redeveloped to encompass the new café, with seating for approximately 15 inside and another 30 customers outside, plus a new training and event space next door that will also serve as an 'overflow' area for café customers on busy days.

The Sussex Food Academy, which has already been running courses on coffee and bakery training and is based upon successful concepts like Bread Ahead in Borough Market, is all about teaching people how to make coffee, chocolate, gluten-free cakes and more. "People are very interested in learning and one of our mottos is 'open for everyone'," said Rendle. "We've been testing the market and have been developing and adding to our courses as we go along."

Students have included teams from local businesses, groups of friends, as well as individuals looking for advice before setting up their own café business, including recommendations and help with buying equipment, as well as freshly roasted coffee and loose leaf teas.

When it comes to marketing the business, Edgcumbes benefits from word-of-mouth recommendations, plus it utilises social media. It also supports local charity initiatives, giving out free vouchers that encourage visits, and works with other local businesses. "Facebook has been very good for us and Instagram too, especially in terms of building the brand. We call our marketing our 'whispering' campaign, as we don't shout about what we do, but people do keep talking about us and visiting, and that keeps on building traction."

The new café concept is on schedule to open in mid-February. Edgcumbes, which was established by Frank Edgcumbe-Rendle in 1981 when he retired from his job as a jute and tea trader in Calcutta and moved back to the UK, uses a range of machines, including WMF, Melitta and Jura.

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