A Glass of Herts: Lulu Coffee, Ware

Lulu Coffee Company, Ware

Lulu Coffee Company, Ware - Credit: Archant

Laura Vickers celebrates a coffee shop doing things its own way

Ware-based coffee roaster Lulu Coffee has been bringing proper coffee to Hertfordshire since 2006, when husband-and-wife team Jo and Jon Little decided to create an alternative to the ubiquitous chains.

‘I wanted to show people that coffee could be a very different product from the one they were probably used to, and to take people on the journey from bean to cup,’ Little explains.

The couple opened their shop and roastery in a 200-year-old building on Ware High Street, and began roasting coffee beans from sustainable, ethical sources around the world, including Brazil, Sumatra and Ethiopia.

They now have their own custom-built roaster and through a meticulous experimentation process create a range of flavourful, complex blends. The shop and other outlets sell around five of these at any time. One blend, Northwest espresso, has really created a following, and is the most popular ‘by a huge distance’. Little describes it as a blend of caramel, almonds, dairy milk, dark brown sugar and fudge.

The shop is now a key component of the High Street and a big hit with locals. ‘It’s been astonishing really,’ Little says. ‘It’s incredibly humbling how our customer base has grown – we have fantastic regulars.’ The shop also supports good causes in the community: ‘We run a direct charitable giving scheme where we make a donation to one of three local causes every time a loyalty card is filled in.’

It’s an exciting year for Lulu with plans for new shops (the first at St Margarets Station, Stanstead Abbotts), coffee carts at town events and festivals, and monthly coffee club membership growing (members receive selected coffees, deals, event invites and tasting guides), but the Littles’ priority remains keeping their blends at the top of their game. This really is a refreshing venture – and one to watch. n

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Enjoy a coffee (and something to eat) at 73 High Street, Ware. A take-home 250g bag of coffee costs £5. Or seek out a cup at one of the Herts eateries serving Lulu Coffee, such as the White Horse in Welwyn. To find your nearest, see lulucoffee.co.uk

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