Review: Azorie Blue, coffee beans
Amber Locke meets Adrian and Sam Rose, the Melbourne couple behind a blend of coffee currently taking connoisseurs by storm.
Evoking images of sun-drenched Mediterranean beaches cooled by a gentle uplifting sea breeze, Azorieblue could easily be mistaken as the name for a light fresh summer fragrance when in fact it is the zippy name for a very special brand of coffee!Azorieblue is a blend of ethically sourced Brazilian Arabica beans which are roasted in the UK and sold as either ready ground coffee or whole beans and the resultant espresso made from them is rich, sophisticated and 'smoother than a tiger in a tuxedo ...' or so one of their slick strap lines goes!Azorieblue is a niche product developed by dynamic sports marketing team Adrian and Sam Rose and despite the business's swanky New Bond Street postal address in London they run the company from their beautiful Georgian town house in the pretty village of Melbourne in Derbyshire. In previous lives husband and wife team Adrian and Sam operated a specialist sports marketing company and in 2003 decided to look at developing a more consumer-led product aimed at the premium food and drink retail market. Although born in London and then having lived in Spondon and Littleover in Derby it was Adrian's Italian heritage that eventually drew him towards coffee. They quickly decided this was to be their chosen product so sourced a unique blend of coffee beans from Brazil, found themselves a local UK roaster, then a design agency and in a short space of time had developed an innovative and unmistakably branded product ready to wow the coffee world.The beans are 100 per cent Brazilian Arabica beans from world-class BSCA (Brazilian Speciality Coffee Association) accredited estates of which there are only 37 in the world. This accreditation is not only a prestigious hallmark of the superior quality of the beans but also guarantees an ethical approach to pay and working conditions for the estate workers. The Azorieblue blend of coffee is special as not only does it taste fabulous on its own but it's also just as good when blended with milk - an important fact when near 95 per cent of espresso drunk in the UK ends up as either a latte or cappuccino and where many other premium espressos fail. This is a blend with real character: dark, rich and zesty with smooth underlying flavours of chocolate and nuts. Even food guru Lucas Hollweg (of Sunday Times Style magazine fame) called it his 'perfect espresso', a sentiment shared by many judging by Azorieblue's ever-growing loyal fan base!The coffee is a good all-rounder; you can under express it or over express it (a problem often for baristas) and it will still taste fantastic and the fineness of the ground coffee makes it ideal for use in both coffee makers and cafetires. Its superior blend is frequently applauded by industry coffee connoisseurs - it's often referred to as the 'Veuve Cliquot of coffee' - and it's a big hit with racing drivers. Adrian and Sam have developed many sporting links through their sports marketing company and partnerships with Azorieblue have included: Bruno Senna (nephew of the late three-time Formula 1 world champion Brazilian racing driver Ayrton Senna) the Porsche Owners Club of Great Britain, Grand Designs magazine, the Albert Hall Tennis Masters and Cheshire Polo Club. Derbyshire-based Thornton's chocolates are even using Azorieblue coffee to develop a special chocolate to enter the Guild of Fine Food Retailers Great Taste Awards this year, a great endorsement indeed.The coffee is sold as ground coffee or as whole beans ready to grind and there is also a de-caffeinated option. The tins and refill packs are stocked nationally across the UK - currently in 170 outlets ... and counting. Main stockists include Harvey Nichols (Knightsbridge, Birmingham, Leeds, Bristol and Manchester), Fenwick's (Newcastle, Brent Cross, Leicester and Kingston upon Thames), various House of Fraser stores, Thornton's coffee shops, Booth's (the Northern supermarket chain), various independent department stores, luxury independent retailers, garden centres, farm shops and caf�s. It has just been stocked by the prestigious Partridges store on the Kings Road in London and will be served in its caf� too.Locally it can be found in Bennett's in Derby, Chantry Farm shop at Melbourne, Bluebells at Spondon (who have also developed an Azorieblue coffee ice cream), Patrick and Brooksbank Delicatessen in Ashbourne, Greengate Deli in Stafford and Byrkley garden centre. The coffee tins and refill bags can also be bought on-line on the website.The unusual name 'Azorieblue' comes from an amalgamation of Adrian's name (Adrian Ian Rose) and the colour of one of the blue painted 'graffiti' walls at their hospitality suite at Donington Park, which over the years became enscribed with hundreds of racing drivers' names. The logo and packaging design feature a visually striking and almost mesmeric pattern of rich browns and powder blue, which looks both retro and contemporary and stands out on the shelves. With such lively and humorous marketing strap lines such as 'more luxurious than a cashmere cod piece' and 'more complex than a roomful of rubix cubes' this is a confident product that really wants you to sit up and take notice.Adrian is a natural born salesman and can regularly be found sampling the Azorieblue blend at regional farm shops, delis, charity events and outdoor sporting activities such as endurance cycling races. Together with his wife Sam, who looks after the marketing and ensures the smooth running of the business operation side back at base, this is a sleek and dedicated family business. Azorieblue regularly exhibits at food shows and outdoor events, which this year will include the Derbyshire Food and Drink Festival at Bolsover, the Real Food Show in Bath, Belton Horse Trials, Grantham's Fine Food store in Alderley Edge over the Easter weekend and back on their home turf at Melbourne Arts Festival in September.Azorieblue coffee is often described as 'a coffee beyond compare' and more exuberantly as 'as passionate as a frisky flamenco fanatic' - either way it's a beautiful coffee backed by an enthusiastic and energetic young team which deserves to go from strength to strength.For stockists details contact Azorieblue on:0207 692 5670 or visit the website: www.azorieblue.co.uk