Bean Queen Sahar Hashemi, co-founder of Coffee Republic and inspirational after dinner speaker delivers a strong message, as London celebrates the tastiest bean on earth with a whole week dedicated to the nation’s favourite drink.
The notion of Britain being a nation of tea drinkers was a myth that was shattered by Sahar Hashemi and her brother who exposed the Brits for the coffee addicts they really are when they opened their first Coffee Republic outlet in 1995.
Sahar realised that, unlike the US and much of Europe, the UK’s caffeine cravings weren’t being satisfied, and used her entrepreneurial genius to cram the high streets full of cafes selling every type of coffee imaginable.
“I did some market research and realised that we were drinking less tea and more coffee,” explains Sahar. “We were taking on a lot of European habits, due to the increase in foreign travel. I thought the market was heading that way, so I made a gut instinct decision.
“I loved the ideas as a customer, so I thought ‘let’s go for it.’”
London celebrates its coffee culture with the first-ever UK Coffee Week. Hyde Park, Shoreditch and Soho will be filled with the delicious aroma of toasting beans, experts chatting about the beverage industry and gourmet food from all over the world.
Project Waterfall is the charitable component of UK Coffee Week, which aims to raise more than £1million to deliver safe drinking water and sanitation projects for up to 100,000 people, specifically in coffee-producing countries in Africa.
Clean water is something that we take for granted in the UK but in many developing countries access to safe water is extremely limited causing severe hardship for millions of people.