Wednesday, January 23, 2013
A Day in the Life of a Tea & Coffee Merchant
Thought we'd offer a look at what a typical day is like over at S.D. Bell’s in Belfast. Robert Bell, Samuel’s great grandson, runs the company now and this is what his days are like, excerpted from the book, Creating a Stir. Be sure not to miss the editor’s note at the end.
“A Day In the Life of a Tea & Coffee Merchant”
6:10 am: Alarm … wake up the girls, breakfast with a cup of black tea. Check emails and internet orders. Leave home for S.D. Bell’s
7:40 am: Crank up the roaster and roast four to five batches of coffee. Coffee has to be fresh, roasted in small batches to order. The aroma extends for a mile or more – It’s one sure way to get the locals up and out of bed.
10 am: Check for deliveries to be made. Prepare special orders. Check world trade price movements of coffee, chat with London brokers and partner before placing orders.
10:30 am: Post arrives. New Seasons Darjeeling tea samples have arrived from Mumbai. Set out Samuel’s antique tasting cups, put the kettle on, sit down with Barry and taste the new teas. Make notes and compare, request prices for teas we like.
11 am: Coffee is now taken, a black Americano! Coffee shop is full, chat to a few regulars
1 pm: More office work. Soup and a roll in the office for lunch followed by a black coffee. Discuss weekend staffing plan with William, shop manager.
2 pm: Make a couple of deliveries around the city and visit a few retailers, asking their opinion on the new coffee tin sample which has just arrived from Hong Kong.
3:30 pm: Review tomorrow’s schedule and deliveries. Telephone a few wholesale customers from that area and prepare orders.
5 pm: Load the van in preparation for tomorrow’s early runs and cash up the shop. Try to lock up by 6:00 pm.
EDITORIAL COMMENT (from the book):
Something didn’t seem to add up so we asked Robert, “Is that all the coffee and tea you drink in a day? We have friends that could make you look like an amateur – don’t disappoint us!”
After some thought Robert tells us he always starts the day with black tea and finished it with an exotic Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearl white tea. From 6:30 am he reckons he drinks about seven cups of coffee and at least four cups of tea.
“That makes 11 cups a day,” we tell him. “Does that include all the tea-tasting and coffee-cupping each day?”
“No, that’s extra he replies!”
Our faith is restored.
Can anybody rival Robert Bell? In general we probably all drink more tea than he does (maybe not in a given day) but drinking about 11 hot beverages a day is pretty serious business.