I can’t exactly remember how or when my love affair with coffee started. As you would expect, coffee has always been a dominant force in my life, even from when I was very young.
Even when I was at primary school, I knew that my dad did something unusual, at least in comparison to the fathers of most of my school friends.
He returned home in the evening accompanied by the aroma of coffee. This was sometimes emanating from the small parcel wrapped in brown paper and tied with string that he had, or just from his suit which had spent the day absorbing the smell of roasted and ground coffee.
Whenever it was school holidays, I would sometimes be woken very early, when it was still dark, and whisked off to London by train. Sitting on the packed commuter train among mainly men in suits reading newspapers, I happily watched the fields of Hertfordshire turn to closely packed red brick houses with chimneys. The excitement of pulling into St Pancras station as all the train doors were thrown open and everyone began to jump onto the platform before we had stopped moving.
The tube was even more dramatic, with its wooden escalators, warm smell and rattling trains. On arrival at Bond Street station, we would emerge onto Oxford Street and turn the corner into South Molton Street, the smell of coffee roasting already filling the air.