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Coffee and Tea bringing people together...

Coffee and Tea have had that amazing ability from the moment they were discovered and introduced to us in this country. Bringing us together, and at the same time reflecting the moods and circumstances of what is going on in the rest of our lives.

I remember in the 1940’s, emerging from a night huddled underneath the stairs as the bombing became intense. Sheltering underneath the stairs was supposed to give more protection. The “all clear” sounded, the long clear note from the siren. It was such a contrast to the wailing up and down note of the “warning” that meant we were in for it. My sister remembered our father saying “Mother, let’s make a pot of tea”. Although we didn’t know for how many more nights we would huddle under the stairs, we all felt so much better as we shared tea together.

In the 1950’s the young found an exciting freedom in the coffee bars. Challenging old ideas and taboos.

For so many, it would be their first experience of the delights of coffee. The proprietor, working the pumps of the gleaming chrome fronted espresso like a maestro conducting the orchestra. Excited customers listened to the latest top ten hits on the juke box, waiting to sip their cappuccino or discover the power of a single espresso.

If we had been there in the early days when coffee, tea and chocolate were first introduced, we would have gone to the coffee houses to meet the great and the good, and I suppose the not so good.

Old Slaughter's in St. Martin's Lane

Old Slaughter’s in St. Martin’s Lane would have been the place to meet artists. To see Hogarth sitting in his favourite spot and putting on paper the faces of his fellow coffee drinkers. Gainsborough came t00 and saw the same faces in a different light. All this as we sipped our dish of coffee.

Button’s Coffee House in Great Russell Street

Button’s Coffee House in Great Russell Street was been the place if you wanted to get something published. A carved Lion’s head acted as a letter box. Any articles dropped into it could be considered for publication by Addison in The Guardian.

Edward Lloyd’s in Lombard Street

Of course, if we had been in the business of freight forwarding, anxiously awaiting news of a cargo, literally “Waiting for our ship to come home” we would probably have found our way to Edward Lloyd’s in Lombard Street. There we would have joined with other operators sharing the same worries and examining the intelligence that Lloyds could provide.

Don Saltero’s in Chelsea

For light entertainment, we might have ventured as far as out as Chelsea to Don Saltero’s.  A colourful establishment in Chenye Walk. The proprietor James Salter, had been a barber and pulled

teeth. Not only would we have gone to sup our coffee or tea, but to explore his museum of curiosities. The museum was know to host a rare collection of pieces. A piece of the true

cross, the Pope’s candle, Pontius Pilate’s wife’s sister’s chambermaid’s hat, and many other items. Everyone who joined us would know these items were fakes but all enjoyed the joke. Saltero's house became so popular that other establishments followed suit.

Coffee and Tea at H. R. Higgins...

At H. R. Higgins, our focus as a team is always to bring to you the very best coffees and teas. Coffee and teas that are there for you, whatever is going on in the rest of life. At this time of year, we remind you that Coffee and Tea make wonderful gifts which can be a great way of bringing family and friends together.

The unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 mean our lives follow a very different pattern to the one we would desire. A little while ago, I heard from a customer. “Mr Higgins, you may be surprised to hear that you join us at breakfast every morning”. I can certainly say that I was very surprised to learn this. He went on to say “When my wife pours our coffee, we raise a cup to H. R. Higgins”. That was wonderful to hear. It reminded me that though we may not be able to physically join with all those we want to this year, it need not stop us joining and sharing with them the enjoyment of the coffees and teas we love.

So, if you allow me, I will raise a cup to you. And say a big thank you from myself all our whole team for all your support during these months.

Please take care and stay safe.

Tony Higgins.


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