Spotlight on Stokes Tea & Coffee: Surviving the daily grind for 120 years!
2022 marks the 120th anniversary of Lincoln based Stokes Tea & Coffee. This iconic family business which has survived two world wars, one great depression and a global pandemic, threw open their doors on July 14th to celebrate this wonderful milestone. Team Lincolnshire was delighted to be invited to celebrate with them on this auspicious occasion.
Stokes is an instantly recognisable brand and many will have sampled their beverages or eaten in one of their cafés, but here at Team Lincolnshire we wondered what was behind the brand and what they were doing to ensure another 120 years of success!
The business was founded in 1902 by Robert William Stokes, who started out as a grocer before discovering his passion for blending tea and roasting coffee. Robert took on his first premises at the Arcadia Café, where the future king, George VI, (who had been appointed officer at the Royal Naval Air services in Cranwell) visited several times.
In 1937, the opportunity came up to move into a 16th Century half-timbered building on the medieval High Bridge in Lincoln city centre, spanning the River Witham and so was born the iconic Stokes High Bridge Café, which visitors love to this day.
In 2016, with the help of a loan from the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, they purchased The Lawn situated just outside Lincoln Castle walls on Union Road. They had outgrown their current premises in Mint Lane and were looking to relocate their wholesale department and create a new coffee roasting facility. The relocation to The Lawn, which also houses the administrational Head Quarters for the company, has seen the creation of a new Café, Barista Training Academy, events and venue hire services.
Managing director Nick Peel is the fourth generation to take up the reins of the business and along with his team, is putting 120 years of know-how into sourcing, roasting and blending coffee and tea for retail and wholesale customers.
“As a company we work hard to be the best - serving and delivering the best quality teas and coffee, offering the best service levels whether in our cafes or as wholesale and trade, doing the best to help local businesses and charities, doing the best to operate in ethical, sustainable and helpful ways to all.”
Stokes are leading on their ethical and sustainable initiatives and use Fair Trade and the Rainforest Alliance and support Coffee Kids, a charity which encourages better medical care and education in coffee growing communities.
They are always looking to improve their way of working and have introduced many initiatives. One such initiative is the Zero Waste Scheme, which supplies coffee and tea to their wholesale customers in reusable buckets, which can save around 60 bags per order! They are also working to repurpose coffee grounds and sacks into usable items and even have ambitions for 3D printing.
They have replaced their boilers to become 30 percent more efficient and installed an eco-friendly coffee roaster to cut CO2 emissions. Other schemes include tree planting and wherever possible they will source their products locally.
Nick further said:
“Stokes is proud of its history and heritage. Our dedication to quality has been consistent for over 100 years, but we’re also constantly looking at new ways to innovate and delight our customers.”
With further plans in the pipeline, this great Lincolnshire business has an exciting future and is looking forward to leading for the next 120 years! “