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Here at British Bird Lovers HQ, we like nothing better than a strong cup of coffee to kick-start our day. so when we heard about Bird & Wild Coffee and their mission to not only bring us great tasting coffee, but also support the RSPB and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Centre as well as the Fairtrade Foundation we had to sit down with founder Guy Wilmot over a cup of Bird & Wild's delicious espresso to find out more about the business.

Guy Wilmot

BBL: Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

GW: My name is Guy Wilmot and I run Bird & Wild Coffee. I’m based in London, but travel a lot and my passion is coffee.

BBL: Have you worked in the coffee industry for long?

GW: It’s scary how time flies. 12 years and counting. I started in coffee importing and trading, then gradually got more and more involved with the roasting and café side. Now, I’m working hard to launch Bird & Wild coffee!

BBL: You must be very busy. Tell us about your typical day.

GW: As a small business, it’s a cliché, but every day is different. You have to keep on top of things at the same time with looking out where you’re going and where you want to be. It’s exciting, fascinating, tiring and frustrating all at the same time.

BBL: Can you give us some background to Bird & Wild Coffee?

GW: Bird & Wild Coffee was founded with the aim of bringing the plight of migrating birds and deforestation as a result of coffee production to the attention of the British public, as well as providing a solution to coffee drinkers who wanted to help protecting migrating birds both at origin and at home in the UK through our partnership with the RSPB Charity whereby we donate 6% of all sales to the RSPB.

BBL: That's amazing. The RSPB does so much fantastic work - it's a brilliant charity to be working with.

GW: We contacted the RSPB out of the blue and they got the idea very quickly and really helped support us launch Bird & Wild Coffee. As I said, for every bag we sell, we give 6% of sales to the RSPB, so it helps them with their wildlife conservation work, but they’ve also supported us in all manners of ways to champion our Bird & Wild.

BBL: How do you source your coffee?

GW: Shade Grown and Bird Friendly Coffee is hard to source. It’s specially certified by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Centre in Washington. As such, we source from various countries in South and Central American like Peru and Honduras, so that we can offer seasonal blends throughout the year.

BBL: What makes your coffee bird-friendly?

GW: Every bean is produced organically and under high-quality shade, ensuring tropical "agroforests" are preserved and migratory birds find a healthy haven when they travel from northern climes to those faraway farms producing the beans.

With widespread clear cutting for sun coffee plantations, it's imperative to protect the tropical forest that remains and rehabilitate degraded ecosystems. Every cup of Bird Friendly coffee you drink encourages more farmers to grow in the shade, which is good for birds and for people.

Bird & Wild Coffee

By being Organic, it means managing a healthy soil base and applying no harmful pesticides to the coffee that could otherwise run off into streams and rivers. This helps reduce the billions of pounds of noxious chemicals injected annually into natural ecosystems that support wildlife and communities.

By being Shade Grown, a variety of native shade trees are grown throughout the coffee plantation. The combination of foliage cover, tree height and animal diversity provides suitable migratory bird habitat while maintaining productive farms.

Producers must be recertified every three years to ensure they continue to meet these requirements and can truly call themselves Bird Friendly.

BBL: Why should we drink Bird & Wild Coffee?

GW: It tastes great, protects the environment and provides a safe and reliable habitat for migrating birds for generations to come.

BBL: You've done brilliantly well to get this far. It can't surely have been all plain-sailing though?

GW: So many challenges and it’s not over yet. We’re not even a year old and it’s the usual challenges: retailers and cafes wanting lower prices (even though we’re very competitive coffee for organic prices), competing with the monopolies that run the foodservice world in the UK and struggling to gain awareness.

But that’s par for the course. It’s not my first rodeo and we’re for the long haul.

BBL: Do you have a career highlight?

GW: I would say the best is yet to come. We’ve got some pretty big news coming, but aren’t allowed to release it yet.

BBL: What’s your favourite coffee?

GW: I drink my Bird & Wild Seasonal Blend Medium Roast every morning for breakfast. But, I would, wouldn’t I?!

BBL: Of course! And you're allowed to. How do you recommend people make coffee at home?

GW: Keep it simple. Cafetiere or filter. Less waste, great coffee, and it’s affordable. And a big tip – do not put your coffee in the fridge or freezer – it’s an old wives tale – simply keep it in airtight tupperware in a cool dark dry place. Simple!

BBL: Now that is interesting to know, and it will help us clear some much-needed space in the fridge. Thank you so much Guy for telling us all about Bird & Wild Coffee. We have one final question before you go though: what’s your favourite bird and why?

I’m going to putting my cards on the table and say that I’m only just starting to learn about the bird world, so I’m going to go for the little robin that visits me daily out in the garden when I’m watering or pottering around. I like to take a break from the office in our little London “garden”. The robin seems to get closer and closer every day!

BBL: Aw that's lovely. The robin's definitely one of our favourites too. Thanks again Guy and we wish you loads of success for the future.

Bird & Wild Coffee is available to buy on their website, where you can also find out more about the company's mission.


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