The charity zoo has its very own branded blend – Zoorabica. It’s the first time the charity has offered its own named coffee. The new beverage is supplied by Coffeeworks, based in Exeter, an independent company with over 20 years’ experience.
Paignton Zoo Group Catering Manager Jennifer Proctor, who helped choose the final blend, said: “We have gone for this new blend because of taste, price, the support that Coffeeworks offer and the training they provide.” She visited the family-owned roasting business in Bristol to select the coffee.
The beans are triple certified – they are Fair Trade, Soil Association and Rainforest Alliance approved. This means there are benefits for local people and for local wildlife: the farmers are paid a fair price for their produce, while sustainable farming means controls on deforestation and support for wildlife preservation.
The coffee is designated SHG, or Strictly High Grown – a quality and altitude specification that means the coffee was grown more than 1,200 metres above sea level, giving a denser, higher-quality bean. The crop is grown by a local cooperative; waste material is used to generate power enough to run the entire operation.
Zoo spokesperson Phil Knowling added: “Look at a map of Central America and locate Honduras. If you have a good map you might spot the western department – province - of Santa Barbara. Here – if you have a really large-scale map – you’ll find the villages of El Corazol, Monte Cristo and El Palca. These villages produce the coffee that guests now drink in our zoos. You can practically tell which hills your cup of coffee was grown on!”
Zoorabica is available at both Paignton Zoo and Living Coasts. It’s estimated that the trading arm of the charity sells over 100,000 cups of coffee a year, with some 70,000 sold at Paignton Zoo. The profits from retail and catering go straight to Wild Planet Trust, the charity that runs Paignton Zoo, Living Coasts in Torquay and Newquay Zoo in Cornwall.