The Journal


Supplier Interview – Caber Coffee

Guests of Skene House Apartment Hotels enjoy complimentary quality coffee in their apartments, guest lounges,  breakfast rooms and even on-the-go with eco-friendly take-away cups. Available all-day every day, our expert coffee machines give you a choice of Espresso, Cappuccino, Americano or Latte along with complimentary biscuits, herbal teas, newspapers and wifi access. This week on the blog we take you behind-the-scenes to meet our fantastic coffee supplier, Caber Coffee. We are proud to support this wonderful local family business and have watched them grow from strength to strength over the years.

Follow along for Q & A with Findlay Leask, Director of Caber Coffee….

Q – For our international guests, who may not have discovered Caber Coffee before, tell us a little bit about your company story?

A –  Caber was founded in 1988 by my parents, Maureen & Dughall Leask, and I joined the business having left University in 2001. We’re based in Aberdeen, home to Skene House Apartment Hotels, and have enjoyed supplying great coffee and coffee equipment to the group for many years. As the coffee market has changed we have strived to consistently work with our customers to help them exceed the expectations of their customers and guests. Most recently we’ve installed bean to cup machines in the guests lounges’ at the three apartment hotel sites as well as a new Speciality Coffee Association of Europe approved brewer (SCAE) into Skene House Rosemount’s breakfast restaurant and meeting room facilities.


Q – What makes Caber Coffee so great?

A – At Caber we pride ourselves on great-tasting coffee that is ethical (for example all of our coffee is ‘direct sourced’ from the growers) whilst tying in a broad range of fairtrade and Rainforest alliance-certified ancillary products – these include hot chocolate, teas (including the Eteaket range of teas blended in Edinburgh), sugar portions as well as ensuring that our product catalogue includes local offerings too – we supply Deans Shortbread, baked locally in Huntly, and Deeside spring water bottled at the Pannanich Wells near Ballater on Royal Deeside. We greatly value our local business connections, whether they be our customers or suppliers.


Q – Can you share a lesser known fact about coffee with us?

A – The discovery of coffee is commonly credited to an Ethopian goat herder called Kaldi who allowed his herd to eat some brightly coloured ‘cherries’. What happened next was that he noticed that the herd quickly became very energetic and refused to sleep! Even to this day an espresso is favoured by cyclists as a legitimate performance enhancer by prompting the release of adrenaline for energy.

There is lots of discussion surrounding the various ethical trading standard for coffee – some examples are Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, UTZ Certification and so on, and while these all have their various benefits, by far the most powerful and beneficial system for the farmers, especially those in developing nations, is simply direct sourcing. What does this mean? It’s simply cutting out as many middle-men as possible. By doing so, our roastery can still buy coffee at a fair price but the farmers, those who live on the tightest margins, achieve a higher price for their crop. In turn, this higher price allows the farmers and growers to develop their crop, invest in irrigation and drainage, help educate and clothe their children and we, as responsible wholesalers, and you as responsible coffee consumers, have a responsibility to support them.


Q – Any trade secrets to making the perfect cup of coffee?

A – Funny that you should ask this question! I have a friend in New York who I shared this “top tip” with and he told me the next day that he’d had a coffee epiphany! It couldn’t be more simple: NEVER use boiling water to make coffee! This applies to instant and freshly ground coffee, BASICALLY any way that you make coffee at home – just let the kettle go off the boil for a couple of minutes, then make your coffee! Why? It’s simple, water at (or very near) boiling point burns your coffee. Irrespective of whether your coffee is arabica or robusta, dark or light roast, brewing it with water at around 90-92 degrees makes a huge difference, you’ll savour more intricate flavours and, what’s even better, is that it’s at a much more drinkable temperature straight away. In the UK most of us grew up drinking instant coffee where we boiled the kettle and made our coffee as soon as the kettle clicked off and we were doing it wrong all the time! Who knew? Try it next time you make a cafetiere of fresh coffee at home.

My other top tip, especially for coffee drinkers at home is to treat yourself to either an Aerobie Aeropress or a Hario Dripper. Both of these brewers represent the best way of making coffee at home for very little expenditure. The Aeropress (made by the same company that makes the famous flying rings) operates on the same principle as an espresso machine where the Hario drip system is hassle free coffee that far exceeds the quality of an old style cafètiere. Maybe you’d like a real talking point at your next dinner party, in that case you should look for a Chemex. These beautiful glass brewers deliver truly lovely coffee but they’re also simply gorgeous to look at with a polished wood handle around the neck.

Just promise me one thing, after all these tips on getting the best from your coffee, make sure you’re using the best coffee to start with. While we’re primarily wholesale suppliers we’re delighted to help retail customers choose their favourite Caber Coffee blend if they come to the office! We look forward to seeing you.

Find out more about Caber Coffee here.

Like the sound of complimentary coffee throughout your stay? To book your stay contact reservations on +44 (0) 1224 659 392 or email

We would love to see photos of you enjoying your delicious cup of Caber Coffee, don’t forget to share them with us on social media using @SkeneHouse #CaberCoffee



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