Market matters

Steve Manley of The Daily Grind tea and coffee stall
Steve Manley of The Daily Grind tea and coffee stall

When the daily grind of running a pub became too much for Steve Manley, he went round Bury Market.

Today, Daily Grind is the name of his tea and coffee stall, outside Palmers, where you will find 20 to 30 loose leaf teas and about the same number of freshly ground coffees to use at home.

You can also take away a freshly brewed cup.

But it did not start like that 16 years ago.

Steve, from Thurston, recalls: “The pub trade was getting harder and hard to make it pay.

“When I was giving up the pub I came up here. I tried to think what I could do that had low overheads.

“I wrote down every stall there was here and went home to look at them all.

“I thought, people drink tea and coffee all the time and I started off with basic coffee. I only had one. I hadn’t a clue.”

But one day while buying coffee from his supplier, he noticed how many teas there were, and started on those.

Now he can order any unusual teas and coffees people want, though he says some he is asked for are unknown even to the wholesalers because companies give their own names to standard varieties.

His market has changed considerably since he started.

“There were only a few people doing take away, but everybody’s doing it now,” he said. “I got in before the others and I’ve kept nearly all my customers — and I’m a lot cheaper than Costa and all those ones.”

A cup of ‘basic’ coffee is £1.60 and every bit as good as anything you get from the big chains.

But customers have also changed. Steve says: “People have become more knowledgeable about coffee and tea. They know what they like.

“People come up now and ask for some I’ve never heard of. It’s mostly abroad where they’ve tried them.”

However, he finds people are still not willing to try varieties they are unfamiliar with, even though he can sell them small quantities to try.

He stocks all the well known varieties, plus flavoured and decaffinated coffee. He buys coffee as newly roasted beans and grinds when you buy, or you can grind the beans at home.

“There’s nothing wrong with the bags from supermarkets, but when it’s freshly ground there’s no comparison,” he said.