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JJ Bean 25th Anniversary - History (Pt 1)

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"This year is our 25th year of serving the good people of Vancouver with coffee, food, outstanding customer service, and amazing spaces. We are the largest independently owned & family-run coffee chain in Canada. We would like to say we are the best, but that would lack some humility. After all, the best must be determined by you. Over the next few weeks we will be offering a little history on how we started, and honouring some of the people that helped us get here. We have employed thousands of wonderful people over the years, so believe me, choosing just a few is difficult. 

My family’s relationship with coffee began in Vancouver, back in the 1920s. My grandfather, Francois James Neate (affectionately known as Gumpy) started roasting for Nash Tea & Coffee, Trade Roasting, and Nabob. In time he saw an opportunity for something better and had the desire to be out on his own. Having established himself in the trade, he struck out with a passion tempered by experience that still runs in the family to this day. 

In 1945 F.J. Neate & Co. (a.k.a. Neates Coffee) was formed. My father, John Sr. joined the family business in 1951 and together they prevailed through thick and thin, including a devastating fire in 1969 that burnt the roasting plant to the ground. Remarkably, Neates Coffee continued to grow, steadily building a reputation for a quality product and genuine customer service. 

In 1979 I began my apprenticeship in the world of coffee, working alongside my father until Neates Coffee was sold in 1990. The new owner (Nestlé) closed down the local roaster and starting roasting Neates Coffee in Toronto. For our customers in Vancouver, part of what made our family coffee special went missing.” - John Neate Jr.

The Neates blend back then was Brazil, Colombian & Guatemala. Coincidentally, those are the primary components of our JJ blend today. 

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This is F.J Neate's final payslip from Trade Roasting Co. in 1944 before setting up Neate's coffee the following year.