Our History

For around 80 years, Matthew Algie was all about tea. In the 1950s we started selling coffee to post-war Glasgow and the rest – as they say – is history. But we’re still right here in Glasgow, where the story began over 150 years ago.

About our founder, Matthew Algie

Matthew Algie was born in 1810 in Greenock, a major port for goods entering and leaving the industrial powerhouse of Glasgow. Matthew was a grocer by trade. He sold tea that arrived on the famous Clyde Clippers. In 1864 he decided to specialise and set up his own tea blending and wholesale business. Matthew’s customers were the thousands of retailers in the Glasgow area. Maybe it was something in the leaves; Matthew lived to the ripe old age of 92.

About our business

In early days...

After the second world war, Glasgow started to develop a taste for coffee so it was added to the Matthew Algie repertoire, alongside tea and vending services.

In the 1970s

By the 70s, we were selling coffee machines to offices, restaurants and hotels. This was revolutionary stuff as people moved away from instant, and towards quality, freshly-ground coffee.

1970s

In the 1980s

We started selling our coffee right across the UK. We added bulk brew filter coffee for the catering sector to meet the high demand, and our first ever espresso machine was introduced in 1989.

1980s

In the 1990s

In 1995, Matthew Algie's Managing Director visited Portland, Oregon and saw the thriving coffee scene. On his return, he vowed to start the espresso revolution in the UK. In 1997, we created Espresso Warehouse to sell "everything but the coffee" to the growing number of independent coffee bars, and we introduced the UK's first ever Fairtrade espresso bean.

1990s

In the 2000s

Matthew Algie launched the UK's (and probably the world’s) first Triple Certified espresso: that's Fairtrade, organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified. And we didn’t stop there. Now over 90% of Matthew Algie coffee sales carry the Fairtrade logo.

2000s

In the 2010s

By 2015, we were selling our Espresso Warehouse range online, meaning everything but the coffee was just a click away. In 2016, we were acquired by Tchibo, one of the largest coffee roasters in the world. Our speciality coffee brand Blak Nektar was launched in 2019 with the aim of creating unique coffees that can be enjoyed at home or in a speciality coffee shop. 2019 also saw us become the first roastery in the world to achieve the Carbon Neutral Gold Standard. 

2010s

In the 2020s

In 2020 we launched our new brand identity. Our new icon gives a nod to the coffee mountains we rely on and the Clyde estuary where it all began. We also achieved the new ‘Carbon Neutral International Standard’ making us carbon neutral for the second year running.

2020