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I never liked coffee very much. But I was converted Little’s by Little’s.

This is the age of question-askers. Markets are full of independent producers causing a stir by not accepting the status quo. Especially the 96 million cups of coffee a day, pod-mad market.

But Devon’s Will Little asked himself not just, “Why do I want become another British coffee producer?” but also “Why don’t we have decent , high quality , top-of-the-class coffee in instant coffee rather than boring, bland, bog standard coffee from who knows where?

And proceeded to produce a faff–free instant freeze-dried coffee using high quality beans from the birthplace of coffee.

Little’s premium instant Ethiopian and Colombian coffees are now available into Waitrose and, rather than speed and convenience, flavour has at last  been put front and centre of instant coffee. Little’s is also the first UK instant coffee brand to go carbon neutral.

Will and wife, former fashion designer, Caroline took over the company created in by Will’s American father, Henry and Finnish mother Leila. They met at university in Sweden and opened a roastery in Turku , Finland, making  a range of flavoured-coffees  which now comprises Gingerbread, Coffee, Havana Rum., Maple Walnut, Rich Hazelnut, Swiss Chocolate, Island Coconut and Café Amaretto. Now  Little’s from Willand near Cullonpton in Devon, is livening up  the stuck-in-the-mud granulated coffee sector by premiumtizing usually bland soluble coffee.

“You lead with quality,” says Will who had a career in graphic design before taking over the family business.

“Let’s face it, instant coffee can be a bit boring so we’re working really hard to shake things up. Instant coffee still makes up three quarters of all retail coffee sales. We’re redefining what customers can expect in terms in flavour from instant coffee. We use a grade of beans rarely seen in instant coffee production.

“You need to use around 3kgs of beans to produce 1kg of instant. This fact alone highlights why premium beans don’t normally make their way into instant coffee.”

The new Little’s Ethiopian Premium Instant Coffee uses Arabica beans, sourced from the Djimma zone in western Ethiopia. “It produces a sweet flavour with a fruity and zesty character. You’ll also find a hint of chocolate on the finish.”


Colombian Premium Instant coffee is an excelso grade coffee from the Cordelleras mountains in the country’s Antioquia. “It has a distinct hazelnut flavour. As the coffee beans are grown at such high altitude, this coffee has a clean acidity and a lovely sweetness.”

The 100g 4 calorie a cup 50 serving jars retail at £4.99. Little’s also offer decaff-infused and ground.

“The instant category is dominated by global giants and there is very little genuine innovation. We’re here to show instant coffee doesn’t have to be boring.

“Our coffee is not just better quality but we use more coffee beans to make it. Instant coffee has a bad rap. Our heritage is in coffee roasting so we respect the coffee. We have two hands on the front of the pack to represent the husband and wife team and the second-generation theme. We wanted to call on Scandi style and the US influence in our brand.”

Little’s is the only coffee I can drink. I prefer alternatives to the non-infused kind.

Grabbing a cup of Polish lowlands cichrioum intybus or some stool-bulking Belgian endive are now social options.

As is acorn coffee in the form of .A.Vogel Bambu Instant Coffee created by Swiss herbalist and naturopath Alfred Vogel fifty years ago  from organic chicory, Turkish figs, malted barley, wheat, and Greek acorns.

Chicory still remains the most popular coffee alternative. It might conjure up images of cowboys wincing with its bitterness before dowsing the campfire with the pot dregs but chicory coffee is much older than the Wild West. It has a long history in folk medicine.

Chicory roots contains a wide range of essential micronutrients. Roots of wild chicory contain inulin, which protects against inflammation of the large intestine and neutralizes toxins. Its leaves are used as animal feed. Polish brand Grana offers products based on roasted chicory – under the ChicoryCup brand available through Holland and Barrett.

Chicory roots also contain small quantities of proteins and triterpenes – biologically active compounds with anti-tumour and anti-viral properties. Plus hypoglycemic properties (recommended for diabetics) and hipocholesterinemic properties good for your gut microbiome. Inulin is a type of non-digestible soluble fibre.

Chicory coffee probably originated in France during a coffee shortage in the 1800s. It is still popular  in New Orleans.  It is available in the UK in granular and instant powder form. .

If you get anxiety attacks about your caffeine intake, acorns are good for your metabotropic glutamate receptors, your skin, sore throats, headaches, piles, heart protection, blood sugar control, anti-inflammatory actions , bone mineral density and digestion. Acorns contain a number of quite complex carbohydrates which can help provide more energy that lasts longer.  

Holland and Barrett stocks an increasing range of coffee substitutes. 

The latest coffee alternative to hit the shops  is sugar-free, gluten-free , plant- based , 66-cal;s per serving. Switch On made by Swindon-based Nutrition Resilience. 

The idea of Dr Potter ,  whose University of  Leeds PHD is in  sleep, dietary patterns and metabolic health, the brain fog- blasting  ingredients of Switch On are cocoa, creatine monohydrate, chicory root fibre, L-tyrosine, rice starch, rice fibre, ginger, green coffee extract, vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid), L-theanine, sweetener (sterol glycosides) and caffeine.

It is endorsed by ultra-runners, ocean rowers and other endurance athletes as well as the military. 

Switch On’s CEO , co-founder, Ironman and ultra distance runner, Ali Macdonald  spent thirteen  years in the military specialising in surveillance and reconnaissance, alongside a professional career in management consulting at Accenture, where he was a partner. Having completed a physical training instructors course and going on to study nutrition science, he originally founded human performance consulting business, Optimal X where much of the original research and science behind Resilient Nutrition was undertaken.

The drink claims to sharpen focus, boost alertness and allow you to perform at peak cognitive and physical levels. The company also makes good-for-you nut butters.

Meet up for some L-thealine and  fill up today on some deliciously comforting long-range fuel.