It's easy to take a name as given. A name is a name, that's it. No one asks where 'Waitrose' comes from, it's just the name of the supermarket*. But from time to time we get asked by curious customers about the meaning of the word 'Cupsmith' - where it comes from, what it means, and why we've named our brand after it. So, by way of explanation, here's a semi-educational article about the origins of our name.
Where does Cupsmith come from?
Assuming you've got the cup bit all figured out, let's start with the smith bit. The surname Smith comes from the Old English word for a smith or blacksmith, which originally referred to someone who worked with metal. A blacksmith was one of the earliest jobs requiring specialist skills, and because it was a craft that was practiced in many countries, it quickly became one of the most common surnames - a title it still claims today in England and America.
Over time, the trend for occupational surnames grew and new variations of smith emerged - again based on the materials they worked with, such as Whitesmith (tin), Coppersmith, Silversmith, and Goldsmith.
By now, you can probably see where this is going...
What does Cupsmith mean?
When we launched our business back in 2015, we concocted our own version of the word to make 'Cupsmith'.
Why 'cupsmith' rather than 'coffeesmith'? (When we first started, we only sold coffee). Well, because we always had the ambition to do tea and hot chocolate as well as coffee, and because we think it's important that our customers get the best quality products whatever they choose to buy from us. By combining 'cup' with 'smith' we hope to reflect the passion that goes into every single cup.
Why we're called Cupsmith
In practice, this means we choose our products thoughtfully and prepare them carefully at home, by hand, on a small scale. Our coffees are made from the best arabica beans, which we roast slowly in small batches in the barn opposite our home; our loose leaf teas are made from organic ingredients, and come in lovely silk pyramids; our hot chocolate is made from single estate Columbian chocolate - whole bars flaked by our own fair hand.
Everything we do, we do in order to give our customers a better-tasting cup at home. It's not about convenience, cost, competition, trends or fads. It's a labour of love. Our drinks aren't made to take-away, nor are they for special occasions. Our finest quality hot drinks are to be enjoyed at home every day - ideally sitting down at your kitchen table, looking out the window and watching the clouds go by.
Emma & George x
*In case you're wondering, Waitrose & Partners was originally a small grocery called 'Waite, Rose and Taylors' after the three founding partners. After David Taylor left the business, they merged the remaining founders' surnames and adopted the new name of 'Waitrose'.