The Dean's Beans: Blackburn Cathedral launches its own range of tea and coffee

The Very Rev Peter Howell Jones, who created the cathedral's gin brand and now its new tea and coffee blends.

Blackburn Cathedral is broadening its drinks range from gin to its very own tea and coffee blends. 

It has launched its own coffee called the Dean's Beans - a nod to the Dean of Blackburn, the Very Rev Peter Howell Jones, who was behind the cathedral's first branded gin. 

Cathedra Gin launched in 2018 to much fanfare, selling out in less than a week. Priced £39, it is now available to buy in supermarkets and some cathedrals. 

Profits from the venture are used to fund Blackburn Cathedral's education and music outreach programme, which works with some 4,500 children across 120 schools in the region.

The Dean's Beans have been blended by the Coffee Exchange, a Lancashire-based company, and are already for sale in the café at Blackburn Cathedral.

Plans are afoot for the tea blend to launch later in the year. 

"This is cathedrals doing business in the 21st century," says Rev Jones. 

"Creating a gin, a coffee, or a tea here at Blackburn Cathedral to sell in the commercial world helps us develop our reach beyond Lancashire.

"It reflects a well-established tradition of monastic and religious communities brewing, fermenting and distilling, that pre-date the medieval period.

"And by doing so, we are helping to reflect something of the entrepreneurism and creativity, which is the spirit of England's cathedrals."

The gin brand was created with the help of a £12,000 loan from cathedral funds and started turning a profit after just six months, allowing the loan to be paid back in full.

Now the dean is hoping for the same success with Cathedra's new tea and coffee products.

He hopes that eventually all English cathedrals will sell the Cathedra range and keep the profits to use for their own mission and ministry work. 

A 225g bag of Dean's Beans costs £5 and, at present, can only be bought from Blackburn Cathedral café, but there are plans to sell the new tea and coffee blends in supermarkets in the near future.

The addition of the Dean's Beans coincides with the relaunch of the cathedral café, which includes re-naming it Checks and Greys - a reference to the region's rich textile heritage when every Lancashire mill had its own design and the Blackburn check and grey was world-famous.

"This is a Lancashire company rooted in its heritage and working with its people," said the dean.

"We want to put Blackburn Cathedral firmly on the map for everything it has to offer, including its hospitality, its worship, its music, its gin and its coffee," he added.