If you love chocolate and live in Brighton, this is a name that needs no introduction. Jens Knoop is the man behind the rapidly-growing Knoops chain, which is 10 years old this year.
German-born Jens arrived in the UK in the 1990s to study photography in Bournemouth. He went on to spend several years living in London and travelled the world filming opinion research. Wherever he was, he would be sustained by his favourite food – chocolate.
After moving to East Sussex, he decided he wanted to set up his own business. While seeking out chocolate treats on his travels, he’d noticed that chocolate drinks were often an afterthought in cafés, languishing sadly at the bottom of a menu dominated by different teas and coffees.
There was clearly a gap in the market, so he set about creating a business centred on drinking chocolate, both hot and cold.
The first Knoops opened in Rye in 2013. There are now 13 branches spanning London, Oxford, Cambridge, Brighton, Manchester, Rye, Bath and St Albans, with no sign of expansion slowing.
Jens Knoop has spent about 10,000 hours – that’s 1,000 hours a year over the last decade – perfecting his chocolate drinks, blending different strengths with milk, fruit, roots and spices.
He calls the process “Knoopology” and is still discovering new flavour combinations.
As a keynote speaker, Jens will talk about the joys and pitfalls of turning something you love into a successful business, what’s next for the company – and what his own favourite flavour of chocolate is.