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Culture: An enduring love by Rob Butterworth

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Rob Butterworth
Rob Butterworth

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and if music be the food of love. . .then coffee is definitely its drink. Britain’s love affair with coffee is a long one; the country’s first coffee house opened in Oxford in 1650. In modern times, the nation’s thirst for coffee continues to grow, with consumption at an all-time high.

Caffeine’s properties as a stimulant are well known but it has also long been touted as an aphrodisiac, claims which are now being backed up by research. Chemically, coffee has been shown to increase dopamine levels in the brain, increasing desire and pleasure. Studies also show that coffee drinkers have sex more frequently than the non-coffee drinker.

Although coffee is more popularly associated with necessity (Britons drink approximately 55 million cups per day) than naughtiness, Colombia’s coffee industry is one built on sin.

The crop was first introduced to the country by Jesuit priests, but upon learning they would see no harvest for five years, local farmers were initially reluctant to plant and grow coffee. However, one priest, Francisco Romero, began ordering locals to plant the trees as penance for their sins at confession, thereby establishing Costa Rica as a coffee producing nation – a tradition which has remained strong for more than 300 years.

In the modern day, Colombia produces 12 per cent of the world’s coffee, making it the third largest producer worldwide (after Brazil and Vietnam) and the second largest producer of the higher quality Arabica beans. All Butterworth & Son coffees, both single origins and our blends, are made up of Arabica beans as they give a better flavour than inferior Robusta beans, which are used for most everyday and instant coffees.

Colombia’s coffee is known and respected as some of the best in the world because it only produces Arabica beans and the growing conditions of its many biodiverse microclimates are conducive to producing high quality and great tasting coffee. Our Colombian single origin, the Los Riscos, is grown in the Planadas municipality, where conditions range between 19°C and 23°C all year. This location is blessed with crystal clear glacier waters and rich volcanic soils, a part of the world that only the most adventurous coffee growers and wild goats seem to inhabit.

With Valentine’s in mind, we’ve some gorgeous new artwork on our Los Riscos, exclusively available from Guat’s Up! on Guildhall Street, Bury St Edmunds. With notes of kiwi and lemon, this enlivening brew is an all-rounder that tastes great both served black and with milk. The perfect accompaniment to a romantic breakfast in bed and sure to win you brownie points with the coffee lover in your life!

Rob owns Butterworth & Son coffee roasters and tea smiths, based on Moreton Hall, and Guat’s Up! café in Guildhall Street.

His job takes him around the world visiting coffee farms to source great coffees.