From bean to cup, Butterworth & Son's Izzy Glen walks us through the process that ultimately delivers great taste
Some believe that coffee beans were first discovered when an Ethiopian goat shepherd noticed that his herd had more energy after eating a particular fruit from a certain shrub. No matter where coffee is grown, it all starts its journey the same way. Seedling coffee bushes are pampered for about five years until they reach maturity and begin to yield fruit. A mature coffee bush will produce around a pound of coffee, which is typically only harvested once per year.
At harvest, the green coffee bean is surrounded by the pulp. This must all be removed prior to preparing the beans for export. There are two methods currently employed to remove the husk and pulp from ripe coffee cherries: the wet method and the dry method.
With the dry (or natural) method, the cherries are spread out on mats in the sun. They are raked often to ensure even drying, until the husk and pulp are dried out and easily removed by hand. With the wet (or washed) method, the coffee cherries are softened in vats of water and then processed through a machine to remove the husk and pulp. The dry method is the old way, and is often considered to be the best way of processing coffee cherries.
Once the coffee is in distribution, it is delivered to either your local retailer, restaurant, café or espresso cart, where it may undergo the final stages of grinding and brewing, typically to order, in the case of cafés, carts and restaurants.
Or it may have to wait for you to bring it home to complete its journey in your kitchen or office!
Butterworth & Son coffee roasters and tea smiths, based on Moreton Hall, Bury St Edmunds
Owner Rob Butterworth’s job takes him around the world visiting coffee farms to source great coffees