Last week I hopped on a train and took the short 10 minute journey to Crediton. I was met at the station by Andrew Webb, one half of the father and son team that own and run the Crediton Coffee Company. Plus Suzie, one of my regular readers who engineered the visit.
We made our way to the Market Square where the Crediton Coffee Company have their shop. This is where the coffee roasting magic happens! Andrew suggested we take a seat and sample a coffee before my coffee education begins. As always when I visit artisans and producers, there is always so much to learn and so much that surprises me with the process of producing the finished product.
Firstly let’s begin with how Andrew became interested in the coffee world and where the idea for the Crediton Coffee Company began. It was back In 1988 when Andrew was working as a civil servant. He was asked by the International Coffee Organisation to improve the quality of coffee. The International Coffee Organisation (ICO) is the main intergovernmental organisation for coffee, bringing together exporting and importing Governments to tackle the challenges facing the world coffee sector through international cooperation.
The ICO’s mission is to strengthen the global coffee sector and promote its sustainable expansion in a market-based environment for the betterment of all participants in the coffee sector.
Andrews job was to improve the quality of coffee by not mixing coffee beans. This reduces the quality of the overall finished product. Likening coffee to wine, Andrew called it the “wine model”. Once finished with this project he left coffee behind until 2011 when he moved to Crediton on retiring with his wife Carole and son Daniel.
Daniel was a trained firefighter before moving to Devon but couldn’t get a position with the local fire service. So this is where Andrew stepped in and decided to rekindle his passion for coffee and create a job for his son by opening Crediton Coffee Company.
Before the shop opened Andrew and Daniel packed their bags and hopped on a plane to the United States. Seattle was their destination and the Mecca for many coffee lovers. They went on a two week coffee roasting course with Stefan Diedrick. Diedrick make the Rolls Royce of coffee roasters. They are German in origin and very efficient and perfect for what Andrew and David wanted for their new business venture. They managed to get one of Diedricks coffee roasters back to Crediton from Seattle so the coffee roasting magic could begin.
Andrew said that sometimes supermarket purchased coffee can be over a year old. Roasted a year ago or more and packaged in foil to retain the flavour. This is something that they want to educate the public in and hope that they will taste the difference with their shop roasted beans. Their coffee has a two week shelf life which puts the life of the supermarket brands into perspective.
They only use Arabica beans to make their coffee. Arabica beans are of a much higher grade than Robusta for example. This means that the coffee available in their shop is guaranteed to be top quality. This is why Crediton Coffee Company were voted one of the top 3 roasters in the UK last year in the BBC Good Food Magazine which is high praise indeed. The company also takes careful note of the sustainability of the practices used by the farmers who produce the coffee they buy. They only buy from small cooperatives and estates which means they can source all of their coffees from their country of origin.
Not only do they sell their shop roasted coffee beans for you to take home but they also have a little coffee shop for you to enjoy their top quality coffee in house. Their barista, Jack, will create wonderful coffees for you to enjoy on the comfy sofa where you can take in the amazing aromas of the coffee roasting at the back of the store. You can even sit at the bench on a high stool and watch the coffee roasting process. It only takes 15 minutes from the green bean to the finished article. A perfect amount of time for you to sup on your coffee.
Get yourself over to Crediton to witness the roasting of the beans and perhaps pick up a bag or two. This is seriously good coffee!