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The Golden Ticket: Norwich Theatre and the Coffee Roastery

We won the golden ticket and were invited by our Corporate Sponsors and coffee supplier, Green Farm Coffee, to see their roastery!


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With roughly 400 billion cups of coffee consumed yearly across the globe, there’s no doubt that it’s one of the world’s favourite beverages. To many, coffee is an integral part of their day, and here at Norwich Theatre, we are inclined to agree!  

Since August last year, Green Farm Coffee has been our coffee supplier for our café and bars, becoming an official Corporate Sponsor in September. Recently, we had the pleasure of visiting their in-house roastery at their home on Rackheath Industrial Estate. We were able to see exactly how coffee is made, from bean to mug!  

After being offered some delicious beverages to start our day, we headed on a tour of the roastery, led by award-winning barista and Technical Coffee Manager Ross McIntyre. I must admit that my expectation of the building, especially coming from a theatrical background, was that of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory level. The initial shock was that the building did not have a river of espresso running through it aside; I was surprised that all the production process happened in one room (considerably smaller than that of Wonka’s factory).  

It was a slick, clean and quiet workplace with two large roasters taking centre stage. I was baffled how over a ton of beans a week could be roasted in this space. The journey of the coffee begins with a rather large bucket of green beans! These raw, hard, and peanut-like beans originated from Brazil, where they grew like that of a cherry stone on a coffee tree. They would be removed from the fruit either by being laid to dry out in the sun or soaked in water with a specific moisture level so that it wouldn’t dry out or go mouldy on the international trip to Norwich!  

These beans then get poured into one of the large washing machine-style roasters and spun around with extremely hot air. Admittedly, this was the most shocking part of the tour for me, as it only took nine minutes for this small batch to complete its roast. Ross let us know that their usual large batches, only take 15 minutes to complete the roasting process! 

They then get filtered through a de-stoner to ensure there are no intruders in the batch, as coffee shells, small stones, or other objects can cheekily sift through during its drying process whilst laid out in the sun in its country of origin. Once this process is complete, it’s ready to be packaged! Don’t be too eager to try the beans straight after roasting though; they must go through a de-gassing stage where they are sat in their packets for at least a month before they can be consumed. This releases the carbon dioxide built up in the bean during the roasting process and is the reason there are vents on the packaging when you buy coffee!  

The farming process can often be a kudo topic in coffee production, but Ross was more than happy to give us an insight into how Green Farm Coffee communicate with farmers. To help build healthier relationships between farmers and producers, a universal online platform is used that allows farmers to state what crops they would like to grow and for what prices. The producers are then able to pay them extra shipping and storage fees and select in advance what beans they would like in the future. This process gives power and autonomy back into the farmers’ hands, making the whole procedure more transparent and environmentally sustainable.  

Towards the end of our visit, we got to chat further about Green Farm Coffee’s approach to the community with Ross. He let us know that not only do they supply coffee to large organisations like Norwich Football Club, but they also support community not-for-profits like The Feed, by supplying them with coffee and free on-loan coffee machines. He was also able to tell us our exact blend of coffee used in Café Royal and our bars!  

With a caramel and nutty taste, we use a delicious Café Dolce blend of 50% Brazilian naturally processed arabica coffee and 50% Peruvian washed process coffee. This makes it the perfect blend for either black or milk-based coffee drinkers. Which means no one has to argue over what sort of drinks to order!  

We would like to thank Green Farm Coffee for enlightening us about the coffee roasting process and, of course, issuing us with golden tickets to visit their headquarters! 

To find out more about becoming a Corporate Partner of Norwich Theatre, or to discuss the membership in further detail, get in touch by email or call 01603 598556.

Find out more about Green Farm Coffee here.