The recent reports of the start of filing of the second series of BBC’s Poldark
got me thinking about the long, and sometime perilous, journey our coffee has taken to get to us – in both historical and geographical terms.Picture the scene; Captain Poldark stands solid as a rock atop a cliff over-looking Mullion Cove in Cornwall, his arm around Demelza, who battles against the wind to keep her golden locks out of her eyes so she can see the drama unfolding below. In the boiling, foaming seas the East Indiaman Jonkheer Meester Van de Putterstock is slowly being taken apart by the pounding waves. Its hull is breached and a gaping wound grows to allow its cargo to be searched out by plundering waves, and carried out to the open sea. The Jonkheer Meester Van de Putterstock had been on its way back from India, bound for a Dutch harbour. Among its £50,000 (£5m in today's money) worth of cargo are a consignment of green beans. And this is the focus of my rather whimsical tale. OK so the wreck of the Jonkheer Meester didn't feature in the Poldark novels, and it sunk in 1690 a long time before the 19th Century setting of Poldark. But ships from India did carry green beans and the four month long voyage, with its exposure to sea air and humidity caused an interesting effect on the beans. The beans swelled and took on a more yellow colour, with a rich a complex flavour after roasting. Modern shipping methods have removed both the time and humidity in the process. Happily though the the same effect can be achieved using the monsooning process, which exposes the beans to months of mosoon weather on the Malabar Coast of India.
You can purchase your own taste of history from our store or below