Couple’s passion turns life into a delightful grind
Phil Butterworth and wife Brittani Fubler love a good cup of Joe. She likes hers strong and adventurous. He likes his a little less strong.
Early in the pandemic they started bringing in their own coffee, experimenting with different flavours and blends.
They brought in one coffee that tasted like rum.
“It was great. I drank it all,” Mr Butterworth said.
Ms Fubler liked a coffee they tried that had tea notes.
But after a while their habit was getting expensive.
“We were spending $150 a month on coffee,” said Ms Fubler, director of Chatmore British International School. “We realised a lot of other people were also importing coffee for themselves. We thought why not bring it in wholesale and it will be cheaper for everyone.”
In March, they launched Coffee Exchange, importing artisan coffee blends for island javaphiles.
“We are aiming for people who want to brew their coffee at home,” Mr Butterworth said. “We are really focused on the artisan coffee makers and the smaller roasters that pay attention to the quality of the bean.”
So far, Coffee Exchange has a small but enthusiastic following. Customers tend to buy two or three bags of coffee at a time from the company website.
Mr Butterworth first became interested in coffee years ago while working in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England.
“I was transporting wheelie bins and doing 15-hour shifts,” Mr Butterworth said.
The coffee helped him to stay awake.
Today, he works in IT for an insurance firm, but maintains his love for coffee. Ms Fubler said her husband’s enthusiasm for coffee was infectious.
“Once I understood coffee more from him, I thought wow, this is like wine, almost,” Ms Fubler said.
Sometimes he gives her cups of coffee and asks what she tastes in it.
Right now, they are working on marketing Coffee Exchange.
“I have been pushing it on social media,” Mr Butterworth said. “A lot of people still don’t know about us yet.”
Their most popular offering, so far, is a cold brew blend.
“This one is specially made to be drunk cold,” he said. “You taste the flavours better that way. You literally brew it as you would a normal coffee then stick it in the fridge and leave it for a bit.”
The coffee comes in bean form, so customers need a grinder and a drip coffee maker.
“I started with a hand grinder,” Mr Butterworth said. “You can get those really easily on island, but I am going to start bringing in the electric grinders so people can grind with more ease.”
They chose to bring the coffee in un-ground because it starts to deteriorate in 90 seconds after being processed.
“We are trying to bring the highest-quality cup of coffee to the market,” Mr Butterworth said. “Whole bean is best for that. But if we find a market we may move to grinding it.
They are also looking at starting a subscription service so that people can buy a variety of different coffees.
“As we build the stock we build customer profiles so that they can get a subscription that fits their tastes,” Ms Fubler said.
Ms Fubler said their love of coffee is an extension of their passion for food. When they married three years ago, they spent their honeymoon trying top restaurants in six different countries, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Britain and the United States.
“I think Italy had the best coffee,” Mr Butterworth said. “In the morning you could stand at espresso bars, have an espresso and then get on with your day.”
In the future Coffee Express might expand to teas.
“That would be the natural next move,” Mr Butterworth said. “And a few of the artisan roasters do some chocolates as well, so we may look at that.”