Worst thing anyone has said to me? ‘I don’t drink coffee’!
PUBLISHED: 11:04 13 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:04 13 March 2019
Rob Butterworth of Guat’s Up cafe in Bury St Edmunds travels the world to find the best coffees available. He tells Gina Long MBE about his love for East Anglia - and which are his two favourite restaurants in the region...
Rob Butterworth started his career selling high quality tea bags, coffee and condiments in the late 90s. Butterworth & Son Tea Bags can now be found in Tesco, East of England Co-Op and Co-Op stores throughout the region. Rob now travels the world to find the best coffees available which he imports, Roasts, then offers through specialist independent coffee, cafés and food shops. Butterworth & Son have an online shop, along with a Guatemalan-themed Cafe named Guat’s Up! in Bury St Edmunds.
What is your connection to East Anglia?
Although born in Surrey, my father and mother moved to Bury St. Edmunds, soon after I was born. Bury St Edmunds is where my father grew up and my grandfather had once been the restaurant manager for the renowned Angel Hotel.
What is your East Anglian Heaven ie what do you love most about East Anglia?
The North Norfolk coast. It’s such a beautiful area. Peaceful, yet so much to do. Good quality food and the local people are just so welcoming. No matter what time of year I visit, I feel the desire to stay longer.
What is your East Anglian Hell ie what you hate most about living here?
I’m not sure I ‘hate’ anything about living here, however, I think my least favourite aspect would be the Trans-Anglia highway, otherwise known as the A14. I’ve spent too many hours on this road to enjoy it. Being a dual carriageway, it manages much of the heavy traffic from the busy port of Felixstowe up to the Midlands. It can be less than desirable, on a busy day.
What’s your favourite East Anglian restaurant?
Can I pick two? They are both in Bury St Edmunds, 1921 & Pea Porridge. Both offer excellent service, the food is always flawless, in both establishments. I love the seasonal variations, and they offer a good variety of dishes on the menu, so no matter what I’m in the mood for, I know I’ll find something I desire. I’m feeling hungry just thinking about them...
What’s your favourite way to spend an East Anglian evening?
Running two businesses doesn’t leave as many spare evenings as I would like. Quality time with my children is always important of an evening.
What’s your favourite East Anglian landmark?
The Cathedral Tower in Bury St Edmunds. It is so iconic and often one of the first landmarks one sees coming into Bury St Edmunds. It seems to gleam majestically in any light.
What’s the best thing that happens in East Anglia every year?
It has to be Latitude Festival. I have some good memories from running a coffee stall there. It’s such a great vibe for all ages and has plenty to offer. Having worked at Glastonbury Festival, I feel I am qualified to make this assessment.
What your specialist Mastermind subject?
Probably coffee. I used to be knowledgable in the subject of ‘Aircraft Recognition’ in my teenage Air Cadet days. Working in the coffee industry, my passion has changed.
What is always in your fridge?
Coconut water. It reminds me of my travels.
What’s your simple philosophy of life?
Work hard, play hard. Can you get any simpler?
What’s your favourite film?
Only one? Well, I’m going to pick something very different then. A world cinema classic, Mangal Pandey. The movie is made in India, it has British actors alongside Indian, and tells the true and tragic story of Mangel Pandey, an Indian Solider, in the East India Company’s Army, torn between two worlds. It’s colourful, dramatic, educational and has some great music, in keeping with the film. Quite different to my usual Hollywood or British WW2 favourites.
What was your first job?
I was a shelf-filler and till operative (pre-barcodes), on a Saturday, for a local supermarket whilst still at school. Supplementary to working in my father’s shop, to gain broader knowledge of retail.
What is your most treasured possession?
I don’t hold much value in material items. I have a small collection of tribal masks, from different corners of the world where I have visited. My favourites are from the Amazon in Peru, you can see many of them hanging in Guat’s Up café, from Guatemala.
Who do you admire most?
My grandmother. She was always so kind to me and told me to travel. She took me on a Concorde flight for my birthday. Throughout her life she always put her family first, no matter what.
What is your biggest indulgence?
Travel. I am lucky enough to be fit and healthy to do so. I adapt well to different cultures and climates.
What do you like about yourself most?
I like to meet new people and for the most part. I feel that I get on well with many people, regardless of their background, culture, or creed.
What’s your worst character trait?
I squeeze the toothpaste from the middle!
Where is your favourite holiday destination?
Although I’d still strongly recommend Guatemala, it’s a bit of a backpack destination, so I’m going with Bali. I recently visited the Indonesian island. I was taken by the ‘coffee culture’ from farm to cup. It`s a lesser known growing region of the world, I expect great things from this Island in the near future. It is also great for partying.
Best day of your life?
Days. When my sons, Edward & Harry were born. You can’t beat that feeling of new life and continuation of family.
What’s your favourite breakfast?
Avocado on toast with salmon & bacon, with an orange juice and large filter (V60) coffee.
What’s your favourite tipple?
Very simply, large V60, it’s a manual brew method of making coffee and produces the best flavours. I take my coffee black, without sugar to enjoy quality coffee to it’s full potential. Aside from that, a Guatemalan rum called Ron Zacapa is a must try.
What’s your hidden talent?
I like to cook, and I do an awesome Sunday roast with all the trimmings.
When were you most embarrassed?
I passed out once on parade at Air Cadets. We were made to stand to attention, in full winter uniform, in the height of summer for hours on end ready for inspection. I was one of two who passed out on the day.
What’s your earliest memory?
I have an early memory of falling down the stairs.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
Sailing by Rod Stewart. It was the only vinyl record in my grandmothers collection that I liked. The rest being swiss folk songs and classical music, I didn’t gain an appreciation for these until later in life.
Tell us something people don’t know about you?
I also really enjoy a good cup of English breakfast tea.
What’s the worst thing anyone has ever said to you?
I don’t drink coffee.
Tell us why you live here.
Family and business matter most. I also grew up here, so I have a strong connection to the area.
What do you want to tell our readers about most?
Shop local, it really matters.
Follow Gina Long on Twitter @geewizzgee1