Meet: The Invisible Heroes Who Make Your Breakfast Happen

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25/07/2017 09:50 BST

Honey-drizzled porridge, yoghurt-topped granola and life-giving coffee: breakfast has got to be the best part of the morning. 

From the bakers who craft your weekend sourdough to the farmers who nurture the cows for your milk, we meet the people behind the process.

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Your daily flat white 

According to the British Coffee Association, we neck approximately fifty five million cups of coffee per day. And while we’ll make do with a few heaped spoons of instant in a chipped mug, it’s always better when it comes from a pro.

Carter Donnell, owner and founder of Camberwell cafe Daily Goods, has been a barista for over fifteen years and only knows early mornings: “7am is a lie in for me,” he tells us.

“I wake up at 5:45am for coffee and porridge (when you make food for other people you don’t have time to eat yourself so you’ve got to get it in right away). I then cycle to work and get started on the day’s prep. Mixing waffle batter, smashing avos, getting the coffee machine set up and then doors open at 7:30am. Generally there are people waiting to get in, once we fire through them we finally get time to make staff coffees.” 

With all the coffee at the shop personally sourced by Carter (“We order in samples of what sounds good to us in that season and cup [taste] them with the staff. What gets a majority vote gets ordered,”) there is a lot more behind your morning fuel than expected. “I also go up to Birmingham and do a sample roast with our friend Nathan of Quarter Horse Coffee. Once we have settled on a roast profile we are set and he ships down our weekly amount.”

It takes a lot of planning to get your cortado worked out to perfection.

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Your bread and pastries

We asked the team at E5 Bakehouse, an artisan bakery in East London, to fill us in on the graft behind your morning toast.

Bread bakers begin their shift between 2.30-3am, (!) when the first breads go into the ovens. “The ovens are already on, so the baking can start straight away. Most of the bread is shaped the day before and proves overnight in the fridge. We fill the gaps in time while the ovens are full by shaping baguettes and rolls ready to be baked,” they tell us. The bakery’s sourdough loaves develop through a slow-fermentation process that lasts up to 72 hours. 

The pastry team are in from 5am, while the delivery rider comes in at 6am, to take the dough-y goodness out to cafes and restaurants. 

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Your drizzle of sweetness

Taking the edge off natural yoghurt, spooned onto toast or added to your post gym smoothie for a sweet fix, honey is AM gold. But we often forget that there’s an intense process behind getting the elixir to the table. 

We tend to get about 20KG of honey from each hive, we then take that honey, put it through a coarse filter and it then goes straight into jars,” explains beekeeper Josh at Hilltop Honey, who minimises the processing to ensure that the honey is raw.

“A bee will only make one and a half of a teaspoon of honey in it’s lifetime, and collectively, bees will travel the distance of twice around the world, visiting two million plants to create one jar of honey.” So whilst the beekeepers extract and package the honey Josh is keen to affirm that it’s the buzzy guys who are the star of the show.

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Your cereal milk

From the semi skimmed in your coffee to the butter on your toast, dairy is a mainstay of breakfast.

Brothers Sam and Matt Slack have a farm in the Peak District and are all about keeping their cows happy to produce delicious milk. “It’s up at 6.15am, then milking at 6.30am,” they tell us. After that, things need fixing, calves need feeding and, in summer, the fields need harvesting. Heavy work. 

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