Andrea Leadsom

You have to admire the audacity of the Tory ‘post-truth’ world of Brexit.

At the Tory party conference speech today, environment secretary Andrea Leadsom declared:

We’re selling coffee to Brazil, sparkling wine to France and naan bread to India.

Are we really selling coffee to Brazil?

So how much coffee is grown in the UK and sold to Brazil?

Political Scrapbook called the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs to ask.

Hello, could you tell us how much coffee the UK is selling to Brazil? Or just… how much coffee does the UK make?

It took a moment for the spokesperson to realise this was a serious question.

You see, Britain’s climate isn’t exactly conducive to coffee growing.

That said, in 2008 the Eden Project in Cornwall managed to grow what were the first cups of coffee made from beans grown in the UK. But that was merely about 50 cups worth – hardly enough for exporting.

Our spokesperson tried to give an answer nevertheless

Well, it was a political speech… perhaps she meant coffee processing? *hopeful tone*

We’ll… err… get back to you if we can find that information.

UPDATE: A spokesperson from DEFRA has now got in touch to point out that the UK exported £1m of [processed] coffee to Brazil, and £270m worldwide from Jan to June 2016.

So, we’re importing coffee to process it and export it out again. Hardly what was implied in the speech

  1. Perhaps they were thinking of deporting baristas to Brazil? You can see how such simple folk as Andrea can mix the raw materials with the process – just to be seen to improve the UK’s balance of trade deficit, lagging, as it is, by more than 200 billion behind Germany’s.

  2. Coffee *capsules*!!! It all makes so much sense….fuck the environment, they’re gonna sell Brazil British “Brexit Brand” Coffee Capsules! It’s the glorious future as predicted in that Terry Gilliam film!

  3. So Nestle exports instant coffee processed in the UK in a low wage factory. Coincidentally in recent years they’ve either paid no tax or a tiny amount compared to their uk profits. That’s going to be no use when the country suffers huge tax losses from sectors that’ll shrink with Brexit.

  4. Peter Kinnaird says:

    Mmmmm exporting coffee capsules when the main ingredient the raw coffee beans are clearly imported does not really qualify for the misleading statement that we export coffee to Brazil. Furthermore that Nestle factory will struggle to be competitive as it’s imported coffee beans get more and more expensive with the brexit induced falling pound. I suspect Nestle are curious about brexit undermining their big investment and will certainly not want us to exit the single market.

  5. So that’s this idiots idea of our future – selling coffee to Brazil? Complete dickhead.

    At least she isn’t PM

  6. Christopher Styles says:

    So from what I understand, we buy coffee from places like Brazil, ship it halfway round the World to the West Midlands where a £375million factory turns it into capsules which are then shipped back to from whence they came. Thanks for the invasive species, delivered free of charge in the bilgewater. . . !

  7. Michael Dolby says:

    We are exporting processed coffee to Brazil, having imported it unprocessed first.
    We import more from Brazil than we export there (government figures).
    In other news we sold a fridge to an Eskimo having first importing it from Turkey and some sand to Saudi Arabia having first importing it from the Sahara.

    Tory no story.

  8. We could send them all those curved bananas we grow in the uk, you know tbe ones nasty Brussels stops us from eating?

  9. Nice to see such magnanimity Rich. I think the point is that the coffee is from a Swiss company investing here and the announcement was made well before the vote. This is an example of something being used to support an argument to which it is totally unrelated. You know post hoc ergo propter hoc.

  10. Franklin Percival says:

    Oh, she meant trading, how common. What do we actually produce physically that is in demand abroad, hmm?

  11. Isn’t Leadsom one of the Tories who told lies on her CV? I suspect that she’s just a compulsive liar. Simple as that.

  12. The UK is not exporting coffee, it’s exporting a product made from coffee. What next? Will Leadsom say that we export trees to Norway when we import wood and turn it into furniture?

    @Michael Dolby
    Sand is exported to Saudi Arabia because the desert sand there is too fine for making aggregate. Sun Lamps are bought in Saudi Arabia because the sunlight is too intense and hot so, it’s better to get a tan indoors in an air-conditioned room.

  13. Let’s leave the single market so we can trade with the rest of the world…. But surely we don’t export anywhere else in the world yet. Has Brexit already happened and I missed it. #morelies

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