Very early on our coffee adventures, a Byron coffee odyssey was penciled in as a major goal. We’d been to Byron years ago to sample the coffee scene and in our inaugural Brisbane coffee tour, a slice of Byron came to us! This year we headed to Byron with other Brisbane coffee lovers to experience the epicentre of Australian coffee firsthand. To fuel up for the farm, we started at Doma Cafe in Federal for some delightful Japanese Temaki hand rolls … this place is a hidden gem if you’re a foodie!
Aussie Coffee Farm
With contented bellies, we took the short trip to the farm in a Qld number plate convoy. So why is the Byron hinterland perfect for growing coffee? Richard from Moonshine explained, ‘the region has a unique micro climate … It’s all about the latitude, cool sea breezes and the rich Green Cauldron soil.’
It was time to walk on the rich soil and do some harvesting of the coffee cherries … by hand. It makes you appreciate the effort of getting coffee from crop to cup. Approximately 6.5kg of coffee cherries = 1kg of green beans … Whoa!
After ‘harvesting’ our bounty, we had hands on experience with the difference between pulp natural and natural processing. Not only did we hand pick, the Logan City coffee baron bent his back to hand pulp part of our insecticide and pesticide free haul.
We inspected machinery, threw the ball to Rusty and found a three bean cherry … the Aussie coffee equivalent to a four-leaf clover. Finally we quenched our thirst with espressos made from the K7 Bourbon that we just handled. If you want a slice of Byron in your Brisbane cup you can head to Puk Espresso and enjoy without any effort!
Aussie Coffee Grower and Roaster
It was a scenic trip to from Federal to Alstonville and when we arrived, Nat took us on an espresso cupping journey. We looked and smelled three coffees Nat had roasted on site – a Panama Geisha, an Organic Pulp Natural Mexican (we now knew what that meant!) and a Sumatran. As we delighted our senses, Nat had the San Remo Opera singing beautifully as he carefully extracted each bean using different settings. There was some serious machine envy by Simon from Manna Beans.
Tasting three diverse coffees provided us with a sensory extravaganza with the pulp natural espresso shot appealing to everyone’s palate and was the clear group flavourite. We then took in the sites of the roastery, where we saw three coffee roasters … all hand built by Nat and his Dad.
The three little pigs had nothing on these creators of engineering masterpieces. If you’re keen to experience daylight savings, Byron coffee history and amazing coffee first hand then take a trip to Alstonville. If not, you can taste Nat’s Aussie Organic coffee at Let Minnow Café in Clayfield.
Local Food Stop
After an epic day of Byron coffee we headed to Rock and Roll for dinner. We got a tip from a couple of locals who told us, ‘best coffee and food in Mullum!’ We caught up with Trent and chatted about his blend and cafe … one keen tourist was already behind the coffee machine when we arrived! This place is cool and the food was brilliant … next time we stop for coffee too!
Day 2 – Aussie Coffee Roaster
Talk about passion and enthusiasm … it’s a rich vein in the Byron coffee industry and Stewy personified it in spades. He talked about his journey with coffee and how he was learning as much as he could from those around him. As well as travel around the Northern Rivers as a Trivia quiz master, Stewy travels to Ballina every Monday to roast his Aussie only blends. Grown locally, roasted locally, served locally.
We were in the fortunate position to be able to cup the beans roasted for Stewy’s Golden Bean entries. We used the Coffee Geek cupping sheet as a rough guide to help us discover and discuss things like aroma and mouth feel. We tried the Aussie beans as an espresso shot, a flat white and as a plunger. Plenty of dark chocolate notes! Our Brisbane Barista extraordinaire helped with the milk texturing while we enjoyed the delightful scones and fruit platter prepared on site. Seriously, what a morning … it was hard to leave.