The City Bus Coffee Tour of Brisbane had sold out weeks in advance and the keen tourists arrived early on a hot November day. The trinity of venues required a Brisbane City Council bus to take the tour from Woolloongabba to the CBD to West End. Each venue provided a different topic from coffee roasting to espresso to brewed coffee.
Coffee Supreme Brisbane
Focus: Coffee Roasting
The first venue was Coffee Supreme Brisbane formerly known as Cup Coffee. The name may have changed but the coffee roasting quality has not. Josh was holding the Fort and demonstrated how to roast coffee and provided filter coffee made on the Moccamaster drip filter. While each tourist sipped on the single origin Ethiopian Harewa Gatira, Josh called a helper to measure out the green beans, drop them into the roaster and monitor the roast with computer software. The beans roasting were the same coffee being sipped and each tourist got to take home a bag of beans to brew at home.
Our tourists looked at, smelled and touched the green and roasted beans. Some tourists were prepared to munch on the freshly roasted coffee beans. No takers for the green beans however … which someone tried on the Cycling Tour. Many tourists were not used to drinking black coffee and were surprised by the lightness of the brew, both in colour and taste.
City Council buses wait for no-one and it was time to catch one after a short walk to the bus stop. With road works closing the city street we needed to get off, it might have been time to worry. The bus miraculously kept going, turned down the exact street we needed and dropped us off at the front door of Coffee Anthology! Service is premium when you attend a Bean Brewding coffee tour.
With the short skip to Coffee Anthology’s doorstep behind us, we were welcomed with their customary chilled sparkling water. This venue had opened it’s doors especially for the tour and was all about espresso coffee and the pressure profiles of an espresso machine. Adam was not going to be a soft teacher handing out homework straight away. The task was to record a score on each coffee based on how much we liked it. The first coffees were prepared at different barometric pressures, first 7 bar, then 8 and then 9 bar. Each tourist talked and compared notes on which they preferred. Adam then picked volunteers to give their preferred coffee sample and explain why. The consensus was the 8 bar was most preferred.
Adam kept applying different pre-infused timings to the ground coffee via the immaculate Strada. All coffees were now being extracted using 8 bar pressure but with different pre-infusion. The coffee cups came thick and fast … and many more chances for us to discover how coffee flavours and mouthfeel can be altered through the subtle changes in espresso machine settings. One tourist commented, ‘I’m amazed that one coffee can have so many flavours … this is so cool!’
It was really interesting to discover all the variables of espresso coffee and the tourists enjoyed the interaction with coffee and with each other. As we left Coffee Anthology by foot, the conversation continued to the next bus stop. After a slightly longer wait then we expected … you’d thought G20 preparations were in full swing … we were on the bus again and heading over the Brisbane river to the West End.
Blackstar Coffee Roasters
Focus: Brewed Coffee
Blackstar Coffee Roasters are an establishment in the Brisbane coffee scene and one of the original micro-roasters. Jonny was our host and had planned an array of brewed coffee types for us. We headed out the back to an intimate location next to the coffee roaster. First Jonny demonstrated the technique of making a pour over using a V60. He ground the single origin Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans at #9 on the EK43 grinder, explained the importance of water temperature and showed the stages of the pour over. We then tasted the brew, Jonny thought the grind was a little fine because the total pour time had gone on a little long.
Next up some tourists made brews showing off the new found skills they had just learned. The EK43 grinder was set to #9.1 for a coarser grind to give a comparison with the last brew. We tried brewed coffee from Costa Rica, Australia and Ethiopa and once again chatted about the different flavours. With the temperature heating up, Johno dumped a hand full of ice into the Ethiopian made on the Moccamaster drip filter for a tasty iced coffee. The result was so refreshing, similar to drinking iced peach tea. Jonny had certainly impressed us with the different ways to drink brewed coffee and given us the knowledge to go home and try for ourselves.
What a day! By the end, the tourists were buzzing like a bevvy of go cards touching on and off. We had seen, sipped, savoured and smelt coffee in all its glory. If you just thought coffee was something you drank to get your day started, then you’ve got to get yourself on a coffee tour and experience more about the second largest commodity on the planet! Here’s one tourist’s summary of the day:
The tour was amazing!!! I really enjoyed to watch, listen to, talk with coffee professionals, other attendees and the 3 beans! I learned a lot and I really appreciated that you guys organise and planned such a great tour.
I was thrilled when I had a chance to help out roasting beans, tried different taste of coffee under the different pressure profiles and tasted beautiful brewed coffee.
I would definitely like to join next tour, too!
Thank you Coffee Supreme Brisbane, Coffee Anthology and Blackstar Coffee Roasters. You made the coffee tour educational, interactive and enjoyable. Thank you Brisbane for showing interest in coffee tours and keeping the concept going. Stay tuned for more events in the future.