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Canberra is the spiritual home of good coffee

By 13 May 2014 14

good-coffee

Say what you like about the Italians, the French, or the Turkish. They each have their own style of coffee and do it well but nobody quite matches Australians for variety of coffee styles and dedication to perfection across each and every coffee making process.

At home I have an aeropress, a plunger, a briki and a stovetop percolator, which is pretty standard for an Aussie girl.

Naturally, it’s tempting to just grab a bag of coffee from my local IGA simply because it happens to be the closest shop to my house that sells coffee. But a little adventuring further afield reveals a wealth of delicious locally roasted coffee and a little industry buzzing with energy. Pick up your next bag of coffee from one of our local roasters and enjoy the freshness and fullness of flavour that just can’t be achieved with imported coffee.

Ona Coffee
Ona Coffee is for romantics. Started by a Serbian football star who now spends his life touring the globe searching for passionate farmers and distinctive flavours, it has quickly become one of Canberra’s best known coffee brands. This obsession with pure flavour leads to an intriguing black coffee, pouring milk over one of their delicate single-origins is like pouring coke over fine brandy. But like all our local roasters they offer beans for a variety of uses including custom house blends for cafes they supply. Ethical plus: they established a new ethical purchasing standard well above fairtrade rates.

Kaldi Coffee
This is the coffee for the passionate coffee geek. Their custom designed roasting machine heats the air before it enters the oven because a hot barrel would create hotspots which allows inconsistencies to form in the roasting process. Beans aren’t blended until after separate roasting to ensure each different bean reaches its absolute peak deliciousness. They’re perfectionists and from what I’ve experienced their espresso will kick you in the teeth. Their website goes into great detail about how it’s done and provides tasting notes for your purchasing decision. Ethical plus: Most Kaldi espresso bars are run as self-employed businesses so your barista is receiving a healthy share of the profits.

Cosmorex Coffee
These guys have been in Canberra for over 40 years and are in no small way responsible for our strong coffee culture. They provide a huge selection of blended and single-origin beans, equipment and barista training, serving both a retail and wholesale clientele. While they aren’t on the bleeding hipster edge like some of the newer places, they are consistently producing the coffee beans that Canberrans have known and loved for over 40 years. Ethical plus: fairtrade and organic lines are available.

Lonsdale Street Roasters
Leading the coffee charge into the mean hipster streets of Braddon are Lonsdale Street Roasters. I probably don’t have to convince you that Lonsdale Street Roasters are doing a good job, they opened just a few years ago on such a lean budget that they became best known for not having proper furniture. But the customers kept coming back for the mind-blowing coffee, they’re expanding, diversifying into distillery and if they keep growing at this rate they will soon occupy the entire street. They serve strong pours so if you’re trying to recreate this experience at home you’ll want to add a little extra to your plunger.

Two Before Ten
This is a darkhorse entry in the competition for Canberra’s best coffee roaster. They’re slightly off the beaten path, quietly running a lovely cafe, roasting single-origin and seasonal blends, being really cool and somehow managing to keep it all one of Canberra’s well kept secrets. People who work near them and manage to make it in for their daily brew absolutely rave about them and won’t even consider going anywhere else. You can find out why at one of their cupping or sampling days, or take the plunge and try one of their house blends. Ethical plus: Most beans are certified fairtrade, rainforest alliance, forest friendly or organic, but they promise that all farmers got a fair price.

Australian Grown Coffee
Along the coastline heading North from around Byron Bay, there are Australian coffee estates that are generally growing, roasting, grinding and packaging their own beans. They say the volcanic soil and warm climate in Northern NSW is absolutely ideal and are winning the awards to prove it. Some sell to boutique roasters but as far as I’m aware, our local Canberra roasters haven’t taken them up yet.

So… there’s no shortage of choices! What’s your favourite local coffee and why?

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14 Responses to Canberra is the spiritual home of good coffee
#1
davo1014:11 pm, 13 May 14

Melita’s Queanbeyan (serves Wagonga Coffee). Why? As the boss says, when he comes up from Sydney, I can’t get coffee this good at home.

#2
Masquara6:47 pm, 13 May 14

Can you explain how your percolator – which boils the coffee over and over – can conceivably make good coffee?

#3
JessicaGlitter7:51 pm, 13 May 14

Masquara said :

Can you explain how your percolator – which boils the coffee over and over – can conceivably make good coffee?

They do tend to overextract which produces a bitter flavour but if you cut it off early it won’t have got to that stage yet. Espresso is the same way, cut it off too early (ristretto) and you run the risk of a sour flavour, let it run too long (lungo) and it gets bitter, but everyone has their favourite sweet spot.

Actually I rarely use it, because I’m too tired to make it properly and besides there’s just me drinking it. A quick aeropress is fine. My point was that coffee is good.

#4
patrick_keogh9:07 pm, 13 May 14

The brand doesn’t matter. HIpsters, traditional coffee families, whatever, they can all produce a decent roasted bean. The country or region of origin matters little. What matters is freshly roasted beans, roasted to a level that is suitable for your coffee style. What matters even more is the expertise of the barrista… correct grind, temperature, correct compaction, correct rate of flow into a cup at the correct temperature with the right level of extraction.

#5
dungfungus11:03 pm, 13 May 14

It’s hard to beat Nescafe Gold instant coffee or for a special treat, their Short Black instant coffee.
It always tastes the same and you can actually drink it hot if you make it yourself.
I think Canberra must be the only place in the world that discusses endlessly where to buy the perfect cup of coffee.
Anyone ever think what the poor people drink?

#6
davo1017:38 am, 14 May 14

patrick_keogh said :

The brand doesn’t matter.

Errr…

dungfungus said :

It’s hard to beat Nescafe Gold instant coffee or for a special treat, their Short Black instant coffee.

Perhaps it does.

#7
rosscoact8:58 am, 14 May 14

I’m finding it hard to source decent dark roasted beans. Cosmorex and LSR don’t really do one and I don’t really like the Wagonga.

The supermarket brands are of course almost invariably stale.

Any of the others do one of note?

#8
JessicaGlitter9:36 am, 14 May 14

Rioters, I was wrong! Jindebah coffee is Australian grown and Canberra roasted.

Check it out at THE FRESH ROAST COFFEE HOUSE, 30 Kemble Court, Mitchell, or JINDEBAH CAFE, Flax House, Cowlishaw Street, Tuggeranong. They also sell at EPIC and Hall markets.

Rosscoact this is of interest to you as they do supply a dark roast.

Your eco plus feel-good factor is that Australian coffee doesn’t suffer from many pests or diseases so even though they aren’t organic they don’t feel the need to use a lot of chemicals anyway. Plus of course low food miles means low pollution.

#9
smiling politely9:42 am, 14 May 14

+1 for Jindebah for darker roasted beans.

I’ve mentioned before ’round these parts’ that Van der Veen down in Mawson also sells good stuff, particularly their Guatemalan and Bolivian beans, and then maybe just a level slightly down from these two are their beans from Cuba and Costa Rica which are also pretty tasty. All their beans are medium roasts suiting the style they’re going for, and I’d like to mention that they have good people working there.

#10
watto2311:31 am, 15 May 14

The local roasters are all very passionate which is good. Its definately not so much an espresso, but knowing how to extract the coffee yourself, even with the aeropress, espresso machine, or the stove top percolator. they all can do a good job.

But if you can’t taste the difference between nescafe and/or coffee pods vs freshly ground coffee then that is fine, maybe your taste buds don’t pick it up. Just like wines I can never taste any of the things they say on the bottle!

#11
rosscoact5:22 pm, 15 May 14

JessicaGlitter said :

Rioters, I was wrong! Jindebah coffee is Australian grown and Canberra roasted.

Check it out at THE FRESH ROAST COFFEE HOUSE, 30 Kemble Court, Mitchell, or JINDEBAH CAFE, Flax House, Cowlishaw Street, Tuggeranong. They also sell at EPIC and Hall markets.

Rosscoact this is of interest to you as they do supply a dark roast.

Your eco plus feel-good factor is that Australian coffee doesn’t suffer from many pests or diseases so even though they aren’t organic they don’t feel the need to use a lot of chemicals anyway. Plus of course low food miles means low pollution.

Grabbed a kilo of beans yesterday. Pretty damn good although the auto espresso machine doesn’t do a great job in showcasing the quality of the bean. But convenience and flavour are almost invariably a trade-off.

Thanks for the tip

#12
milkman6:45 pm, 15 May 14

International Roast.

#13
Masquara6:57 pm, 15 May 14

Finally, The Front in Lyneham have stopped serving disgusting Douwe Egberts coffee, and are using Two Before Ten, a great improvement. And, if you drive there, the parking is free.

#14
dungfungus9:10 am, 16 May 14

milkman said :

International Roast.

This brand is perfectly OK for the masses but for the epicures amongst us, Nescafe is the standard.

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