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 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.
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.
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?