For Sydney’s CBD workers, picking up both a healthy lunch and a quality coffee-to-go, can often be a challenge. Thankfully, Sanduba Sandwich & Coffee Co is a café that offers the grab-and-go solution.’ Read more
There’s nothing quite like overlooking a beautiful lagoon, watching kayaks glide across the glass-like water and early risers walking their dogs as you sip a coffee. Read more
Fourth generation Colombian coffee farmer Simon Jaramillo has combined his two biggest passions in his new caffeine lab: Batman and coffee.
“I’m a big Joker fan and superhero nerd, so I had to create a Batman and Joker-themed laboratory,” says Simon, also known to friends as The Mad Professor.
As daring customers step inside the dark Surry Hills lair, Simon’s serious coffee passion and comic book obsession is evident. There are no windows; instead a customised one-piece 2.6 tonne steel bar and 10-metre-long steel cages. Against the wall lies a comic strip hand drawn by renowned Mongolian-born street artist Heesco. The coffee bar features six grinders and scientific-like instruments sit ready for Simon and his team to create crazy caffeine concotions. Two coffee machines are painted in matt black to blend into the dark comic world, including the GB/5 La Marzocco and manual Strada MP. “I’ve spent a decade manifesting an underworld caffeine lab dedicated to pushing the boundaries of coffee experimentation,” he says.
Born and raised on Curazo coffee farm in Manizales, Central Colombia, Simon explains the 19 years he lived on his parent’s farm were some of the best.
“I was like a little cowboy. I would wake up in the middle of mountains and be surrounded by beautiful coffee trees,” says Simon. “Those years on the farm have helped me understand the flavours of coffee. In fact, I started drinking coffee from a bottle at age one and a half – so I really know coffee.”
Simon’s family has more than 100 years in the coffee trade. His father Marcelo still works on the farm today and was the CEO (Buendia Coffee) of the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia for 27 years. “Thanks to my upbringing, I understand where coffee comes from and how to make it shine. When I started roasting I always envisaged opening a serious coffee concept store that would be very specialised with high standards of coffee using unique techniques,” Simon recalls.
After moving to Australia in 2003, it wasn’t long before Simon established El Cafetero, a green bean import business, and La Hacienda, his coffee roasting house. Simon still returns back to Colombia four weeks of the year for intense coffee laboratory training with his father to hone his craft. “I experiment on technical components of coffee that help build my coffee dream, not standard extractions and flavour components of coffee,” he says.
With that knowledge, Simon eventually settled on an empty driveway in Surry Hills turned the space into his dream caffeine lab, which he opened on 2 December 2013. Simon’s passion for coffee bubbles oozes in his veins – and it shows. Simon says he sometimes drinks 30 coffees a day. He also travels twice a year in an effort to source his own high-grade coffee beans. The Reformatory served two signature blends: the Joker and SQAB blends. Both are named after The Mad Professor comic.
The Joker is a complex dry red wine flavored roast that Simon painstakingly developed over the course of a year by testing different types of acidity and profiling during roasting. With coffees from Colombia, India, Indonesia, Costa Rica and Brazil this blend is highly graded and combines five different processes. “It has fruit flavours, tastes of blueberries, pineapple flavours,” says Simon.
SQAB is the perfect milk-based blend with delicate sweet notes of mixed nuts, macadamia and salted caramel. Its origins are from Colombia, Ethiopia, El Salvador and Java. Even Simon’s single origins and blends are what he calls “extremely complex”. “I want people to experience the crazy coffee flavours and drink concepts I’ve developed,” he says. “I want to give customers an experience out of the ordinary.”
And he’s not kidding. Simon has managed to find a way to profile coffees that taste like salted caramel, guava, cherries, berries, even pineapple. But more than that, he’s used Geisha coffee through filter to taste like beer. “Using my filter system, I take the Geisha coffee, add water and carbon dioxide and it tastes like beer,” he says.
Far from his expectations, Simon says the reaction to his caffeine lab has been overwhelming. In just one month after opening, the caffeine lab attracted nearly 5000 Facebook likes. “My laboratory features so many things people wouldn’t be aware of – such as the possibilities of coffee flavours,” he says.
Just like his comic idol, Simon says there are some similarities to himself and Joker.
“I’m very passionate about what I do. I have lots of crazy ideas, but I know what I want to achieve, and like the Joker, nothing will get in my way,” he says. “I want to continue serving quality coffee where everyone who comes here leaves with a big smile on their face.” But perhaps the biggest smile at the moment is on Simon’s face. Just like the Joker.
The Sydney suburb of Haberfield has their first taste of specialty coffee now that Single Rosetta has set up shop.
“We wanted to offer the area something different. Because of the strong Italian presence in this district, there hasn’t been any specialty coffee shops until now. We wanted to give the local residents something different to try, and so far everyone who’s stopped by loves what we’re doing,” says Ian Pope, Campos Coffee Wholesale Account Manager.
Single Rosetta is run by Bruce Kim, who Ian describes as a “passionate, eccentric and a fantastic barista”, who has been working in the coffee industry for more than six years.
The café uses Campos Coffee’s Superior blend; a typical northern-Italian style blend, which suits the area perfectly. The coffee has a toffee base with slight fruity highlights, rich body and a sweet butterscotch finish.
Bruce puts his years of experience to the test on their three-group La Marzocco Linea FB70. The machine is custom-sprayed in pearl white to meet the practical café interior, with its clean lines, use of natural timbers and quirky stool prints.
A single origin is also available and is usually a Cup of Excellence coffee. Past favourites include the Papua New Guinea’s Baroida Estate in the Eastern Highlands, and lot no. 12 Costa Rican Zamora, located at San Isidro de Heredia, the Central Valley coffee region.
Cold drip is always available. “There’s a huge cry for specialty coffee in Haberfield, especially from the younger generation who are passionate about great coffee,” says Ian.
The café serves pastries, breads and jams from local suppliers. A simple menu serves paninis and breakfast dishes, with the famous lemon butter cake and banana bread a hit with locals. A courtyard at the back of the café is an ideal place to enjoy the summer sun.
It’s been a five-year build-up to the opening of The Roastery in central New South Wales, but the café and roastery is now up and running and catering to Griffith’s daily coffee needs. “We serve the local community which includes anyone within a 100-kilometre radius,” says General Manager Scott Rudkin.
Griffith is a strong farming community, at the heart of the Murrumbidgee irrigation area. “We established The Roastery to develop the coffee culture. Griffith is a fantastic regional growing area and those who are interested in coffee love it – especially the Italian population,” he says.
Scott says The Roastery embraces a “rustic country vibe but in a contemporary way”, with the use of soft leather couches, timbers, and local artwork.
The Roastery is a multi-faceted venue, offering a coffee retail outlet, wholesale division, café, and restaurant. Must-try items on the breakfast and lunch menu include their organic lentil burger, known as “the beast” because of its gigantic size, and their ciabatta rolls which come fresh out of the oven each morning from a baker only 600 metres down the road.
“We have a strong policy to source produce as locally as we can,” says Scott. “Griffith has a strong wine growing region as an irrigated farming community it grows lots of specialty produce including rice and grapes. Because of these influences of our standard for food and wine is high, and so too is our coffee.”
The Roastery house blend uses a Guatemalan base with Brazilian and Ethiopian beans. This coffee has chocolate and caramel notes, fruit and spice flavours at the front of the palate with a warm nutty and buttery finish.
“We’re trying to push our roasts to a medium body,” says Scott. “We like to take our customers on a journey through coffee so we’ve treading to lighter and more fruitier styles of blends and single origins.”
The Roastery serves a Guatemalan and Brazil single origin and serves French press and drip filter coffee. Each Friday night locals are invited to attend cupping sessions to learn more about the finer art of coffee.
Scott oversees the café operations on his La Marzocco GB5 while taking the reins of his 10-kilogram Roastmax Roaster.
“I’ve been passionate about coffee for many years. It’s a really dynamic industry, from the people you meet to the product you serve,” says Scott.
By Aimee Sics
There’s certainly no shortage of trendy cafés in Sydney’s inner west. Café Shenkin has been in the leafy neighbourhood of Erskineville for quite some time and has cemented itself as more than just a hip hangout. Read more
Text by Aimee Sics. Image: Sam Gabrielian
Dose café is bringing a refreshing change of pace to the quiet, leafy suburb of Willoughby on Sydney’s North Shore. It’s the first café attached to Sam Gabrielian’s roasting company, Gabriel coffee, which he started in 2006 and now supplies to over 100 cafés. Read more
As Joseph Nohra’s third café, there is nothing conventional about Coffee Trad3rs, the impressive business he’s set up in Ryde, New South Wales.
From the wee hours of the morning at 630am, the café is pumping with coffee-loving customers, some of whom stop by a few times a day. The business stays busy with an impressive food offering, as well as a retail operation where customers can pick up Monin syrups, sauces, chai teas and accessories.
Joseph’s workday doesn’t end there. As the sun sets, Coffee Trad3rs turns into an evening wine bar, thanks to its liquor license, friendly atmosphere, and 11pm closing time.
“I always thought there was a market for a café that stayed open late, and I hadn’t really seen it before,” says Joseph about first opening up the operation. “I’ve seen good cafés, and I’ve seen good wine bars, but I’ve never seen them together.”
The result has attracted a mature age customer, with their youngest patrons starting at around 22 years old. They’ve adjusted their offerings as such, including a popular weekend high tea.
Whatever the age of their customers, Joseph says loyalty seems to be a common thread, with many regulars coming in several times a day to a place they feel comfortable.
“We try to create a home away from home, we like to be a central gathering point for the community,” says Joseph. Coffee Trad3rs supports the local school and community groups, and the café is a popular gathering spot around local events.
Coffee Trad3rs has a dedicated shop roaster that provides coffee for the operation.
With a history of self-employment, Joseph has long enjoyed the lifestyle of being his own boss. His coffee experience stems back an impressive three generations.
His grandfather was a fruit and vegetable trader, who dealt a little in coffee in Lebanon. His father took up a similar trade, although with an increased interest in coffee.
Joseph now works with local green bean traders in Sydney, sourcing anywhere from 50 – 150 kilograms a week of green beans for his one-site operation.
To complement the great coffee, Joseph has attracted a strong following of customers thanks to the café’s variety of Monin syrup offerings. The café regularly serves special flavoured coffee, in what Joseph says is an important part of the business.
With the bar operation at night, Joseph says he was likely more adventurous than most when it came to flavouring their coffee. Customers can either choose their own flavours from the wide variety on offer, or go with the latest Coffee Trad3rs creation. The almond latte is currently a crowd favourite.
While almond might also be his own personal syrup of choice, he says the classic caramel latte is probably the most popular flavour, followed closely by hazelnut.
As flavoured coffees have only slowly made their way into the Australian market, compared to the United States and elsewhere, Joseph says their offering has given them a big advantage in attracting repeat business.
“We have a wide range of syrups available, and when customers come in, that’s what they’re looking for, because they know they can’t find those flavours elsewhere,” he says. “Having that specialty flavour really helps new customers come on board.”
Joseph says that selling all the syrups in their retail operation has helped bring in an additional stream of income.
Business partners Andrew Sidhom and Richard Allouche have the coffee bug. After searching for the ideal café location and finally taking the plunge into the coffee world, Andrew and Richard finally opened the doors to Mocha’ry Café in July. Read more
From CEO’s to tradies, coffee fans at Wetherill Park have found themselves a home at Primo Caffe’s flagship store on Victoria street. Read more