Five Senses Coffee is in a supermarket near you. The specialty coffee roaster explains why its partnership with Coles is a win for consumers and the broader industry at large.
Years ago, the perception of specialty coffee brands sitting on supermarket shelves was met with industry concern and misunderstanding. Fast forward just a few years and now, it’s almost a badge of honour to join the exclusive club.
For roaster Five Senses, rolling out a new range of specialty coffees in Coles nationwide from mid-April is not just a win for the brand, but for the acceptance of specialty coffee in a mainstream consumer platform.
“It’s a pretty amazing development for us, and a moment the wider specialty coffee community can celebrate. It’s a sign that specialty coffee has made it out of our niche world and into the mainstream market where we can move people away from commodity coffee, open the door and welcome them into this wonderful world of specialty,” says Five Senses Strategic Projects Manager Ben Bicknell.
“Specialty coffee should be accessible to anyone. For so long there’s been a barrier between the specialty world and regular home coffee drinkers, and that gap is now closing.”
When Five Senses started in 2000, it was on the cusp of the specialty coffee movement that quickly spread throughout the country from early to mid 2000s. In the 22 years of operation, the roaster has shared its love for specialty coffee with customers and worked with top wholesale accounts that shared that same excitement.
Now, Five Senses is ready for its next adventure. Director of Coffee Matt Slater has curated the new range with Five Senses’ same ethos to specialty coffee, just in a more accessible way.
Rather than overindulging in specialty coffee language about extraction parameters, brew ratios, water temperatures and malic acidity, just three key tasting notes are written on the front of each bag. On the back, is a simple lifecycle diagram depicting the four key steps of coffee making: farm, coffee mill, roasting, and into the cup of coffee lovers.
“We wanted the messaging to be fun, visual and approachable, not an information dump of stats and figures, which we love talking about, but it’s about offering bite-sized steps first,” Ben says. “It’s about taking consumers on a journey, and this new ‘discovery range’ of coffee aims to do just that.”
The All Aboard espresso blend celebrates notes of chocolate, roasted nuts, and praline. Ben says this coffee is a “steppingstone blend” into specialty coffee, allowing consumers to improve their coffee experience with a comforting profile that tastes delicious as a milk-based coffee.
“All Aboard is not just a name, it’s a philosophy based upon collaboration. The coffees which make up this super balanced blend have been sourced from Five Senses Coffee relationships spanning a decade,” Matt says. “The trust, integrity and mutual respect of these human centric relationships have created a unique opportunity to celebrate not only these amazing coffees, but the very people who are responsible for them.”
The Sightseer is a single origin espresso offering featuring beans from SanCoffee in Southern Minas Gerais, Brazil, a relationship Five Senses has had for the past 12 years. Ben notes that the profile of toffee, choc fudge and raisins is a great introduction to single origin coffees.
The Rambler single origin coffee features beans sourced through woman-owned Primavera Coffee in Guatemala. It offers softer stone fruit acidity and notes of nougat and milk chocolate, which is more suited to black coffee drinkers looking to try something different.
“We want customers to discover the range, be curious and welcomed,” Ben says. “It’s about inclusivity and sharing our enthusiasm and knowledge of specialty coffee that embraces flavour, traceability and the people behind the cup.”
Five Senses roasts in Western Australia and Victoria, ensuring it can deliver stock on demand and uphold its value for quality and freshness.
It has also considered the end life of its packaging bags, using a soft plastic wrapping that can be recycled in all Coles supermarkets via the REDcycle soft plastic collection program, helping to turn recycled plastic into children’s playground equipment, roads, and carparks.
How far the customer wants to go down the specialty knowledge path is up to them. If the consumer wishes to learn more, the QR code on all retail bags takes people to a dedicated page with information to digest at their own pace. This includes recommended recipes to brew the coffee, as well as transparency information, and the farm behind the coffee.
To back it up, Five Senses has four Academies across the country – Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth – where it can take enthusiastic coffee drinkers to the stage of information that suits their interests and abilities, from small group classes to private tutorials with education that excites and empowers.
Generously sharing specialty coffee knowledge and skills is an approach Five Senses has taken since its founding, says Lena Richrath, Five Senses National Curriculum Manager and podium finisher in the 2020 ASCA Australian Barista Championship.
“At our Academies, we strive to educate and inspire industry barista and home coffee enthusiasts alike. Our goal is to deliver a better understanding for specialty coffee. To do that, we need to meet people where they’re at and help them take that next step.”
Five Senses’ e-store has been operational on its website for the past 17 years. While many were quick to implement their own versions for retail customers during the peak of COVID-19 lockdowns, Five Senses has always experienced a positive reception.
“When COVID hit, it really opened the door to start having great conversations with people who would normally go to their café. People were stuck at home and still wanted good quality coffee,” Ben says.
“We had training sessions through our Academy, ran home barista classes and did one-on-ones. We’re probably one of the few specialty roasters in the country that doesn’t have a dedicated café, so our connection to our customers through our great café partners and via the Academy has always been a great reminder about how to reinvigorate the information and language we use around how coffee can be prepared and how it tastes.”
With more people learning the art of coffee making at home, Ben says people will still retreat to cafés for an elevated coffee experience that celebrates service and ambiance at the highest level.
“Specialty cafés are all about hospitality. Cafés invest in the top-end of equipment and professionally, have refined their knowledge and skills with the flexibility to offer a more dynamic and broader range of coffee experiences – blends, rotating single origins, and filter options featuring unique flavours,” Ben says. “At home, it’s about enjoyment of a personal craft and ritual. Connecting with that, taking the product, and translating it through a few simple steps – grinding, extraction, milk steaming – and experiencing the end result.”
Ultimately, Ben says educating more home consumers about specialty coffee is part of a greater goal to acknowledge those at the start of the coffee chain.
“Specialty coffee is made with human hands. The farmers are the cornerstone to what we celebrate. The more people we can move away from buying bulk commodity products, which are not sustainable and don’t acknowledge the people behind it, and onto specialty coffee, which is intrinsically about the people behind it and has a much greater impact. It’s about a much bigger picture,” Ben says.
“Our whole mission is to impact people positively and use coffee as a delicious tool to create connection of the people and local communities involved along the coffee supply chain. If we can do that, then it creates an exciting picture of where specialty coffee is headed.”
For more information, visit www.fivesenses.com.au
This article appears in the April 2022 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.