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Specialty coffee hub growing on NSW Central Coast

Specialty coffee, specifically black filter coffee, is hitting its strides in a little known corner of the New Soth Wales Central Coast – Ettalong Beach. New lifestyle concept store, wellbeing space, and filter coffee bar Slowwell, is bringing national superstars in the specialty coffee industry to the beach with its summer of events.

Toby’s Estate’s “dynamic duo” Carlos Escobar, who currently holds the second position in the Australian Brewers Championship and is the new National Sales Manager at Toby’s Estate, and Simon Gautherin, a coffee Q Grader and Head of Training at Toby’s Estate, made the trip from Sydney to Ettalong Beach on 12 December for the Slowwell Seekers of Slow Coffee Events Series.

They showcases the new frozen coffee concept from Toby’s Estate. Aptly named Freezus, the coffee has been optimally aged and vacuum-sealed to go in the freezer as soon as the customer arrive home, to lock in all those delicious flavours for several months. The event saw the duo feature and brew only one coffee – Freezus #1, a Costa Rican red honey processed Geisha from Vara Blanca with notes of rose, raspberry, and rockmelon.

“We’re stoked to have the opportunity to engage with coffee lovers on the Central Coast and to talk about the potential of freezing coffee in the future through Freezus,” Simon says. He also shared his insights on the growing popularity of specialty coffee for the home consumer in Australia, saying as coffee brewing equipment becomes more affordable and accessible, and as coffee consumption is shifting, the 2020 trend of home brewing shows no signs of waning.

While Carlos Escobar acknowledges the challenges of 2020, he admits there has been an increase in demand for better coffee at home.

“People are understanding more about quality coffee, and more importantly, understanding the difference between freshly roasted coffee and old/stale beans in supermarket shelves. The more consumers know about what goes behind a great cup of coffee, the more roasters around the country will need to invest in quality, and this domino effect will always end up where it matters the most, at origin,” Carlos says.

Slowwell’s next event will take place on 20 December. Takumi Sakamoto of Brut Coffee, the 2019 Australian Coffee Roasting Champion, will be appearing at his second event for Slowwell.

The Japanese-born coffee roaster will be brewing a Colombian coffee that has gone through an innovative processing method called Mandarin Natural to add extra flavours and complexity to the cup.

Takumi describes this release from Brut Coffee, Fiesta, as a dance party in your mouth. Mandarin Natural process means the lot was exposed to a dry anaerobic fermentation of 48 hours, during this fermentation period, citric acid and dehydrated mandarin skin were added to the anaerobic environment. Later, the coffee was placed on raised beds below 35°C until ideal moisture content was achieved.

Slowwell was opened in August 2020 after Sydney-siders German Salamanca and Danielle Hanrahan decided to relocate to the Central Coast from their small Inner West apartment.

“We’re bringing world-class coffee events to the NSW Central Coast to make specialty coffee more accessible to our discerning community, and to spread our love for slow brew coffee – aka filter coffee, which is a more mindful and personal way of enjoying your daily cup. We’ve found a great community here, who love their coffee and who want to see more of what is usually happening in the city to be up here on the Coast,” German says.