Wonderful accolade to have under the belt. Well done to the team at First Pour Brisbane and doing specialty coffee proud.
See the full list of Australia’s Best Cafes by Gourmet Traveller, here.
Wonderful accolade to have under the belt. Well done to the team at First Pour Brisbane and doing specialty coffee proud.
See the full list of Australia’s Best Cafes by Gourmet Traveller, here.
At Veneziano we’ve been working hard to develop direct relationships with our growers at origin, so far establishing commitments with particular estates in El Salvador, Brazil and India. With Colombia being one of the largest growing regions it was the obvious next step for us.
The Colombian project is the result of a collaboration with our recent partnership with Sustainable Harvest; an Australian first. They’ve developed a relationship model with growers at origin, allowing us to connect directly with our producers and better understand the complexities and challenges they face as well as educate them on our market back in Australia. With theaverage farm size in Colombia being between one to five hectares, it was important for us to connect with larger growers to be able to secure a consistently high quality supply and better traceability.
Veneziano roaster Jack Allisey recently spent 10 days in Colombia visiting farms, getting to know the people, cupping and selecting coffee. Sustainable Harvest has introduced us to three growers we’re very excited to start working with and developing a long, mutually beneficial relationship. The three farms are:
San Fernando Estate, owner Humberto Gonzales Trujillo
San Fernando has around 200 hectares of coffee trees at an altitude ranging from 1,400 to 2,100 meters. Humberto has been farming at San Fernando since the 1970s but in 2006 he hired two new farm managers, Gabriel and Luis Guillermo, who brought a new enthusiasm for coffee.
Keen to better understand what makes a quality coffee and the processing and farming techniques behind it, they began to split the farm into separate processing lots to further understand the intricacies in flavour that their farm produces. There are two mountains on the San Fernando farm and what they found after separating out their processing lots is that the left mountain actually cups with consistently better quality than the right. These separate processing lots allow us to fine tune the flavour profile of our coffee and work to create a repeatable product.
Our first shipment due to start roasting from the start of August is from San Fernando estate and includes a delicious 20 bag microlot. We can’t wait for it to arrive and also return to the farm in October to provide feedback and start working further with Humberto, Gabriel and Luis Guillermo to fine tune our coffee in main harvest.
La Cascada, owner Correa Restrepo Hermanos
Named after the waterfall running through the farm, La Cascada was the largest farm Jack visited. Managed by Diego Moncada, La Cascada has been producing amazing coffee for years. They’ve developed an incredibly systematic approach to the growing, processing and traceability of their coffee, including taking soil samples with GPS coordinates to analyse quality and ascertain the fertilisation needs, logging rainfall and harvest periods and linking this all back to final cup tasting reports to determine what has impacted final flavour in the cup.
La Cascada also renews or replants 20 percent of their trees every year and anything over 1,600 meters is replanted with Caturra which has been producing higher quality coffees despite its susceptibility to leaf rust. As one of the biggest employers in the area with 200 employees year round, La Cascada has a strong commitment to the community, providing exceptional accommodation and dining facilities for their staff
and supporting the local church and hospital.
Las Mercedes, owned by the Guerra family
Las Mercedes manager, the young Juan Carlos, is a truly progressive coffee producer; he has set up a cupping lab on his farm and is also a qualified Q grader, which is a rarity as a lot of producers never even have a chance to taste their own coffee.
During a mule ride through the farm Jack and Juan had lengthy discussions on the challenges growers in Colombia face and why it’s important to develop sustainable relationships with roasters as end users. Juan Carlos has been experimenting with his processing technique, playing with honey process coffees and sun drying on raised beds, both a rarity in Colombia.
Juan Carlos also joined Jack during tasting. “It was great to be able to discuss the coffees with the grower directly over the cupping table and talk about what we’re looking for back in Australia; this is the true benefit of direct trade!”, says Jack.
“I’m excited to return in October and see Juan Carlos’ experimental processing in action and hopefully select some delicious microlots for Veneziano”.
Veneziano Coffee Roasters have regularly hosted public cupping events since the early days. For Veneziano staff, both baristas and roasters, cupping or cup tasting is just a regular part of the job which we do anyway.
For our customers and the public it provides insight into our blend development process, helps them appreciate the many coffee varietals and flavour nuances available and the opportunity to learn something new about specialty coffee.
What’s the big deal about cupping, or cup tasting? And why do roasting companies such as Veneziano constantly subject their staff to cupping sessions?
Basically, it allows the cup taster, or coffee evaluator, to individually assess a coffee (in a single cup funnily enough!) hence ‘cup tasting’ instead of coffee tasting.
The properties under evaluation in a coffee are the aroma and flavour profile. This coffee evaluation process is important for a few reasons; it helps us find any potential defects in coffee, as well as being crucial to the development of coffee blends. The differences between coffees from different growing regions, coffee varietals and even coffee grown on the same farm can be quite negligible so the cupping process allows us to truly compare them.
The protocol of cupping or taste evaluation of coffee typically goes as follows:
flavour: holding the coffee for several seconds will reveal primary and secondary flavours, this refers to the character in the cup such as clean, citrusy, florally, grassy, malty, fruity and so on. Flavour is also detected on the ‘nose’, whilst in the mouth the coffee vapours enter the nasal cavity, revealing notes such as nutty, caramelly, chocolatey, spicy, tobacco, smoky and so on
acidity: a sharp and tangy sensation detected at the tip of the tongue, often described as bright or lively at the high end of the desirable acidity scale and smooth at the low end. In coffee this a sought after quality, with acidity being described as sour when it’s found to be undesirable and a coffee with no acidity can be described as flat
body: this refers to the texture or mouthfeel and relates to the thickness or viscosity of the coffee which is determined by the amount of oils and dissolved solids or dispersion of solids in the coffee; this is best detected by touching the tongue to the roof of the mouth; a thin and watery coffee is undesirable; a full bodied coffee is richer in flavour and aroma.
finish: this means the notes detected after consumption; ideally we are seeking any that may linger and leave an enjoyable aftertaste.
Cup tasting is a triangulation competition where each competitor must evaluate eight rows of three cups of coffee, in eight minutes or less. Two of the cups contain identical coffee and the third one is different.
Each competitor receives identical sets. The objective is to detect the cup that is different of the three, by evaluating the body, acidity, sweetness and flavour. The competitor that identifies the most correct out of eight is the winner. In the event of a tie it is goes to the competitor who finished in the fastest time.
The only form of ‘training’ or experience in order to be successful in a cupping competition is to regularly cup different beans. It is fairly obvious that in order to develop the palate lots of practice is required! In the national Cup Tasting Championship heats, Veneziano Coffee Roasters were represented by Pat Connolly and Craig Simon, with Craig finishing in third place. The guys say, whilst competing, if you are unsure which cup is the odd one out, it is best to move on to a different set and come back to that set later.
As the cups cool it is easier to identify the attributes of the coffee, so leaving it to cool for a minute can definitely help. As roasters, they are regularly cupping different samples and roasts. In doing so, they are continually learning and improving their skills at evaluating different qualities and attributes of many different types of coffees and the effects of different roasting profiles on the flavour in the cup.
If you’re struggling to single out which one is different by flavour then our guys tip that evaluating the acidity is probably the most obvious quality in determining the different cup. Developing the palate to evaluate the coffee is partly natural ability and partly due to training, but cupping regularly is the only way to really fine-tune your ability to pick up the nuances between different coffees in the difficult triangular competition environment.
The entire roasting team and baristas at Veneziano Coffee Roasters cup regularly, on a daily basis whilst roasting, whenever samples arrive, industry events, hosted events on site with key clients and on occasions open to the public.
Veneziano Coffee Roasters Launch Australia’s first Nespresso Speciality Coffee Pod
Coffee Capsules Direct from the ‘Source’ by Veneziano
The long awaited moment has arrived; Veneziano Coffee Roasters announces the arrival of its specialty ‘Sourced’ coffee capsules, compatible with the extremely popular home Nespresso machines.
Over half a million Australians use espresso pod machines at home and this figure continues to climb. Veneziano saw the opportunity to provide specialty coffee in this market space to achieve a superior flavour profile to other products currently available.
As an experienced specialty coffee roaster Veneziano sources green beans direct from farmers with exemplary growing and processing methods to assure quality and roasts the coffee as fresh as possible in smaller, regular batches. Months of testing various roast profiles ensued to end up with a flavour profile to suit the capsule product.
On the Sourced product, which derives its name from being sourced directly, Veneziano’s managing director Craig Dickson explains, “Regarding our coffee, we can tell you which farm and even which paddock it’s from, something that discerning wine and boutique beer drinkers can appreciate as this same philosophy applies to sourcing raw produce to create these beverages”.
To enjoy the best coffee that Veneziano can obtain, freshly roasted and immediately sealed, with a full bodied flavour from your home Nespresso or Nespresso compatible machine, visit the Sourced website:
Tasting notes: full cream body, notes of chocolate, caramel and nuts; supreme in milk.
Sourced coffee pods come in boxes containing 30 capsules. Weekly, fortnightly and monthly delivery subscriptions are also available.
Sourced Coffee Pods
For lovers of the convenient home espresso pod machines. Over half a million Australians and growing are jumping on board this coffee trend of enjoying espresso style coffee at home, preferring that over the instant variety.
Sourced Coffee Pods are pleased to bring you one of the most superior choices of coffee pods available, compatible with your home Nespresso machine. Created by experienced and long time Australian specialty roasters Veneziano Coffee Roasters, our pods contain the highest quality coffee we can get our hands on.
Making a real name for itself in the leafy suburb of Armadale, Victoria, and attracting some excellent reviews is the gorgeous Lovebird cafe…
Nestled in the heart of the wedding district of Armadale, they are aptly named “the Lovebird”. This big-hearted cafe on Armadale’s High Street has everything you want from your local, showcasing speciality coffee from some of Melbourne’s finest roasters; Veneziano Coffee Roasters and Proud Mary.
They are the only cafe on High Street that provides cold drip, filter and espresso, with a cool funky vibe, personable staff, plus an all day breakfast and lunch menu that piques just about every taste bud.
It’s the little touches that give this place its sweetness; the house-made jams and relishes, local produce, organic free range, and gluten free food. It’s impossible not to leave without a full heart and a stomach.
1102 High Street, Armadale (VIC).
The World Barista Championships are over for another year which saw Australian candidate Craig Simon of Think Tank Coffee reveal a new coffee processing innovation to the coffee world, perform his best ever with the best coffee he’s ever tasted, to take out a very respectable 4th place out of 55 national competitors.
As Craig himself says, “I feel energised after that final. I really found another level and that is now my baseline going forward”.
Craig’s world quality performance attracted a growing legion of fans and followers throughout the competition and has no doubt inspired a new generation of competition baristas. He’s well and truly cemented the respect of his industry mentors (Craig Dickson, Joseph Brodsky, Pete Licata, Holly Bastin), colleagues (the team at Veneziano Coffee Roasters), fellow Australians and gained attention from the rest of the coffee world.
Interestingly, Craig’s been touted as kicking off the fourth wave of specialty coffee in this blog article by Kostas Sideris, a freelancer, blogger and barista/coffee trainer at highly recognised vocational college IEK Praxis in Athens, Greece, who attributes this claim to the whole notion of introducing the feedback cycle, as opposed to the typical ‘coffee chain’, that forms the basis of Craig’s presentation.
Craig’s career progression is definitely one of the great examples of the barista’s craft as a profession, the very reason that these competitions exist.
Importantly, Craig developed his own hybrid coffee processing method as a guest at Panama Gesha Estates of Ninety Plus Coffee’s ‘Maker Series’. Craig’s competition coffee was handpicked and processed all by himself, in what was a true experiment to influence the flavour characteristics.
Specialty Coffee Association of America’s (SCAA) President Peter Giuliano, considered an expert on coffee processing, remarked during Craig’s final performance that, “After many years of sourcing coffee [myself], I could say that this is truly an innovation, I haven’t seen it done before”.
Providing commentary during the WBC livestream from Rimini, Peter goes on to explain to viewers that typically coffees are depulped after picking: “Craig’s introduced a pause, before depulping but after picking. Coffee begins to change dramatically immediately after it’s picked, which is why, even though we don’t know a lot about this, this would have changed the flavours. With naturals, the fruit stays on many days. With washed coffees it comes off within a number of hours, what he’s [Craig's] achieved is something down the middle”.
Craig explains how there was no reference available “For what would work when I developed this hybrid processing method, I believe it’s never been done before. It [the processing method outcome] answered my curiosity at the possibility of combining both processing characteristics within one coffee successfully”.
This processing method was a tremendous opportunity for flavour manipulation in processing experimentation. It has allowed Craig to introduce the fruity character that a natural coffee offers without the overwhelming flavours, as well as the vibrancy and clarity of a washed coffee; something that he was keen to achieve. Naturals have been surrounded by some controversy, as there are some who don’t enjoy the overwhelming characteristics.
To achieve this outcome of combining both characterisitics in the one coffee, he left it in the cherry for the first 16 hours (for sweetness and fruit characteristics) and then pulped and fermented it for 12 hours before rinsing and returning to the drying beds to finish the process.
He continues, “What I did know was, I wanted the the coffee to spend enough time in cherry to capture the characteristics of a natural, but leave enough time for the coffee to still pulp and ferment”.
“I’d previously learnt from washed experiments about pH versus time, I found the best outcome was at 12 hours, giving the greatest vibrancy and flavour articulation – which is what I was after; any less and the flavours are unclear, any longer and the acidity and flavour qualities are incredibly low”.
On roasting the coffee, Craig says,”I really wanted the fruit character to pop, so I slowed down the roasting between straw and cinnamon, as this is where all the organic acid reactions are occurring. To preserve the roast degree, I slowed down coming into first crack to get the sugar caramelisation without having to go too dark”.
Despite his intimate knowledge of the coffee, Craig made it clear that the most important element of his performance is the feedback! Whether it’s the judges assessing his routine or his general customers back home telling him what they prefer. This arms him with the ability to go back again and make more adjustments at the processing stage to give the customer a coffee they will enjoy even more.
Meanwhile, Craig continues to receive congratulations and acknowledgement on a performance of a lifetime, both verbally and via social media. It seems Pat Connolly, roaster at Veneziano, was right when he called Craig the ‘People’s Champ’. Either way, he was definitely a favourite, a sentiment echoed in the Barista Magazine blog.
Nectarine, lime, silky medium mouthfeel, earl grey bergamot tea
Biscuit base, subtle apricot and a caramel sweetness
Craig invites the judges to select one of two recipes, that highlight predicting future flavour characteristics.
He predicts double time in the cherry would yield a more natural character of rich red stone fruit notes like plum and with a washed characteristic, it would achieve more complex citrus notes. The judges in the final selected the second option, of what the washed coffee would be like:
- original note is lime but adding more complexity of acidity with some pink grapefruit (4ml)
- add some subtle sweetness (a character associated with washed coffee) with honey syrup (6ml)
- cold infusion of early grey tea (6ml), cold is important because you can have a longer extaction time that doesn’t overextract extra bitterness, tannins are incredibly soft but more complex
- mineral water (8ml) adds vibrancy and clarity
It all began when Veneziano Coffee Roasters CEO Craig Dickson said to David Piza of Sustainable Harvest, “You guys are crazy if you don’t do business with Australian roasters. That’s where it’s all happening.”
Six months later, Veneziano is extremely proud to announce that it is Sustainable Harvest’s first Australian client.
The pair met at Sustainable Harvest’s Let’s Talk Coffee event in El Salvador in November 2013, where Craig presented on using specialty Robusta in creating blends in a Let’s Talk Robusta session. David is a Colombia-based relationship coffee manager for Sustainable Harvest.
Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, USA, Sustainable Harvest is a unique coffee importer. The company pioneered the Relationship Coffee Model, which creates personal connections between producer, importer and roaster to ensure a stronger supply chain.
With a permanent presence at origin in various coffee-growing regions around the world, Sustainable Harvest already has established relationships with farmers. The company then makes the introduction from roaster or buyer to farmer.
The discussion and negotiation is totally transparent between grower and buyer; Sustainable Harvest then takes a fixed fee and coordinates the transaction.
According to David, “Our supply team sources the best available coffee produced at each origin with every harvest. Our interest lies in giving international exposure to these farmers.”
“It’s a really great concept,” says Craig. “It gives us access to different growers, we visit and tour the farm, discuss the product and requirements, Sustainable Harvest then implements all the physical aspects of the deal, such as shipping, importing and so on.”
Craig continues: “As a roaster and operator in specialty coffee, and as we experience growth and increased demand for our coffee, it means that we can uphold our stringent quality levels by getting access to quality product from new growers.”
The partnership with Sustainable Harvest, Craig says, will allow the company to continue those efforts. “We are really pleased to be partnering with Sustainable Harvest in our continuous search for quality coffee,” he says. “It suits our long-held belief that no one should have to experience a bad coffee.”
He continues: “There is a constant expectation now of buying quality beans, and we’ve seen this mentality grow from specialty roasters to the larger, traditional roast houses that buy in bulk. This means there is pressure on growers to be more particular about harvesting and processing to produce a better bean, which can only be good for coffee and coffee drinkers as well as for the farmers themselves. Companies such as Sustainable Harvest are supporting them to this end.”
About Let’s Talk Coffee
Let’s Talk Coffee is a large annual event driven by Sustainable Harvest, bringing together supply chain partners including roasters, financiers, educational institutions and NGO representatives.
The unique aspect of this global, invitation-only event is that it’s always held in a coffee-producing country. There is always an elite roster of speakers presenting on cutting-edge topics relevant to the coffee industry.
Says David: “It benefits everybody, but particularly the growers, to hear about concerns, changes and updates in the market. It’s a great forum because we can really talk about anything and everything—even pricing.”
Let’s Talk Coffee enables growers to participate in cuppings with customers and curators and experience feedback first hand, fostering a truly collaborative supply chain.
Craig says, “We find it a really valuable exercise to cup with the producers using their own coffee. Often they don’t know where their coffee is going or where it ends up, even though as a roaster, we know exactly where it’s from.”
About Sustainable Harvest
Sustainable Harvest is unlike any other coffee sourcing and importing company. Besides introducing producers to buyers (mostly roasters), the company:
- Services customers in USA, Canada, Japan, Germany and now Australia.
- Is a specialty coffee importer of high-quality certified coffee. Ninety-three percent is organic and/or fair trade and/or Rainforest Alliance certified, and the company also deals in fully traceable organic decaffeinated coffees.
- Is a Certified B Corporation, an accolade that recognises higher ethical standards of doing business. The movement began in the US, and the framework is geared to “for profit” organisations that want to benefit society as well as their shareholders.
- Ensures that every part of a business deal is conducted with transparency and full traceability.
- Is committed to educating the growers in every aspect that affects a coffee transaction. This extends to risk management and training, setting a minimum floor price, factoring in variances and so on. This shows the farmers how to use the coffee market to their advantage.
- Has 15 Q-Certified cuppers on the books. The company trains its growers and develops their cupping skills so they can assess the quality of their own beans using simple methods, with the focus being on positive and desirable attributes.
- Offers specific education for problem solving. For example, in the case of Roya (coffee leaf rust disease), which has wiped out many coffee crops in Central and South America and Mexico, farmers are educated in topics such as how rust leaf affects beans, how to administer organic treatment and more.
- Has direct relationships with many US ‘Roasters Choice’ and ‘Roaster of the Year’ recipients, including roasters such as Stumptown Coffee Roasters from the early days of the Portland, Oregon coffee movement.
- Has a direct line of trade to other Certified B Corporation businesses with a sustainability conscience, including Ben & Jerry’s.
- Supports alternative income-generating initiatives with coffee growers in Rwanda and Central America, such as beekeeping and mushroom crops, to supplement coffee harvest revenues during non-harvest seasons.
We asked David what he thinks about Australia and the Melbourne coffee scene whilst here during MICE, and he responded: “I love how advanced your coffee culture is! It’s really amazing.”
Here is the clip of Think Tank Coffee’s Craig Simon performing his routine in the finals of the 2014 Australian Barista Championship, at MICE (Melbourne International Coffee Expo) over the weekend.
Full result of the final is:
First place – Craig Simon, Think Tank Coffee (608)
Second place – Matt Perger, St Ali (578)
Third place – Habib Maarbani, Mocopan Coffee (553 points)
Fourth place – Sasa Sestic, Ona Coffee (552 points)
Fifth place – Hugh Kelly, Ona Coffee (550.5 points)
Sixth place – Matt Lewin, Axil Coffee Roasters (547 points)
Craig Simon extends heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Joseph Brodsky and Steve Holt from Ninety Plus Coffee for allowing him to process his own coffee at the Estate in Panama and to Pete Licata and Holly Bastin for their coaching and support.
Lastly, a massive thank you to his World Barista Championship SPONSORS, without whom it wouldn’t be possible to compete:
Craig Simon has been competing in the Australian Specialty Coffee Association’s barista championships, the most recognised in the industry, since 2008. Last month he took out his second ever Victorian Barista Championship title and over the weekend his second Australian Barista Championship in May (he previously won the national title in 2012).
So, what has Craig learned exactly and how did he apply this knowledge? We’ve all heard time and again that many factors influence the flavour profile of coffee, from the growing conditions, the processing methods employed between harvest time and delivery, to roasting and preparation.
“I knew that with my coffee, I wanted to capture the fruitiness and sweetness from a natural processed coffee, and combine it with the flavour sparkling acidity and vibrancy that you get from a washed coffee, as these are qualities I enjoy out of each”, explains Craig.
Craig’s taste descriptors as presented to the judges in the Australian final:
Think Tank Coffee is the brainchild of Craig Simon, an award-winning Australian barista and roaster. Think Tank is about collaborating with coffee producers and equipment designers to create a space where the coffee obsessed can find everything that is new or amazing in the world of specialty coffee.
As the coffee world is well aware, MICE is on this weekend in Melbourne, hosting World coffee events including the World Latte Art Championship.
Veneziano’s Luke Croxford spoke to Caleb Cha, a barista at Cafenatics Equitable Place (Melbourne), first runner-up in the Australian Latte Art Championship – a very respectable finish.
Tell us about the competition you took part in, as in the Victorian and the National competitions.
It is the industry accredited barista competitions everyone desperately wants to win, including myself.
I actually did not expect to achieve a 2nd place in both the Victorian and the Australian Latte Art Championships this year as I knew there were a lot of expert baristas in Victoria and it would be highly competitive. I think I was lucky to achieve this.
It was an incredible experince and I’m hoping I can go one better and be the winner next year.
Was this your first Latte Art Championship?
Yes, it was my first time competing in this event and it was the most fantastic experience ever.
What attracted you to do the Latte Art?
The best part of latte art is creating a specific pattern in your imagination and actually making it! I love the actual process of imagining, designing and creating the patterns.
How did you prepare for it, training and so on?
I had no idea of what to expect or the rules etc, so I studied the rules very carefully prior to the competition.
I trained hard, going over every step carefully, checking my times for every single element such as shot times, cup size, steaming milk, pouring and tried to cut my time down as much as I could. I received amazing assistance and tips from Veneziano Coffee Roasters, specifically from Erin Sampson, which is much appreciated.
So we’ll be seeing more of Caleb in Latte Art circles?
Absolutely. My goal for next year is to compete at the World Latte Art Championships. I found a lot of my potential at both the Vics and the Nationals this year, so I am looking forward to the challenge, fingers crossed.
Create your own design, try not to copy and practice, practice, practice, so you get used to the pattern you’ve created.
Future coffee competition plans?
Veneziano Coffee Roasters hosted a Latte Art Smackdown, which I entered, as well as a Smackdown at Code Black. I will enter as many of these types of competitions as I can because it’s great practice and a lot of fun.
I will be prepared and ready and I will be creating more unique designs never seen before, bring it on.
Wish me a luck.
We do wish you luck Caleb! It’s great to see and work with someone with such great passion.