Robusta coffee finds a champion


Craig Dickson and Jack Allisey cupping with First Pour customers

Craig Dickson (centre) and Jack Allisey (right) sharing knowledge with First Pour customers at a weekly public cupping session

Robusta gets noticed – and gets a great write-up. A credit to the dedication of grower Sethuraman Estates’ Nishant Gurjer. We’re proud doing business with you mate!

The entire article is reprinted below, or you can read it here at Good Food online.


Robusta coffee finds a champion

Good Food

Matt Holden

Robusta gets a bad rap: “bike tyre” sniffs a specialty coffee aficionado in an online forum; “100% arabica (no robusta in here)” say the labels of all but the cheapest supermarket blends.

Robusta (Coffea canephora) is a hardier, more disease- and pest-resistant coffee species than Coffea arabica, grows at lower altitudes and produces higher yields. It also contains more caffeine – about twice as much as arabica.

Something like 40 per cent of the world’s coffee output is robusta, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service – much of it grown in Vietnam, which in 2013 was the world’s second-largest coffee producer, exporting 25 million bags.

Robusta is also widely planted in India and francophone west Africa (perhaps one reason French coffee tastes so bad).

Much robusta ends up in instant coffee. It’s in traditional Italian espresso blends, lending deep, earthy notes and bold, dark flavours, and is also blended in Greek and Turkish coffee (though Greek coffee roasted in Australia is now often pure arabica).

Managing Director Veneziano Coffee Roasters, Craig Dickson

Craig Dickson

When grown at low elevations for high yield, it can taste pretty ordinary: rubber, smoke, ash, medicinal are the words that spring to many cuppers’ lips. Robusta has not, until recently, been a guest at the specialty coffee party.

But Melbourne roaster Veneziano wants to change that, with robusta from Sethuraman Estate in India’s Karnataka state.

Three of Sethuraman’s robustas have earned Q Robusta certification from the Coffee Quality Institute, scoring more than 80 points in cupping by qualified graders, and are certified as specialty.

As Veneziano’s Craig Dickson explains: “The specialty coffee movement has resulted in us roasting somewhat lighter to highlight the sweetness, acidity and also the complex individual flavours of beans.

Jack Allisey Q Cupper and Roaster at Veneziano

Jack Allisey

“But in milk these complexities can be lost and the coffee struggles to cut through. Using specialty grade
robusta allows us to put a blend together that achieves a carry-through of flavours, without the traditional taints of robusta coffee, which generally come from poor processing.”

The Sethuraman robusta really shines in Veneziano’s Forza blend, giving deep, toasty, chocolatey notes to short blacks and milk coffee.

The Forza is one of Veneziano’s most popular blends, especially, says roaster Jack Allisey, in places that do a lot of takeaways.

“Robusta treated as specialty coffee displays lots of desirable flavours: chocolate, sweet, creamy,” says Allisey. “And it brings great viscosity and mouthfeel to the cup.”



Golden Bean Roaster Competition 2014

Veneziano Coffee Roasters achieved five medals in four categories at the weekend’s Compak Golden Bean Roaster Competition in Port Macquarie, in the highest number of entries seen to date.
The microlot coffees submitted by Veneziano successfully achieved awards in the Filter Chemex and Single Origin categories, whilst its traditional blends were recognised in the Espresso and Organic Espresso categories, in a competition where every coffee entered is judged by industry peers.
In addition, Veneziano received recognition for a further seven awards for its contract roasting, for various blends commissioned by its customers in the categories of Coffee Chain Espresso and Coffee Chain Milk Based Coffee and gold medal recognition for its beans used in the Home Roaster category.
Veneziano was awarded the following:
  • Silver medal for microlot Ethiopia Nekisse – Pour Over Filter (Chemex) category
  • Bronze medal for microlot Costa Rica Black Pearl – Single Origin Espresso category
  • Bronze medal for microlot Kenya Yara – Single Origin Espresso category
  • Bronze medal for blend Pure – Organic Espresso category
  • Bronze medal for blend Bella – Espresso Coffee category
“I am extremely pleased at the performance of our microlot coffees”, says Veneziano managing director Craig Dickson. “Particularly so because it’s a reflection of all our hard work in selecting and building direct trade partnerships with our growers”.
With regards to the contract roasting Veneziano does, Craig explains, “It’s also very satisfying to be recognised for the blends we create for our customers because they are quite prescriptive in what they are looking for in their coffee, for the satisfaction of their own customers”.
“It really demonstrates our ability to partner with customers [requiring their own branded coffee blends], understanding what they need to achieve and our ability to really nail their requirements”, he says, finishing with, “After all, this can only be good for specialty coffee as consumers continue to gain an appreciation for it through wider exposure”.
Veneziano has previously won numerous awards in various specialty roaster, coffee and barista competitions, having competed since its inception.
On a slightly less serious note, the Veneziano also team took out the “Best Dressed” award at the Golden Bean roaster awards dinner ceremony, during which all the medals were announced.


Team Veneziano - Best Dressed at Golden Bean Roaster Competition awardsL-R: Pat Connolly, Craig Simon, Luke Gowty, Ben Romeril (front left)

Team Veneziano - Best Dressed at Golden Bean Roaster Competition awardsThe guys enjoyed being best dressed!

Colombian Cup Of Excellence Pre Auction Cupping

Colombia COE pre auction cupping at First Pour Melb by Veneziano Coffee RoastersWe’re ready to bid for the best Colombian green bean of 2014.

We want you to help us cup 34 different lots from 28 farms. View the winning farms here.

The winning lots are coffees scoring 85 points and above in each cupping by both the national jury and the COE International Jury.

These coffees have each been cupped a minimum of five different times during the cupping process.



Friday 17 October & Saturday 18 October
11am – 12pm
First Pour – Bond Street Abbotsford (Melbourne)

Colombia COE pre auction cupping at First Pour Melb by Veneziano Coffee Roasters
Colombia COE pre auction cupping at First Pour Melb by Veneziano Coffee Roasters Colombia COE pre auction cupping at First Pour Melb by Veneziano Coffee Roasters Winning FarmsColombia COE pre auction cupping at First Pour Melb by Veneziano Coffee Roasters Winning Coffees95f7cec5-fd42-459f-964a-350a9050712e

First Pour Melbourne – Saturdays

Saturdays at First Pour in Bond Street, Abbotsford are buzzing with activity lately. We’ve been running a number of events onsite.

Calling on all home baristas, enthusiasts or those who just want to pick up some coffee skills – keep an eye on the various workshops we will run each week.

Check out our snap shots from our recent filter/brew and latte art skills workshops.

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more events coming up, including the Colombian COE pre-auction cupping this Saturday, October 18.



Saturdays First Pour Filter/Brew Workshop Saturdays First Pour Filter/Brew Workshop
Saturdays First Pour Filter/Brew WorkshopSaturdays First Pour Filter/Brew Workshop

Saturdays First Pour Filter/Brew Workshop Saturdays First Pour Filter/Brew WorkshopSaturdays First Pour Filter/Brew Workshop Saturdays First Pour Filter/Brew Workshop Saturdays First Pour Filter/Brew Workshop

Saturdays First Pour Latte Art Workshop Saturdays First Pour Latte Art Workshop Saturdays First Pour Latte Art Workshop


Sourced Coffee Pods Reviewed on Good Food

Sourced Coffee Pods, Australia’s first specialty coffee capsules for Nespresso and Nespresso compatible machines, were recently reviewed by Matt Holden for Good Food‘s Drink guide. The result is a big thumbs up!

See below for the full article, or read it on the Good Food website.


Mugshot: Australia’s first specialty pods road test


Matt Holden

Sourced Specialty Coffee Pods Capsules Australian First

Capsule machines: one good thing – apart from the stupid-easy operation – is that they are consistent. The coffee always comes out the same: dense crema, airport-espresso flavour, thin body, toasty finish.

“Same funnel,” I often think, borrowing the phrase a friend in the early 1990s used when I asked him about the art-making possibilities of the then-new PhotoShop (he was an X-Acto knife-wielding guerrilla from Sydney’s underground mail and photocopy art scene).

The latest coffee to get the “same funnel” treatment comes in Sourced Coffee Pods from local specialty roaster Veneziano: Australia’s first speciality pods, the company says.

There are two problems for roasters preparing coffee for pods: the tiny amount of coffee they have to work with – just 5.5 grams – and the “same funnel” principle of the machines’ push-button system. There’s none of the adjusting grind, extraction time or water temperature that professional and obsessive home baristas do: every capsule gets the same treatment.

In testing, the Sourced pods made a short black with a dense crema, a flavour more caramel than dark chocolate, with a hint of specialty fruitiness and a clean, nutty finish.

How do they compare with other locally roasted capsules? Shots by Genovese produced a bold, classic espresso-style cup with hints of dark chocolate and a toasty finish, while Piazza D’Oro’s L’Or Espresso Superiore had a toasty nose, hints of bitter chocolate and a flavour that was just a little espresso-generico.

All three produce a dense, pale honeycomb-coloured crema that gives a much fuller mouthfeel than a stovetop espresso, even if the flavour gamut is still quite narrow, especially compared with specialty coffee extracted on a high-end espresso machine.

One thing you can say about Veneziano’s pods is that their sourcing is pretty transparent.

The company’s Craig Dickson proclaims rather boldly in a press release, “We can tell you which farm and even which paddock it’s from.”

So, Mr Dickson, which paddock (or lot) is it from? In an email, he explains that the blend will vary depending on seasonal availability, but the flavour profile will stay the same. At the moment, the pods contain coffee blended from four different farms: Brazil Sertaozinho Estate (lots 57 and 50); Colombia San Fernando Estate (lot 538); India Muntane Estate (a lot called Halasu); and India Sethuraman Estate (a lot called Jenumara, or “honey tree”).

You can’t get much more sourced than that – especially in a capsule.

New Betty’s Vanilla Chai

Bettys Vanilla Chai by VenezianoOur Betty’s Chai and Bates Chocolate range just received a new addition – Betty’s Vanilla Chai – to complement our non-coffee beverage offer.

Due to popular demand of the vanilla chai product, we at Veneziano sought to create our own premium version that we proudly call Betty’s Vanilla Chai.

The all-natural ingredients of our vanilla chai includes the addition of ground spices resulting in a chai that is not only vanilla and spice, but delicate, smooth, velvety, creamy and rich with a well-rounded mouthfeel.

Prepare it as per the instructions that follow and enjoy!

Bettys Vanilla Chai by Veneziano How to Prepare and Enjoy Bettys Vanilla Chai by Veneziano

From Bond Street to River Street – the Move so Far

New Veneziano premises - 16 River St Richmond

In March this year Veneziano Coffee Roasters announced its move to new premises in River Street, Richmond, a suburb away from its original home in Bond Street, Abbotsford.

The move will consolidate four disparate locations into one, including the administration offices, warehouse facilities with incoming and outgoing goods, a roastery upgrade featuring a full turnkey Diedrich commercial roaster, and eventually the First Pour cafe that will be expanded to include seated food service.

The premises will also be home to Veneziano’s barista training school whilst the espresso and brew bar showroom will include Veneziano’s most recent, exciting innovation; Nitro Coffee.


Stage One – April 2014:

Administration offices were completed on a mezzanine level overlooking the main floor space.

New Veneziano premises Richmond - admin office overlooking future First Pour









Stage Two – August 2014:

Images show commencement of preparation for the new roastery in August 2014.

Veneziano River Street move preparations Veneziano River Street move preparations

Stage Three – August 2014:

Images show in the mean time, the roastery build at Diedrich’s end, in preparation for installation, anticipated for October 2014.

Veneziano Diedrich Roaster

Veneziano Diedrich Roaster Veneziano Diedrich Roaster Veneziano Diedrich Roaster Veneziano Diedrich Roaster




















Veneziano Diedrich Roaster     Veneziano Diedrich Roaster

Stage Four – September 2014:

The warehouse is ready to be moved into its new home!

Veneziano warehouse moving into River Street

Positioning statement by Veneziano Coffee Roasters – Minor DKL invests

Veneziano Coffee Roasters celebrates a major milestone in the company’s 14 year operations as it welcomes on board an investor for the first time, Minor DKL Food Group (Minor DKL).

Australian retail food brand franchisor Minor DKL has a keen interest in the specialty coffee market, particularly the evolution and success of the industry in Australia. With plans to eventually enter the specialty coffee market in New Zealand, Asia and UAE, Minor DKL approached Veneziano to partner with them in this venture.

Veneziano is seen as an attractive business prospect for the Minor DKL due to its position as a highly successful roaster and leader in the specialty coffee field, with a business that has exhibited steady growth since its inception in 2000.

The prospect of bringing its roasting expertise to new markets in New Zealand, Asia and UAE is one that also resonates with Veneziano, as whilst the company is yet to have a physical presence in Asia, the brand is known and respected throughout the Asian specialty coffee industry community. This recognition has been driven by Veneziano’s strong presence as both competitors and judges in world barista competitions.

“If you had asked me 14 years ago whether I’d ever envisage our company roasting in Asia, I’d never have imagined it”, says Veneziano CEO Craig Dickson, on what now seems likely to become a reality.

“Our early days were focused on roasting for Melbourne cafes, we later included Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide and more recently Sydney in the mix because the coffee we were roasting and our whole ethos behind what we do was simply in demand. We’re excited for the future and proud of all our achievements to date. Who would’t be?” he asks.

The experienced team at Veneziano Coffee Roasters

The Veneziano Team (seen here supporting Craig Simon in WBC2014)

Minor DKL views the talent, skills, knowledge and intellectual property, in terms of the human resources, as a major asset of Veneziano Coffee Roasters and values the ability of Veneziano Coffee Roasters to create specialty coffee enjoyed by coffee drinkers around Australia. Minor DKL’s success in experiencing tremendous growth is due to recognising an already successful company and not altering with the status quo of its operations.

“We are very excited to partner with Minor DKL and Minor International to continue to invest and grow our brands in Australia and enter markets in New Zealand and Asia. Minor is known for successfully partnering with entrepreneurial founders thereby ensuring the founders’ principles and objectives are maintained, whilst providing infrastructure and resources to effectively grow the brand; this is why we are excited about this opportunity”, says Craig Dickson, Veneziano Coffee Roasters managing director.

The announcement comes at an opportune time as Veneziano announces a state of the art roasting facility at new premises located in River Street, Richmond, to be completed at the end of 2014.

Minor DKL Food Group is the Australian subsidiary of Thai-listed Minor International PCL (MINT). Through its subsidiary, Minor Food Group has more recently expanded in Australia and New Zealand.

About Veneziano Coffee Roasters – established 2000
Specialty roasters; award winning blends, exclusive micro-lot coffees and
contract roasting; supporter of direct trade with producers and cooperatives;
on-site quality coffee training and education by professional baristas; First Pour cafe espresso bars, brew bars and coffee showrooms; home of Australian barista, latte art, cupping and roasting champions; licensed Q Cuppers and World certified judge; professional espresso machines, grinders and equipment for cafe and home; Australia’s largest distributor of Chemex Coffeemakers and Inker Cups, recipient of countless roaster and barista awards and proud supplier to over 500 of Australia’s best cafes.

The First Pours are located at:
SA – 111 Melbourne Road, Adelaide
QLD – 369 Montague Road, West End Brisbane
VIC – 26 Bond Street, Abbotsford, VIC


First Pour Weekly Cupping Has Just Gone Poker

It’s now even more fun to learn about coffee’s complexities! Our public weekly cupping sessions at First Pour, each Friday at 11am, have just gone a little bit poker with a new cupping card game. Just bring yourself; everything else you need is provided.
Here’s how it works:
  • Everyone receives a set of cards representing the number of coffee attributes we are looking for, for example, acidity, body, balance and overall flavour.
  • Each person receives cards of equal rankings regardless of suit, for example someone will get all the Queens, someone else all the aces, and so on.
  • The card suits are assigned with an attribute, for example, hearts = overall flavour, clubs = acidity, diamonds = body, spades = balance, and so on.
Weekly public coffee cuppings at the First Pour card game flavour profiling
Now the interesting part!
  • We cup the coffees and each person participating in the cupping places a card (face down) next to the coffee they think shows the most attractive profile for each attribute.
  • At the end of the session, the cards are flipped over and we see how calibrated the group is.
  • Using this image below as an example, the Kenya Wamuguma microlot was the definite favourite of all the coffees cupped in this session, with Veneziano’s roasting team and guest cuppers, rating it: best body (five out of six people), best overall flavour (five out of six people) and best acidity (four out of six people).

Weekly public coffee cuppings at the First Pour card game flavour profiling

If you decide not to put any cards down, it simply indicates that there is a lot more you can learn about cup tasting as you develop your coffee palate and become more confident in your flavour assertions.

Weekly public cuppings at the First Pour Abbotsford, every Friday at 11am.

Mythos One Australian roadshow hosted at First Pour Melbourne

MYTHOS ONE M1 Grinder demonstrated by Colin Harman at First Pour hosted by Espresso Mechanics MYTHOS ONE M1 Grinder demonstrated by Colin Harman at First Pour hosted by Espresso MechanicsThe First Pour (26 Bond Street, Abbotsford) has been selected as the Melbourne venue for the presentation of the new M1 grinder, hosted by Espresso Mechanics.

Four-time Irish Barista Champion Colin Harmon has been travelling the globe, promoting the Victoria Arduino Mythos One (M1) Clima Pro grinder. Now it’s Australia’s turn, with Espresso Mechanics bringing the M1 roadshow down under from 4 – 13 September.

“Since we launched the M1 Clima Pro last year at Host in Milan, Italy, there’s been not only a huge demand for the grinder, but also a big appetite for more information on how it works,” says Colin. “[Victoria Arduino] initially asked me to tour the United States with the grinder, and the reaction was such that we extended it across many other cities.”

Colin has travelled with the M1 to New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Kansas City, United States; Shanghai and Guangzhou, China; Tokyo, Japan; Dublin, Ireland; and London, United Kingdom.

The tour will extend to Hong Kong on 5 September, before making its way to Australia to present The Victoria Arduino M1 Road show across Australia.

The M1 roadshow will make its Australian debut in Sydney at The Coffee Experience from 4 – 6 September.

Colin will present the M1 in Melbourne on 9 September at Espresso Mechanic’s headquarters in North Melbourne at 2pm, followed by Veneziano’s First Pour in Abbotsford at 4.30pm (food and drink provided).

The M1 roadshow will then visit Perth on 10 September and Brisbane on 12 September before heading to Auckland, New Zealand on 14 September.

“I’m really excited about [coming to Australia]. I got a small taste of Australia at last year’s World Barista Championship in Melbourne and have
been itching to get back since,” says Colin. “As much as the tour is about educating people, I’m often the one who gets the most out of it. Every country I visit has baristas with the same problems and issues with grinders and showing them how the M1 can solve some of those issues is very rewarding. We also get a lot of feedback in every city and we’ll look to feed all of that into the next stage of development.”

Colin designed the grinder with 2002 World Barista Champion Fritz Storm, 2007 World Barista Champion James Hoffman, and 2009 World Barista Champion Gwilym Davis.

The new M1 grinder addresses common on-demand grinder problems, including speed, aesthetics, noise, temperature, sensitivity of dose, dose distribution and cleanliness. The solution is Clima Pro technology, which suspends heat between 35°C and 45°C for the most consistent grinding temperature for espresso. To keep this temperature stable, the grinder has a heating element attached to a sensor on the side of the machine. By managing the milling chamber temperature, grinding doses are kept constant, resulting in a better quality of espresso extraction.

MYTHOS ONE M1 Grinder demonstrated by Colin Harman at First Pour hosted by Espresso Mechanics

MYTHOS ONE M1 Grinder demonstrated by Colin Harman at First Pour hosted by Espresso Mechanics