Veneziano Coffee announces huge roastery upgrade

State of the art roasting innovation, Diedrich roasters, combines heated air with blue flame burners to heavily reduce unclean gas emissions Australia’s most advanced roastery

- Industry announcement, Australian specialty coffee -

Melbourne, Australia, March 2014 – Veneziano Coffee Roasters’ new premises in River Street, Richmond (VIC), will be the home of Australia’s first fully integrated and fully featured Diedrich roasting system.

Eagerly anticipating the arrival of the new Diedrich roast equipment, the first turnkey system in Australia, Veneziano managing Director Craig Dickson describes plans for the new and improved roastery as “the biggest and most comprehensive Diedrich roasting facility in Australia to date”.

“The Diedrich roasting technology will enable us to get the absolute best out of our coffee, right down to the cup, which is paramount when you consider we are working with some of the more rare and expensive specialty beans available”, he says.


Veneziano’s new equipment consists of:

  • CR-140, a 140kg roaster also known as a “two bag” roaster referring to the volume of two full bags of green beans, with purpose-built functionality for complete control over the roasting process, and
  • IR-5, a 5kg roaster known as Diedrich’s in-store roaster, ideal for controllable craft and small batch roasts


Some of a seemingly inexhaustible list of features of Veneziano’s new roasting system are:

  • Industry leading automation system for recording roast information, minute by minute monitoring and roast profile analysis, also with the ability to roast in manual mode
  • Commercial loader, eliminates the manual handling process of getting beans from the hopper to the drum and saves time between roast batches
  • Post-roast cooling bin cyclone
  • De-stoner, removes foreign matter from the coffee after it’s roasted and moves the coffee to a storage silo
  • State of the art roasting innovation, Diedrich roasters, combines heated air with blue flame burners to heavily reduce unclean gas emissionsGreen option, catalytic oxidiser or afterburner; fuel efficient and environmentally friendly as it controls the emissions produced by roasting, eliminating smoke, odour and various other natural bi-products resulting from the roasting process
  • Heat exchanger, converts fresh air into hot air to supplement the blue flame (this prevents scorching small batches), reducing gas emissions and allowing greater control over roasting temperatures
  • Bag dump station
  • Dust filtration at loading (handling green beans can generate dust)
  • Blend mixer, a drum for blending varietals with minimal bean breakage
  • Silos, for storage and degassing


The new roastery is scheduled for installation at River Street in September, 2014.



About Diedrich - Diedrich Manufacturing is the only US manufacturer of roasting equipment. Started up by the Diedrich family in a tradition steeped in coffee heritage spanning three generations, including a coffee farm in Guatemala, manufacturing commenced in the early ‘80s. Stephan Diedrich together with his wife grew the business  over two decades, from building coffee roasting machines in the family garage to manufacturing high end roast equipment for global customers. Stephan continues to strive for innovations in roasting technology today.

State of the art roasting innovation, Diedrich roasters, combines heated air with blue flame burners to heavily reduce unclean gas emissions

In-store Diedrich roaster

Diedrich is responsible for proprietary roasting technology deploying ceramic infrared burners and heat exchangers. This method utilises heated air instead of solely a blue flame burner, resulting in great reductions of the unclean gas emissions that occur during roasting, and giving roasters absolute control over the roasting process. Hence, the Diedrich machines are renowned for superior roasting providing a cleaner cup of coffee. The equipment is built with the best quality materials to ensure longevity with the ability to handle continuous production, and is finished in an attractive retro-industrial design.

Diedrich refer to the commercial roasters as: “small batch precision at industrial scale”.


Yearly Pilgrimage to India


Sethuraman Estates India, Nishant Gurjer, Origin, R Certified Robusta

Pat our roaster inspecting coffee trees

Sethuraman Estates India, Nishant Gurjer, Origin, R Certified Robusta



Friendships and coffee are by no means mutually exclusive; Sethuraman Estates, India and Veneziano Coffee Roasters, Melbourne, Australia are a great example of this. What’s developed into a longterm coffee partnership between grower and roaster has also developed into a real friendship.

In a tradition started by Veneziano’s managing director Craig Dickson, roaster Pat Connolly continues the annual pilgrimage of visiting Veneziano’s Indian coffee partner in the Chikmagalur district of Karnataka, India. The visits are always open to other members of Veneziano’s team and key customers, giving them the unique chance to tour the working estate, dry mill, coffee museum and nearby Arabica estates. It also fosters a true appreciation for the time, effort, analysis and dedication the growers apply to the yearly harvests.

Sethuraman Estates India, Nishant Gurjer, Origin, R Certified Robusta

Sethuraman Estates India, Nishant Gurjer, Origin, R Certified Robusta

Our dear friend and coffee producer, Nishant Gurjer Sethuraman Estates, India

The role of Sethuraman Estates & Robusta

Sethuraman Estates is owned and managed by Mr Nishant Gurjer and is the home of the finest Robusta coffees in the world. To date it’s the only estate in the world to have received an “R” certification for three different coffees. R certification is an honour bestowed by the Coffee Quality Institute to recognise the worlds finest robusta lots. Veneziano is fortunate enough to be the sole Australian specialty roaster to source this fine Robusta to date, indicative of the mutual bond that exists between the two.

Speciality coffee at Sethuraman Estates India, Nishant Gurjer, Origin, R Certified Robusta

Speciality coffee at Sethuraman Estates India, Nishant Gurjer, Origin, R Certified RobustaThis year Pat returned to Sethuraman Estates and was able to time his third visit to participate in the 2014 Robusta harvest and cup all the lots as they came off the drying patio. Whilst there he learned about the benefits of drip irrigation in relation to yield, quality and bean size – all with positive outcomes.

Speciality coffee at Sethuraman Estates India, Nishant Gurjer, Origin, R Certified Robusta

Quality Robusta cherries

Pat was able to spend many hours with Nishant roasting, cupping, blind tasting, discussing and evaluating the Robusta lots. The end result for Veneziano Coffee was a decision to purchase the washed, natural and Peaberry Robustas.

In Pat’s own words, “All of Nishant’s coffees exceeded my expectations and raised the bar yet again, for specialty Robusta. I predict the AB Robusta will be “R” certified this year”.

The role of Kaapi Royale & Arabica

Nishant also partners with Bopana Nithin in the Indian coffee export company, Kaapi Royale. Together they export fine Indian Arabica and Robusta coffees worldwide and conduct coffee tours to India. Sethuraman Estates and Kaapi Royale are two Indian coffee businesses whose names are used interchangeably, sometimes incorrectly, the difference being that Kaapi Royale is the company representing Indian specialty coffee growers to the world; Sethuraman Estates is included amongst those.

An invaluable benefit of this enduring relationship is Veneziano’s ability to influence the cup profile of the coffee it’s committed to purchasing. Veneziano has almost 20 years’ experience creating well respected blends and offerings in specialty coffee, including the development of exclusive blends for high volume clients and is able to bring a wealth of knowledge and advice to the table; particularly regarding the palate of Australian coffee drinkers.

Speciality coffee at Sethuraman Estates India, Nishant Gurjer, Origin, R Certified Robusta

Sakkamma, an experienced coffee picker at Sethuraman Estates India

Speciality coffee atSethuraman Estates India, Nishant Gurjer, Origin, R Certified Robusta



Back in October (2013) Veneziano asked Kaapi Royale to experiment with fermentation times and underwater soaking times in order to draw out a different cup profile from the previous year, based on new requirements back in the Melbourne roastery for some of Veneziano Coffee’s most famous blends.

Whilst Sethuraman Estates produce the worlds best Robusta coffee, significant interest still lies with the Arabica offering and the partnership between Kaapi Royale and India’s specialty Arabica growers means that they are the first choice when accessing India’s most innovative farmers.

Kaapi Royale was very open to conducting experiments that analyse various processing methods and fermentation times and pushed the boundaries with a matrix of over 30 different fermentation times and processes, ensuring Pat Connolly and company faced countless hours of cupping.

The result is that Veneziano has committed to purchasing Arabica coffee that successfully meets the desired flavour profile they were looking to achieve. Kaapi Royale is vital to the success of Veneziano’s Forza and Estate blends and this truly special business relationship shows the value beyond dollar figures in the potential of direct trade.

Sethuraman Estates India, Nishant Gurjer, Origin, R Certified Robusta

Honey process Robusta, India

Sethuraman Estates India, Nishant Gurjer, Origin, R Certified Robusta

Honey process coffee, India

Sethuraman Estates India, Nishant Gurjer, Origin, R Certified Robusta

Natural process coffee, India

Sethuraman Estates India, Nishant Gurjer, Origin, R Certified Robusta

Washed process coffee, India



World Coffee News

With ongoing media coverage reporting on the prospect of rising costs of coffee triggered by a series of events effecting growers, coffee trading hit a price spike last week amid shortage fears down the track. Alluding to, that the inevitable price rise of green beans is on the horizon.

Here is some information we’ve received from one of our coffee trading partners, MTC group, and how this will impact roasters:

Global Coffee Market – What’s going on?

12 month Coffee Trading Chart - MAR 2014The coffee market is in the grip of the funds in one of the biggest rallies we have seen in modern history, and has taken everyone by surprise with its fury and speed. It’s not just the quantum of the Bull Run, but more so the uncertainty about where this market is going and it’s making everyone in the industry nervous!

Last Wednesday night while we were all tucked up safely in our beds, the market moved almost 20 cents in the space of two hours trading on the back of a 17 cent rally on Monday night! This week has come immediately on the back of a 63% rally since the start of the year, this has been the steepest climb since 1994.

The market has rallied by almost 90 cents per pound since January 28 this year and will result in landed coffees for Australian roasters increasing by more than $2 per kilo very soon. Regardless of the short-term outcome of this market madness, New Crop African and Central American coffees will be more expensive than to date!

Some hard facts:

NY market has increased by 90c/lb in the past month – this equates to AUD$2/kilo.
Kenya’s auction prices have increased by 30% from last year.
Indication offers from our Guatemala, Panama, El Salvador producers have all increased by 20-30%, Costa Rica SHB & HB coffees have already sold out, with the big exporters scrambling to fill contracts.
El Salvador production is down by as much as 50% and some farms down by 80% in production.
All of this serves to say that replacement costs for coffees will be significantly higher than offer sheets roasters are seeing now!

What’s Effecting The Market?

Coffee growers under pressure

You might have seen news articles, facebook and twitter posts about the volatile times on the C Market recently. So let us give you

a bit of context about what’s happening in the world of coffee at the moment and how this effects everyone throughout the supply chain. Below are a few of the many factors effecting the market.

Droughts In Brazil

In February coffee futures posted the biggest monthly gain in almost two decades, which is partially due to concern that abnormally dry weather will reduce the crop in Brazil. This sort of drought has never occurred during this time of the crop cycle in Brazil’s history. Although experts are speculating a reduction in yields, the reality is no one really knows for sure what the implications for the 2014 harvest will be.

Original estimates put the 2014/15 Brazil crop at about 55-56m bags, this has been downgraded on two occasions to the most recent forecast of 52m bags. However reports that have come out over the past week are suggesting 46~48m bags, these reductions are enough to tip the global surplus we currently have into a deficit.

However even more worrying is that some agronomic experts are predicting that this drought will also have an effect on yields for the 2015/16 harvest, further straining the global supply / demand balance. With all this gloom, let’s not forget that right now, the world has stockpiles of coffee. So this rally is being caused by speculations of a shortage, not an actual physical shortage of coffee today.

The Hedge Funds

Coffee Futures out of controlThe early rally on the market came from funds backed by sophisticated modelling on the effect of the drought. These models suggested a significant effect on yield and hence a supply / demand imbalance. As a result sophisticated, huge global funds poured money into the coffee market.

This initial rally caught the eyes of the desk traders who spend their days watching computer screens, who jumped onto the unprecedented Bull Run, which sent the market into even higher levels. Momentum building on momentum!

Coffee Roasters Be Aware!

Over the past four weeks producers have been selling like crazy, at some 4:1 to buyers, with producer sales now out for more than 12 months. In the mean time roasters sat back not believing this was real and watched the prices move outside of their comfort zone. All felt this was an anomaly that will stop and have waited for market dips to buy… But the dips were never served and the bull kept running!

The result of the sideline activity is that some roasters are now about a month behind on their buying, adding further fuel to the fire. At some point roasters will have to step in and start buying to cover their short positions. Wednesday night’s amazing 20c rally seems to be the result of buyers stepping back into the market on a dip, sparking a mini rally with the fuel again added by the funds.

And Then There Is RoyaRoya - coffee leaf rust

Early estimates suggest that in El Salvador, as much as half of the country’s coffee plants have been infected by Roya. In neighbouring Guatemala production has dipped another 40 precent during 2013/2014 harvest. Costa Rica has been affected severely and there are no commercial coffees left to sell in the country.

As you can see last year’s estimates weren’t that far off and the Roya outbreak has had a huge effect on the region’s coffee production. Some origins have already sold out of coffee, in some cases even prior to the actual harvest!

Supply & Demand

The big question is where are the markets headed? Based on our discussions with traders and exporters and reading a variety of daily news feeds it seems there is no clear answer or certainty on what the future holds. Some key points:

This is an unprecedented bull market which seems to show no sign of slowing down.
The hedge funds are investing heavily into the market on speculation and driving prices up.
Sellers are outselling physical stocks to buyers at a rate of 4:1, meaning that there is four times more coffee being physically sold than is being bought.
Buyers globally have been caught short and are all waiting for market dips, but there are none; in other words there is very little buying activity.
This is encouraging the funds to continue to take risks against coffee and continue to put money into the coffee market, which drives up the prices. The logic behind this is that eventually buyers will have to step out and buy.

Early predictions on demand and supply balance were at about even for the 2014/15 year. However basis Roya and the droughts in Brazil some experts suggest we may have a deficit of 4 million bags for 14/15, possibly even worse for 2015/16. If this scenario plays out it will put global stocks at dire levels and have a significant effect on prices.

Veneziano Coffee Roasters announces new premises

Entire business moves to single Richmond location 

Industry announcement, Australian specialty coffee -


Melbourne, Australia, March 2014 – Craig Dickson, Managing Director of Veneziano Coffee Roasters has confirmed that the business is moving to a new address in River Street, Richmond (VIC), the former premises of a hardware chain store, also bordered by Crown and North Streets and occupying a space of around 2,702m2.

In a move that’s designed to streamline business processes, Dickson explains: “We are currently spread out over four locations; the roastery and First Pour cafe in Bond Street Abbotsford, the warehouse a couple of blocks away in Grosvenor Street and the administration offices in Victoria Street”.

“The new building, close to Bridge Road, will provide us with ample space to consolidate our entire operation from: the First Pour cafe, cupping lab, training facility and technical servicing all under the one roof”, says Dickson.

“It also means that we’ll receive green beans, roast, store, pack and deliver from the same space, significantly reducing the number of times we handle the coffee from five down to two, something that’s quite a feat in our industry”.

The River Street site has drive through access from North Street to Crown Street, providing easy access for deliveries and despatch.

In addition to an expansive, high clearance ground floor space, the building located adjacent to the Mountain Goat Brewery comprises of a first floor office administration area and a second floor loft space, providing ample scope for Veneziano Coffee Roasters’ entire business operations.

The sale of Veneziano’s current roastery site at 22 Bond Street will help to facilitate the move. Veneziano’s move is expected to take place in three stages, commencing with the administration offices next month, followed by the roastery mid-year and the First Pour likely to be moved in 12 months’ time.

According to Dickson, “at the First Pour’s existing location we weren’t able to have a commercial kitchen, so this represents a big move for us in more ways than one; we are really excited by being able to offer on-premise dining and we anticipate running the cafe seven days a week”.

Zwei Interiors Architecture have been awarded the first stage of the project. Typical of older warehouse buildings located on the city fringe the building comes equipped with interesting original features that make it an exciting project.


Managing Director Veneziano Specialty Coffee Roasters, Craig Dickson

Craig Dickson – Managing Director, Veneziano Coffee Roasters

AASCA President 2011 – 2013
AASCA Sponsorship Manager 2010 – 2011
AASCA Accredited Judge – over 10 years
World Certified coffee competition judge – 4 years
Managing Director, Veneziano Coffee Roasters
Additional information:
Veneziano Coffee Roasters - specialty roasters; award winning blends and exclusive microlot coffees; supporter of direct trade with producers and cooperatives; on site quality coffee training and education by professional baristas; First Pour café coffee bars and showrooms; home of Australian barista, latte art, cupping and roasting champions; licenced Q cuppers and World certified judge; professional espresso machines, grinders and equipment for cafe and home; Australia’s largest distributor of Chemex Coffeemakers, 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
Distribution partnerships in:
Sydney, NSW; ACT; Sunshine Coast, Queensland and regional Victoria.


New Veneziano specialty Coffee Roasters premises - 16 River St Richmond Melbourne Victoria

The new premises will feature Australia’s first turnkey roasting system and a First Pour espresso showroom with a fully operational kitchen and cafe.


New Veneziano specialty Coffee Roasters Interior - admin office and future first pour location, River St Richmond Melbourne Victoria

View towards the First Pour’s future location (the area at the far wall).


New Veneziano Coffee Roasters site of streamlined new specialty coffee roastery

The site for the new fully integrated specialty coffee roastery.

Reviewing The Boathouse (Maribyrnong River)

We enjoy getting down to the Boathouse on the Maribyrnong River, especially on a gorgeous day. Seems like we’re not the only ones. We came across this review of it and must say, we loved it! Gary Mehigan’s Boathouse is introducing some exciting new changes in the coffee department, so definitely stay tuned for that. We’ll bring you more information on that as it becomes available. In the mean time we’ve re-posted this blog.

For a direct link, click here. Otherwise enjoy the read below!

Monday, February 3, 2014



7 The Boulevard, Moonee Ponds, Vic 3038


Gary Mehigan, the Boathouse Maribyrnong, cafe, restaurant











Views of the Maribyrnong


The Boathouse rests on the banks of the Maribyrnong in Moonee Ponds. It is a collaboration between Gary Mehigan – judge and co-host of MasterChef Australia – and Steve Bogdani, their vision being “to share life’s simple pleasures done really well”.


Gary Mehigan, the Boathouse Maribyrnong, cafe, restaurant











Dining on the deck


Some of life’s simple pleasures that I enjoy:


– Long, leisurely lunches with dear friends

– Gossiping over good coffee

– Summertime

– River views

– Friendly service

– Scrumptious food


The Boathouse: tick, tick, tick, tick, tick and tick.


Gary Mehigan, the Boathouse Maribyrnong, cafe, restaurant











Waiting for the oar d’oeuvres


Gary Mehigan, the Boathouse Maribyrnong, cafe, restaurant











Mmmm, meatballs


You’d be excused for thinking three ladies at lunch would be all, “Ooh, I’m on a diet, I’ll just have a salad.” Well, yes, we did order three salads as it happens, but we’re not on diets, and thank goodness for that because the portion sizes were more cruise ship than canoe. (In hindsight, the nibbles of olives and chorizo and spicy meatballs were not necessary, though that didn’t stop us from polishing those off, too.)


Gary Mehigan, the Boathouse Maribyrnong, cafe, restaurant











Beets an’ egg salad


Gary Mehigan, the Boathouse Maribyrnong, cafe, restaurant











Vietnamese chicken coleslaw


If I had to pick a winner, it was the slow-roasted lamb salad with freekah, pomegranate and tahini; goddamn, that lamb was melt-in-the-mouth good. But the Vietnamese coleslaw with chicken, nuts and a wedge of lime was fresh, tasty and crisp, and the beetroot salad – with red quinoa, soft-boiled egg, walnuts and crème fraiche – was as tasty as it was pretty.


Gary Mehigan, the Boathouse Maribyrnong, cafe, restaurant











Get your freekah on! Slow-roast lamb salad


Other pluses: the space is vast inside and out, so even when it gets busy you’re still sure to find a table (though the car park can fill up). The room to manoeuvre, location on the riverbank, and excellent public playground on one side also means that prams and their owners are plentiful, but do not obstruct or overrun the place. And for parents of little ones who just won’t sit still, the Boathouse has a takeaway kiosk facing the playground for all your babycino-on-the-go needs.


My final verdict for Gary’s Boathouse? Nautical but nice.


Gary Mehigan, the Boathouse Maribyrnong, cafe, restaurant











Every boathouse needs a boat




Ninety Plus Coffees

Ninety Plus Coffees are producers and traders of some of the world’s most exceptional beans, available only in limited quantities. Ninety Plus Coffees consistently score higher than 90 points on Coffee Review’s 100 point rating system. The coffees have achieved great success in national and World barista and brewing championships.

Ninety Plus Coffees differ from other traders and distributors precisely for that reason; because they are also producers. This allows them to have tight control over each step of harvesting, sorting, and processing techniques with the coffees they harvest. This directly influences the flavour profiles of the various seasons’ harvests, something they obsess over.

In a relatively short time they have achieved acclaim around the coffee consuming globe for their excellence in producing these limited quantity green beans and bringing these rare coffees into the hands of specialty roasters and buyers. They have their own farm in Panama, Gesha Estates where they cultivate the Gesha coffee varietal; a coffee that originates from Ethiopia. In fact it all began for Ninety Plus in Ethiopia where they nurture heirloom varietals. They’ve instilled the same growing, picking and processing protocols established with their co-producers in Ethiopia into the Panama operation to yield the same qualitative results and maximise the coffee flavour profiles.

Veneziano Coffee Roasters are thrilled to be have access to these to these exceptional coffees, carefully sampling and cupping them to end up with the most desired flavour profile. If you’ve not experienced a Ninety Plus Coffee this is something you need to put on your bucket list!

90+, Ninety Plus, specialty coffee, Gesha estates, Geisha coffee, Panama, Ethiopia

Ninety Plus Coffees, boutique specialty coffee, high quality coffee beans, ripe coffee cherries

Quality control is common practice at Ninety Plus Coffees – the uniformity of the cherries is amazing; picked at same level of ripeness, colour and size.

Ninety Plus Coffees, boutique specialty coffee, high quality coffee beans, ripe coffee cherries

Coffee cherries on raised beds, prior to pulping






Ninety Plus Coffees, boutique specialty coffee, high quality coffee beans, ripe coffee cherries

Coffee cherries going through pulper at Ninety Plus Panama Estates

Ninety Plus Coffees, boutique specialty coffee, high quality coffee beans, ripe coffee cherries

Rinsing the parchment after fermentation.


Ninety Plus Coffees, boutique specialty coffee, high quality coffee beans, ripe coffee cherries

Here’s how the washed coffee looks the day after.













Home Machine Maintenance Tips!

A home espresso coffee machine is quite an investment for many of us as we aim to enjoy a freshly extracted, cafe style coffee at home. So how do we keep it in tip top working condition in order to enjoy the quality at-home coffee for years to come?

We’ve prepared some tips that we recommend for looking after your domestic espresso machine. Read on to find out more!

Home espresso machines, domestic coffee machines, coffee machinesHome espresso machines, domestic coffee machines, coffee machines for home, how to clean, home coffee machine maintenance for home


  • Wash hopper with hot soapy water, rinse and dry – NEVER put in the dish washer.
  • Use a paint brush to brush out any build-up of coffee from the neck of the grinder.
  • Back-flush the machine using a small amount of espresso machine cleaning chemical, roughly the size of your pinky nail. We stock Cafetto Eco cleaning products for home machines. See the range here.
  • Remove filter baskets from group handles, making sure to wash under the rim.
  • Scrub group handles so they appear shiny – that’s right… they shouldn’t be black inside!


  • Remove shower screens from each of the groups using a flat head screw driver. Wash screen and wipe head with a clean cloth, remembering to keep the screw in a safe spot; once cleaned return shower screen.
  • Soak group handles and baskets overnight. Only fill up water level to just below black handle, as the chemicals can discolour the handle.
  • You can remove the tip of your steam wand and place this in a cup of hot water to unclog any milk build up.




  • Keep a stop watch and shot glass by the machine. Use these to calibrate your shots throughout the day. Remember 30ml in 30secs is the aim.
  • Purge your steam wands before and after each jug of milk. This prevents milk from travelling up the steam wand where it will contaminate the water in the boiler.
  • Colour code your cloths to decrease cross-contamination, use a different colour for the steam wand than for benches.
  • Coffee needs to be stored away from: light, moisture, oxygen.
  • Store coffee in an airtight container under the bench, in a cupboard or pantry, not in the fridge. Also, don’t leave it sitting in the hopper. This minimises the amount of time the blades come into contact with the coffee oils.


  • Never soak your steam wands. This can cause water to travel into your boiler. For built up milk on your steam wand, wrap a cloth around it and turn on for a minute. The heat and steam will loosen any build up. For best results, wipe your steam wand after each jug of milk and then you won’t need to soak it.
  • Never try to clean the blades on your grinder. Best to leave this for the experts; call your coffee representative who will organise for a technician to come out.

Art in your coffee or not?

There used to be a time when people didn’t care what their coffee looked like – as long as they got one and it tasted good!

Recently however, our experience shows that latte art has never been more popular than it is now and is in fact becoming the norm, not just with the specialty coffee outlets; it’s infiltrating all manner of coffee stores from regular cafes right through to larger well-known coffee chains. There is still some way to go but there are no signs of the trend turning back.

Latte Art is favoured both amongst baristas that are trying to perfect their craft and also with customers who enjoy the beautiful presentation of their latte.

So, why does it have such a following? There are several explanations. First let’s consider appearances; presentation says everything. If you are accustomed to a cafe where the baristas always put a nice, aesthetic finishing touch on your milk based beverage, it’s not long before you come to expect it everywhere. Beverages that don’t present well imply less care was taken and that the quality isn’t as good (even if it’s not true) and the impression is that this ‘impacts’ on taste.

If you were to choose from the beverages below, between the left and the right, which would it be? And would you expect it to taste better? Each to their own, but given a choice most people would probably select the one on the right and expect it to taste better!

bad looking coffee competition latte art

Above: Left or right?!

Below: some how to’s for latte art patterns

There are a number of latte art competitions out there that are designed specifically to develop the barista’s coffee making skills, with a focus on presentation.

At Veneziano we actively encourage our baristas take part in these competitions. Not only does it hone their skills it’s a great way to mimic the high pressure environment of the hard working cafe. If the baristas want to excel in these competitions and proudly, ours do, then they must put in a lot of time practising their art. As a result, the skills (and awards) they bring back to the cafe makes them a great all round professional barista.

In the speciality coffee industry, the latte art competition produces a winner in each state and then an Australian Latte Art Champion who earns the prestige to go on and represent Australia in a world competition. Criteria for such a competition includes and is not limited to:
- completion of three set latte art tasks within a pre-determined time frame
- visual components such as good contrast between pattern and ‘background’, nice glossy foam, symmetry and centering of the design
- technical components such as cleanliness of the machine, work tools and work space, correct measurements and dosage of coffee and milk, lack of wastage of coffee and milk

The winning latte art champions have the opportunity to earn themselves some great prizes valued at substantial sums and it opens many doors for the career path of a professional barista.

  Latte Art Championship Jen Marks Latte Art Champion Australia Jen Marks represents Veneziano Coffee Roasters and Australia at the World Latte Art Championship

Above: Jen Marks and her participation in the Australian Latte Art Championship 2013 and subsequently in Nice, France for the World competition representing Australia

Latte Art Smack Down (or Throw Down)

Another kind of latte art competition we encourage, and quite often host at our premises, are the extremely popular latte art smackdowns (or latte art throw-down). This is an exciting, fast paced competition pitting two baristas against each other at a time in a knock-out style competition, until there remains a winner. The baristas are under time and performance pressure.

They also makes for a great spectator event. These latte art smackdowns never fail to attract some very fierce competitors! It’s also an excellent opportunity for baristas to win some great prizes related to their trade and some substantial cash prizes are typically offered at Veneziano-hosted smackdowns.

Everyone’s happy. Who’s to complain when all of this leads to a better product (i.e. the end coffee beverage), better baristas, a better coffee experience for the customer and a better reputation for the cafe and/or roaster.

Veneziano Chief Stands Down from AASCA

Veneziano Coffee Roasters managing director resigns from AASCA committee

Industry appointment, Australian specialty coffee.

Melbourne, Australia, November 14, 2013 – Craig Dickson, Managing Director of Veneziano Coffee Roasters calls it a day with his intention to stand down from the AustralAsian Specialty Coffee Association (AASCA) organising committee, including his role as president, effective as of the Annual General Meeting December 2, 2013.

Hesitant to let go of a good thing, Dickson says, “I regret that due to time and work factors I must sacrifice a responsibility that I am really passionate about and one that continues to raise the profile of the specialty coffee industry in Australia”.

“However, I’m also extremely proud of the achievements AASCA has made in the three years I’ve been active in the committee and as its president”, he recalls.

Recapping some milestone events achieved by AASCA during this period:

  • Most notably, in an Australian first AASCA under Craig’s direction created the MICE concept – the country’s first international coffee expo which serves as a platform for hosting world events, resulting in successful bids to host World Barista and World Brewers Cup Championships 2013 and World Latte Art, World Coffee in Good Spirits and World Cup Tasters Championships in 2014
  • Maintaining high standards for national coffee competitions, including the judging competencies of volunteers, to foster some great barista talent and raise the profile of the barista profession as well as raise the profile of Australia’s specialty coffee scene in the world arena
  • Securing sponsors that complement the global specialty coffee environment as well as the domestic scene
  • Implementing an improved and more user-friendly website and social media platforms; and more.

“It’s been both challenging and rewarding and I’d like to thank all my industry peers that I’ve had the pleasure to work with in order to achieve all that we have in this period of AASCA’s operation”, Dickson explains.

“I can say that I’m pleased and ready to hand over to the next committee an AASCA that stands in a great position and I’m looking forward to seeing the developments of the next phase as they occur”, he concludes.

Craig Dickson
AASCA President 2011 – 2013
AASCA Sponsorship Manager 2010 – 2011
AASCA Accredited Judge – 10 years
World Certified coffee competition judge – 4 years
Managing Director, Veneziano Coffee Roasters


Additional information:

Veneziano Coffee Roasters - specialty coffee roasters; award winning blends and exclusive microlot coffees; supporter of direct trade with producers and cooperatives; on site quality coffee training and education by professional baristas; First Pour café espresso bars and coffee showrooms; home of Australian barista, latte art, cupping and roasting champions; licenced Q cuppers and World certified judge; professional espresso machines, grinders and equipment for cafe and home; Australia’s largest distributor of Chemex Coffeemakers, 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

About AASCA – founded in 2001 by a group of passionate coffee professionals, The AustralAsian Specialty Coffee Association (AASCA) gives the specialty coffee industry in Australia a voice. AASCA is a not-for-profit, whole-of-industry association with Australia-wide coverage, registered under Federal legislation. The association has over 10 categories of membership and is open to anyone who is interested in specialty coffee.

Craig Dickson talks to Good Food about Crema

what is good crema and what does it say about your coffeeWhat makes a good crema and what does it tell us about the coffee? Craig Dickson speak to Matt Holden, writer for Fairfax Media’s Good Food. He also covers what judges are looking for in the competition environment. All of Veneziano’s baristas understand the importance of a perfect extraction. They are experienced competitors and this is covered thoroughly in all Veneziano training courses.

Read that article in full below, or visit Good Food online to read it here.

Clues in the crema: what can it tell you about your coffee?

Published Nov 5, 2013.

Written by Matt Holden.

A while back, Copenhagen’s Coffee Collective wrote about skimming the crema off the top of an espresso to improve its flavour. Crema is bitter, they said, and coffee tastes sweeter without it.

But the Istituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano says that a ”certified” espresso has a ”hazel-brown to dark-brown foam – characterised by tawny reflexes – with a very fine texture”. So no crema, no espresso.

(I tried it. For a few days I ordered two espressos at a time and skimmed one. Sometimes it tasted better, sometimes not. Depends on the beans. But espresso is definitely creamier with the crema. Duh.)

So what can crema tell you about your coffee? Veneziano Coffee’s Craig Dickson is president of the Australasian Specialty Coffee Association. He’s been an Australian barista championship judge for 10 years and a world championship judge for four, and judged the last two semi-finals.

”We used to look for dark brown or hazelnut crema with reddish highlights, but what judges expect has changed over the last couple of years,” Dickson says. ”With lighter roasts you can get a lighter-coloured crema, so now we want baristas to describe how the crema will look.”

Crema consists of carbon dioxide bubbles in a film of fats, oils and sugars. Good crema is an even layer of fine bubbles that is ”elastic”, says Dickson.

To judge elasticity, you tilt the espresso cup to 45 degrees; the crema should stretch to cover the surface of the coffee, and re-form as an even layer when the cup is set right.

Good crema is an important part of espresso flavour and texture, even of milk coffee. ”A lot of the flavour in milk coffee comes from the crema,” Dickson says.

And while some say that natural-process coffees produce more crema and washed coffees less, he doesn’t reckon you can tell much about processing from crema.

What you can tell, he says, is freshness. If the coffee is too fresh – only a couple of days post-roast – there is too much carbon dioxide in the beans, and the crema dissipates quickly. If the coffee is stale – as early as 14 days post-roast, but certainly by 21 days – the crema will be thin.

How do you get good crema at home? Use freshly roasted beans from your local coffee roaster (not ground supermarket coffee), and grind fresh for each cup – don’t leave the beans sitting in the hopper.

What about skimming? ”If you’re removing the crema, you’re getting into a filter-style thing,” says Dickson. ”I’ll leave that one for the real geeks.”