Latest from First Pour
28th June 2014
Veneziano Coffee Roasters Launch Australia’s first 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:
Sourced Coffee Pods
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.
20th June 2014
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).
Do yourself a favour and check it out. www.thelovebird.com.au. Check out The Lovebird Menu.
Pan seared fish of the day served with sake soba noodles, baby bok choy, sauteed spinach shallot crisps and a chilli sesame soy dressing
Orange infused buckwheat pancakes with crushed pistachio and bourbon
18th June 2014
Craig Simon World Barista Championship finals performance -
Rimini 2014 LIVESTREAM VIDEO
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
27th May 2014
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.”