Adelaide’s demand for good quality locally-roasted coffee has been steadily increasing over recent years, and the market has responded. Since we last wrote about this boom a handful of new roasters has emerged, and others have quietly honed their craft. Allow us to introduce some of the key players.
Two Fish’s Ryan Battye has been diligently attending to people’s mouths, and what they put in them, for around eight years. He has an intriguing dual persona: dentist-by-day, coffee roaster-by-night.
Battye recently moved Two Fish coffee roastery out of his garage and into a purpose-built facility in the Adelaide Hills. Before, punters had only been able to sample his work in a handful of cafes – as a guest roaster or as one in a rotation. Perhaps you caught Two Fish’s residency at Augnablik or it’s successor Ital, or got a taste before that, during one of its fleeting appearances at Bar 9 or Devour.
We’ve been following Two Fish closely since the shout out in our last article. Battye holds himself to exceptional standards, dedicating his time, passion and no small amount of money to perfecting every roast.
Battye says he’s “enjoying the strengthening camaraderie and collaboration between local roasters – Monastery, Dawn Patrol and Monday's” with whom he shares both pallets and knowledge.
Drink at Coffee Branch, The Lane Vineyard and fermentAsian.
Monday’s Coffee Company
Having busied himself behind the machine at Monday’s Coffee Store for two years, Jarrad Sharrock finally made good on his plan to take supply matters into his own hands. Monday’s Coffee Company opened in April 2017.
Sharrock avidly supports the “shop local” movement, but says it’s sometimes mis-marketed as a complicated lifestyle choice, when really it’s very achievable. “If a cafe uses a local roaster, that money stays in the state,” he explains. Simple.
Monday’s doesn't differentiate between “espresso roasts” and “filter roasts”. It produces the best tasting coffee it can, and relies on skilled baristas to do it justice.
Sharrock got a leg-up from the like-minded Adam Marley (Monastery Coffee Company); he used Monastery’s roastery to tweak roast profiles and trial new techniques while waiting for Monday’s rig to arrive. Each roaster now has his own set-up to experiment with, and considers the other a colleague rather than a competitor.
Drink at Monday’s Coffee Store, Exchange Specialty Coffee.
Soul City Roasters
Ben Cosford is weaponising his love of coffee for social good. The KPIs for his little company (Soul City Roasters is not much more than a tiny-but-capable 1.2-kilogram roaster in Cosford’s back shed) are very different from most others.
“Last October we launched our Refugee Employment Commitments,” Cosford says. “We set markers for ourselves for sales figures, and what that equated to in employment hours. Soon we’ll have our first employee [a refugee], which is pretty exciting. It’s been a few years in the making.”
Soul City has ethics as its mainspring. The company only sources coffees it can prove are produced fairly and traceably, sometimes splitting pallets with other Adelaide roasters to get its hands on the top-end stuff. To date, Cosford has produced coffee for retail distribution only, but tells Broadsheet he’s just secured his first wholesale account. Watch this space for updates.
When Elementary Coffee launched in July 2016, it captured where the Adelaide coffee scene was at; honest, humble and striving for perfection through simplicity. Owner and roaster Brad Nixon anticipated a model where he could roast, brew and interact with customers all under the one sawtooth roof. “Our aim has always been to be a wholesale roaster first, [and] having the cafe allows us to showcase our coffee,” he says.
Healthy wholesale growth means Elementary is already outgrowing its CBD home, and Nixon is searching for a new facility to handle the expansion. Elementary’s approach is simple (hence the name), aspiring to capture the truest representation of a bean’s flavour and origin.
Drink at Elementary, Flinders Street Project and Karma and Crow.
Patio Coffee Roasters
Patio Coffee Roasters is emerging from a metamorphosis. Owner Basil Papas has worked with or around coffee for a quarter century. He co-operated La Crema Coffee for 15 years in the very same South Road location that’s now home to Patio. In 2012 Papas split with his then business partner (who had what general manager Joel Callander calls “different ideals about what they wanted from the industry”) and launched his new brand.
Today Patio supplies around 140 venues, plus the roastery-cafe and showroom. On top of its custom blends, Patio prides itself on offering “anywhere between 10 and 15 single origins at any one time” says Callander. “All our singles sit in the, quote-unquote ‘specialty’ range, starting from 83, 84-plus [cupping] points, right up into the nineties.” Most are microlots and may only be around for a week or so, while others come from the same farms used by bigger, national players.
When phoning Patio, its on-hold … let’s call it “entertainment” … boasts “a fundamental focus on coffee respect”. It’s a way of saying that Patio takes great care at every stage of their coffee process, from green bean to brew.
Drink at Patio Coffee Roasters, Hibernia and St Louis House of Fine Ice Cream and Dessert).
BLK MRKT sidled onto the scene under a self-concocted fog of mystery. Little was known about the company – who was involved, where they were from, what they were up to – forcing people to turn to the product for answers. The man behind it all turned out to be Ben Rosenthal, well-known around Adelaide for his work front- and back-of-house at numerous cafes and coffee institutions. He’s been at it for more than 18 years.
Rosenthal launched BLK MRKT and sister company Showpony with the backing of two silent partners. It’s a one-man show. Rosenthal is roaster, head of R&D, barista trainer and delivery boy – and that’s what he loves about the job. Maintaining influence over how a coffee is handled once it leaves the warehouse is something many roasters would love to achieve.
Rosenthal admits, there’s always more to learn. In December 2016, he spent a day working alongside coffee scholar Scott Rao. “We just roasted batch after batch,” he says. “It’s not often you get that time with such a world-class coffee roaster.”
We’re still waiting to taste anything from Showpony, which Rosenthal describes as his “complete vanity project”. “I want to launch it when it is 100 per cent ready and make an impact,” he says. Knowing his penchant for theatricality, we’re watching with interest to see what he comes up with.
Drink BLK MRKT at Brown Charlie, BLK MRKT Roastery (opening to the public soon).