Friday, 30 August 2013

Air Ambulance, Victorian Police Airwing & Grata Espresso

Bell 412 EP.    VH-VAA.   Bendigo.

Custom Coffees proudly supports and provides gourmet artisan coffee to the Head Quarters of both the Victorian Police Airwing and the Victorian Air Ambulance Service based at Essendon Airport as well as out lying bases in the Air Ambulance network across Victoria.

When I’m not at Custom Coffees roasting coffee, I'm employed as the Senior Pilot and Base Manager with CHC Helicopters on the Victorian Air Ambulance contract HEMS3 helicopter based at Bendigo. I must say it’s a pleasure to be associated with such a brilliant aero medical emergency service, the best equipped and highest qualified service in Australia. Five helicopters and four King Air aircraft cover the State providing an unparalleled level of accident and emergency response.

Grata Espresso Symphony Blend provides the caffeine fuel to empower these fine people and the work provided by these two Aviation emergency service institutions. I’m proud to be a part of it at both ends of the spectrum that I’m involved with.


Friday, 23 August 2013


Grata Espresso Bombora
30 KG Bombora in the cooler.

Bombora Blend.    Part of todays roasting schedule.

One of Custom Coffees more popular blends, roasting around 600kg of it per week.

Bombora is a deep, smooth Mocha style with a caramel aroma, and deep cherry/chocolate notes. Understated acidity, & a bittersweet crema fill the palate, while slightly untamed, wild coffee characters from hand picked African Arabicas, and a full roast make this blend highly satisfying.

9 Source coffees include: Brazil, Peru, Columbia, Ethiopia and India.

Grata Espresso

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Single Origin Coffees vs Blends. A Roasters perspective.

Grata Espresso Cup
The result of lots of R&D - a beautiful balanced coffee.

Definitions first:

Single Origin:  Is a coffee grown within a single known geographical origin. Sometimes this is a single farm, or a specific collection of beans from a single country. The name of the coffee is then usually the place it was grown to whatever degree available. EG: Brazil Alto Carmelo, Columbia Supremo, Ethiopian Harah.

Estate Coffees:  Are a specific type of single-origin coffee. They are generally grown on a single farm, which might range in size from a few acres to large plantations occupying many square miles, or a collection of farms which all process their coffee at the same mill. EG: PNG Sigri Estate, Tanzanian Peaberry Burka Estate. 

Micro-lot: Honing it down even more, these coffees are another type of specific single-origin coffee from a single field on a farm, a small range of altitude, or a specific day of harvest.

Grata Espresso Roaster
Karen roasting on our 40kg Vittoria hot air roaster.
From a roasters perspective, the roasting of single origin coffees is primarily used to determine the nuances with that particular location or coffee bean type - the flavours, the aromas, the acidity, the after taste and brightness and how, or if, it’s going to work in particular blend/s your contemplating, roasted in your style with your equipment to give the best consistent end results. Blending coffee is no different to a chef building a signature dish; it’s a coming together of all the ingredients, a synergy of taste and flavour. The elements must be balanced, must work well together and must have great smoothness and mouth feel to enhance the experience and expectations of the consumer. All the best Scotches of the World are blended for exactly the same reason. Some of these coffee blends can be quite complex, with nearly 40 origins on the floor at Custom Coffees - most unusual for a coffee roaster - Custom Coffees blends are an amalgamation of  4, 6, 9 up to 12 origins in some blends giving an unrivalled complexity, balance and sweetness to our coffees. We’re big advocates of utilizing  a small percentage of Robustas in many of our blends. It adds a certain bite only robusta can produce and a beautiful body and crema. Don’t underestimate what a robusta can bring to the table. With more than 20 different blends on offer, there’s a Custom Coffees blend that will satisfy the most fastidious coffee lover. However, the necessity to stock that many origins, the R&D that goes into developing each blend, to blend that many origins into our signature coffees and roast that many different blends is difficult and time consuming, but the superlative coffee that results is testament to our commitment to coffee perfection.

Grata Espresso R&D
On going R&D on our 10kg test batch roaster.

From a consumer’s point of view of course, all food, wine and indeed coffee preference is subjective. There are some outstanding single origin or estate coffees that can stand alone, but many can’t. And for the same reason as the roaster, many consumers are increasingly interested in the individual nuances of a particular region and or seasonal offering and its flavour profile. But of course, with essentially only one active ingredient, the results can be quite confronting and or disappointing.  Custom coffees only have two single origin offerings that we feel are good enough to put our brands on, a Fairtrade Organic PNG Purosa and a Fair Trade Organic East Timor Maubisse, preferring to concentrate on and develop the beautiful, sweet, well balanced and rounded blends we are known for. 

But it’s all subjective and comes down to individual taste, and at the end of the day, life really is too short to drink bad wine or bad coffee. 

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Custom Coffees Proudly Sponsoring The Central Victorian Barista Championships.

Grata Espresso Barrista Championships.
 Latte Art is part of this exciting competition.

2013 Central Victorian Barista Championships. 

Restaurant, Cafe and pub entrants in the Golden Plate awards can enter their barista/s for a chance to become the regional champion. Additionally this year, the Golden Plate Awards have teamed up with the Australasian  Speciality Coffee Associations to have this event a part of their prestigious competition circuit to ultimately find Australia's best Barista! The winner from each of the Golden Plate Award regions will go through to the Victorian championships.

Custom Coffees is very proud to be the sponsor  for this exciting and prestigious event.

Entry forms for participating Golden Plate Nominees can be found here.