Best Australian Coffee Roasters
Who Are The Best Australian Coffee Roasters?
Finding a great coffee roaster can be a daunting task when sifting through the hundreds of results available to consumers. Hundreds of specialty or ‘gourmet’ roasters have emerged throughout Australia. Many of whom take coffee roasting from a simple process to an art form.
Unfortunately, the number of truly great roasters is far outweighed by the number of organizations that lack experience and knowledge.
In this article, we aim to briefly touch on some of the most important factors a shopper should consider before deciding on a particular coffee roaster and hopefully you will be able to find the best coffee roasters in Australia.
There are two main types of coffee beans sold in Australia: Robusta and Arabica. Robusta coffee is coffee made from beans of the plant Coffea canephora, a sturdy species with low acidity and high bitterness. C. canephora beans, widely known by the synonym Coffea robusta, are used primarily in instant coffee, or as blending agent by companies aiming to lower the cost of their coffees due to the large variation in price when compared to better quality Arabica beans.
Coffea arabica, also known as the Arabian coffee, "coffee shrub of Arabia", "mountain coffee", or "arabica coffee", is a species of Coffea. It is believed to be the first species of coffee to be cultivated and is the dominant cultivar, representing some 60% of global production.
Arabica coffee plants are grown at higher altitude in more remote locations, take longer to produce coffee cherries – allowing for a more complex flavor but lower yield – and are grown under partial sun canopies making harvesting a challenge. The shade offered by larger trees is only one of the benefits they provide. The trees serve as a home for a plethora of insects, birds, and other wildlife.
Coffee Hero is a wholesale coffee roaster in Sydney and use only 100% Arabica coffee and never blend Robusta into their products. All premium coffee roasters will only use Arabica coffee beans.
Even though companies may use 100% Arabica bean in their products, these beans are often purchased from a broker ‘sight unseen’ with only the most obvious defects being noticed before roasting. Coffee Hero has purchased certain coffees from the same farmers for years and we chose them for the care and expertise in both preparation and the quality of their coffee.
Once you have determined that the roaster uses 100% Arabica coffee beans, the next consideration is the roasting process. Over the past few decades, hundreds of micro-roasters have started up around the country with many roasting ‘to order’ for their customers.
The best coffee roasters Australia roast to order. Coffee Hero only roasts their customer’s coffee at the time of purchase or at most a few days in advance. The best wholesale coffee roasters usually work this way, allowing them to QC batches and make changes easily when needed.
Roasting brings out the aroma and flavor that is locked inside the green coffee beans. Beans are stored green, a state in which they can be kept without loss of quality or taste. A green bean has none of the characteristics of a roasted bean -- it’s soft and spongy to the bite and smells grassy.
Roasting causes chemical changes to take place as the beans are rapidly brought to very high temperatures. When they reach the peak of perfection, they are quickly cooled to stop the process. Roasted beans smell like coffee, and weigh less because the moisture has been roasted out. They are crunchy to the bite, ready to be ground and brewed.
Once roasted, however, they should be used as quickly as possible before the fresh roast flavor begins to diminish.
Roasting is both an art and a science
It takes years of training to become an expert roaster with the ability to “read” the beans and make decisions with split-second timing. The difference between perfectly roasted coffee and a ruined batch can be a matter of seconds.
Know your roasts
Most roasters have specialized names for their favored roasts and there is very little industry standardization. This can cause some confusion when you’re buying, but in general, roasts fall into one of four color categories — light, medium, medium-dark and dark.
Many consumers assume that the strong, rich flavor of darker roasts indicates a higher level of caffeine, but the truth is that light roasts actually have a slightly higher concentration.
The perfect roast is a personal choice that is sometimes influenced by national preference or geographic location. Within the four color categories, you are likely to find common roasts as listed below. It’s a good idea to ask before you buy. There can be a world of difference between roasts.
Light brown in color, this roast is generally preferred for milder coffee varieties. There will be no oil on the surface of these beans because they are not roasted long enough for the oils to break through to the surface.
- Light City
- Half City
This roast is medium brown in color with a stronger flavor and a non-oily surface. It’s often referred to as the American roast because it is generally preferred in the United States.
Medium dark roasts
Rich, dark color, this roast has some oil on the surface and with a slight bittersweet aftertaste.
- Full City
This roast produces shiny black beans with an oily surface and a pronounced bitterness. The darker the roast, the less acidity will be found in the coffee beverage. Dark roast coffees run from slightly dark to charred, and the names are often used interchangeably — be sure to check your beans before you buy them!
Inside the Roasting Process - Literally
This fascinating video from Hungarian roaster Laczkó Gábor uses GoPro footage to give you a glimpse into what's happening inside a commercial coffee roaster.
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