Archive for the ‘coffee’ Category

How seasonal is your cup?

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Coffee seeds (commonly referred to as coffee beans) are the pits found inside a red, purple, yellow (even orange) fruit referred to as a coffee cherry. As such, coffee being a fruit will progressively change and degrade as it ages.

There are beautifully designed and tasty blends on the market and we certainly design seasonal blends for our wholesale customers on request. This, for Monk Bodhi Dharma’s bar however, no longer fits in with what we want to do and where we want to be :)

Something we have recently decided to do at Monk Bodhi Dharma is to completely remove any mention of “blend” or “blends” on our board. We have opted to serve single estate coffees only. Yes, traditionalists or conservative individuals may indeed raise their eye brows. In my humble opinion, there will be a time when this ethos will infiltrate more and more venues. What is the point in hiding amazing, fresh and gorgeous coffees behind the generic label of a “blend” for the purposes of feeding long held beliefs.

It is akin to House Wine being served in restaurants in an unmarked carafe. I dare say that, the wine industry has progressed quite a bit from this in the last few decades where restaurants have invested ample resources to know each and every wine estate that they use.

With the availability of more and more amazing seasonal green coffee and awesome roasters, the importance given to blends and blending will surely diminish. The farmer and their land should always remain the hero and the best way to showcase them, their hard-working staff and their terroir is by serving estate coffees on their own.

My call to us, as a small coffee roastery is to lift the veil and be as transparent as we can be.

See you for a coffee,


Amazing Fresh Crop Coffees

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

We have been so fortunate to have so many international coffee people come through during MICE and the 2013 World Barista Championships. It has been a great time to talk coffee and to hear what people are doing in their part of the world!

I am so glad to know that we as a coffee city in Melbourne and our coffee roastery are bringing in fresher, higher grade and generally better coffee than ever. What it comes down to at the end of the day is the raw product that we get in :) Coffee will never be as good as what it was when it was inside its coffee cherry. As such, the less we do to it during roasting, brewing, packaging and transportation the better.

Currently we have some amazing Kenyans (Gachami AA and Thithi AA) and Guatemalans including the Small Producers of Atitlan, Entre Volcanes and Las Nubes. The El Salvadorian coffees are tasting awesome too including the El Carmen, San Cayetano and El Timbo.  We also have a lot of lovely Brazils including the Cup of Excellence #9 Serra Dos Crioulos and the sweet Cambara.

see you at the bar


Sumatra Source Trip: Part One. The Trip

Monday, February 7th, 2011

One of the stand out moments of 2010 for me was discovering the Sumatran Takengon whilst cupping at Market Lane Coffee. I then set out on a relentless campaign to convince Marwin and Tim to order a bag of green for us, ultimately succeeding and using it as the base of my blend in the Victorian Barista Championships. Between those times, however, an amazing opportunity was offered to me: a chance to go to origin, Sumatra, and see and understand this bean’s story.

For many Australians, Indonesia means Bali, and beaches. To me, Indonesia is now all about coffee and all those that have a hand in producing it. Fleur and I were lucky enough to meet some of those people from the very first day, arriving before everyone else and visiting the Sarimakmur processing plant and mill on the edge of Medan.

Most of these women are paid government mandated minimum wage to hand sort beans: in some cases, it’s one 60 kg bag of coffee, per woman, per day! This was also my introduction to some of the machinery used to sort coffee: for example, the colour sorter. It does exactly that: sorts coffee according to a pre-defined colour, within definable parameters, at an incredible speed. I also saw here the most coffee I have seen in my entire life (and this was only their robusta warehouse!).

Over the next few days, we visited farms and mills around the Lake Toba area on our way to Wahana Estate. One of the huge obstacles in gaining specialty grade coffee is traceability, and in an area such as this with most farms not exceeding half an acre, traceability starts at the mill which buys coffee from farmers and at markets, rather than at the farm level. Wahana Estate is an attempt to combat that, and was truly impressive: over 200 hectares of land they are experimenting with over ten different coffee varietals, to see which grows best in that environment, from Rasuna to Longberry to Catuai. They will soon obtain 300 hectares more to plant with those that succeed: growing what they believe will be Sumatra’s first true estate coffee. Wahana Estate is also home to a mill, and several civet cats. Whilst not meaning to offend our hosts, this was not an aspect of the industry I enjoyed seeing – luwaks kept in cages with coffee growing in with them, and coffee cherries being fed to them alongside other fruits.

It was then back to Medan in preparation for the 12 hour bus ride to Takengon, Aceh. In the day we spent there we visited many farms, slightly larger than those in the Lake Toba area, and small and large coffee ‘collectors’. A common sight in Sumatra was coffee from small farmers drying on the side of the road, in their front yards, on schoolyards, anywhere it would fit!

We were particularly impressed with the men at the Takengon warehouse managing to balance 60kg bags of coffee on their backs, loading it onto the truck destined for the Medan warehouse.

After that, it was back to Medan for a trip to Sarimakmur on our last full day (for those who missed out the first time) and a cupping at headquarters.

The Takengon was still my pick. This was an amazing trip for me, on which I learnt a huge amount. I’d like to thank our hosts, Mercanta for organising it, Fleur of MCM/Market Lane for offering a spot to Monk and being such good company, and to everyone at Monk for their support, and working extra hours to let me have the time off! I met and travelled with some inspiring people who have really reinforced my belief that the specialty coffee industry is truly an incredible industry to be a part of.

Part Two: What makes Sumatran coffees unique? And what is this processing, anyway?

New Coffees > Central Season

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

As you probably have guessed already, not only do we do delicious, healthy, sustainable food, but also specialty coffee and tea. We have just had a swag of delicious new stock in. Here is a quick rundown:


As described by Tim:

Guatemala Pasaquim Organic

This one is going to be one of our favourites. Juicy fruit, balanced acidity and notes of cocoa, berries and a touch of caramel. Is either going to be a favourite through the siphon or espresso

Columbia Huila del Obispo

We got this one specifically for be the base of our new blend. Rich body with note of dark chocolate with a wondering fruit finish. Get this one before it flies out!

Nicaragua El Limoncillo

Vibrant and zesty citric acidity with a touch of forest floor. This is quite a complex coffee with layers of cane sugar, cocoa and orange peel.

Costa Rica La Candelilla 100% Geisha

This one is very special indeed. A 100% Geisha (more information can be found exhibits notes of jasmine and rosewater. Very fragrant this coffee will only be used for filter coffee, but it’ll be worth it. Our special treat to you!


Jin Xuan GABA, Rei Chung Estate, Taiwan

Here is a description from the tea master, Nathan Wakeford from Somage Fine Foods:

“GABA tea is rich in Gamma-amino butyric acid which was found inadvertently by Dr.Tsushida Tojiro from Japan’s National Tea Experiment station in 1987 when he was doing research for the Amino acid metabolism of tea. He found that tea expsing the tea to a nitrogen-rich atmosphere (for 8 hours at 40 degrees celsius) would increase the levels of Gamma-amino butyric acid. The ingestion of GABA releases growth hormone, especially after exercise, with remarkable effectiveness. The release of growth hormone is known to increase lean body mass. Consequently, Gaba tea is an invaluable nutritional supplement for body builders, power lifters, runners, martial artists, and athletes of all types. GABA also has significant calming and soothing effects, as such it has been found to lower blood pressure, control hypoglycemia, prevent anxiety and promote restful sleep. GABA tea also has the highest concentration of anti-oxidants, including catechins, flavanoids, and polyphenols of any tea. The Anti-oxidant properties are also helpful in fighting many types of disease.”

It is delicious. Tim has been drinking a pot a day.

Tie Guan Yin, Iron Goddess, China

This is brand spanking new. Wonderfully rich and smooth and full bodied. Notes of melon, citrus, mint, lychees and tropical fruits. Tim expects this to be a favourite.

We are receiving another shipment of coffee (hopefully) in the next few days. We will update you guys when they come in and we’ve had a chance to roast and cup them.

As always, come and talk to either Tim, Emily, Zac and Ula about our current offerings on the espresso and filter coffee boards.

Guatemala Pasaquim Organic