The Bean Brewding Brisbane Northside Coffee Tour

Having attended a couple of Brisbane coffee tours run by Glenn and George at Bean Brewding over the last two or three years, I recently felt it was time to get along for another.

Green coffee at Semi-Pro

As I’ve mentioned before, the tours are a great way to discover new coffee destinations, or for places already familiar to you — experience a more detailed look “under the hood” at a cafe or roastery and hear more about the coffee industry itself. As an amateur enthusiast, after spending many years researching and learning about the craft, I can guarantee there is no better way to further develop your coffee skills and knowledge than interacting with those who work within the industry on a daily basis. Of course I’d also recommend any of the tours for simply a fun morning out with plenty of coffee — what’s not to like about that!

So, on a sunny Saturday morning in April, it was Brisbane’s Northside which played host to a dozen or so coffee tourists eager to see more, learn, and sample some of this town’s finest coffee offerings.

The Tour

Semi-Pro Coffee

Our first stop and meeting point was Semi-Pro coffee in North Lakes, where we took a closer look at coffee roasting. Gracious hosts Jason and Tim provided an insight into their roasting philosophy and processes, creating a profile for a naturally processed Brazilian coffee while we watched things unfold both in the roaster, and on the Cropster software in front of us.

Monitoring roasting curves at Semi-Pro

Some further discussion on topics such as rate of rise, charge temperature and development time (amongst other things), took us to the end of the session, by which time we had also sampled an earlier roast of the same full-bodied and nutty Brazilian coffee.

The tour that keeps on giving

After the freshly roasted coffee had sufficiently cooled, each of us bagged, labelled and sealed some to take home.

Certainly a fine way to start the tour and the morning.

Semi-Pro Coffee
6/37 Flinders Parade, North Lakes, QLD 4059
Google Maps

The Wired Owl Coffee Co.

A sort trip down the road to Sandgate brought us to The Wired Owl Coffee Co, a real suburban gem and true destination venue in its own right, which coincidentally was celebrating its second birthday that very day. Owners Aaron and Tracey (along with a very efficient team) were on hand to ensure the visit was a success. Here the emphasis was on taking the time to stop, sit down, and enjoy some great coffee.

Oh and great it was indeed, with Aaron serving a naturally processed coffee from fifth generation El Salvador producer Aida Batlle, and sharing the story behind one of the highlights from the Wolff Roasters coffee offerings from the past year.

Aaron from The Wired Owl sharing the Aida Batlle story

Those on the tour tasted the Finca Kilimanjaro coffee as an espresso and a flat white, comparing the sweet and syrupy dark berry flavours of each. My pick – the espresso, however both were outstanding, and testament to the passion and high standard of quality and service you will find out in Brisbane’s suburbs if you know where to look.

A short note to mention that Aaron and Tracey are very dear friends, and nothing makes me prouder than watching their hard work develop The Wired Owl into one of Brisbane’s finest suburban cafés. So yes, perhaps I am a little biased, however I encourage you to visit for yourself and enjoy everything it has to offer.

The Wired Owl Coffee Co.
227 Rainbow St, Sandgate, 4017
Google Maps

Neli Coffee

For the final stop on the tour it was back to a little science with Ed and Alex at Neli Coffee in Redcliffe. Here we learned about and compared the moisture content and density of various green coffees from different parts of the world.

Ed from Neli Coffee talking moisture content and bean density

After a quick trip outside to view and sample the sweetness of some coffee cherries growing in the Neli Coffee “car park microlot”, we moved onto sampling some of the renowned geisha varietal brewed by filter, some cleansing Cascara (a tea-like brew from the outer pulp of the dried coffee cherries), and of course a little more espresso.

A new kind of caffeine high

A demonstration of some new and innovative brewing methods also accompanied some general coffee Q&A (with prizes!), and was a great way to conclude the tour. As well as some great coffee, Neli’s soon to be renovated roastery and retail area has quite an array of devices for the home enthusiast and is well worth a visit.

Neli Coffee
293 Macdonnell Rd, Clontarf, 4019
Google Maps

Summing Up

Another region of Brisbane, and another tour completed. I must admit to having an ever-increasing amount of knowledge relating to Brisbane’s coffee industry thanks to the team at Bean Brewding.

If there is one thing I would say about these tours, it is they are a relaxed, fun, and very informative way to expand your coffee skills and knowledge. For many attendees, coffee is of course not simply one of our favourite beverages, but a passionate enthusiasm for the craft itself, and the industry bringing it to us.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, attendance on a Bean Brewding Coffee Tour certainly comes highly recommended from me — whether you are new to specialty coffee or have been dabbling for some time. Either way, you’ll feel right at home and learn a considerable amount to help you on your journey — which in itself is likely to be a lifelong one.

The next tour? Find out more on the Bean Brewding Tour Page. If you cannot make it along, I’m thinking the next best thing would be some Bean Brewding freshly roasted coffee.

Related posts:

Bean Brewding Coffee Launch

Readers of the blog may recall I have attended the odd coffee tour around Brisbane, run by the friendly, yet professional team at Bean Brewding. I’ve written about some of those occasions in previous posts:

Now come the beans

Partnering with well-respected and award-winning local QLD roaster Manna Beans, you can now get your hands on some of Bean Brewding’s own roasted coffee for your home brewing needs.

Kicking things off with your choice of either a blend or single origin offering from El Salvador, the recently launched Bean Vault complements the Coffee Tour side of Bean Brewding perfectly. Judging by the tasting notes, either coffee will result in a great tasting cup, and a couple of bags of the aptly titled (and coffee tour themed) Great Day Out blend are on their way to my mailbox. I’m always particularly interested in blend expressions and interpretations, and this combination of Colombian, Brazilian, and Ethiopian origins sounds like a beauty – well worth an extra bag to pass onto a friend.

If you are thinking of sampling what I’d say will be a pretty impressive brew – now is the time to do it. For a limited time, the team are offering a Self-Guided coffee tour from their stable of offerings free with any bean purchase. Why not end up with a glimpse into the Bean Brewding tour portfolio as well as a bag of beans to boot?

The finish

With Bean Brewding having been in existence since 2010, George and Glenn’s limitless dedication, passion, and thirst for greater knowledge and understanding of coffee is only surpassed by their desire to share it with the broader Brisbane community.

With ties to the Brisbane coffee community strengthening with each year of tours, there was of course no better way to expand things a little further than with their own line of coffee.

I’d highly recommend giving the coffee a try, and perhaps we can compare tasting notes on a future tour…

Check out the coffee here.

The Bean Brewding Self-guided CBD Coffee Tour

2016-06-04 coffee_tour_frontSpecialty coffee has certainly enjoyed a rise in Brisbane over the past three or four years. Although a number of cafés and/or roasters have emerged in suburban areas, for workers in and around the CBD there has never been a better time to sample some of Brisbane’s finest coffee.

If you are inclined to agree, though are perhaps wondering where to start or visit next, Glenn and George at Bean Brewding have things well and truly covered. The team behind Brisbane’s first and only coffee tours (running since 2012) have devised a handy Self-guided CBD Coffee Tour, mapping your path to some of the better coffee stops across the city of Brisbane.

You can find out more about regular coffee tours of various regions in and around Brisbane, as well as other one-off events on the Bean Brewding Coffee Tour Page, and having attended several, I can highly recommend them.

The tour is a stroke of genius, and reminiscent of the “disloyalty” card which sprang up in London (or so I believe) a few years ago. Regardless of the name, the idea is to guide the budding sipper to establishments where great coffee is served, however might be outside the usual well-travelled radius from your office. Of course I should also acknowledge working in the Brisbane CBD is not a pre-requisite to enjoying the great coffee it has to offer either.

2016-06-04 coffee_tour_list

Listing eight cafés from Margaret St all the way across to Roma St and many in between, the tour operates in a similar way to the well-known loyalty card concept — in which your final stop (in this case the eighth coffee) is free. I’d argue however, the benefits of embarking on this journey far outweigh simply saving a few dollars.

In one sense, yes, it is a geographical journey around Brisbane’s CBD – however it is also a journey through different styles of coffee, roasters, brew methods, and cafe environments. It’s a way to experience something different, yet of a quality endorsed by some of Brisbane’s most experienced coffee drinkers. It’s choosing to step off that well-worn path from the office to your “local” and back.

For me, it is also the unexplored adventure of visiting somewhere a little different, in perhaps an unfamiliar environment — and revelling in the experience for a short while before that inevitable return to those elevator doors back at the office. If you think that’s overstating things a little, perhaps you don’t see your coffee and lunch breaks the same way I do. Fair enough — though either way, I believe you’ll enjoy this tour.

As they say, every journey begins with a single stamp (or something like that anyway), and I’m away. Of course as you can see, the one I have collected so far is at the end of that well-worn path I’ve referred to above, however I’ll get there. You see for me personally, my cafe life is a hopeless combination of familiarity and loyalty (the merits of which I am happy to vigorously defend), so I plan on using this card to do exactly what I’ve suggested above — sample the delights this city has to offer, and with the weather that little bit cooler, there has never been a better time to charge around the city.

So, whether you plan on working from top to bottom, or perhaps random number generating your way around — pick up a card from any of the participating cafe’s and get started. I’ll see you on the trail, or perhaps at the brew bar, and do check in with the hashtag brisbanecoffeetour — I’m sure the guys would enjoy hearing of your journey. Whichever way you go, might I suggest the idea is probably not to get through the entire list in one day.

Though I’m sure if we start early enough…

A Taste of Local Australian Grown Coffee

IMG_4756My last outing with the crew of Bean Brewding, those staunch advocates of the Brisbane coffee scene, was the Walking Coffee Tour of Fortitude Valley in August 2014, which I wrote a little about here. Now twelve months on, and having seen the “Beans” continue their great run of tours over that period, a recent event over the weekend provided a great opportunity to get involved again.

This time around, a morning of tasting some Australian grown and roasted coffee from Moonshine Coffee Roasters, held at PUK Espresso, at Kangaroo Point — in the shadow of Brisbane’s Story Bridge. Having not had occasion to visit PUK before, I was keen to head along, and also sample some coffee from a local Australian grower and roaster.

Moonshine Coffee Roasters are located (just down the road really) in the hills at Federal, in northern NSW, inland from Byron Bay:

Coffee has been grown and roasted in these hills since before we were born. It’s just been kept a little quiet, the Moonshine way.

I certainly couldn’t think of a better way to start a mild Saturday morning in August than with some Moonshine.

The Coffee

IMG_4750As I arrived at PUK things were kicking off right on time, with a brew of the 2014/15 harvest Natural Process from Moonshine just out of the Aeropress.

I had high hopes the coffee would be good, however was pleasantly surprised with the depth and complexity of flavour. Brewed through the Aeropress, the filter roast on offer was low on acidity, however extremely well-balanced, with medium body and a lovely smooth, creamy mouthfeel – like a velvety coating, which lingered long after the prominent caramel flavour subsided.

Next up, the kind folks at PUK took our orders for a complimentary espresso based coffee which would showcase the Moonshine Blend on offer at the cafe. Mine? A simple espresso of course.

This also gave me a chance to snap a few pics and take in the dry aroma of some of the freshly ground Natural I had just sampled. Nutty and earthy are terms that come to mind, which sometimes can be a little unnerving in a naturally processed coffee, however as I’ve mentioned above, this one was a beauty.

IMG_4766Onwards to the espresso, which was short, thick and dark. Here the taste belied the appearance. I found the espresso quite intriguing. In many ways it was a more concentrated form of the filter brew: mild acidity, medium on body with creamy coating in mouthfeel, with big caramel and chocolate notes. Again, the finish kept on and on. The blend served at PUK contains the locally grown variety from Federal, along with other seasonal offerings from around the globe.

I’ll certainly be back to PUK again very soon, I can guarantee that. It is a calming space, with plenty of shady outdoor seating, friendly staff, and of course great coffee.

So with the morning’s event over, off I went with enough complimentary Moonshine coffee to fuel my Hario V60 filter brews for a few days as well — a nice touch.

The Finish

Another successful Bean Brewding event under my belt, and from discussions on IMG_4767the day with the guys, the local coffee tours will keep rolling on, and there are some new and exciting possibilities also in the pipeline.

If you have an interest in coffee around Brisbane, or just coffee itself, check out Bean Brewding on the web or Facebook for upcoming events, all of which are extremely well supported by local speciality coffee establishments. It is simply a great way to get an inside look and learn from industry experts you may otherwise not have access to in a very non intimidating way.

Thanks to Bean Brewding, PUK Espresso and Moonshine Roasters for an extremely enjoyable morning.