When you head into cafes, you'll often hear the baristas talk about the origin of the beans in their hopper; Brazilian, Sumatran, Ethiopian, Cuban, sometimes a blend of two different beans, sometimes single origin. But you rarely hear of an Australian bean being talked up or selected as the cafe staple. Well, there are a handful of local coffee growers who are on a mission to put Aussie coffee on the map. One of those is the incredible Crater Mountain Coffee.
This month, Brew Sip Happy subscribers will be getting acquainted with Crater Mountain Coffee. This Aussie gem is nestled within the picturesque landscapes of Far North Queensland. A family-owned coffee estate that has started to make a mark on the international coffee scene.
Lucy Stocker is Crater Mountain Coffee's Farmer, Processor and Head Roaster. She started in the coffee business seven years ago, but her love and passion for coffee has been with her from a young age, as Lucy shared with us;
"When I was a kid there was a coffee tree in our garden. I heard that it took 43 beans to make a cup of coffee. So I picked 43 beans, exactly, pulped them and put them on a tray in the oven. We called the resulting substance, coffee. That memory stayed with me for over 30 years when I decided to do it better and on a much bigger scale."
Crater Mountain Coffee is renowned for its commitment to quality and sustainability. From the moment you take your first sip, it's evident that this isn't your average cup of coffee. The unique combination of Far North Queensland's climate and volcanic soil creates an ideal environment for cultivating coffee beans with a distinct flavour profile. The flavours are a symphony of sweet chocolate notes, hints of citrus, and a smooth, velvety finish on the palate.
What sets Crater Mountain Coffee apart is their meticulous attention to detail in every step of the coffee production process. From handpicking ripe coffee cherries to carefully roasting the beans, each stage is treated as an art form. The result is a cup of coffee that encapsulates the essence of the region and the passion of the people behind it.
"We roast our beans on the farm. There are zero food miles so it's always fresh. I know the providence of every bean and only roast to order."
The Australian coffee growing industry has been steadily gaining recognition on the global stage. While the scale of production may not rival traditional coffee powerhouses like Brazil or Ethiopia, Australian coffee producers focus on quality over quantity. The boutique nature of many Australian coffee estates allows for a level of care and attention that can be challenging to achieve on larger plantations.
Beyond crafting exceptional coffee, Crater Mountain Coffee takes its commitment to sustainability seriously. The estate employs eco-friendly farming practices that not only protect the environment but also ensure the longevity of the coffee plants and the ecosystem they thrive in. Through responsible water management, composting, solar powered water supply and low till farming practices to minimise the disturbance to soils and till, Crater Mountain Coffee sets an example for how agriculture can coexist harmoniously with nature.
Lucy's love for coffee is infectious. Her warm spirit and openness comes through in her incredible coffee. I cannot wait to hear what you think of this emerging brand, which is bound to make some waves on the judging circles in 2024 and beyond.
I'll leave you with Lucy's tip to home brewers on how to ensure a great cup every time;
"Be thoughtful. Brewing awesome coffee takes time and care. Savour every step. Your coffee will taste better for it."
All photography supplied by Crater Mountain Coffee.