Experimental and Exceeding Expectations

Experimental and Exceeding Expectations

This month at Three Thousand Thieves we’re focusing on the creativity and ingenuity behind specialty roasting. And who better to feature than Uncle Joe’s Coffee, headed by Mark Leo. Priding himself on trying new and exciting ways to get the best out of the bean, Mark’s experimental approach breaks all the rules in the best possible way (like coffee with an unbelievably long shelf life - that’s right, we cupped an eight month old coffee that tasted incredible. Don’t believe us? Well, keep reading and we think we’ll change your mind).
 
Like most of us, Mark’s love of coffee had very humble beginnings. “For me, my coffee journey began in late 2008, when I walked into a franchise chain coffee store,” says Mark. “Prior to this I had never really been a coffee drinker, only ever going out for coffee once in a blue moon.” What began as a simple curiosity over a gold medal sticker on a coffee bag, soon turned into an all-consuming quest to unlock the mysteries of the bean. Cut to the present day, and Mark is one of the most respected roasters in the industry, having won a host of awards including Overall Winner at both the 2014 and 2015 Australian Compak Golden Bean Competition (the largest coffee roasters competition and conference in the world).
 
Our first feature coffee is a labor of love for the crew at Uncle Joe’s. Teaming up with experimental coffee growers Prakash and Mohan of Riverdale Estate, the Selection 9 showcases the potential that’s coming out of India right now. A stunning espresso option, it’s a genetic blend of Ethiopian Tafarikela and Hybrido-de-Timor; a cross of Ethiopian and Indonesian varietals. Think of it as a single varietal ‘Mocha Java’. On the palette you can expect exquisite notes of lush velvety chocolate, orange, caramel, clove and spices with a medium acidity. If you’re brewing the Selection 9 on a commercial espresso machine, Mark recommends: 21g dose, 94°C water temperature, 45ml yield over 28-33 seconds.
 
For the filter, we’re showcasing Uncle Joe’s signature blend: the Purple Haze. A blend of two natural Ethiopians and a Kenyan varietal, it has a well-balanced, clean, sweet and tropical fruit flavour upfront, which then develops into red grape, apple and blueberry. A real pocket rocket, the Purple Haze has won a host of accolades three years running at the Golden Bean Awards. Mark recommends a 1:15 (coffee:water) ratio, 96°C water temperature and 3-5 minute brew time.
 
Recently making the move from Brisbane to Victoria, Mark’s excited about the opportunities that Melbourne has to offer - and is opening a brand new Uncle Joe’s venue opposite Swinburne University in Hawthorn very, very shortly. Keep an eye on their Instagram for updates: @unclejoescoffee
 
“Melbourne has an amazingly vibrant and diverse coffee scene. The energy within the coffee community is so invigorating and inspiring.” 
 
So what’s in store for Uncle Joe’s in the future? “We love discovering super passionate producers who are just as fanatical as we are. We’re also excited to be bringing a unique brewing / infusion method to the market: the BKON brewer is a reverse atmospheric infusion device.” You can check out the BKON at the new Uncle Joe’s showcase store, opening soon.
 
So come on an experimental journey with us as we try some of the most innovative coffee on the market. After all, when it comes to Uncle Joe’s Coffee, they don’t just meet our great expectations, they exceed them. 

Rose Street Blend by Industry Beans

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet…
 
When you think of great Melbourne coffee, you often think of Fitzroy. The stylish Melbourne suburb has become synonymous with not only incredible specialty coffee, but also ultra-modern fashion, food and art. This month, Industry Beans pays homage to one of our most hipster districts with the Rose Street: a delicious blend of 50% Santa Serra (Brazil), 25% Kalledevarapura Estate (India) and 25% Mutwari (Tanzania). 
 
Affectionately named after the roastery’s location at 3/62 Rose Street in the heart of Fitzroy, the blend reflects the area’s chic architecture and design. Industry Beans is housed in an open-plan, award-winning warehouse conversion that stands among the suburb's world famous street art and graffiti. It’s a stunning, lofty space, featuring polished concrete floors, exposed wood panelling, an open roastery and upstairs cupping lab. During the week you can enjoy a long black in the tranquil front courtyard, while on weekends the area buzzes with the adjacent Rose Street Market, selling handmade crafts from local artists. 
 
“We are so in love with our neighbourhood and I can’t express how much we enjoy the culture and the love Fitzroy brings to Melbourne… we want to spread that feeling.”
 
Composed of three single origin beans sourced from farmers on three separate continents, the Rose Street is a seriously satisfying blend with notes of subtle citrus brightness, red cherry and a long, satisfying cocoa finish. It’s sure to be a hit with both third-wave coffee snobs and traditional palates alike, making it your weapon of choice at home or in the office.
 
RECIPE: 
To get the best out of the Rose Street Blend on your espresso machine, Industry Beans recommends:
Split shots (regular strength): 23 grams in, 26 grams out. Run for 28-30 seconds
Double Ristretto: 23 grams in, 30 grams out. Run for 20-22 seconds.
 
Inspired by the third-wave coffee movement, brothers Steve and Trevor Simmons founded Industry Beans back in 2010. Driven by curiosity and a belief that the coffee roasting process offered possibilities yet to be fully explored, the brothers set up in a tiny garage on a shoestring budget and began roasting coffee for themselves. Almost five years on and Industry Beans has established itself at the cutting edge of Melbourne’s internationally renowned coffee scene, recognised with a succession of awards including "Melbourne's Best Boutique Roaster” in 2014 by Fairfax Media.

“We see coffee as something complex and delightful, with many possibilities – something a bit like wine. Different varietals, growing conditions, processing methods and brewing techniques could each yield something distinctive to savour and celebrate,” says brothers Steve and Trevor.
 
So don’t let the fear of the thorn keep you from the rose - this delicious blend is sure to satisfy ;)

Luz Mery Espionoza by Cartel Roasters

Luz Mery Espionoza by Cartel Roasters

A Colombian Cartel of a Different Kind

Luz Mery Espionoza from Sweet Latitude, Colombia
 
This month at 3tt, we’re taking you on an adventure from the dramatic landscapes of South America’s Colombia, to a boutique roastery located in seaside Geelong. Nathan Johnston is the brainchild behind award-winning Cartel Coffee Roasters. Located about an hour out of Melbourne, Cartel is dominating the Geelong coffee scene, boasting a cafe plus a brew bar, while also maintaining its reputation as one of Australia’s best specialty coffee brands.
 
Cartel has worked with Sweet Latitude Speciality Coffee from Colombia (a sister company to the very highly regarded La Palma & El Tucan) to bring you the Mery Espinoza single this month. Working closely with farming communities to get the best results in the cup, Cartel’s match with Sweet Latitude couldn’t be more perfect. Offering a wide array of flavours and attributes from around Colombia, Sweet Latitude sources beans based on the roaster’s desired tastes and needs, while also nurturing a close relationship with the growers.
 
“This particular coffee comes from a second generation coffee farmer, who is very, very passionate - one of the most passionate farmers I’ve met in a long time!” says Nathan. And coming from Nathan, that’s no small statement: his enthusiasm for coffee is totally infectious. “I love everything about coffee, and I’m honoured and proud to be a part of this industry - I love the passion, people, friendships and communities.”
 
A fully washed coffee which shines on the cupping table, the Mery Espinoza espresso roast flaunts notes of chocolate and red apple, with a heavy body, nicely balanced acidity, followed by a maple syrup, caramel and spice finish. 
 
To get the best experience, Nathan recommends a restricted (double) ristretto, roughly 22g in with about 18g out at around 20 seconds, to give you a big, rounded, juicy taste of this delicious coffee.
 
For the filter, you’ll experience a sweet, rich cup, with notes of toffee and malt throughout - it’s full bodied with a lingering berry acidity. 
 
In the near future, Cartel will open a partnership office with Sweet Latitude here in Australia, creating direct-partnerships with Central and South American coffee producers from Colombia, Panama and Guatemala. Exciting times that are sure to be full of flavour.
 
When it comes to advice for coffee lovers, Nathan recommends taking a little time to ask questions about the hard work that goes into producing a quality cup of coffee. “We’re very lucky to be at the end of the coffee food chain; but the start of that food chain is what we want to promote and make people aware of - because that’s the reason we’re here today. Paying a little bit extra for a quality cup of coffee has a big impact on farming communities.”
 
And we can’t agree more. It’s a win-win for local farmers and roasters... as well as you the coffee drinker ;)
 
Follow them on Instagram @CartelRoasters