A delight to the senses: Education has never been so delicious.

This month, we have something exciting for Three Thousand Thieves members: our first ever feature with coffee powerhouse Five Senses! With an ethos of coffee education, Five Senses Strategic Projects Manager, Ben Bicknell, hopes this month’s feature coffees will upskill 3tt members about specialty coffee: where it comes from, the flavour profiles, and the future of the industry. These coffees are really exciting, and in our opinion, education has never been so delicious.

For the espresso drinkers out there, Five Senses have selected their Dark Horse blend. It’s cracking as either a black or white coffee. A real crowd favourite, the backbone of this blend is the fresh crop arrival of the Tiga Raja, from the Simalungun region of Sumatra. Owning the mill where it comes from, this coffee is very dear to the roastery’s heart. Tiga Raja is sourced from smallholder farmers on the slopes around Lake Toba, before being wet-hulled and graded at the mill. It has all of the distinctive rich, slightly savoury characters of a Sumatran coffee, while presenting a uniquely clean and sweet structure. The Dark Horse blend pairs  this coffee with the Popayan Cincuenta from Colombia, and La Florencia from Nicaragua; both of which add a really pleasing sweetness and a touch of fruit driven acidity. 

For the filter lovers, Five Senses have roasted up a spectacular coffee: the Tade GG, from producer Tesfaye Bekele, out of the Shakisso region of Ethiopia. The crazy high elevation (predominantly over 1800 metres above sea level), paired with rich volcanic soil and heirloom coffee varietals, set all the right conditions for one of our favorite coffees of the season. In the cup, the washed process Tade pops out with a squeeze of tangerine, before mellowing to an intriguing ripe banana character (weird sounding but trust us - it’s delicious!). The creamy texture and lingering finish wrap a coffee that continues to open up as it cools. 

As one of the most prolific and respected roasters in Australia, Five Senses have a busy schedule planned for 2017. If you’re keen to learn more about specialty coffee, they’ll be catering to everyone from novices to experts. At the beginning of March they’re hosting their first Q Grader course at their Sydney Academy. Offering an intensive six day schedule full of coffee education, it’s the ultimate coffee tasters’ course internationally. At the end of March, they’ll be back at MICE, showcasing an incredible range of new coffees through both espresso and tasting flights on the brew bar. 

“The Melbourne coffee scene is crazy...in the best way possible. The level of exploration and excitement from industry folk and coffee drinkers alike has supported an awesome range of coffee expressions that continue to push boundaries. We’ve been roasting here for close to 16 years, and it’s continually inspiring to be part of such an energising movement.”

On the gear side of things, Five Senses have teamed up with Baratza to launch the new Sette 270W grinder, which is looking to set a whole new level for home coffee grinding. And as always, in 2017 they’ll have a constantly rotating range of seasonal coffees dropping into their line up, including some delicious lots from Ecuador, Burundi, Tanzania and Colombia that we’re looking forward to.

According to Ben and the Five Senses team, there are some serious challenges for specialty coffee in the future: “Climate change, increasing consumption in producing countries, and generational labour shifts, among other impacts, are going to put more and more pressure on the ability to grow and produce high quality coffee”, says Ben. “As the cost of coffee rises, we need to match that with an increased value for the coffee drinker, that helps to celebrate the hard work and craftsmanship of a specialty coffee producer.”

What’s Ben’s solution? Coffee education, of course! “Explore a wide variety of coffee and always give appreciation to the people who help bring that amazing bean to life!”

So whether you’re new to learning about specialty coffee, or a hardcore enthusiast, this month’s offering from Five Senses is sure to broaden your knowledge in the best way possible: that is, while enjoying a darn fine cup! So sit back, relax, and experience coffee education through YOUR five senses.