February 01, 2024
Hello February! This month is extra special because it’s the first time we are featuring a roaster from good ol’ Adelaide.
Meet Elementary Coffee. The gang over at Elementary are on a mission to provide the people of South Australia and the rest of the country with great coffee. Catch them roasting and slinging some seriously tasty brews and brunch from their two beautiful Adelaide cafes that are home to their talented line-up of baristas, roasters and chefs. Melbourne may be dubbed the ‘Coffee Capital’ of Australia, but Adelaide is right up there and even has their own unique, local style of roasting.
Elementary Coffee was established in 2015, when founders Brad Nixon and Carly Humphreys decided they wanted to open up a cafe back home in Adelaide. Carly was an experienced general manager for a hospitality group in Melbourne and Brad already had 15 impressive years in the coffee industry under his belt. They kicked things off with their first CBD space, which featured a cosy cafe area that looked straight into their roastery, all housed in a sun-filled warehouse. At the end of 2022 they opened up their ambitious cafe in the South Australian suburb of Torrensville that put more of a spotlight on their talented barista team and elevated Elementary’s cafe food creations.
What’s next for Elementary? They’re currently collaborating with their wholesale clients on bringing their coffee to even more locations around Australia, and the world! In the meantime, you can enjoy their filter and espresso roasts featured in this month’s Thieves Coffee subscription. Enjoy!
We caught up with Elementary Coffee owners Brad Nixon and Carly Humphreys to talk all about the Adelaide coffee scene, how Elementary Coffee came to be and the art of sourcing delicious coffee beans.
First off, tell us about you two! What’s your coffee background?
Brad: Having worked in the specialty coffee industry for the past 18 years my background in coffee is much too long to keep our readers attention! But, here are some of my career highlights: South Australian Barista Champion, Victorian Cup Tasters Champion, runner-up Australian Cup Taster, Brewers Cup Head Judge, National Sensory Barista Judge, Q-Grade Certified and have been on sourcing trips to Brazil, Indonesia, Guatemala and El Salvador.
Carly: My background is in general management, manager and barista. I am the former GM of multi-site hospitality companies, based in Melbourne, with extensive knowledge of operating cafes profitably.
How did Elementary Coffee get started? Talk us through the process and challenges.
Carly and I met in Melbourne when we worked in a café together. We both had the dream of owning our own cafe and more specifically a café and roastery. I’m originally from Adelaide so we both thought starting something small back in Adelaide would be a great start!
We wanted to bring a Melbourne-style cafe experience to Adelaide, but this concept ended up being quite challenging. Firstly, we didn’t have a huge budget for interior design. Also, the style of coffee people were used to in Adelaide was much darker than what we wanted our roast style to be. Although, I’m happy we stuck to our guns because over the years we believe we have been leaders in changing minds to a lighter style roast!
Where did the name ‘Elementary’ come from?
At the time there was a lot of misinformation swirling around the coffee industry. We felt that it would be damaging to the industry as a whole if coffee shops
moved further from what their customers liked and more towards “what is best for the coffee”. Our aim was to get back to basics and roast straightforward, uncomplicated and exceptional coffee - hence the name Elementary. Simple things can often be infinitely complex!
How do you source your coffee beans and what do you look for in the beans you use?
We mainly use importers that are based here in Adelaide. Namely, South Land Merchants for our Brazilian coffee and Harvest Town for our Colombian coffee. Our ethos on sourcing is that we want to eventually shake hands with each and every one of our coffee producers. This means each year we use the same producers so we can continue having a solid relationship with them. This is important so we can build trust which allows the producer to re-invest in their farm and produce even better coffee because they know we’ll be back for more and pay a fair price for their coffee each year.
How would you describe your coffee to someone who’s never tasted it before?
Straightforward, uncomplicated, infinitely complex! This is our catch phrase but I would say our coffee across the range is truly super approachable. Our milk blends are made so that our customers want another one straight after the first cup. Our single origins are clean, sweet and balanced. We don’t often chase wild funky processed coffee. We prefer coffee of intrigue but not to be assaulted with processing.
ESPRESSO & CAPSULE
Brazil and Tanzania
Brazil: Red Catuai
Notes of dark chocolate, dates, and toffee
Dose in: 20g
Dose Out: 40g
Time: 28-30 Seconds
COLOMBIAN OSCAR RESTREPO
Pour: 180g of water, then top up remaining until yield hits 240g over a total time of 2 minutes.