June 29, 2023

This month we teleport you to North Melbourne’s very own Small Batch Roasting Co. Home of good coffee and a beautiful antique roaster that’s been with them every step of the way.


 What makes Small Batch unique is their burning desire to promote healthy food systems, food sovereignty, regenerative farming practices and farmer’s livelihoods. Founder, Andrew Kelly, initially launched his wildly successful Melbourne cafe, Auction Rooms, then decided to focus his efforts on roasting and sourcing green coffee and step away from the brunch scene. Undoubtedly, Andrew’s efforts have paid off. He moved his trusty red roaster over to Small Batch and created a coffee-loving culture that cares as much as where it comes from as how it tastes in the cup.




We sat down with Small Batch Founder, Andrew Kelly, and asked him a few questions about how he started Small Batch, plus his thoughts on the future of coffee.

Tell us about you. What’s your coffee background?

Whoa, where to start? In the dark ages I suppose. I started out involved in event coffee at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) during an era when the specialty coffee scene in Melbourne was still “emergent” (putting it kindly). At that time beans were dark and oily, oxidised within hours of opening the bag and came with provenance information no deeper than “contains coffees from PNG, Colombia, and India”.

It was clear that this landscape could use a bit of a shake up. I began tearing up the internet for knowledge; researching the latest grinders and espresso machines initially and subsequently exploring the practice of roasting coffee at home.

A few years later I was ready for a brick-and-mortar business of my own. Enter Auction Rooms, an epic building project turned venue that was designed to house an antique roaster sourced from Italy. When the business blew up we had to re-house the antique roaster and that’s how the new name “Small Batch
Specialty Coffee” came to be.



How did the brand/project get started?

Small Batch really kicked off in 2010. Luckily the Melbourne coffee landscape has been significantly improved by then. Specialty coffee was finally appreciated… as long as you wanted your fancy coffee with a side of poached eggs!

There’s nothing wrong with brunch, but eggs are from nearby, and all that’s required is to ensure they’re “free range”. Coffee’s a raw ingredient on the other hand – err, that comes from an importer, amiright? The point being, Australia was poorly served for green coffee options at the time. Roasters rarely published the crop year, exact production geography was glossed over, and paying coffee producers? “What are you even talking about?!”

After a trip to Sumatra in 2011 with the team, which included a fluent Spanish speaker – we decided to go to Central America next. Thus began 12 years of
multiple-per-year producer country visits, eventually culminating in the incorporation of a Colombian export business, deep activities in Guatemala, and great relationships in Eastern Africa.

How do you source your coffee beans and what do you look for in the beans you use?

We’re exclusively a DIY green buying outfit. We have a deep connection with producers, buy in the rawest form (parchment), advocate for and incentivise a focus on soil health, and take our share of the risks (meaning producers do not wear these disproportionally).

We look for the most delicious coffee that can be grown from long-term sustainable growing environments (shade trees, composting, worm farms, home-made not chemical fertilisers): coffee that reflects variety and locality, that shines above processing style – coffee that is sweet, balanced, clean and bright.

How has coffee brought some truly unique and awesome experiences into your life? 

Coffee has enabled me to see life beyond tourism in over 15 countries, and to realise my passion to make maximum healthy impact and agitate against an inherently exploitative capitalist business model and world in which we consume. It’s helped me realise that many of our world’s issues can be diminished by promoting healthy food systems and food sovereignty, regenerative farming practices, and farmer’s livelihoods. Coffee is a fickle mistress, constantly reminding us that one knows nothing while rewarding attempts to learn. Coffee enables all this and tastes good along the way.

Tell us what's in store for Small Batch for the rest of the year?

We’re opening a Melbourne city site, baby! Focusing on our coffee and pastry. Standing room mostly. Lots of coffee deliciousness, without the faff, off-put-
ting price tags or faux fanciness.






Halo Hartume
A delicious washed Ethiopia Yirgacheffe. Produced by Daniel Mijane on a washing station in the town of Halo Hartume in Gedeb zone located in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region of Ethiopia. Roasted in under 10 minutes in a style that’s designed to maximise punchiness while maintaining a lightness and sweetness.

Coffee Origin:

Tasting Notes:
Notes of  lemon pudding, sherbert and lime ice cream

Suggested Recipe for Filter:

With a V60 we encourage a dose of 20 grams to 330g water added.
Bloom with 50g of water then stir or shake mildly to ensure saturation.
Slowly add 150g of water for 35 seconds.
Slowly add the balance (up to
330g on your scale) at 1 minute 30 seconds.



Candyman has been Small Batch’s flagship blend since 2010 and a daily labour of love. This delicious blend is a constant work-in-progress with the goal to always create superlative tastiness from raw components that they insist on importing themselves. All this to create sweet,
balanced espresso, with or without milk.

Coffee Origin:
Guatemala, Colombia & Ethiopia

Tasting Notes:
Notes of grape, plum, lemon pastry and dark chocolate

Suggested Recipe for Espresso:
Dose in 20g
Dose out 45g
In 30 seconds.