Australian coffee culture for many years has been dominated by large commercial roasting companies. With the explosion of third wave coffee onto the café scene, crafty artisan roasters like Tony Cosentino, ‘The Bearded Roaster’, have emerged from the shadows.
Third Wave Coffee Roasting & Brewing
Many third wave roasters have stood behind a new philosophy to roasting coffee. Coffee roasting is the work of an artisan, and like other artisan products, it is to be savoured & enjoyed to its fullest, but in moderation. The daily espresso & latte overload culture that is so prominent across several nations has no place in the world of specialty coffee. The finest wine would not be devoured by the case, specialty coffee is no different (occasionally you can break the rules right?).
How Passion Can Unexpectedly Turn into a Business Overnight
Tony began his journey like many other coffee enthusiasts as a home-barista & roasting enthusiast. The first affirmation of his skills as an artisan roaster occurred on a visit to a local specialty coffee bar, ‘SteamTank Coffee’, situated on a busy railway station platform in Hornsby, on the northern outskirts of Sydney. Tony offered a sample of his latest roast to the barista at SteamTank, who excitedly accepted the beans. After pulling a few shots, he was so impressed with Tony’s craftsmanship and roasting knowledge, he even offered Tony the opportunity to sell his roasts at ‘SteamTank Coffee’!
“This experience was a major confidence boost. The reassuring feedback from several other baristas and respected commercial roasters gave me the confidence to market my products through an online business and work from home”
When It Comes to Coffee, Less Is More…
The Bearded Roaster is focussed on small batch roasts of 100g per bag at a very affordable price. This is not a common business model here in Australia and perhaps not in other parts of the world, but it is what makes him stand out as a purist believer of small batch artisan coffee roasting. When Tony first began roasting he stocked several coffees at once like most roasters. I was lucky enough to enjoy a Papua New Guinean (PNG) Peaberry, Mexican ‘Finca Muxball’ & Sumatran Mandheling all in one day without worrying that my beans would go past their prime without being consumed.
Step Towards the Light
Tony has come away from the ‘dark side’ of roasting. I am sure most of us have experienced a bitter brew that was unpleasant, to most palates. There are many variables that can produce this result, but most likely it was because of scorched coffee beans, or beans that were intended for espresso (that still doesn’t mean they have to be overly dark). Dark roasting was the classic philosophy, but it is starting to fade where third wave specialty coffee is growing in popularity. A filter roast (light roast) allows all the beauty of the bean to be preserved. The artisan roaster also has a hand in the final outcome depending on their roasting techniques. This is what makes tasting the same beans from different roasters exciting for coffee enthusiasts.
The Ritual of Brewing Coffee at Home
Tony, like the writers here at the Perfect Daily Grind, does not just drink coffee because it tastes fantastic. Brewing coffee is accompanied by a rewarding ritual that can be practiced with various brewing devices. Tony passionately wishes to change people’s perceptions that the best coffee experience can only be experienced at a fancy specialty café. The best brews can be made right in your very home. Yes that is right, at home, or even on the road travelling! Tony also spoke to us about how the initial experience of specialty coffee for newcomers can be intimidating. There are many affordable brewing devices that deliver an excellent coffee, such as Aeropress, Hario V60, Chemex, Siphon’s & French press. None of these will cost you a fortune.
“You don’t need a fancy machine to make an awesome cup of coffee! Good quality coffee beans and a grinder are all you need.”
Why Small Batch Roasting?
Tony has created an inspirational & sustainable business model for roasting enthusiasts. If you ever wanted to start roasting coffee, or already do & wish to share your creations, don’t doubt that you could make it a reality. You don’t have to aspire to be a large commercial roaster. Small batch roasting is about sharing your craft with those who are equally as passionate about ethically sourced, sustainable coffee. Better yet, Tony figured out a way to make shipping quite cheap. 100g bags can actually be sent as a letter parcel through Australia Post. Tony recommends not underestimating the difference these small hacks can make to a young business.
Although Tony had to brand his product almost overnight, he has not failed to deliver a special artisan experience. As I excitedly went to open Tony’s first parcel I noticed the branding of The Bearded Roaster’s seal over melted candle wax. This made receiving the artisan’s roasted coffee even more special knowing Tony takes the time to roast every small batch fresh & seal every package personally. The first sip I took of one of Tony’s coffees, a Mexican coffee from ‘Finca Muxball, I knew that I had found a roaster who I could come back to every time he releases a new coffee & never be disappointed.
Article written by A. Guerra.
Perfect Daily Grind.