Our Local Community Coffee Tree

Posted by admin in Our Community

Did you ever think you could grow a coffee tree in your backyard? Well with the right environment and care you can.

Tom and Pablo, our trainers’ from the Woolloomooloo Espresso School have been working with the local Woolloomooloo community to care for a coffee tree over the last few years that they finally had the pleasure to roast and ENJOY IT!

“No-one I have talked to knows for sure when the Arabica coffee tree in the Woolloomooloo community garden was planted and by whom, but by the looks of it I’d say it’s almost ten years old. I’ve been keeping an eye on it and nurturing it for the last few years and thought it would be a shame to let the cherries go to waste. So in October 2013 I contacted Brian, one of the community gardeners and between us we organised a Sunday afternoon harvesting and pruning session.

It took about an hour for six of us to collect almost three kilos of cherries and cut the top off the tree. Serious pruning every few years really promotes healthy fruit production but it can look a bit brutal at the time!

We decided to process the coffee using two different methods; Honey and Washed so Brian and Carlyn took it home and did a great job of pulping, soaking and drying. I suggested they keep the skin of the fruit so that we could brew up some Cascara.

The tree had yielded just on one kilo of green beans, which by early December was ready to roast. The Community gardeners, who each have a plot they tend to, have an annual end of year feast so we decided this would be a great opportunity to roast and taste the coffee on site.

Pablo and I took down a Hot Top Roaster and Chemex brewing equipment and set up guerrilla style in the park next to the garden. Roasting and tasting coffee ten meters from where it was grown along with Elderberry wine, fresh garden salads and home made ice cream was a surreal and blissful experience, particularly in the heart of the city!

Coffee and food seem to have that great potential to bring people together to celebrate community and sustainability. There were about 30 people there and I found it particularly interesting to hear stories about the very early days of Toby’s Estate when Toby himself was behind the espresso machine. Needless to say we all agreed that he was a fine example of a local boy who has chased his dream and done something really special!

We are already planning next years crop and the day definitely won a few converts to the the world of specialty roasting and brewing! Oh, the coffee was pretty good too with the honey process being the standout: medium acidity, buttery body, smooth clean finish and a slightly peppery/nutty flavour. A kilo doesn’t go a long way though… we’ll have to plant some more soon and we promise to share with you the journey of the new coffee tree!”

by Tom Hespe (NSW Espresso School Trainer)