The Story of Finca Santa Teresa. Yes, Toby's Estate Does Exist!

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The idea that Toby Smith was once on the fast-track to becoming a lawyer is incongruous. As he inhales the steam wreathing upwards from a small bowl, it’s hard to imagine Toby wearing a business suit and carrying a briefcase. Watching him sip coffee, expertly analysing the roast, there’s no doubt the coffee world won when Toby left his law firm job at the age of twenty-seven.

“I was wandering around, completely lost about what it is I wanted to do with my life, this came along, it happened, and I’m forever grateful for coffee,” says Toby.

What came along was the opportunity to study coffee production. With his father’s credit card tucked in his pocket, Toby headed to Brazil to live and work on a coffee plantation.

“Going to Brazil very much changed me personally from having to jump up out of bed in the morning, to go to a legal office job. I was jumping out of bed a lot faster and loving the learning a lot more.”

Two months working on the plantation turned into a year and Toby’s passion for coffee was ignited. “That learning curve I had in Brazil that was the energy I came back with, to share what I’d learnt.” Toby set up a small roaster in his Mum’s courtyard off a back lane in the inner city suburb of Wooloomooloo, Sydney, and sold his roasted blends at produce markets. “I’d turn up to the markets with my little boxes and sell some coffee. Word started to get out that there was a new coffee roaster in town.”

Word spread and people began to search Toby out. “It was like this secret little hideout down this dodgy lane where you could go and get some fresh coffee beans.” Eventually the demand for Toby’s quality coffee meant moving to larger premises and then some years later, larger premises again. “What started off as quite a dreamy little nice thing under a tree started to snowball and grow and develop.”

Today you can drink Toby’s Estate coffee in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, New York and Singapore. Continuing to pursue quality and freshness, Toby completed the production circle and fulfilled a long held dream when he purchased his farm in Panama, Central America.

“For me, to buy a coffee plantation was very important. To have a lot more hands on influence and approach to our coffee, that’s exciting stuff for us, we like to get in there and get dirty, and it just gives us that much more depth in what we do.”

That commitment to knowledge and learning are constants in Toby’s life and have been since he risked it all, turned away from law and discovered his passion. “Toby’s Estate coffee is special; it’s very close to my heart. It’s developed into a brand that people recognise, that has respect and that people care about.”

And there’s always more to learn, more challenges and more coffee to be drunk. “It’s a very alive industry; it’s full of enthusiasm and opinion. There’s plenty happening, so it’s always fun, there’s never a dull moment. Add caffeine to that and you know, we’re all fine.”

Yes, Toby’s Estate really does exist. Here are the details.

“My farm in Panama is a beautiful place. It sits on top of a hill, near a volcano, there are beautiful misty clouds rolling around the hills. The soil is spongy, rich and deep and pungent with that beautiful, earthy, alive, organic smell.” Toby Smith

Toby’s Estate sits within Finca Santa Teresa, a coffee plantation Toby bought in 2012. It’s in Panama, Central America, in the Chiriquí Provence near the hillside town of Volcan. The Estate grows a number of coffee varieties including the rare and highly sort after Geisha.

You can taste Toby’s farm in the Toby’s Estate La Trinidad Blend. It showcases the Caturra and Catua coffee bean varieties that have been processed using three different methods; washed, honey and natural. Taste the coffee, indulge your senses and celebrate the spirit of adventure, discovery and commitment to quality that is Toby’s Estate.