Woolloomooloo

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“You really don’t know what you’re doing do you?’” The bloke had walked right into the part of the day I loved the most. Mum had taken her afternoon trip to the bank and I’d jumped on the forbidden coffee machine at last. The question was pitched in a thick Italian accent and wasn’t really a question. ‘Get a grinder’ he continued. ‘Take some control over the coffee you make.’ I’d just received my first bit of customer feedback.

I spent a year in Brazil absorbing everything anyone would teach me about coffee and trust me, everyone has a theory. I learned a lot, and much of what I learned was what not to do. That’s what coffee is about. Trial and error. Roast, taste, try again. The science will only take you so far because from tree to cup there are a thousand variables to defy your system. Taste is the only real measure of coffee.

Dad helped me buy a small roaster and I started roasting in Mum’s garage down in Woolloomooloo. I had a bed made of milk crates next that roaster, it was where I lived. On weekends we’d have coffee tastings, and once we knew what we were doing we rolled up the garage door and sold coffee into the laneway.

Two years after that we opened the first Toby’s Estate café down the road and I’d begun a journey that would take me to meet growers in every coffee growing region in the world. It all started in that Woolloomooloo lane, to which I dedicate this blend.

Toby Smith, Founder

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