In a small shed about five minutes outside Albany, Great Southern coffee pioneer Kade Sims is busy working on his next batch of specialty brew.
There’s nothing quite like the smell of a fresh roast to warm the heart on a cold autumn day.
Mr Sims, who works out of one of the Albany Business Centre’s incubation spaces, roasts about half a tonne of coffee each month for his start-up company Beck and Call.
Working in a tightly confined area, there isn’t a whole lot of room to move around, but Mr Sims would rather focus on quality over quantity.
From simple beginnings as a home enthusiast who volunteered his time working with coffee roasters in Perth, Mr Sims gradually built up the skills he needed to start a commercial business.
Beck and Call made its first appearance at ANZAC centenary commemorations in 2014 and has since gone on to win gold medals for its single origin brew at the Australian International Coffee Awards.
Single origin vs blends
“I think it’s a myth that blends are better than single origin,” Mr Sims told the Weekender.
“In the specialty coffee world that’s where you get the unique flavours that are typical of a certain area or farm.
“Ethiopian beans, for example, make really dynamic, complex, really fruity coffee.
“It’s a bit of an untapped experience for a lot of coffee drinkers who go for a blend day after day.”
Beck and Call source their coffee from all over the world, including South America, Central America, Africa and Indonesia.
“We are passionate about the high-end stuff that we know is traded ethically with the farmers and aren’t taken advantage of,” Mr Sims said.
“Our real point of difference is we roast specialty-grade. As a raw product its defect-free and as a roasted product it scores very highly on sensory attributes like acidity, aroma, body and aftertaste.
“Only about 10-15 per cent of the world’s coffee is specialty-grade.”
So, what makes a good espresso? Mr Sims said it’s a tricky process, where a wrong move by the roaster or the barista can make a huge difference.
“The barista has to home in and dial in that grinder to get the extraction right,” he said.
“It’s an intense way to drink to coffee. You want something that has a good mouth feel, distinctive flavours and a nice aftertaste that lingers.”
While the trusty old shed Beck and Call works out of has served them well over the past six years, Mr Sims said he was looking to expand.
“We’re hoping to move out into something bigger soon where there’s more space for storage and packing,” he said.
“We are thinking about relocating to our own property and setting up a public cellar door because we don’t have a retail presence.
“That will allow us to have more interaction with the consumer directly, whilst still continuing our production.”
Beck and Call also recently opened a barista academy, with graduates already finding jobs at local cafes to help fill the void in skilled hospitality workers.