Sometimes I wish I could just sit down and enjoy a coffee without wondering how I could have made it even better! Ben Cosford laments from the HQ of Soul City Roasters in South Australia. As Chief of Everything at the Hillbank based roastery, Ben belongs to that very particular breed of human being the specialty coffee roaster. His roast, the star of this months Coffee Scout subscription, is the culmination of years of work for the man who began his roasting career with nothing more than a popcorn machine and a whole lot of passion.
I started roasting for myself in 2009 in a popcorn popper! Ben says. It was a cheap way to have a really good coffee and I would try different beans all the time to get the perfect flavour. His skills soon impressed friends and family who encouraged him to continue, buying batches and spreading the word. Eventually Ben was able to set up a business in 2015, bringing it together with his other great passions, ministry and helping Australias refugees get a foothold in the employment market. Through my work in the church I saw that refugees needed help in practical ways to get settled here. They needed jobs. In 2016 Soul City Roasters launched our Employment Commitment Policy and we will be rolling that out as we expand into our new premises in a few months time.
The new location promises to expand the output of Soul City Roasters as well as allow Ben to further refine his roasting prowess. Youre never really done as a roaster. He says. To be a roaster you need to have a personality that zooms into detail and analysis. Its very scientific and detailed work. Our aim is always for consistency and these days data can be taken directly from the coffee machine and input into your computer for immediate results. He explains. And its why there is really no end point to the process for someone who considers themself a true roaster. Its a curse in a way, Ben laughs, but every bean has so much potential!
Potential is really the guiding principle for Ben when getting his roast on. I sort of see my coffee beans as being like babies. He smiles. No bean is the same. Theyve been raised at different altitudes, in different soils, and at varying temperatures. He marvels at the distances theyve travelled to even get to the start of the roasting road. Just think of the journey those beans have been on! He says. People produced and washed and processed them, graded them, bagged them and shipped them. And when you get them in a green state they taste terrible. But in just 10-12 minutes of roasting you bring out its potential and its beauty. Its like being a parent to see it develop fully into everything it can be! He laughs.
Its an approach that is clearly working for the proud parent (of three actual children) and thousands of coffee-bean ones. We stock Soul City Roasters in every state now and we are getting loads of interest from cafes keen to do business. Ben says. I think people love that its coffee with a cause and coffee with flavour. People love the fact that by supporting us theyre supporting vulnerable people. And that makes for a really, really good cup of coffee!
To get your hands on this months roast, go to www.coffeescout.com.au and order your subscription today!