3 June, 2022
Product launch puts NQ coffee on the map
THE Australian coffee industry has taken a giant step forward, with the launch of the country's first Australian-sourced, single origin, cold brew coffee, flagging the global quality of our domestically grown Arabica beans.
Boasting notes of macadamia and mandarin with a milk chocolate finish and naming Australia and more specifically “Atherton, Queensland” as the product's birthplace, the new iced coffee drink is now available nationwide through Woolworths.
In a market first, award-winning Perth-based boutique coffee maker, Hunt and Brew, signed off on a 10-tonne per year purchase deal, with prominent Tableland horticultural family business Howe Farming Enterprises.
Senior Hunt and Brew Brand manager Emily Creer said the company, which has a $9 million a year turnover, “circled the globe hunting” for the best beans the world had to offer.
“Previously we have based our brews on beans imported from Columbia, Honduras, Brazil and Peru,” she said.
“But the pandemic has heightened Australian business and consumer desire to source locally.
“We set ourselves a challenge to hunt for Australian coffee beans, and we were ecstatic to discover this world-class crop growing in our own backyard.
“We aimed to elevate the standard of our cold brew coffee range to a point where we could consistently deliver single origin, cafe quality, iced coffee to every day consumers in their daily lives.”
Ms Creer said the arrangement with Howe Farming allowed the company to achieve not only that goal, but to support a fellow Australian business and “dramatically reduce our food miles”, while simultaneously putting Far North Queensland coffee producers firmly on the nation's map.
“The deal makes so much sense, I can't believe another company didn't beat us to it,” she said.
In an innovative move acknowledging the power of social media in the choices made by followers of the cafe culture, Hunt and Brew flew selected “influencers” from Sydney and Perth to Cairns to introduce them to their new product at its point of origin.
Howe Farming general manager Kim Mastin said they were excited to partner with Hunt and Brew in such a positive relationship.
“It makes us feel part of something big, that has the potential to be much bigger,” she said. “We were very lucky to be included in this opportunity.
It came to us through Lucy Stocker, a boutique coffee grower and owner of Crater Mountain Coffee, outside Atherton.
“Hunt and Brew have already perfected what they do and knew what they wanted.
They believed we suited their model, as we were in a position to supply both the quality and quantity of beans they needed on demand each year.”.
Known already for their own branded article, “Coffee with Altitude”, Howe Farming ventured into coffee production back in 2002 to increase their diversity, when Queensland banana markets were under threat from imported fruit.
“We had just bought the Walkamin block and decided to trial growing coffee there,” Dennis Howe said.
“We knew its 550-metre elevation and its soils would suit coffee and it grew well there, requiring minimal treatment with herbicides.
“We now have around 4,000 established coffee trees on just under 70ha, which represents nearly 4.5 per cent of our 1620ha of farming land.
“We have been producing bananas, avocadoes, sugar cane and blueberries for 40 years across the Tablelands.
“On the back of the success of this deal and considering the growth in demand for the lower caffeine, medium bodied, sweeter chocolate and nutty flavoured beans produced in Australia, we plan to doze out some of our avocado trees and increase the area under coffee production in the near future.”
Hunt and Brew has partnered with world-renowned Philippines-based artist, Kerby Rosanes, to design a series of hand drawn illustrations of the dominant hunter of each of the world's coffee growing regions for the label of that country's brew.
The iconic northern Australian crocodile has been chosen to feature on the label of the Atherton release, making it easily identifiable in refrigerator shelves.