Did you know there is a thriving coffee industry in Australia?
When you think about coffee producing regions of the world names like Colombia, Brazil and Ethiopia leap to mind. However, not many people know that there is actually a thriving coffee industry in Australia. It may not feature in any of the top ten producer lists but there are many coffee plantations down under.
coffee producers. The surprising thing about these plantations is that they are not at a high elevation. Typically most coffee growing regions are at an elevation of between 200 and 400 meters. Australian coffee is a rule breaker and manages to thrive at lower elevations. The combination of deep rich soil, frost free conditions, high rainfall and careful plant selection has made it possible to grow coffee against the odds.
Most of the coffee produce,almost without exception is Arabica, which typica being the variety most commonly seen. The quantities being produced certainly are not large at between 400 to 600 tons annually however the fact that half of this goes to the export market means that there is a demand for the unique blends produced down under.
The Australian coffee industry can add some colourful sights to the local countryside. In late spring/early summer the coffee plants flower to cover their branches in tiny white flowers that give off a rich aroma similar to jasmine. Later in the year from July onward the cherry of the plant starts to ripen in to the familiar rich red colour. This was a stunning backdrop to a recent Australian campervan trip for me. At harvest time only the red cherries are actually used with any green and over ripe black cherries removed. Every cherry has two coffee beans inside which are extracted by pulping. The coffee is then laid out to dry in the blazing Australian sunshine and when done it is graded for size and quality.
So while Australia is known for it's cafe culture and love of drinking coffee few people know that it actually produces it's own range of arabica coffees. If you are a coffee lover then you probably aren't going to switch your regular brew to an outback blend but it's worth keeping your eyes open and giving it a taste if you see it. It may not be the most famous coffee in the world but the unique low elevation climate means it's a taste any serious coffee enthusiast has to sample.