- Edition One From Plantation to Market
- Author Joshua Elias
- Photographer James Morgan
Market Lane Coffee is a pioneer in the sourcing and roasting of specialty coffee. Fleur Studd (FS) and Toshiyuki Ishiwata (TI) teach us a little about their cupping culture.
There are around 600 flavour compounds that can be tasted in coffee. The plantation, the harvest, the vintage and the roast, amongst other things, can influence each of these flavours.
Market Lane sources green beans through their importing arm, Melbourne Coffee Merchants. In 2008, they were the first company to import specialty green coffee beans into Australia and sell the beans to boutique roasters.
Large coffee companies have emphasised the power of the brand at the expense of transparency of origin. The specialty coffee movement is trying to reverse this trend.
Inspired by the story behind each coffee, Fleur Studd and Jason Scheltus established Market Lane coffee in 2009.
"Our branding is minimal. The most important thing to convey is the name of the coffee plantation. It is about building a relationship between our customers and the individual coffee farmers." — FS
Freshness is a key factor in the supply of green beans. Up until around two or three years ago, there was a complete disregard for harvest times. Brazilian coffee was sold 12 months of the year, despite the fact that there are only one or two harvest periods per year.
"Roasting is only one part of brewing coffee. We must understand the entire process in order to make the best coffee." — TI
Following harvest, each green bean is rested at origin for a minimum of one month. Once the bean reaches the appropriate humidity level, it is then shipped. There is also an ideal timeframe for roasting the coffee: usually between three to nine months after harvest. Once this window of time has passed, the coffee quality will begin to decline.
Cocaine Coca Coffee
Coca leaf production is a major threat to Bolivian coffee plantations. Used to manufacture both coca tea and cocaine, coca trees provide a crop 12 months of the year and unfortunately, are more profitable for growers. In order to encourage plantation owners to persist with coffee production, growers are paid significantly more than the base market rate.
Coffee is purchased directly from single estates as well as co-operatives. In countries like Rwanda, coffee farms are quite small. Thus, co-operatives are essential to produce harvests large enough to be exported. Contrastingly, in places like Brazil the estates are much larger. Therefore coffee is purchased directly from each individual estate.