All Posts By Shaughan Dunne
Some months ago we sat down for a brainstorming session to work out a game-plan for our stand at the upcoming Melbourne International Coffee Expo (which includes the World Barista Champs). Things very quickly went from ambitious to flat out outrageous!!!
I was lucky enough to scoot up to Bali over the Christmas break and whilst it was largely for leisure, I managed to fit in a quick visit to our farmer groups in Git Git and Kintamani. First stop was the Tri Karya Subak to check in with the crew and check the progress of the nursery and the small trees that were planted in Feb. 2012.
When I first travelled to Bali for the 2008 Harvest Trip, I thought I was the only West Australian not to have visited this popular tourist destination. To be honest, the stories I heard of the ‘Kuta experience’ didn’t enthuse me a great deal and it was really the opportunity to attend my brother’s fortieth birthday whilst in Bali that convinced me to go (did somebody say junket?) Little did I know that this magical island was going to capture my imagination and play a big role in my personal and professional development.
It was time to leave the quieter environs of the highlands and head down to the hustle and bustle of Seminyak for the annual barista jam and latte art smack down with our good friends at Sea Circus.
We arrived at Tri Karya about 10am with our freshly picked seed safely in hand. First job was to pull all the peaberry out which are infertile. We scattered the beans out on a mat and there were soon 40 hands or so diligently sorting away. It didn’t take us long to get it all done.
Wow, is it really day three already! It’s been a frenzy of cherry picking, rib eating and merry making as the team settle into the manic pace of Harvest trip 2012. Today sees us making the two hour trek to Git Git where we will start stage one of the nursery project. We collected the seed stock from our friends at Ulian Murni where the team started to realise the amount of work that goes into the green phase of coffee production.
It’s the night before the annual harvest trip and my lounge is scattered with clothes, a stack of Five senses hoodies (more about that later), various coffee paraphernalia and I’m trying to work out how I can fit it all into my trusty suitcase.
It will come as no surprise to any of you loyal readers that I’m a little bit passionate about our involvement in Bali. Bali is an island in crisis with enormous pressure on its delicate environment and inadequate infrastructure from the hordes of tourists flocking there every year.
Yep, it’s that time of year again when the cream of Australia’s specialty coffee industry gather to ‘duke it out’ for the title of the country’s best barista.
It’s no secret to any of you loyal readers that I have a bit of a thing for Bali. Over the last five years we have developed a wonderful partnership with the coffee farmers of Kintamani. By paying them a great price for their coffee and helping them fund some special projects it’s fair to say we’ve made a solid contribution to the relationship.
After trading emails for the last couple of years the planets finally aligned and I managed to be in Bali at the same time as Jeff Neilsen. Jeff is a lecturer and academic at University of NSW and specialises in markets and supply chains in rural areas with a special interest in Indonesian coffee production. Jeff is definitely one of the good guys, a fluent Indonesian speaker and passionate humanitarian and it was great to finally show him our projects in Bali.
On my last trip to Bali I brought back the last of our green samples from our processing experiments. This was started by the brave team on our June harvest trip and involved careful cherry selection of each varietal (B1, S795 and Usda) and subsequent processing by either washed, pulped natural or natural method. We had already cupped the washed and pulped natural samples and these natural samples were the last part of the puzzle.
Well, this was supposed to be a story about a little coffee nursery in the Highlands of Bali, but a few different events have conspired to convince me to take a slight left turn. Bear with me; it’s still a coffee story at heart, just one with a slightly philosophical detour!
For anyone who followed our nursery building adventures in Bali back in June I’m sure you’ve spent many sleepless nights wondering how our little seedlings are going. Well the news is all good!! The nursery looks great and preparations are well underway to move to phase two.
I’ve always had a fascination with chai tea ever since I made my first steaming, aromatic cup many years ago. It may have had something to do with the cute kiwi girl with a taste for jazz and a strawberry birthmark on her cheek who was in charge of the tea preparation! Anyway, I digress. Back to tea!
I can still remember my first meeting with the farmers of Tri Karya quite vividly. We met them under the lean-to of a ramshackle little roadside shop a few miles past Bedugul. The rain was pouring down outside and I watched as Santosa made the customary small talk that precedes any “business meeting” in Bali. With some ceremony, they handed over a small plastic bag containing the most motley assortment of green beans I’ve ever seen. With my best poker face I said I would take it back to Australia for further assessment.
Well, it feels like last day of school camp, a mixture of excitement and hint of sadness as everyone starts to realize that our amazing trip is drawing to an end. The team scatters to tie up some unfinished business. Some head to Tri Karya for their first look at the nursery and a chance to experience the amazing location.
Today was one of those days when I need to pinch myself to remember I’m actually at work! Deano had joined the team and we headed up to Ulian Murni to check on our preparation experiments and make sure everything was going to plan. The washed sample was still in need of some more fermentation time so we left it in the capable hands of Made Sukerta to finish later in the day. With everything squared away we set off for Kerta Waringin for a cupping with the local farmers and some representatives from Tri Karya where we had built the nursery earlier in the trip.
Wow, its been a big couple of days! We ventured to Seminyak to hang out at Sea Circus for a low key barista jam. As usual the barista crew couldn’t keep themselves away from the gleaming synesso and were soon side by side with the local baristas sending out the orders.
Wow, what a day! The good captain managed a solid 1.5 hours sleep after a debauched Kuta run with Dan and Jamie. Despite looking decidedly shakey at breakfast he managed to drag his weary body into the van with the rest of the crew. We met our friend Made Sukerta and wife Ketut a little further down the road and fell into a three car convoy en route to Bedugul.
Little proud today, the nursery really starts to take shape. There’s nothing these guys can’t do with some bamboo and a machete! Everyone’s chipping in, the location is majestic and the vibe is great. Thank you Bali!
It’s lay day today in Ubud and our intrepid group have scattered to get massages, do some yoga and generally chill out. Some of the younger crew have headed to the coast to chase some sun and surf.
The day started out well enough, the sun was shining, captain coffee was at his entertaining best, Sunday whipped up a tasty omelette for breakfast and we were all ready for our first day at origin.
The 2011 harvest trip is officially underway! The WA contingent were first to arrive and our new favourite “saffa”, Charles Stewart was quickly anointed “coffee captain” and proceeded to smash out some Clever brews to an appreciative and dangerously under caffeinated crew!
My first contact with the Sea Circus crew was a quick email with the message ?to ring Charlie about a cafe in Bali.? The mention of Bali quickly piqued my interest, and I jumped on the phone. Expecting a male voice on the end of the line, I was a little surprised when Charlie actually turned out to be Charlotte!