Australia isn't usually known as being a pioneer in the world of food, fashion and other trending markets, we often look to our older more 'cooler' siblings, Europe & USA, before we embrace something as our own. However, coffee is an adopted delicacy I think we are now beginning to take the lead in. Not only in quality, but also innovation and social responsibility. Dan, who founded Barrel One Coffee Roasters just under 12 months ago, is one of the young 'coffee champions' leading this charge.
From the moment Dan's boss in his first hospitality job handed him a flyer to enter a barista competition he was hooked, and has been ever since.
"Every chance I had I would be practicing by myself behind the machine. Entering every competition I could."
This passion has now transpired into a full-time business and he's already turning coffee heads on Sydney's Northern Beaches. But he's certainly put in the hard yards that commands this type of response.
You see, Dan has gone to one of the most remote locations on earth to source his coffee beans, and when I say 'gone' he has literally travelled to a little island south of Vanuatu called Tanna Island, where 'coincidently' the most active volcano in the Southern Hemisphere is located.
Dan says that this is perfect for coffee bean growing as the constant ash from the volcano fertilises the coffee plants.
This natural fertiliser also means there is absolutely no need for any additional growing alteration, a term Dan refers to as 'Beyond Organic'.
"We literally just let it grow and that's it".
Another term he mentions catches my ear as well, 'Direct Trade'. He explai
ns that the difference between 'Fair Trade' and 'Direct trade' is that Direct trade reduces the number of hands and miles the coffee has to go through before it hits your local cafe.
"We deal directly with the farmers. So instead of them selling to a mass green bean supplier, we buy directly from them. That way the money goes straight to the farmers and into the local community"
When Dan and I begin talking about the risks associated with starting a business and what keeps him motivated, he simply says
"I love what I do! I know it's a bit cliche, but if you love what you do, you'll never work a day of your life... it doesn't even feel like a risk, because I enjoy what I do and so far that worked out pretty good".
It's clear that this type of attitude and the practices of quality and caring throughout the business will see Barrel One Coffee continue to thrive.