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What’s Sumatra with you? Mecca & Hello Coffee

While Australia is known on international terrain for its great coffee culture with a myriad of quality outlets, in its nascent stage they were few roasters that endeavours to strive for transparency and fair trading as much as Mecca Coffee did, travelling wide and far to both resolve logistical obstacles as well as do better for our planet while appreciating and honouring the efforts of the producers.

Given the aforementioned, perceiving itself as a piece of the mosaic that makes the fabric of the coffee loving community, valuing an ethical approach, sustainability and leveraging its values of authenticity, Mecca became quickly a pioneering roaster, supplying coffee to hundreds of boutique cafés up and down the east coast, including its own high-ceilinged flagship outlet, where one can stack up on Mecca’s curated range of java beans or alternatively enjoy an expertly brewed cup with seasonal house blends, espresso blends, and coffees sourced from Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Rwanda, and Ethiopia.

Apart from Mecca’s milk chocolatey core House blend, which I have grown to love as the foundation for Flat Whites, include the Maria Olimpia variant from Honduras, which with its bright and juicy blood orange and sugarcane accents lends itself particularly well to be enjoyed as a straight up espresso due its nuances not needing to rely on any interference of sugar or milk.

Same goes for Mecca’s maple syrupy Los Rosales and José Hernán Salazar roasts: Sourced from Colombia, especially the latter with its sweetly complex melange of well calibrated bergamot and papaya florals is one of the most delicately balanced Pink Bourbon variants I have had the fortune to taste and a testament to how Mecca channels its alchemy when it comes to the curation of its beans.

Hello Coffee

Based in an area where the espresso heritage holds strong, i.e. the Australian state of Victoria, and nestled in Apollo Bay at the foot of the green hills of the Otways, the community-based specialty roasters of artisan coffees known as Hello Coffee only recently popped up on my radar.

Having started out with an intrinsic love for quality coffee and the willingness to experiment, the founders originally tracked down an old coffee roaster to practise and what started out in a shed has quickly evolved to become a veritable third place for the local community and the HQ from which Hello Coffee roasts speciality grade beans from mainly Central America, Africa but also areas that are not necessarily known for its coffee bean production, i.e. terra australis.

Ranging from light-fruity roasts for filter lovers on one end of the spectrum to darker roasts, e.g. their excellent cherry and dark chocolate flavoured, vibrant Dark Seas roast, for milk-based drinkers, Hello Coffee offers a wide variety of nuances with its expressions, with the common denominator being the use of quality beans.

My absolute favourite of the Hello Coffee range, apart from their silky smooth The High Road roast with blueberries dancing against a backdrop of chocolatey highlights, is their Whisky Aged Single Origin variant: Sourced from Columbia and carrying the resulting full-bodied characteristics of its origin, the beans have been aged in oak whisky barrels for four weeks, resulting in a tour de force of fortified wine and preserved fruit flavours.

I can only hope that the fine people behind Hello Coffee harbour a weak spot for Islay whiskies and consider a collaboration with whisky distilleries of the smoky and peaty variant to source barrels from.


images from company websites

T • May 10, 2022

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