And if you choose to have a cup of coffee here, can I tell you more about the roasted beans that your coffee will be made from?
A few months ago, we had a lovely couple arrive for a stay in our Tiny House. They asked if they could join in our Working Farm Tour, and headed out with Rob and the boys while I prepared their meal.
Ash (the husband) and Rob got talking about the landscape, the wildlife and the enjoyment of working with your children in a family business.
It turned out that Ash and Shiroma have a Coffee Roasting company that their children are also involved in.
I heard snippets of the conversation and was intrigued. I’d LOVE to have my children happy to work with me and making their own careers alongside mine.
Ash was kind enough to spend a few hours talking to me about how they work, and he had some AMAZING ideas for our Farm Shop that Rob and I are dying to implement. We’re working on it!
But in the meantime, I sampled some of his coffee beans. And Oh My Goodness, I fell in love with Perky Jo, with toffee, caramel, hazelnut and pineapple notes in the aroma and flavour. It’s a blend of 2 roasts – with beans from Cerrado (a vast ecoregion of tropical savanna in eastern Brazil) and from New Guinea’s Highlands Area. Perky Jo won Bronze at the Australian International Coffee Awards in 2014.
As I was sipping away, I got to hear more of Ash’s story. I loved the way he told it. Just a gentle, flowing tale of growing up on his grandfather’s coffee plantation in Gampola, Sri Lanka. Picking the coffee cherries with his cousins, eating the cherries and handing the beans (seeds) to his aunt, who roasted them in a pan over a fire. And he fell in love with cooking and hospitality.
Coffee’s in his blood, but he knew from the age of 9 that he wanted to be a chef, and after finishing his training he travelled the world working in high-end restaurants and hotels. He settled with his wife in Melbourne. He explained to me that the water in Melbourne is the very best in the world (I heard Bruce Pascoe say the same to Zac Effron in “Down Under” as well). I think it’s to do with the hardness level. Ash said that even in Italy – renowned for making coffee so famous – they have to import bottled water to make their coffee taste good.
He was happy I was using filtered rain water to make our coffees.
He opened his own café in Melbourne with his wife, Shiroma, and his children worked with him as they went through uni. He opened a Coffee Roasting house next door to the Café, and in the covid lockdown, he was able to close down the Café and immerse himself in roasting coffee.
Ash has moved up here to work with the Space Kitchen in ACT, and his wife, Shiroma, is enjoying the change of pace here to write her third book.