Richard Mueller drinks coffee

Coffee roaster: "Italians have no idea about coffee"

When Simon Jaramillo hears "Italian coffee", he gets a little angry. "Do beans grow in Italy?", He then asks, "Italians have no idea about coffee, they drink any filth that is completely burnt and black. The only thing they can really do is build coffee machines." Jaramillo was born in Colombia and is the son of a fourth generation coffee farmer dynasty. Three years ago he realized his dream and opened his own coffee house, roastery and, for experiments, a coffee laboratory - in Sydney. "Australia," he says, "currently has probably the most exciting coffee culture in the world."

In his shop, the "Reformatory Caffeine Lab", the best coffee - a filter coffee - costs 20 dollars (approx. 14 euros) per cup, or better per cognac drink. It is served in one so that the drinker can better enjoy its smell. Jaramillo takes twelve grams of freshly ground coffee and pours it by hand with hot water at 92 degrees: a total of 220 milliliters, the entire extraction must not take longer than 70 seconds. The coffee is only served when it has cooled down to 50 degrees - filter coffee only shows its full taste potential when it is cool.

Like good wine

Jaramillo is by no means alone in Sydney with his coffee fanaticism. Australian coffee culture has become, to put it mildly, very professional in recent years. Sydney and Melbourne have perhaps the highest density of third wave coffee shops in the world, brew bars that have more in common with specialist wine shops than with Starbucks. The coffees are differentiated here according to regions of origin and plantations, according to the type of drying and roasting. Excellent espressi and milk coffees are also served here, but the crown of coffee culture is the black filter coffee, because this type of preparation is the best way to bring out the many different aromas of the bean.

If you order a coffee after lunch in Sydney or Melbourne, you will often be served a small menu that describes exactly where the coffee was grown, how it was processed and whether it tastes more like blueberries or "tea and flower notes". Coffee cards in the brew bars advertise sun-dried Colombians and very lightly roasted Kenyans, they recommend hand-poured filter coffee or "cold drips", a method in which cold water drips onto coffee powder for up to 24 hours and slowly extracts the flavors. And every more ambitious take-away shop has a custom-made La Marzocco machine for the price of a not-so-small new car.

There are currently ninety coffee roasters in Sydney alone, and even in hinterland cities you can always find a village roaster. The good guys get amazing things out of their beans: their coffee often tastes complex and complex like good wine. Many of the roasters regularly fly to the coffee-growing countries to buy their beans locally and to ensure that they are only getting the very highest quality. At home they regularly hold public "cupings", where those interested can blindly taste their new roasts and exchange ideas about body, length and acidity.

Great food

Some roasters have employees who check whether coffee houses are worth having their beans supplied to. In the past few months, only one out of 20 applicants has got his coffee, says Reece Cooper, roaster at Reuben Hills, a Sydney inner-city coffee house that also roasts. "Imagine you're a whiskey distiller who puts 20 years of hard work into your drink and then someone buys it to make whiskey-cola," says Cooper. "We fly to Ethiopia, laboriously look for the best beans and experiment with the perfect roast for a long time. Then we don't want someone to ruin all the work by poorly brewing the coffee."

Some time ago the "New York Times" named the "Australian coffee house" its own culinary genre in an article because it offers something that coffee houses in other current centers of coffee culture such as Copenhagen, New York or San Francisco usually do not have: excellent Eat.

If you want to eat really good and comparatively cheap in Sydney or Melbourne, you are often better off in coffee houses than in classic restaurants. Sure, the avocado toast, the Australian equivalent of the Sacher sausages, is not missing on any menu. In addition, there is usually something refreshingly creative. Reuben Hills, for example, serves a constantly changing selection of dishes from the countries from which the beans come: Chilean beef stew in a clay pot with home-fermented chilies or home-made chilaquiles with wonderfully hot and sour fresh green salsa.

In Cornersmith, a coffee house in Sydney's green Marrickville district, neighbors can swap their excess harvest from their own garden for coffee, and the restaurant then turns them into creative delicacies such as sourdough toast with pumpkin and miso spread and chickpeas or a cabbage and cabbage salad with homemade Goat yogurt.

Nobody knows exactly where the great enthusiasm for coffee in Australia came from. "Perhaps it's because wine is still seen as a job for old men and as uncool," says Cooper. "The young people made their own thing with coffee. And we were able to build something completely new because it there was simply no coffee culture at all. " For Jaramillo, it's also a matter of money: "We simply pay the best prices for the beans," he says, "that's why many retailers come to us first and offer the best goods."

Chic varieties

There is a competition among the roasters to see who can get the best beans - or those who are particularly chic. "About a few years ago, everyone wanted beans that were still dried in the fruit," says roaster Cooper. "That gives the coffee a certain sweetness. Today it is considered a bit vulgar." Particularly in demand at the moment: so-called geisha coffee, a variety that originated in Ethiopia and came to Latin America in the 1960s. The variety has long been underestimated and only grown in small quantities to mix with other beans. Then the coffee farmers discovered that geisha beans taste great on their own and can produce a very unusual complexity of aromas. Good harvests are now being traded for hundreds of dollars per kilo.

Many top beans are sold to the highest bidder at auctions, and some special harvests can only be obtained through good relationships. The beans for Jaramillo's $ 20 coffee come from US specialty coffee retailer Ninety Plus. Their Ethiopia boss, Semeon Abay, selected the best beans from a total of 14 Ethiopian plantains for this particular blend. Jamarillo bought the entire available amount of this coffee - around 30 kilos for the equivalent of around 800 euros per kilo. He is now roasting them himself in small three-kilo batches in his "coffee laboratory" in the Sydney suburbs.

Is the coffee worth the money? "Everyone has to decide for themselves," says Jaramillo. As soon as he lets the brewed coffee swirl around in the swivel, the scent of the brew fills the whole room, at first it smells and tastes strongly of passion fruit, later blueberries and chocolate are added. Although the liquid is light brown and looks more like tea, it has a body like a full red wine. As the temperature drops, the taste is constantly changing and intensifying. It has nothing to do with Italian espresso. (Tobias Müller, Rondo Feinkost, DER STANDARD, 11/26/2014)

For a coffee

Reformatory Caffeine Lab, 7b / 17-51 Foveaux Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010: the best filter coffee in town
Reuben Hills, 61 Albion Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010: own roastery

Cornersmith, 314 Illawarra Road, Marrickville NSW 2204: Coffee house food on an unprecedented level

Coffee Alchemy, 24 Addison Road, Marrickville NSW 2204: one of the first really good Sydney coffee shops

Oak Room, 305 High Street, Ashburton VIC 3147: Melbourne's best filter coffee
Axil Coffee Rasters O 322 Burwood Road, Hawthorn VIC 3122: All-rounder

Worldwide is a good source of information on good coffee houses, not just in Australia