We want to talk about coffee. We love to talk about coffee. Nearly us much as we love to drink it. We aren't coffee geeks, we don't have a burr grinder at home but we do have a posse of baristas around town who know us well.
When we started our business, it was no-brainer to have a gift box that focused on coffee. Because we know we aren't the only ones who love it, right? The thing that made us a little nervous though, was the supply-chain for the coffee beans. Because it didn't really make sense to us to have a gift for coffee lovers that doesn't actually contain coffee. But the beans need to be super fresh, literally just roasted, for us to be happy to sell them to customers. And so we couldn't hold a stock of coffee beans, that just wouldn't work. So we went with a little trepidation to our visit to Pound Coffee Roastery in the back blocks of O'Connor, as to whether we could come up with an arrangement for our gift business that would work.
We were already familiar with the Pound Coffee brand from some of our favourite cafes around town, notably Mary St Bakery, who's Mount Lawley flagship store has Kate's kids' colouring-in hanging in the staff area and the CBD outpost who know Sarah's coffee order at 10 paces.
Meeting Justin and Irene Gardner, the husband and wife team behind the small batch roastery that is Pound, instantly allayed any of our concerns. They would just roast-to-order when we received an order, and deliver to us. Easy peasy! The people we have met since we've been in small business have just blown us away with their awesomeness, and Justin and Irene are right up there on that list.
Justin is an ex-chef, which comes across when he talks to you about sourcing and roasting coffee beans. He treats them like a great chef would treat any excellent produce: keeping it simple and letting the produce shine through. Justin and Irene have close relationships with their growers and are clearly proud of this. They source from a variety of locations, as there are so many amazing beans to choose from that they don't want to limit themselves: Central South America, Africa, India, PNG, Java. Sourcing their Colombian beans is as direct trade as you can get, through Asprounion. The beans come straight from Colombia to Fremantle port with zero middle men!
Justin and Irene have purposely kept their operation small, in order to maintain handmade methods and skills. Yep, they fit in with our "small batch" vision and brand perfectly! Justin individually hand-roasts batches on their two roasters: one is 30kg and the other 15kg roaster is used predominantly for small batch single origins and filter roasts.
Irene has a background in bookbinding where she was taught to line cast and to heat foil press. In that line of work she was using an antique John T Marshall hot foil press, which are as rare as hen's teeth. By chance (after searching for 4 years!) she found one that was not for sale, but somehow convinced the owner to make Pound its new home. Here it is well-loved and used almost every day, and we were lucky enough to see it in action on our visit. We just love the Pound packaging in the simple brown paper bag with the gold hot foil press logo.
After sampling the full range of Pound blends through the espresso machine (and feeling a little "pound-y pound-y" in the chest), we were given some samples to take home and try brewing ourselves. After all, our gift was heading out to people's homes and they would be using a variety of methods to brew their beans: plunger, filter, stove top espresso. We decided to wait until the next day though, having definitely reached maximum caffeination! We put Pound's blends through their paces at home and decided upon the "seasonal blend", which performed more-than-admirably across the brewing methods. In this blend, Justin maintains the same flavour profile but will tweak the percentages according to what fresh crops they get in. A bit like a champagne house making its signature NV champagne!
Justin and Irene started Pound in October in 2012 and having been loving their work ever since. This shines across in every dealing we have with them and certainly in their fantastic coffee. We stock Pound coffee beans in our 'beans+bliss' gift box and you can rest assured, they have just been roasted. We can easily pop in ground coffee too if, like us, you don't have a grinder at home!
Love Kate and Sarah xx