Recently, I’ve had this overwhelming want and need to get involved with and give back to the community. In searching out these opportunities, what I’ve stumbled upon is the opportunity to reconnect with and accept more support from my friends and family than I have since making the move to Melbourne nearly 4 years ago.
I put a lot of effort into fostering a new support system when I moved here and I never would have imagined how valuable that would be looking back on it now. This reflection provokes a strong sense of gratitude to everyone who has helped me along the way.
After 3 years and 8 months, and with a heavy heart, I made the decision to leave my Padre Coffee family and shift my dedication, energy and passion (and as much of my time as humanly possible) into making Sow Coffee Project a sustainable project: a living, thriving people-focused endeavour.
This marks a new beginning for Sow, and with that, an overwhelming array of possibilities await: opportunities to learn, grow, and share everything that coffee touches. I can’t wait to see how we grow, what shape the journey takes and where we’ll end up. What I do know is that there will always be amazing people and good coffee to keep us grounded.
Locale Coffee Roasters and Children’s Ground
For Sow’s coffee offering this past month, we partnered with the amazing team at Locale Coffee Roasters, based in Abbotsford, Melbourne. Knowing some of the crew at Locale made reaching out and starting the conversation easy. I’ve known Melbourne coffee legend Jules for a while now; Jules is the relationship manager for Victoria at Locale and also runs the very popular Brew Methods account on Instagram (@brewmethods). I first reached out to Jules and he put me through to Josh and Kristin Jackson, the dynamic husband-and-wife duo who manage operations for Locale.
Over a cup of coffee, I got to learn more about the ethos around one of their blends, the Eco-Warrior. Through this coffee blend, Locale raises funds for a rotating roster of community charities. Currently, they’re partnering with Children’s Ground: a grassroots organisation led by First Nations people, who are working towards a brighter future for the next generation.
What makes Children’s Ground different is its community-led approach. From infants to Elders, they work collaboratively with entire communities who’ve experienced extreme injustice, inequity and disadvantage. They envision a world where all children and families live with dignity and are free from economic poverty. This is a vision we wholeheartedly believe in too.
Learning about this, I was eager to get Sow involved and contribute similarly. Even though we’re a small online store, donating a dollar or two per bag can make a difference if we’re all in support and helping where and when we can. So in showcasing two stunning coffees from Locale’s menu: a Bolivian coffee roasted for espresso and a Burundian coffee roasted for filter, we’re also contributing to something really meaningful. We’ll be donating $2 from every 250g bag sold to this wonderful organisation.
Brunswick West Workshop
Andrew McDonald runs the Brunswick West Workshop, a co-working space for hands-on creatives working on anything from sewing the next designer outfit, to large scale paintings and beautiful handmade ceramics. The Workshop embodies Andrew’s own passion for helping great people follow their dreams and make things happen. And although the space might appear to be quiet from an outside perspective, on the inside it’s positively buzzing with action.
I met Andrew two years ago, as a customer of his Healthy Fresh Food Boxes business, run out of his shopfront at the Brunswick West Workshop. Every week we would purchase one of these locally grown fruit and vegetable boxes, with boutique pantry items hidden below a lush array of in-season colour. Sometimes, one of these grocery items would be a bag of coffee from local Brunswick roasters Padre Coffee or Wood and Co.
Andrew, his partner Minna and I have since become friends and when he heard about the Locale X Sow X Children’s Ground collaboration, they were keen to get involved. We happily organised 80 bags of Locale’s Eco Warrior blend to head out in the weekly boxes, donating an additional $1 from each bag. We were thrilled to have 80 new customers to introduce this community initiative to, and it was just the beginning.
This same support from our community and friends like Tanaka Coffee Melbourne have just kept the momentum going and with a week left, we’re nearing the end of this partnership.
Sow Coffee Project — Pedro Rodrigues, Bolivia Aeropress Recipe
Sweet Red Apple, Brown Sugar, Nougat with a Milk Chocolate finish.
With the seasons in change and moving into the cooler months, my coffee preferences have been shifting too. To draw a wine parallel, the complex fruit-driven natural wines have been well and truly benched as Shiraz takes the centre stage. This coffee is totally ‘shirazzy’ and I’m loving it as an espresso, but also brewed through the Aeropress and the Moccamaster.
An amazing Bolivian coffee from Pedro Rodriguez and Agricafe, this 100% Caturra lot comes from Kusillo: a small farm owned by Pedro Rodriguez and his family, located in a lush mountain valley around 10kms outside of the town of Caranavi. The coffee is carefully picked and processed on the same day at the family’s Buena Vista mill.
Pedro Rodriguez has worked tirelessly to expand the market for Bolivian specialty coffee, helping hundreds of local farmers along the way. We’re proud to not only feature one of his beautiful coffees but also use it to give back to the local community here in Australia.
It features a brown sugar fragrance through to aroma: always a good sign! It reminds me of an apple loaf with a heavy brown sugar crumb and my mouth waters even though I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. This red apple flavour contributes to the sweetness and brings a fresh apple acidity to the cup as well. Now the flavour that makes this coffee so damn good - that nougat! It’s present from start to finish and it’s morish; combine that with rich chocolate in the cup, you might as well be chomping down on a chocolate-coated nougat bar. These flavours resonate so cleanly and it’s just so damn tasty.
So, you’ve got a bag or you’re about to get this delicious drop and you’re keen to get started? I created this easy recipe on an Aeropress, using a Fellow Stagg kettle for temperature control and an Acaia Pearl scale to help achieve a consistent coffee dose and target brew time.
1 Cup Aeropress Recipe
Dose – 14g
Yield – 200g
Time – 2:10 min
Ratio - 1:14.2
Temp - 98 degrees
Grind: 30 clicks on a Comandante
Bloom - 30g, 30 seconds
As much as I know you’d like to jump straight in, I would recommend aging the coffee for a minimum of 7 days. After this 7 day mark the coffee is at its sweetest. Experience that nougat flavour as it really comes to life through a sweet syrupy body - delicious!
Place two filter papers in the cap of the Aeropress and rinse thoroughly with hot water. This removes any papery taste that comes from using filter papers, if you’re using a reusable filter you’re good to rock and roll without rinsing the filter.
Secure your cap to your Aeropress chamber and place it on top of your favourite mug or server.
Add the ground coffee to your brew chamber, giving it a gentle shake to level the grounds and you’re ready to start brewing.
Start your timer, then pour 30 grams of water onto your bed of coffee, ensuring all the dry grounds are completely saturated. You can achieve this by either spinning the saturated grounds in a circular motion or using a bamboo paddle to achieve the same effect.
Be careful not to over agitate; remember we only want to saturate the dry coffee. This part of the process is called the "bloom" and it prepares your coffee for the rest of the brewing process.
In and circular motion, pour 170g of water gradually until you reach 200 grams indicated on your scale. Using a bamboo paddle or spoon, gently paddle back and forth and side to side, ensuring the crust that forms at the top of the chamber has been agitated well.
The coffee grinds that form at the top of the chamber can be seen cascading down. Not only is this beautiful, but it allows more of the coffee grinds to be submerged in the brew slurry, aiding in a more even extraction.
Add the plunger part of the Aeropress to the brew chamber by slightly inserting it down, only a few millimetres.
This will reduce the drip from the Aeropress into your cup or server, allowing more time for the coffee to extract in the suspended pool of coffee.
Plunge the coffee all the way down, stopping when you hear a hissing sound. We’re aiming to do this relatively quickly; it should only take 10 seconds.
Job done! Smell the brown sugar crumb and taste the chocolate-coated nougat bar.
Swirl it, smell it, pour it, enjoy it! 👌🏽
If you find your coffee tasting noticeably over-extracted, it’s a good indication that your grind size is too fine, try adjusting your grinder to a slightly coarser setting. If your extraction is weak and under-extracted, it’s a good indication your grind size is too coarse. Try adjusting your grinder to a slightly finer setting.
Shred your filter paper and pop your used coffee grounds in the worm farm or compost bin. Every small action towards sustainability counts!
I’m proud that we’re continuing to navigate towards supporting those in our community and it’s something that I hold dear to my core. So, expect to see more of it, and help us get better at it. Thanks to the amazing team at Locale Coffee Roasters, Andrew and Minna from the Brunswick West Workshop, Ruby and Nez from Tanaka and our online customers for the support. I can’t wait to share the final report on how much we’re donating to Children’s Ground.
Visit the Children’s Ground website to learn more or show your support with a donation. Thanks again, everyone!