If you read the title of this month’s review a little too quickly you may think I’ve moved to a desert island and resorted to drinking Nescafé Blend 43. Funnily enough instant coffee is exactly what Greg Liney, owner and roaster of Chum Creek Coffee used to drink a long time ago before he launched his brand and Blend 443 which is his street address.
After running a pottery studio for 15 years and moving to viticulture following an injury, Greg spent the next 20 years making wine until the vineyard he was leasing was severely burnt in the 2009 bushfires. During this time his interest in coffee grew and Greg started home roasting. The fruit he was producing at the vineyard was contracted to Giant Steps/Innocent Bystander in Healesville and when they purchased a large roaster in 2011, he was asked to develop their house blend and start roasting for them. Realising that he had incurred too many losses with the vineyard due to the fires, a year later Greg decided to go out on his own and set up Chum Creek Coffee and create a flagship blend with an emphasis on quality and service.
Blend 443 is comprised of ethically sourced beans from Brazil (Fazenda Santo Antonio), El Salvador (Finca El Carmen), India (Thalanar Estate, Elephant Hills) and Rwanda (Nyungwe Washing Station), with all the coffee direct traded and specialty grade. Often when you come across beans like these, they are roasted lightly in order to bring out the fruitier characteristics, however Greg realised very quickly that especially around the Yarra Valley area it would be difficult to sell and that the coffee needed to be roasted medium to dark in order to bring out the earthier flavour profiles. It was this crowd pleasing blend that caught the attention of the team from Four Pillars when they opened their beautiful new distillery in Healesville in 2015. With a focus on very high quality gin which is now award winning and internationally recognised, when choosing the coffee it was important for them to support a local roaster who also had a passion for creating a superior product.
Other than the 443, Greg has a selection of rotating single origins and also has another blend called 3777 which is only available on Saturdays when he pops up at the Healesville Organic Farmers Market from 8am – 1pm. It is also worth noting that Chum Creek Coffee is a financial supporter of Coffee Kids and also Faircrack.org which donates money for supplies and facilities on the ground level in coffee growing communities. Other than the market and the suppliers listed below you can also grab Greg’s coffee by mail order via email or phone.
This is one cup you’ll have to travel out of the city for but totally worth it, especially if you come home with a bottle or two of awesome gin –
Four Pillars Distillery – 2A Old Lilydale Rd Healesville
Cherry Tree Cafe – 246 Maroondah Hwy Healesville
Round Bird Can’t Fly – 170 Main St Lilydale
Little Joe – 3416 Warburton Hwy Warburton
The Hicksborough General Store & Cafe – Bass Highway Wonthaggi North
Seville Estate Winery – 65 Linwood Rd Seville
The Bearded Bean (mobile coffee cart available for hire) Seth 0430 077 387