For those of you who have been following my little coffee feature for the nearly two years I have been writing, you would know that I have a strong affinity with a slightly darker roast, more Italian in style, usually Brazil driven. That being said I enjoying trying lots of different coffees and love being surprised by the unexpected. This brings me to naturally processed beans from Ethiopia where the bean itself is dried with the intact fruit, resulting in a brighter taste and whole lot of zing. Usually best to drink black, for someone like me who enjoys a touch of milk, I tend to stay away from coffee like this. But what if there was a blend, distinctly fruit driven by a natural Ardi from the Sidama region of Ethiopia and combined with a washed bean from Veracruz in Mexico giving it a sweet rich flavour? Enter Tightrope, one of four blends from Five Senses Coffee maintaining a fine balance like the most elegant circus performer on the high wire, working equally well as an espresso or with milk. As with the other coffees they offer, it’s less about actual roasting style and more about being true to the origin of the beans and variety in order to create a sensory experience in the cup for maximum enjoyment.
Started 16 years ago by Dean Gallagher who was a school principal in Papua New Guinea, Five Senses was a career change based on a love of specialty coffee, from a man who wanted to share his passion with cafe owners and create a workplace where the staff were excited to come each day. Starting in his hometown of Perth, the business expanded here to Melbourne, roasting in both cities, then opening Barista Academies in each one, plus the latest in Sydney to bring people together not only for training but also to share knowledge about what is happening in the world of coffee, especially in the countries and communities where it is grown. It’s not just about supporting the cafes and baristas who use their coffee but also inviting others to participate and learn.
One person already initiated into the world of Five Senses is Adam Nicholl who owns Astroluxe with his sister Tanya Billard and her husband Stu, using the coffee during his five years at Pillar of Salt in Richmond. Opening their new cafe in Bentleigh East only six months ago it was a no brainer to maintain the relationship with the roaster, choosing Tightrope because of its ability to be enjoyed by everyone regardless of how they drink their coffee. Also according to Adam, in spite of the continual weather changes in Melbourne, it produces freakishly consistent results even with multiple baristas behind their Synesso Hydra machine, chosen not only for build quality but also because of its ability to extract the softness and various flavour profiles from the beans. Serving up some great food to go with the coffee, the three owners have extensive hospitality experience behind them in both cafes and bars and have created a warm and inviting space designed by Robson and Rak architects in what used to be an old bank. Their aim was to offer creative seasonal food and bring an inner city vibe to a suburban area so locals had somewhere great to go without having to travel across town, however word has spread and Astroluxe is fast becoming a destination cafe, especially on the weekends.
If you haven’t walked the Tightrope before and want to sample a coffee that indulges all your senses, you’ll find the experience available these cafes, otherwise pop onto their website and grab a bag for home.