TAMBORINE MOUNTAIN STORIES give you an insight into many of the local businesses and characters you will find when you Escape to Tamborine Mountain.
TAMBORINE MOUNTAIN COFFEE PLANTATION
I LIKE MY COFFEE – TAMBORINE MOUNTAIN COFFEE PLANTATION
Coffee: it makes the world go round. Everybody likes their coffee their way, and so there’s no shortage of places on Tamborine Mountain you can relax with a good cup of joe. But there’s only one that makes it from scratch— and we do mean from scratch. The Tamborine Mountain Coffee Plantation not only has a delightful café atmosphere, but just around the corner you can actually see the coffee beans being grown and processed in-house, and even take a tour. We spoke to café supervisor Taisha Fabre— with a little input from owner Sam Williams taking time out of his busy day— to get to the bottom of this coffee cup of mystery.
by Kyle Hitchmough
Can you tell me about the history of the establishment?
Sam: About 25 years ago, the coffee plantation was established here. It was home to about 1000 trees. In the 7 years we’ve owned it, our main goal was to win an award called the Golden Bean, which is for the best coffee grown in Australia. It’s the biggest roasting competition in the world and they have a special category for coffee grown in Australia. We’re the current champion! We succeeded early in that, and since then we’ve been trying to keep improving.
What was the original inspiration to go into this business?
Sam: I’d just moved back from America in 2016 and did not know what to do with myself! My dad has been in coffee for decades now. His passion is customer service, coffee shops, cafés, restaurants. He had an employee at the time who talked about this place and that it was for sale, so we came up together and thought ‘This could be something really special!’ Back then it wasn’t used to its full potential, it was a little hobby farm. We looked at it and knew it could be something pretty cool with a little money and passion. And here we are!
Can you describe what’s so unique about what you have here?
Sam: To our knowledge, we’re one of 5 places in the world where you can see where the coffee is grown, processed, roasted and drink it on-site in a café environment. To get to most coffee farms in the world, it’s three hours through the jungle. I went to one in Colombia once in an armored car! We have the ability to show people how coffee is grown.
Taisha: We do tours where you can come in and walk through with a tour guide, do a little tasting. If you’re really interested in coffee, you can come here and do batch brews, tasting boards, and learn more about our coffee and beans.
Do you have a particular specialty or signature style in your coffee?
Taisha: Our bean is our specialty, so you can come in and get a single origin of just our coffee bean, which is a lighter roast, or our house blend. At the moment we have a Colombian and Papua New Guinean coffee bean that we’ve blended in to our house blend, though we do infrequently change it for variety. We sometimes do tastings of the beans that we blend into the house blend, so sometimes we can do a single origin tasting of the Colombian for example, so you can taste that in comparison to our lighter bean.
Are there any flavours you offer that are especially popular?
Taisha: Our house blend is the staple, but our single origin is quite popular. If you are a coffee drinker you can definitely appreciate the flavours in it, and it is quite different to your standard coffee bean, with more of a lighter acidic flavour than that deeper roast that a lot of other coffee beans have. With the beans, you can buy our single origin coffee beans or we also sell the house blend that we’ve got at the moment, different coffee beans or ground coffee. We also supply to a few little cafés, and one of the rainforest retreats up here also use our coffee beans in their rooms!
What goes into the average day here for you?
Taisha: We do get pretty busy in the café, since we can fit 300 people out there, so we have a lot of big groups coming through. At the moment, Thursdays and Saturdays are our tours. We had Eat Local Week and we did brew classes, which we are looking at bringing back for all the people who are interested! Saturday is our roasting day when we come in, roast all the beans, and blend them up ready for the week.
Have you noticed any particular trends in your clientele?
Taisha: We do get a lot of locals! We also get a lot of tour groups from the Gold Coast or Brisbane coming through. People appreciate the atmosphere up here, which I think is quite common around the mountain. We get so many people from young to old, interested in coffee or just starting out… It’s such a big variety, though we definitely have our regulars who come in with their kids and their dogs. It’s cool that we can provide a space for them.
Are you a local to Tamborine Mountain? What’s your opinion on the area and community?
Taisha: I am, yes! I love it. I’ve been up here for about 8 years, and I don’t want to leave. This is where I want to raise my family. I think it’s very rare to find a small tight-knit community like the mountain full of friendly people where everyone knows everyone and everyone’s got your back.
What’s your favourite thing to do on the mountain?
Taisha: There’s quite a few really nice hikes and waterfalls in summer, which is absolutely gorgeous and unmatched anywhere. We’re lucky to be able to get out into nature.
What do you think Tamborine Mountain Coffee Plantation really provides to the area?
Taisha: That’s a good question! I think for the locals, we provide a nice little local café for people to come in and feel welcome. For the tourism side, we provide that unique experience of taking you into our backyard and showing you how we turn a bean on a tree into the coffee that you’re drinking, where you can taste the flavours from the earth and the trees. There’s not many places that do what we do here. People can dive in, ask questions and get really involved. It’s great to see people learning.
What do you enjoy most about doing this?
Taisha: I love how friendly everyone is up here, and I love when people come in and they’re excited about the experience. It’s really cool that it’s more than just a café where you’re having breakfast, you’re actually learning and getting out into nature to experience it.
What’s been your most memorable moment here so far?
Taisha: We’ve had a few cool moments! We’ve had the Firebirds, the Queensland netball team, come in for lunch and do a little team bonding. That was really cool, we did a little tour with them. They were really interested! We’ve had a few moments like that, and been in a few Scenic Rim tourism videos. Every day is a highlight when you love what you do!