It’s a Monday morning and Sprolo Coffee is pumping. Baristas are hard at work to deliver coffee to a long line of early morning commuters on South Perth’s busy Canning Highway, while a bunch of friendly waiters and kitchen hands serve up a selection of breakfast foods. It’d be easy to settle into the warm and energetic rhythm of Sprolo, but I’m not here to enjoy a good breakfast – I’m here to catch the big guns. With a quick wave to the team, I slip out the backdoor and down the stairs to Blacklist, the roasting warehouse and power behind Sprolo Coffee’s premium cup of coffee.
Like most roasting zone’s – Blacklist is a nothing place from the outside. An ex- ceramic warehouse, you’d be mistaken for thinking the place is a simple garage – but a peek inside reveals a far more enticing story. A long table is setup for the Blacklist Coffee School, lined with coffee machines and a series of coffee training supplies, it’s organized and comfortable – but the roasting floor tells another tale.
The brainchild of Engineer Darren Woon and business partner Gabriel Tan - what started as a micro-roastery, in the back of Sprolo Coffee, has quickly expanded internationally. Bags of Blacklists premium specialty coffee are packaged and piled, ready for distribution in Western Australia, Malaysia and the Maldives.
It’s fairly common for roasters to operate in organized chaos and Blacklist is no exception. Award-winning barista Gabe is the mind behind the brew here, and with several wins, 3 top placements and a Q Grading (a qualification which allows him to judge and grade coffee on an international level) it’s very obvious that he works well under pressure.
The warehouse is a coffee-nerds Neverland, decorated with machines, beans and all the technical bells and whistles that make this place hum – there’s a small office in the corner where the rest of Blacklists dedicated team are taking care of orders and bookings, papers piled high – but one thing is clear - Blacklist is an institution that thrives in the rich smell of the premium coffee it roasts.
The blend we’re here for, though – is the cream of the crop. The Honduras Finca Portilo is a favourite of both Darren and Gabe – and it seems to be it’s all encompassing properties that appease the masses. Born in the Santa Barbara region of Honduras, it’s farmed by coffee genius Bertillo Reyes and supplied by barista champion Sasa Sestic.
Despite it’s ‘all-encompassing’ label – the Honduras is no cop-out. Achieving great things in milk, black or filter – its tasting notes are pretty special. With wild berries, chocolate, bergamot and watermelon candy listed as the beans top tastes – the blend is an excellent example of what specialty coffee should taste like. No bullshit, just great coffee.
Blacklist is on a mission to make good coffee accessible to the general public – and it’s succeeding internationally. With three of their own cafes across Perth serving up the Blacklist blends and plans to hold public coffee events throughout the year – the future of Blacklist coffee looks to be hot- just like good coffee should be.
Catch Blacklist Coffee's 'Finca Portillo' single origin from Honduras in this month's Coffee Scout box.