What gave you the idea to start Open Coffee?
The idea was born in late 2008 whilst having a long conversation with a family friend in his 70s who had roasted coffee his whole life. He wanted to know, from a younger person’s viewpoint, where the coffee industry was heading.
The conversation lasted for most of the day as we did a citywide coffee crawl and eventually led to me writing the key points down, a sort of manifesto:
- Many baristas dream of becoming roasters. In coffee this seems to be like the law of gravity.
- Coffee industry people aren’t generally in it for the money but they still need a good income to survive.
- The coffee industry can be anything we imagine it to be.
Several pages were written and as I put that conversation onto paper a number of questions arose.
- Where could baristas go to learn to roast? An educational space is needed.
- How do we improve coffee industry wages? Skill acquisition leads to increased remuneration.
- How do we innovate? A collaboration of passionate and skilled coffee people…
As I answered those questions the idea of an “Open Coffee” began to dawn on me.
Have you always been in the coffee game? If not, how did you enter it?
Coffee found me. It had always been a side gig, along with other hospitality work to provide income whilst I was at school, university studying law, and then supporting my wife and I as we pursued our sporting dreams. I didn’t know I was participating in the coffee game but somehow all that casual work was my entrance to the big league.
When I retired from sport, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. Fortunately, the “Coffee Gods” intervened and set me on the coffee path and I’ve never looked back.
Can you explain what a collective roastery is and what makes it special/important?
A collective roastery is a shared roasting facility. It’s a mid-sized commercial roastery with all the roasting, packaging and cupping equipment you would expect to see. The big difference is that anyone can become a member and use the equipment. This means that anyone can learn to roast, start their own brand of coffee and run or expand their own business. A collective roastery provides the opportunity to learn, the industry contacts to assist along the journey, and the expertise and support to help bring your vision to fruition.
The Open Coffee collective roastery has an important role to play in the future of the coffee industry.
Figure. The system which Dan and Open Coffee are trying to create.
Until … hopefully no one is buying imported commercial coffee from a supermarket. Ahh we’re allowed to dream ...!
On the surface, coffee is a simple and tasty drink (it's just beans and water ... right!?). However, as the supply chain becomes more transparent and the challenges more obvious - what is a simple thing a coffee drinker can do to help?
Buy local. It’s that simple.
Support your local coffee roaster by buying their coffee. By doing so you are putting your money back into the community by supporting local jobs, local skill acquisition and improving the vibrancy & diversity of your local community.
Local roasters generally buy good quality green beans, are willing to pay more for those beans and show interest in the origin of those beans. This all adds up to providing the best opportunity to support farmers and the supply chain with the added benefit of a better tasting cup of coffee for you.
By the way, thanks for your support of this local roaster.
To get your paws on more of their amazing coffee, visit their Instagram @opencoffeebrisbane or check out their website store