Serving coffee made from her own home-grown beans is a great source of satisfaction for Nashua coffee farmer Michelle Clarke, of New Brighton Farmers Market stall, Bangalow Coffee.
“It is a great balance to be growing the coffee and selling it directly to customers,” Michelle said.
“Most people get a surprise when they find out the coffee they are drinking was grown nearby.
“I still love the positive feedback after someone has really enjoyed their cup.”
Michelle and her husband Andy have been growing coffee at Nashua in the Byron hinterland for the past 18 years, and selling it by the cup or in bags of take-home beans at the farmers markets for more than a decade.
Almost every one of their premium quality Arabica beans produced on their 7000-tree property are sold via the farmers markets
Bangalow Coffee has a reputation for its sweet, chocolatey flavour, which Michelle says has a lot to do with the local climate: “Our region particularly provides the right conditions for coffee growing – the annual rainfall, soils and latitude plus the slow ripening of cherries ensures a low acidity, no bitterness coffee. It is also slightly lower in caffeine, but has an excellent flavour.”
The way the coffee is picked and processed on Michelle and Andy’s farm further enhances its quality and flavour.
“The smaller scale of our farm allows us to hand pick gradually throughout the harvest months and then sun dry the beans over a period of time,” said Michelle.
”Sun drying enhances the flavour of the beans.”
Coffee is also roasted weekly for maximum freshness.
Michelle says the fact there are no pests or diseases that seriously affect coffee in Australia makes it easy to keep the farm free of pesticides and fungicides.
Michelle and Andy are also proud to have a farm that is rainforest-friendly. Their interest in rainforest regeneration and native bush foods encouraged them to surround their coffee plantation with local rainforest species including bush foods like Davidson Plums and Lemon Myrtle. Michelle says they are involved in their local Landcare Group and are continuing to establish more local native rainforest trees around their farm.
• FInd Bangalow Coffee at the New Brighton Farmers Market every Tuesday.