26 March 2012

GRIDLOCK COFFEE - roaster profile

- roaster profile

Meet Con from Gridlock Coffee. Con is 'a coffee guy'. He bought into his first cafe at only 18 years old with his twin brother Peter, older brother Jim and their Mum.

A desire to seek 'something better' has always been his driving force.

That first cafe - Cambridge Cafe in Collingwood - was the beginning of Con's coffee journey. The cafe had no espresso machine and the norm at the time was to heat up some milk and add instant coffee and sugar. Con and his family immediately started researching into espresso machines and coffee bean suppliers. That was 1988.

Many years (and a few cafes) later Con started to notice something new and different coming out of America: latte art. He signed on to a course, persisted, found himself on the Barista Championships circuit. Con did well on the circuits, winning several titles and finding himself rubbing shoulders with world class coffee suppliers and roasters. This exposure drew him into the world of coffee roasting. Initially for his own use in competitions, then for use in the cafe. Customers and contacts took an interest and so from here Gridlock has become a coffee retailer and supplier to other cafes.

Con says he immediately fell in love with the roasting process.
The aroma was the first of cupids arrows. He loves also the inexhaustibility of the craft. Every bean is different according to its origin. The altitude, growing region, harvesting methods, processing methods and age of the beans all have an affect. Con insists that with roasting there is no one-rule-suits-all. Constant experimentation is required.

In roasting Con is trying to hit 'the sweet spot' in every batch. "Roasting is about achieving balance. Bringing out balanced acidity, sweetness and bitterness. Every bean is different"

Gridlock has attracted many fans and much media interest. As a business Con says they almost hold back from getting too caught up in this. They want to remain 'boutique'. There are plans to relocate the roaster (currently housed in the back of the family run cafe 65 Degrees on Exhibition St) to a warehouse which will allow even more time and space to perfect every roast. "We are happy to grow slowly and steadily. We are in a good place right now and we want to remain a small batch roaster."

309 Exhibition St
Melbourne 3000

See Photos of 65 Degrees cafes on MELBOURNE CAFES PHOTO BLOG

words and photos Rebecca Hughes www.rhphoto.com.au

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