As I walk into Caffeine Kings for the Gold Coast Speciality Coffee Social, there is a buzz of excitement rippling through the impressive crowd of caffeine addicts. The intoxicating scent of coffee permeates the air. As I am handed a complimentary beer, I know I’m in for a great afternoon.
The event is the brain child of Sinisa Misic, aka Skinny from Caffeine Kings, and Timothy Sweet from Base Espresso who were jamming one night and came up with the idea over a couple of beers.
“The Gold Coast scene has come so far, we really want to share what we are all so passionate about.” Tim informs me in an animated conversation about all things coffee.
Skinny loves discussing specialty coffee or the 3rd wave of coffee culture, which he informs me is all about caring and understanding all facets of the coffee journey from the seed, the soil, the altitude where it’s grown, the picking, processing, transporting, grading and roasting of the beans before it is given over lovingly to an able barista to produce an outstanding cup of coffee.
Mark Leo from Uncle Joe’s Coffee, who recently won the Compak Golden Bean Roasters Competition for the second year in a row, is helming the coffee cupping, the first event of the afternoon. Discussing the different processes involved in taking the beans from the farm to the cup, touching on roasting techniques and washes, Mark informs the eager crowd what they should be looking for. Those new to the practice eagerly follow the connoisseurs by deeply inhaling the beans, both in ground form and brewed, and then slurping the brewed coffee off a spoon enabling it to hit the back of the tongue and reveal all its secrets. Amongst the cacophony of slurping noises, many conversations are struck up between strangers and friends about the different aromas, tastes and characters of each of the unknown coffees.
Out the back of the café there are tables set up to cater for the crowd and for those indulging in a snack from the Cosmos Burger truck. I decide upon the “Home away from home” burger with some crispy “Saturn rings”. Made from 100% beef patty, cheese, bacon, lettuce, sautéed mushrooms, caramelised onions and homemade truffled mayo this is hugely delicious feed that I partake in while I observe the live painting being performed by artist Gillian Hewitt-Stubbs who is using coffee as the medium whilst her adorable dog Bella looks on. The picture is not only beautiful, but smells delicious! Gillian kindly donated a few of her works for the charity auction benefitting Childs Vision that occurs later in the evening to much success.
Displaying and demonstrating some alternative brewing methods available Skinny and Tim discuss the differences between siphon brewing, V60 pour over and conventional machine made coffee whilst offering up samples to the happy punters. Tim also offers around a special cold drip coffee, the result of a project he started eight years ago using beans grown on Tamborine Mountain to showcase that good coffee could be grown at low altitude.
As the evening draws to a close it’s clear that the best baristas of the GC are out for the event, showing off their skills in the frenetic latte art smackdown emceed by Jacob King of Raw Espresso.
Sure I didn’t get much sleep that night due to all the caffeine, but it was definitely worth it! Here’s hoping for more coffee socials in the future.