Anne Newberry and Mel Maksic started working at the same coffee shop in Brisbane just two weeks apart and spent two years working there. They befriended a customer, Liam Christian, they clicked and started hanging out. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Anne, Mel and Christian are the owners, roasters, coffee-makers and dishwashers at Journeymen Coffee Roasters, the Gold Coast’s newest addition to its burgeoning coffee scene.
“Liam is our roaster,” Anne tells me. “Mel and I have always just loved making coffee.”
Liam is currently only roasting on Sundays, between other work commitments and the goal is for him to be roasting full-time “once we get the wholesale up and running,” Anne said.
“He started as a home roaster and it just grew into something that needed a space. He went from a little bench top microwave size roaster to a 2kg roaster and now we have a 15kg roaster that has to be fully fitted out by a gasfitter and all the rest,” she said.
“We thought we’d create our own space to see the production happen,” Mel said. “Next stage is to go overseas and see harvest and visit some farms.”
The ladies tell me that they have, of course, been to local farms. “There is coffee in our own backyard,” Anne said. “We’ve been to northern NSW and seen some farms down there but they usually have their own roasters.”
“We’re building our dream life together,” Anne said. “And with Mel. We always talked about putting something together and the timing just came right.”
Mel said sometimes you just fall into these things. “Well, over a long period of time,” she said. “We just really enjoy coffee and conversations really. I could do that for the rest of my life – I’d be happy, just brewing up some coffee.
Their medium term goal is to get their wholesale offering out there with Journeymen coffee available through local cafes and surrounding areas.
“We really want to focus on the product, on the bean itself,” Mel said. “A lot of people have beautiful spaces but the reason why you have good coffee is because it’s been taken good care of from the start – that’s what we really want to educate people about – it starts from the farmer and we’re just the lucky ones that get to drink it every day.”
“It’s a luxury for us – but it’s a way of life for them. We put food on their table and then we put coffee on other people’s table.”
Anne and Mel admit that Marketta was a drawcard in choosing their location. Their roastery and café is located immediately across the road from Marketta on Avalon Parade.
“Zoning wise it was sort of semi-industrial, so we’re not hidden out the back of some industrial estate – we’ve still got the exposure to the main street and traffic coming through from Marketta. So, yeah… we went to Vietnam, saw it online, came back home, viewed it the next day, and said we like it, let’s go for it.”
The trio, who are all around the thirty-mark have taken a punt and two of them are still working other jobs to keep things ticking over while they find their feet as roasters / café owners.
“You have to take a leap of faith at some point,” Anne said. “For small business if someone sat you down and told you ‘this can happen, this can happen’ then it would all be in the too hard basket.”
“Everything that we’ve done has led us to this,” Mel said. “This is the next step.
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Journeymen Coffee Roasters are located near the corner of Avalon and Pacific Parades, Miami.