REVIEW: Blackboard at Capri on Via Roma

Ever humble, Blackboard owner Nick Pearce exudes a wealth of knowledge about coffee and service beyond his years. He’s a barista/restaurateur who understands that the customer needs to feel special, that rolling the eyeballs at a request for a soy latte or half strength flat white will only turn customers away. At the same time, he wants to challenge and educate us about what coffee we are drinking and why.

“We need to be present in the service, to tailor the experience to the person. There needs to be consistency in enjoyment, but every experience needs to be amazing and different.”

How do you source your coffee?

We’re so far removed from the growers that we need to deal with brokers on the ground, create relationships and have some values in the way we deal with growers. We buy our coffee from a particular farm through a trustworthy broker, so we know when it was harvested, how the beans have been treated, what the farmer is like etc. It’s a really important part of creating sustainable futures, dealing with integrity, and sourcing coffee which tastes amazing!

Coffee is really no different to any other product. It needs to be the best we can buy and it needs to be fresh. Our coffee is less than a year old, (it must stay in the country of origin for at least three months after cropping), whereas some commercial coffees have been picked three years ago!

Why don’t you buy Fair Trade coffee?

In my opinion, Fair Trade is one of the worst things that has happened to coffee. It’s an incentive for producers to grow quantity rather than quality. There’s also exploitation around the scheme. Some growers have paid $2,000 for a rainforest stamp with the promise of increased business, but the buyer is never seen again. They were sold a dream!

So, what’s new and exciting happening at Capri?

We’ve just brought in a 5kg Probat roaster from Germany, so we’re going to be roasting our own beans. That’s exciting!

[Nick is quick to acknowledge the contribution of his roasting mentor Josh Russell from Cup Coffee in Brisbane, one of the people behind his success.]

We’re also building on the coffee experience. Come in and try our coffee prepared in different ways (we always have three coffees on the go), buy coffee for home, or have some fun doing a barista class so you can make better coffee at home.

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