From watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at an impressionable age, we all envied what Charlie got. Here was a kid that represented all that is good, whilst living in what Hollywood depicted as ‘the slums’. He wins the golden ticket to explore the wonders of the amazing chocolate factory and maintains his good ways throughout the factory, avoiding the temptation to eat things without permission (although we have to forgive him for his near death anti-gravity experience) and eventually winning ownership of this mystical chocolate factory. Here at Brunch Addict HQ we haven’t had the luck of winning a tour (or ownership) of a chocolate factory, but we did get given the opportunity to check out how Griffiths Coffee roast, package and ship their beans. We arrived early at their factory in Mulgrave with great excitement to see how this big-time roastery do their thing.
We have to admit that before we attended the tour, we weren’t big fans of the Griffiths Coffee brand of coffee. Too often have we been burnt by ill-experienced baristas over-pulling coffees. We came with open minds and willing taste palates though, ready to experience their coffee without any judgement.
Arriving at the door step of the factory, however, we got to meet some of the key players behind the brand who poured us our morning brew and showed us the process. We were taken around the factory – which was huge – and shown the beans green beans that are used in the coffee roasting process. Bags upon bags of luscious, resilient green beans have dirt (sometimes even animal teeth!) filtered out via giant machines that use vibration to remove contaminants as small as 12 microns – that’s one millionth of a millimetre!
Once cleaned, the beans shoot through pipes that travel along the walls and ceilings of the factory, zooming across into the next room where they are ready to get roasted. An interesting fact that we learnt was that green beans are more resilient than roasted beans and can travel up to 100 metres without damage, unlike roasted beans which can only travel approximately 40 metres.
Watching the beans go into the roaster was a pretty incredible experience. Before entering the actual roaster you can see that the beans are still green, but almost immediately they change colour, emitting their beautiful aroma. The beans are then sealed into aluminum cans from Italy and ready for labeling and distribution.Griffiths Coffee ensure a quality check is performed on the beans – both when they’re initially received, and also once they’ve been roasted.
Going through the factory really increased our respect for the brand, as we realised that they do in fact pay a high degree of attention to the bean and flavours during production, however, they do not tightly control which cafes use their coffee. The gentlemen at Griffiths Coffee do provide barista training and support for those cafes selling their coffee in an attempt to ensure that their brand is not damaged by poorly skilled baristas. Like all coffee brands though, you win some and you lose some.
A coffee factory visit wouldn’t be complete without a cupping session, as we went through the coffee wheel and tried to guess the different flavours and aromas coming through with each drink. The flavour profile of the various Griffiths Coffee blends were less full-bodied than some of the more boutique brands, with the tastings notes more gentle on the palate.
The experience of being shown the various elements of roasting coffee on a commercial level was an eye opener. It showed the complexity and problems Griffiths Coffee face on a regular basis to yield the perfect product. What really struck us was how good the quality control over the beans were. It was really goes to see that even though we all might know what good coffee is via brand association (e.g. Seven Seeds & Market Lane), but we all need to be open minded and try other brands and products.
Check out Griffiths Coffee ‘Just Fair’ beans and pre-grounded coffee range at selector retailers