Top Honours for Local Coffee Blends

Armidale Independent 4 May, 2011

Armidale based coffee maker, Ross Patch, returned home from the 2011 Sydney Royal Easter Show triumphant.
“Three years in a row, we’ve been awarded a bronze for our Signature 2350 blend at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Our new blend, which we call ‘Mocha Supremo’, was awarded a silver in the Cappuccino Class,” he said.
Mr Patch said he has been involved with the coffee section of the Show for the past four years and this year, the judging was particularly strict. There were no golds awarded, very few silvers and narrow margins for the bronzes.”
The criteria for judging coffee blends indicate that it is something of a science. “Everything is based on point scoring, according to crème, taste, depth, how the product is ‘cupped’. The judging is conducted by ‘blind tasting’,” Mr Patch said, adding that competition was slightly down on recent years. “This year a lot of the roasters appeared to be striving to refine their blends down to make that one outstanding blend, but it wasn’t happening.”
The acclaimed producer of coffee blends explained the basic process. “Most blends are made up of four or five base blends. They’re made up of what we call ‘single origin’ (coffee beans), from countries like Columbia, Brazil, India and Papua New Guinea. It’s like baking a cake. You get the combinations and proportions right and then you roast them – maybe a medium to dark roast. Our Crème and Roma blends were the same combination of beans but were roasted in two different styles, producing very distinct tastes. You could take 10 per cent out of one continent of single origin coffee bean and change the dynamics of the flavour.”
The region’s boutique food and wine producers are all in the pursuit of excellence. Mr Patch’s Sydney Royal Easter Show accolades show that he is excelling with his caffeinated creations. “I think these awards mean we can officially say we are Armidale’s superior blenders of roasted coffee, if not the region’s. I use professional, gold medal winning roasters in Sydney.”
The credibility and exposure filtered through has enabled Mr Patch to percolate into new markets. “New (business) avenues have opened up. I now have Sydney clients and a distributor in Melbourne is poised to take on my blends. A number of cafes in Sydney want me to supply blends under their name – it’s called boutique blending,” he said.
Mr Patch said his Show success has also paid off for Armidale. “Our signature 2350 blend is our flagship. It’s netting us consistent rewards, so thank you Armidale, it’s your blend. It was refined by my customers tasting it and giving me feedback.”