WHEN two passionate people decide to focus their time and energy on producing premium, carefully-crafted roasted coffee, the result makes you sit up and take notice.
That’s not just the effects of the caffeine either – it’s a culmination of the care and dedication from Ian and April Pianta that creates such a special product.
The Pianta’s business, Southern Roasting Co, has been embraced by their home town of Manjimup and beyond, with a merry band of regulars relying on them for a daily dose of the good stuff.
Prior to their sashay into the wonderful world of coffee, Ian worked in teaching design and technology, and April as a commercial photographer.
Both coffee enthusiasts, they had spent years talking wistfully about how they could create their own roast profiles and last year, people finally got to take a sip of their dream.
“When Ian sets his mind to something, it’s all-consuming, passionately followed and skillfully done,” April said.
“When that ‘something’ is coffee, it becomes all the more important because it’s something I’m a tad passionate about, as well.
“So, after many years of dreaming, discussing, drinking, sourcing, comparing and creating, we decided to go for it.”
April said their plan was simple, to obtain ethically-sourced, sustainably-grown green beans and use them to create well-crafted roast profiles that pay homage to the raw product.
They work with a specialty coffee importer based in Sydney, New South Wales, who firstly sends them small samples so they can roast and cup before deciding if it’s what they want to offer their customers.
April said they only supplied their coffee to venues they trust, ensuring baristas know how to get the best result from using their beans.
They are also passionate about sharing the story behind the beans with their customers, so people know exactly where the product started its life.
Part of the product’s journey is visiting the Pianta’s farm outside Manjimup, where Ian uses a 30 kilogram customised Toper to manually roast the beans in small batches.
Although the manual roasting is more challenging, April said it was immensely satisfying to see how it produced such beautiful curves in the profile and taste the unique flavours.
“We want our community to have access to a premium product, roasted locally and prepared without compromise,” April said.
“We source some beautiful coffees, focussing on quality over price.”
In November 2016, Southern Roasting Co had just started supplying a few local venues in the South West before being approached by Lisa Cudby of Paddock Pop-Up in Pemberton.
Lisa asked the duo to put their mobile coffee cart into a vacant shop alongside her range of picnics and deli items for the summer.
“The combination of carefully brewed coffee and creative, fresh food was embraced by visitors to the area, and locals who loved having another option in town,” April said.
“We were encouraged to keep the shop open and have received wonderful support from our many regulars.
“We are currently working on moving the roastery from our farm into Manjimup where we look forward to sharing the process from selecting green beans, creating the unique roast profiles, and brewing the coffee into an excellent cup.”
Southern Roast Co has two flagship blends, Hush Hush and Nocturnal, but they also offer single-origin coffees and specialty blends which are often limited.
“We might only purchase those single origins and specialty blends once in a season, so there might only be 100kg available, and seeing as half of that will go toward waking us up each morning, that doesn’t leave a lot,” April said.
Nocturnal is described as a high-end, balanced and ballsy roast with bright citrus overtones, dissolving into long, nutty, dark chocolate notes, leaving the mouth with a clean floral finish.
Hush Hush is blended from five origins and is pitched as a long, deep coffee with balance and sophistication.
All Southern Roasting Co products are available to purchase through their website, with free postage to anywhere in the country.
If you’re heading south and seeking comfort in a cup, call into Southern Roasting Co., Silkwood Winery in Pemberton, Tall Timbers Manjimup, Emporium Bistro, Bridgetown or The Bridgetown Cidery.
The Piantas will also be at this year’s Gourmet Escape in Margaret River from Thursday, November 16 to Sunday, November 19.
Right now, they are concentrating on moving their roastery from the farm into town, in between roasts and keeping up with the increasing demand.
“We are really looking forward to opening our roastery in its new home and inviting our community to sample and see what we do,” April said.
“It’s so rewarding to see the response from people who haven’t tried our coffee before, and to see so many people come back day after day for their coffee and a chat.
“We’d love to see our coffee in more places just as passionate about great coffee as we are.”