A cuppa joe with a conscience

2010-10-22 14:37

As you step into the lofty Colombo roasting and blending warehouse, on the corner of Gale Street and Braeside in Durban, the first thing that greets you is the smell of freshly roasted coffee.

Built by founder James Brown Richardson 70 years ago, the coffee factory still boasts the original roasters and machinery that Richardson, affectionately known as “Jas B” used. Four generations later, Colombo Fine Beverage Co. is now run by his great grandson, Victor Richardson.

He is joined in the pursuit of a fine cup of joe by Kyle Fraser and a team of master roasters and baristas – the folk who know how to make a sublime cup of coffee.

The young and dynamic team all share the same passion and enthusiasm as they source and roast the finest coffee. Colombo’s mission since 1917 has been “to never compromise on the value of fine tea, coffee and cocoa, and to spread our love of fine beverages to all that we come into contact with”.

This sweety hokey adage holds the team to their vision.

Also, and very importantly given coffee’s bad wrap as an exploitative industry, Colombo sources its green beans ethically.

They get their beans from a variety of places around the world where they have been grown and processed to the best of the farmers’ ability.

To Fraser, coffee is so much more than the aromatic roasted bean we grind and infuse with water.

Coffee is an art form, even a religion, to be practiced with love.

He also argues that it should be given the same respect as any fine wine. Coffee, prepared with skill in order to fully appreciate the inherent flavours and aromas it has to offer, should be judged on its original smells, tastes, mouth-feel and finish.

The company has created a range of drum roasted single origin coffees and blends from Africa, Indonesia and the Americas, their popular speciality Aggressive Chocolate, is an all Arabica, seasonal espresso blend comprised of beans from Brazil, Colombia and Ethiopia.

Colombo deals directly from the factory and their beans can also be found in a number of coffee shops and supermarkets in Durban.

Not only can one sample and purchase a variety of beans and grinds at the downstairs retail section, but Colombo also offers a world class barista training area inside the factory for restaurateurs and budding coffee freaks that are eager to learn the art of making a better brew.

Also on offer are fortnightly coffee appreciation courses also known as “cupping” coffee.

The factory will be hosting its first Whole Food Night Market on Thursday October 28 from 6-10pm.

The gourmet-evening will offer a marvellous selection of whole foods and deli items such as organic meats, artisan breads, fresh olives, pates, cheeses, fresh fruit, veggies and herbs.

Guests can purchase items from the stalls and enjoy an indoor-style picnic in the warehouse while listening to the smooth jazz band, UC.

»? For more info call 072 8203513 or 031 205 3283. Or visit http://www.colombofinebeverageco.blogspot.com. The factory is at 369 Gale Street.

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