By S Haslam
I was lucky enough to be at The Branches Café (and Coffee Roasters) out in the Mullumbimby Industrial Estate last week when a new batch of coffee beans were being roasted right there in front of me, in the middle of the café.
I was surprised by how high-tech the operation was, with owner Patrick fully engrossed in twiddling dials and following the graphs of the action on his laptop. After all, the café is otherwise pretty cruisy – there was a skateboard leaning up against the wall next to the roaster. According to his partner Tamara, the roasting process takes only 12 minutes, so it’s important that everything is spot-on during every minute of the roast.
There’s nothing like an espresso made with freshly ground beans, but seeing the beans gradually turn brown actually made my double espresso Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Gedeb taste that much better – I felt close enough to the action without having to actually produce anything myself!
The café, in the new Byron Food Hub, makes ‘industrial’ look pretty stylish with lots of wood, black tiles and exposed concrete; even the centrepiece industrial roaster looks good. This isn’t an iced-coffee and pie industrial estate café either, the food is healthy and delicious – maybe next time I’ll have a barley and basil salad with a kombucha, but sticking safely within my comfort zone I had a simple banana bread that turned out to be next level; gluten free banana ‘loaf’ with fig and cinnamon.
Patrick and Tamara (Pat and Tam) came to this area with their roaster in tow five years ago, and they’ve really made something pretty special in Mullumbimby.
The Branches: 9–11 Towers Dr Mullumbimby | Ph 6684 6167. Open 6.30am–3pm Mon–Fri | thebranches.com.au