Kahawa Estate Coffee

North Coast coffee revival

Coffee with latitude is what the North Coast produces, according to Tintenbar grower and Australian Subtropical Coffee Association treasurer Jos Webber.


Cool-climate coffee, grown in the subtropics, has a longer ripening period which results in sweeter, more complex flavours than tropically grown coffee.


“It’s also pesticide free because we don’t have the pests and fungal diseases,” Mr Webber said.


Although coffee was grown in the region in the 1800s, the industry died off due to competition from South America and Africa.


But now with mechanical harvesting, the region’s coffee industry is enjoying a renaissance.


“It took off in the early 1990s,” Mr Webber said.


Kahawa Estate Coffee

Tintenbar coffee grower Jos Webber and his dog Suzie pictured on his property among the coffee trees bearing fruit. The local industry is experiencing a renaissance with demand outstripping supply. (Photo: Jacklyn Wagner)

The association is currently considering adopting a strategic plan to increase production.


“There is not enough volume to meet the demand and fill the markets,” Mr Webber said.


The plan, currently in draft form, will also see the development of a guide for farmers who are new to the industry which will provide information about getting started.


The plan will also look at maximising sustainable practices within the industry.


However, to fund the strategy’s action plan, the association is also considering a levy.


“It would be voluntary, but it’s one of the options we are looking at to move forward,” Mr Webber said.


The association has also developed a subtropical logo which growers are being encouraged to use in order to distinguish locally grown coffee from imported beans.


The association has a membership of about 50, made up of growers, roasters, wholesalers and academics from Southern Cross University.


Mr Webber has 13,000 coffee trees, 8000 under production, on his property. He sells his coffee under the Kahawa Estate Coffee brand, but also sells green beans to roasters and wholesalers.


The association will hold its ordinary meeting in Lismore Workers Club tomorrow at 6.45pm where it is expected the strategic plan will be discussed.