Seekers of the Promised Land might be surprised to find themselves in the back streets of Collingwood – way down past Wellington Street, in that mess of factories and warehouses that is still suspended between the old Collingwood (where people worked in the factories) and the new (where people live in the warehouses).
But that’s where Jonathan Sciola has set up (in a converted warehouse) with a business that highlights the entrepreneurial nature of Melbourne’s specialty coffee scene.
Sciola not only roasts beans for delivery to cafes around town under the Promised Land label (anyone can do that), he also brews batches of the stuff and delivers it, ready to drink, for cafe owners who have found his pre-brew system an economical and quality alternative to brewing filter coffee in house themselves.
Fetco batch brew
He works with a two-and-a-half litre Fetco batch brewer: the same machine that airlines use for their post-meal pours. “But this is probably the best airline coffee you’ll taste,” he says.
One advantage of the Fetco is in keeping water at a stable temperature during brewing. As Sciola, who once worked for St Ali, points out, the water used when a barista makes a pourover might start out at an ideal 92 degrees, but the temperature quickly drops. The Fetco stays at a constant temperature during brewing, making extraction much more even.
Sciola rises at 5am to set the Fetco to work on a series of programmed brews; then he delivers three-litre Airpots of his coffee to cafes around town including Five & Dime Bagel and Tee-Roy Browns in the city, Square & Compass in East Melbourne and the Vic Market cafe-trolley hire place, Market Espresso.
The advantage for cafes is obvious – quality filter coffee ready to pour, without having to tie up a barista in making each cup, and without the need for an expensive dedicated filter grinder.
The coffee keeps well. “Up to about six hours is good,” says Sciola. “After about eight hours it goes a bit flat. But it doesn’t oxidise.”
“We started out brewing just 90-plus single origins,” he says. “But we found that we needed to present a broader menu.” That runs from the user-friendly Raven blend of Honduras and Ethiopia Yirgacheffe, a full-bodied more familiar filter style, to a tropical-fruity El Salvador with a big hit of pineapple. See promisedlandcoffee.com #