Local coffee producers on a high

HighTrees Estates Phillip and Lynne Kreutzer (both left) and DS Tradings Frank Demarte at the Tasmanian Royal Show Fine Food Awards.

Alstonville coffee plantation and roastery HighTrees Estate has just received national recognition for its locally grown and roasted organic coffees. And while owners Phillip and Lynne Kreutzer are ecstatic over their win, theyre worried they wont have enough coffee beans to keep up with demand.

As the reputation of our local coffee grows there is a much greater demand and the industry is facing a shortage of good quality local beans, said Phillip.

While no solid research has been done on coffee demand and growth in the region, Phillip said wholesale output, retail demand and the growing reputation of Northern Rivers coffee means new crops would definitely be welcomed.

HighTrees Estate was awarded the National Champion Coffee Trophy at the Tasmanian Royal Show Fine Food Awards in Hobart in August, along with a gold medal for single origin plunger and bronze for its cappuccino. This success follows on from the 2006 Sydney Royal Fine Food Show where the company picked up two silver medals.

To be awarded National Champion for our 100 per cent Australian single origin coffees when the other 65 entries in the competition were almost exclusively imported and blended beans is a great endorsement for what can be produced in this region, said Lynne. The worlds most celebrated coffees are single origin roasts and these results vindicate our belief that this region can produce world class coffee.

Both Lynne and Phillip believe there is no reason why the Northern Rivers shouldnt become another Barossa or Hunter Valley, with world class coffee tastings on offer at boutique plantations.

HighTrees doesnt yet buy green bean from outside growers but Phillip and Lynne are contemplating purchasing more acreage to keep up with retail demand for its award-winning brew.

As the industry matures and plantations grow the employment element will certainly come along, but I couldnt tell you when, said Phillip of the possibility of coffee reducing the regions woeful unemployment figures. But I can say that the region is fast becoming known as having the best coffee scene between Brisbane and Sydney.

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