Archive for March, 2013
At Bean HQ we have a few addictions – John Deere, vegetables and coffee.
Our love affair with caffeine hit a high soon after our sons arrived. During those years of sleep deprivation coffee was often the only thing that kept us awake and sane.
We decided if we were going to be drinking a lot of coffee it may as well be the good stuff.
So we bought our first coffee machine … a Sunbeam Cafe Series. Much research went into the purchase and finally we settled on the Sunbeam because it was easy to use and had been designed by a barista. Oh and it was a lot cheaper than the fancy automated and Italian machines.
Our research of course unearthed an underworld of fellow addicts and in online forums I discovered that you want FULL CONTROL of the coffee making process, which is another reason the automated machines are a no-no … aside from the horror price tag.
The Sunbeam and the Gormans formed a close and deep relationship. She was there for us every morning as we struggled to open our eyes and meet a new day of nappies, vomit, tantrums and work.
In striving to brew the perfect shot I discovered this wonderful website, Coffee Snobs, where fellow addicts meet and share information about all things coffee.
Over those years we also experimented with different beans and grinds.
What struck me was how hard it was (impossible?) to source Australian beans. I could choose a Nigerian blend, a gorgeous Venezuelan mix … but nothing from Australia.
About a year ago we upgraded our machine to a larger, more powerful but stroppier Italian machine, the La Nuova Era.
It’s a piece of art on our bench tops but in true Italian fashion she’s fiesty and a little unreliable. But when she’s good she’s great.
Mr Bean still bemoans the loss of the Sunbeam. He does prefer the simple things in life.
My search for Australian beans continued and recently I discovered father and daughter coffee producers Bruno and Maria Malorberti.
They’re located on the Atherton Tableland in far north QLD and market their coffee under the NQ Gold Brand.
They grow Arabica beans and roast them on farm, using a 100-year-old Italian roasting machine.
Bruno is 86 and first came to Australia in 1953. He left his wife and young daughter behind in Italy while he tried to establish a future for them in Australia. Five years later they joined him in Queensland, where he was farming tobacco.
Through hardwork and perserverance Bruno was able to buy his own farm and that’s where he and Maria produce their coffee today.
Maria hopes to find a buyer for the business soon so her father can take a well-deserved break. You can buy the Maolberti’s coffee online
Read on for Maria’s explanation of the paddock to plunger process of growing great coffee.
Some people know exactly how big their family will be.
‘Four kids – two girls, two boys,’ – they declare.
‘One will be enough for me,’ say others.
Of course life doesn’t always go according to plan and what we want and what we get are often miles apart.
Pre-kids I had no idea how many I’d like. Keen to hedge my bets, I suggested, ‘Let’s see how we go with one.’
Alex arrived and we did okay – he was a happy baby although sleep wasn’t his strong point.
I’m an only child and it wasn’t a life I wanted to give my son so we signed up for another.
James arrived just over two years later, healthy, happy and thankfully a better sleeper.
It seemed easier the second time round. Maybe it was. Maybe I was better at it. Maybe the sleep deprivation has screwed with my memory.
We thought ‘this is fun’ let’s have one more. Secretly I thought it might be nice to have a girl to even up the numbers in our very male-dominated house.
We fell pregnant quickly and miscarried nearly as fast.
The next pregnancy took longer to come. It ended in hospital – ectopic pregnancy, goodbye fallopian tube.
The boys were growing older and we quietly gave up on having a third. Our boys were happy, healthy and we loved them – what more could we ask for?
Life was beginning to find a rhythm and return to a sense of normality. Everyone could dress themselves, nappies were a thing of the past, we’d given away our strollers and baby clothes, sold the cot … life was good.
That said, secretly at the back of our minds we knew that if a third baby happened we wouldn’t be upset. Each night as we kiss our growing boys goodnight, we know that the days of those gorgeous baby hugs, smoochy kisses and cute baby sayings have all but disappeared.
Then late last year came a surprise – a very unexpected pregnancy. Sadly another ectopic. We said goodbye to my final fallopian tube and to our hopes for a third child.
I am comfortable with this and am focused on enjoying our two wonderful (albeit naughty) blessings.
Our family is complete.
A version of this article first appeared in the Gold Coast Bulletin. Read my parenting column, Family Matters, in the Bulletin every Wednesday.
Queensland citrus is now in stores and the growers have had a horror start to the season … and that’s putting it mildly.
Most QLD citrus is grown in the Gayndah, Mundubbera and Wallaville regions – and all three spots were hit hard by the Australia Day floods.
Orchards went under water but once the floodwaters subsided most growers have been able to clean up and move on.
I interviewed Greg Parr of Glengrove Orchards recently. He says most growers are forging ahead in the wake of the floods and are hoping for strong prices to help their recovery.
Customers can help the farmers get back on their feet by supporting local produce at the checkout. And if the price is a little higher than usual you’ll understand why.
Greg says the early lemon market had been stronger than usual – due to reduced supply – with returns of about $3/kg to farm.
He hopes the good prices will remain when local oranges and mandarins start hitting store shelves in the next two to three weeks.
Greg says while the Australia Day floods were devastating to farm infrastructure, the trees remains relatively unscathed.
“As far as the trees we didn’t have a huge amount of tree damage but we did have a significant amount of infrastructure damage … pumps, sheds, cold rooms, that sort of stuff,” he says.
“We have five farms between Mundubbera and Childers, some of them were only impacted slightly, others were really bad.”