Lennox Locals follow their dream and start ethical coffee roastery and espresso bar in Ballina Industrial Estate
Old Quarter Coffee Merchants is an ethical coffee roastery and espresso bar recently opened in Ballina Industrial Estate by two Lennox locals, Yosir Le Cerf and Amelia Hicks.
It all started with their love of Southeast Asia, in particular Vietnam, and a desire to give something back to a country that they’d been drawn back to time and again. Combine that with their passion for specialty coffee and the dream was born.
This social business only sources it’s coffee directly from farming families, cutting out the middleman, and ensuring that every cent goes directly into their hands. With so much exploitation and debt slavery in the coffee industry, this young couple is focused on providing consumers with a cup of coffee that is ethical and traceable from the farm to the cup.
“We’ve always had a strong belief in the power consumers have to make change. And when we decided we wanted to pursue our passion for coffee it felt right that we would start a social business” says Amelia.
“Starting a business is obviously a lot of work but we’re really motivated by the fact that because we’re offering famers the true market value of their product every cup of coffee we sell is improving their livelihoods. It makes it so much more meaningful then simply trying to make a profit.”
Old Quarter Coffee has a specific focus on Southeast Asian coffees and their 2017 signature single-origin is sourced from a farmer owned co-operative made up of the K-Ho People, an ethnic minority in the central highlands of Vietnam. Yosir has a gleam in his eye as he talks about it.
“I’ve been going to Vietnam since I was 15. I’ve motorbiked to remote corners and spent a lot of time with the ethnic minorities there. Sourcing our coffee directly from the K’Ho people is just a win – win situation because their getting a price they’re happy with and we’re getting this specialty grade coffee, grown at a high altitude with such a unique taste profile” says Yosir.
When most of us think of coffee we think of Africa or South and Central America. Yosir is keen on showcasing unique coffees from lesser-known growing regions.
“There are some really exceptional growing regions throughout Southeast Asia plus they’re our closest neighbours. We want to support some of the under-represented specialty coffee farmers there and help them reach a larger market. We’ll grow together”.
Yosir and Amelia say they love working in the Ballina Industrial Estate and have appreciated being welcomed by the long standing local businesses. “We’ve been really stoked with the support so far. We’re also looking forward to attracting people into the store from further afield” said Yosir.
Head to www.oldquartercoffee.com.au to purchase coffee. Or visit them at 2/6 Endeavour Close Ballina.