Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Melbourne's Urban Coffee Farm

The banks of the Yarra River have been beautified with the lush greens of a coffee plantation! For the next two weeks a section of South Bank in the heart of Melbourne will be the meeting place for coffee lovers and urban green thumbs a like. In fact this awesome installation by Hassell is the ideal spot for anyone wanting to escape the the concrete jungle for a half an hour.

On the red steps of Queensbridge Square 'The Urban Coffee Farm & Brew Bar' is the venue to get one of the best cups of coffee in Australia! Melbourne's top baristas and bartenders are taking turns in running the stepped coffee farm over a period of 17 days. All as part of Melbourne's Food and Wine Festival (MFWF) visitors can truly take part in Melbourne's obsession with coffee.

But it is not all pretty plants and exotic coffee. This terraced pop-up plantation is made from disused shipping containers from the local port, timber pallets and packing crates, all sourced from the coffee trade. Visitors are also encouraged to learn a little about the story of coffee - for first seedling to first sip.

Some fun facts for you all!
  • 1000 types of Coffee varieties have been discovered in Ethiopia alone
  • Higher elevations (1000m+) are considered a prerequisite for great coffee beans
  • The coffee bean is not a bean at all, but the processed seed of a cherry plucked from a coffee tree

I went down to the coffee farm yesterday. It looked really good! The staff were friendly and the coffee was as promised.... bloody amazing! However, in my opinion it still could have done with some more shade (was 34 degrees Celsius outside) and a few more seats.

I struck up a random conversation with a guy next to me. It turned out to be Javier Cabrery Roperti, a coffee producer from Guatemala there to give a talk about his coffee plantation. Invited by 5 Seeds he had only arrived in Melbourne the day before! We had an excellent chat about his farm, clients and the awesome coffee culture in Melbourne.

He is recycling close 100% of his coffee bean husks through vermiculture, cutting down waste processing and fertiliser costs at the same time!

The coffee line

The Urban Coffee Farm

While not strictly relating to urban sustainability I think the team from Hassell have thought up an engaging installation that is more than just a coffee shop. It is a really cool green space in the a sea of grey, made from semi-recycled materials and teaching people a thing or two about great coffee. I would like to see them also boast a zero-waste ideology like 'Silo'.


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