Raise a cup to local coffee

CHERRY GOOD: North Coast coffee grower Lindsay Ashton shows some bright red coffee cherries (the fruit of the coffee tree) which featured in the “From Plant to Cup” coffee making demonstration at the Byron Farmers Market last Thursday.
CHERRY GOOD: North Coast coffee grower Lindsay Ashton shows some bright red coffee cherries (the fruit of the coffee tree) which featured in the “From Plant to Cup” coffee making demonstration at the Byron Farmers Market last Thursday. Kate Oneill

WHERE have your coffee beans been?

That's the question local growers want you to ask before you reach for your morning latte.

Have they come from halfway around the world and been sitting on a dock for months?

Or have they been grown, picked and freshly roasted in our own green lush hills?

The benefits of buying local coffee were being sold at the Byron Farmers Market last Thursday, when the Australian Subtropical Coffee Association gave a "From Plant to Cup" demonstration.

Designed to give an insight into the coffee-making process and the burgeoning local industry, the demonstration featured a display of a real coffee tree, complete with bright red coffee cherries, coffee beans in varying stages of the production process, as well as a free tasting.

Vice president of the Australian Subtropical Coffee Association, David Ashton, said while coffee growing was relatively new to the North Coast, the coffees produced here were up there with the best.

He said our sub-tropical climate resulted in a slow ripening process, which added to the coffee's flavour and complexity.

"We have the ideal climate, the soil is perfect, we have a clean fresh environment and the people here are passionate," he said.

Coffee growing has taken off in the local area in the past 20 years, with more than half a million coffee trees now being grown around the North Coast and the Byron hinterland.

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