By Gretel Sneath
Mount Gambier’s Peter Loring works full-time in the forestry industry but, after dark, he moonlights as a coffee roaster.
And, yes – it’s caffeine that fuels his late-night sessions spent developing the ultimate blends.
Peter’s quest for the perfect cup of coffee came out of pure economics – coffee addictions don’t come cheap when you have a young family.
“Once you discover great coffee, it sparks that basic quest for something that’s yummier than the last one,” he smiles
“You get more picky and start this journey of seeking out the best coffee you can find in all of the specialty cafes, and this can become quite an expensive habit.”
Peter built his own roaster out of a turbo oven and a pasta pot, and then progressed to a popcorn popper before taking the plunge and purchasing a small commercial roaster.
“Roasting coffee is great fun – the smells, the sounds, and it’s that great mix between art and science; science being the chemical reactions but the art side being the taste and interpretation of the two worlds,” he explains.
After setting up a coffee cart at a local market, Peter says when customers began asking if they could buy take-home bags, he knew it was time to develop a brand.
“My wife Simone and I have always dreamed of having a café called Bricks & Mortar because a building is only as good as its foundations,” he says.
“It doesn’t matter how fancy your equipment and décor is, if you don’t have really high quality ingredients and taste, you’re not going to have a good product, and our approach to coffee is the same, so even though we don’t have a cafe, the name fits.”
A growing number of cafes and speciality stores stock the Bricks & Mortar Coffee Co’s distinctive brown bags of beans.
In fact, Peter has just developed the exclusive signature blend ‘The Girls’ for Mount Gambier’s new-look Presto Eatery, operated by popular foodie duo, Lucy Von Stanke and Josslyn Lee.
“They had some ideas about the sort of taste they were after with hazelnut and milk chocolate notes, and trying to get some caramels in there; just really yummy coffee that would work well across all brewing methods,” he says.
“I’m also very hands-on with the staff barista training because we want them to make the best coffee they can. It’s an over-used quote, but life really is too short for bad coffee.”
(Headline image by Ockert Le Roux)
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