Business

Roasting up perfect blend for your inner coffee geek

NEW ARRIVALS: Naoyuki Kitajima and Rob Mergard from Dancing Bean Coffee, which has recently opened in Ipswich.
NEW ARRIVALS: Naoyuki Kitajima and Rob Mergard from Dancing Bean Coffee, which has recently opened in Ipswich. Inga Williams

IPSWICH is home to Dancing Bean Specialty Roasters - an exciting addition to the Circa 160 precinct in the Top of Town.

Located behind Heisenberg Haus at 160 Brisbane St, it offers an exciting range of coffees.

Founder and director Rob Mergard said Dancing Bean Specialty Roasters started in 1999.

"I started working on the concept in 1996. I always wanted to roast coffee and to get this business off the ground," he said.

In a former career, the Qantas mechanical engineer worked in the USA at a time when coffee carts were just emerging and the giant Starbucks chain was still relatively new to the scene.

This, combined with the lack of what he considered good coffee in Brisbane inspired him to take a leap of faith and establish the enterprise.

Dancing Bean Specialty Roasters see Ipswich as the ideal place to take the business further.

"We essentially have two businesses, the roasting and also the café," Mr Mergard said.

"The café gives customers the opportunity to try different blends before they buy and also a place to enjoy a meal and a catch up with friends or colleagues.

"We have the house blend that gives our customers a consistency of product, but for those who love coffee and are adventurous then we have our single origin. There is a growing market of what is known as coffee geeks, and we have them covered."

The coffee is available to the hospitality industry and also individual bulk buyers, making it even more affordable.

It is little wonder that this business has taken off as it has. The careful planning, commitment to the detail is clearly a significant part of its success.

Roasting is the core business and one that gains significant attention.

Mr Mergard is passionate about his enterprise and coffee. For a time he did the roasting so he has a deep understanding of the process.

"I have Naoyuki "Now" Kitajima who is the roaster," he said.

"He is a Japanese guy who grew up in Brazil. He speaks fluent Portuguese and is frankly a walking encyclopedia on coffee. He is so focused. He is quiet and just amazing at his craft.

"It is a precise science and it is based on exact timing. Some businesses do it with an automation system but we go with manual and the gut feeling. That makes Naoyuki an artisan roaster."

According to Rob Mergard the roasting process is carried out in what resembles a cement mixer where the roasting is carried out by hot air and radiated heat.

Mr Mergard has developed his own roaster and hopes to advance this invention.

"I love getting my hands dirty and it is great do be doing this in Ipswich. I have great confidence in Ipswich, I believe in it, I see its potential," he said.

The café will have a full kitchen with quality food, but there is no doubt that coffee is front of mind.

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