An entrepreneurial couple ditched their olive farm and expansion plans for a deli, to embark on a whole new career as coffee roasters.
If the swag of awards they’ve collected is anything to go by, the couple from Beechworth’s Blynzz Coffee Roasters made the right decision – with capital city customers among their biggest fans.
After purchasing a property, planting olives and harvesting their produce, Ben and Lyn Ryder thought opening a deli style café in Beechworth would be the perfect avenue to also offer their olive products to customers.
But timely advice from a friend in the coffee industry saw them ditch the olives, keep the café concept and try their hand at coffee roasting.
Ben Ryder says winning an award for their coffee roasting in their first year (and awards every year since 2012) has given them the confidence to match it with the bigger, commercial roasters.
“I say to people we’re just a teeny weeny roaster in the middle of nowhere, competing with the biggest people in the industry,” Ben said.
“The way we roast is very old school, we’re not computerised.
“Ninety five per-cent of the industry will roast to what they call a profile, a graph which matches time to temperature. We basically watch time and temperature and keep that in mind. We listen, we smell, we look and make decisions based on a range of parameters.”
Their biggest selling coffee is Smooth Criminal, which Ben describes as a blend of central and South American coffees.
“It’s a big, full bodied coffee – some might say reasonably traditional flavours, chocolates, malts, caramels, a little bit of nut,” Ben said.
Another rewarding side to the business is exposing the coffee roasting talents of people outside of the capital cities.
“It’s always nice and funny that someone comes down from Sydney or Melbourne to Beechworth and say, ‘oh it’s the best cup of coffee I’ve had in months’.
‘Or the funny one from people, they’ll say ‘I’m from Melbourne and I want a really nice coffee.’ So it’s trying to change perceptions about that ‘country cringe’ I suppose.”
Ben and Lyn’s mission now is to continue to grow the roasting side of the business and encourage local café owners and individuals to stock more locally produced Blynzz Coffee.
“There’s just so much commercial coffee out there,” Ben said.
“Life is too short to drink bad coffee, or bad wine, or bad food. We just want to spread that message that our region has so much quality here.”